Financial Intelligence PDF Free Download

“Financial intelligence means understanding where the numbers are ‘hard’ – well supported and relatively uncontroversial – and where they are ‘soft’ – that is, highly dependent on judgment calls.” Why “Financial Intelligence” Matters You can learn to boost your financial intelligence, and the math isn’t even so complicated. 12-Step Guide to Financial Success Step 1: Be accountable and responsible The first step on the path to financial success is accepting responsibility. You are in control of your financial future, and every choice you make can have an impact. No matter your age or education, you need to be in control of your financial matters. Accessible, jargon-free, and filled with entertaining stories of real companies, Financial Intelligence gives nonfinancial managers and leaders the confidence to understand the nuance beyond the numbers—and helps bring everyday work to a new level. PDF version of Enhance Your Financial Intelligence by Jeff Dedrick. Apple, Android and Kindle formats also available.

Book Preface

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WHAT IS FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE?

We have worked with thousands of employees, managers, and leaders in companies all over the world, teaching them about the financial side of business. Our philosophy is that everyone in a company does better when they understand how financial success is measured and how they have an impact on the company’s performance. Our term for that understanding is financial intelligence. Greater financial intelligence, we’ve learned, helps people feel more committed and involved. They understand better what they are a part of, what the organization is trying to achieve, and how they affect results. Trust increases, turnover decreases, and financial results improve.

We came to this philosophy by different routes. Karen took the academic path. Her PhD dissertation focused on the question of whether information sharing and financial understanding on the part of employees and managers positively affects a company’s financial performance. (It does.) Karen went on to become a financial trainer and started an organization, the Business Literacy Institute, devoted to helping others learn about finance. Joe earned an MBA in fi nance, but most of his experience with financial training in organizations has been on the practical side. After stints at Ford Motor Company and several small companies, he joined a start-up business, Setpoint Systems and Setpoint Inc., which manufactures roller coasters and factory-automation equipment. As chief financial offi cer (CFO) and owner of Setpoint, he learned firsthand the importance of training engineers and other employees in how the business worked.

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In 2003 Joe joined Karen as co-owner of the Business Literacy Institute and since then has worked with dozens of companies, facilitating financial intelligence courses.

What do we mean by financial intelligence? It isn’t some innate ability that you either have or don’t have. Granted, some people are better at numbers than others, and a few legendary folks seem to have an intuitive grasp of finance that eludes the rest of us. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. For most businesspeople—ourselves included—financial intelligence is no more than a set of skills that can be learned. People who work in finance acquire these skills early on, and for the rest of their careers are able to talk with one another in a specialized language that can sound like Greek to the uninitiated. Most senior executives (not all) either come out of finance or pick up the skills during their rise to the top, just because it’s tough to run a business unless you know what the financial folks are saying. Managers who don’t work in finance, however, too often have been out of luck. They never picked up the skills, and so in some ways they’ve been relegated to the sidelines.

Fundamentally, financial intelligence boils down to four distinct skill sets, and when you finish the book, you should be competent in all of them. They are:
• Understanding the foundation. Managers who are fi nancially intelligent understand the basics of fi nancial measurement. They can read an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash fl ow statement. They know the difference between profi t and cash. They understand why the balance sheet balances. The numbers neither scare nor mystify them.
• Understanding the art. Finance and accounting are an art as well as a science. The two disciplines must try to quantify what can’t always be quantified, and so must rely on rules, estimates, and assumptions.

Financially intelligent managers are able to identify where the artful aspects of finance have been applied to the numbers, and they know how applying them differently might lead to different conclusions.

They thus are prepared to question and challenge the numbers when appropriate.
• Understanding analysis. Once you have the foundation and an appreciation of the art of fi nance, you can use the information to analyze the numbers in greater depth. Financially intelligent managers don’t shrink from ratios, return on investment (ROI) analysis, and the like.

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They use these analyses to inform their decisions, and they make better decisions for doing so.
• Understanding the big picture. Finally, although we teach fi nance, and although we think that everyone should understand the numbers side of business, we are equally fi rm in our belief that numbers can’t and don’t tell the whole story. A business’s fi nancial results must always be understood in context—that is, within the framework of the big picture. Factors such as the economy, the competitive environment, regulations, changing customer needs and expectations, and new technologies all affect how you should interpret numbers and make decisions.

But financial intelligence doesn’t stop with book learning. Like most disciplines and skill sets, it must not only be learned, it must also be practiced and applied. On the practical side, we hope and expect the book will prepare you to take actions such as the following:
• Speak the language. Finance is the language of business. Whether you like it or not, the one thing every organization has in common is numbers and how those numbers are tabulated, analyzed, and reported. You need to use the language to be taken seriously and to communicate effectively. As with any new language, you can’t expect to speak it fl uently at fi rst. Never mind—jump in and try something.
You’ll gain confi dence as you go.
• Ask questions. We want you to look at fi nancial reports and analysis with a questioning eye. It’s not that we think anything is necessarily wrong with the numbers you see. We merely believe it is tremendously important to understand the what, why, and how of the numbers you are using to make decisions. Since every company is different, sometimes the only way to fi gure out all those parameters is to ask questions.
• Use the information in your job. After reading this book, you should know a lot. So use it! Use it to improve cash fl ow. Use it to analyze the next big project. Use it to assess your company’s results. Your job will be more fun, and your impact on the company’s performance will be greater. From our vantage point, we love to see employees, managers, and leaders who can see the link between fi nancial results and their job. Suddenly, they seem to have a better idea of why they are carrying out a particular set of tasks.

Why This Second Edition?

Financial concepts don’t change much from one year to the next, or even from one decade to the next. The fundamental concepts and ideas we discussed in the fi rst edition of this book, published in 2006, are exactly the same in the current edition. But there are good reasons for presenting you with this revised and expanded version of the original text.

For one thing, the financial landscape has changed—and in a big way. Since the fi rst edition of Financial Intelligence appeared, the world underwent a major crisis directly related to our topic. Suddenly more people than ever were talking about balance sheets, mark-to-market accounting, and liquidity ratios. The crisis also changed what was discussed inside companies: how the company was doing fi nancially, how it could best be evaluated, and what fi nancial issues managers and employees as individuals needed to consider.

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To help facilitate these conversations, we added many new subjects, including the following:
• A chapter on GAAP versus non-GAAP numbers. Today, many companies are reporting both GAAP and non-GAAP results. (You can fi nd out what GAAP and non-GAAP numbers are, and why they matter, in chapter 4.)
• A chapter (chapter 25) that examines how the marketplace evaluates companies. The fi nancial crisis, like other bubbles and meltdowns, provided new insights into which measures are most (and least) helpful in understanding a company’s fi nancial performance.
• Lots of additional information about return on investment (ROI), including a section on the profi tability index, a discussion of cost of capital, and an example of ROI analysis.

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We also gathered up feedback from the thousands of people around the world who read the book, and from our clients who used it in their training classes. Thanks to that feedback, we have added several new concepts, such as contribution margin, the impact of exchange rates on profitability, and economic value added (EVA). We discuss bookings and backlog, deferred revenue, and return on net assets, or RONA. We think you’ll fi nd the book more useful as a result.

Finally, we added additional information about how to increase fi nancial intelligence throughout your company. In our training business, we work with many companies, including dozens in the Fortune 500, who see this as a necessary part of employee, manager, and leader education.

So this book will support the development of your fi nancial intelligence. We hope readers will fi nd our experience and advice valuable. We hope it will enable you to achieve greater success, both personally and professionally. We hope it helps your company be more successful as well. But most of all, we think, after reading this book, you’ll be just a bit more motivated, a bit more interested, and a bit more excited to understand a whole new aspect of business.

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