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‘Smart Things to know about Business Finance’ by Ken Langdon and Alan Bonham


Smart Things to know about Business Finance
By Ken Langdon & Alan Bonham
Capstone Publishing, Oxford
Published 2000,
ISBN: 1-84112-038-3
246 pages.

The list of subjects for the Stay Smart series reads like a set of buzzwords for the modern manager - Branding, Change, Customers, E-commerce, Knowledge Management and Strategy are the other topics in the series.

The approach is to produce an attractive well designed text for the non specialist. This book is a cracking example of a book targeting non financial managers who are interested in ,or whohave to be able to cope with financial issues.

The series is designed for easy reading with icons signposting the following areas:

  • Smart things accountants don’t tell us
  • Smart rules of thumb- what the experts say
  • Smart examples- real examples
  • Killer questions- questions to ask colleagues which will deeply impress them with your state of knowledge
  • Smart answers to tough questions- another word for self evaluated tests
  • Smart voices- Quotes from financial managers, and the authors.

The book uses two case examples that are referred to throughout the text in bite size chunks. These are readily identifiable, and readers can easily relate to them. There are boxes and icons breaking up the text all the way, and the book owes a lot of its readability to its excellent design.

My only small criticisms are the chosen font size: it seems to be set in 10pt type, which makes the reading harder than it needs to be, and the Contents List.

The Contents are listed in general headings such as Chapter 3, Understanding the Past, 4, Analysing the Past, 5, Monitoring the Present. You have to turn to the Introduction before discovering that Chapter 3 deals with Ratio Analysis, Chapter 4, deciphering Annual Reports, and Chapter 5 with monitoring internal performance.

I have taught finance to non-accountants for many years, and this is one of the best books that I have seen. At £12.99 it is also very good value. The authors, the designer and the publishers are to be congratulated.

Chris Green MBA, FRSA
Senior lecturer in Media Management,
Manchester Metropolitan University

Most of the Capstone titles are available in the Capstone store of the TrainingZONE shopping Mall.


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