Books: Three of a kind - Finance for the innumerate...

Not everyone has an accounting background. These three books - Figures Mundane and Mysterious, Finance for Non-Financial Managers; The FT Guide to Using and Interpreting Company Accounts; and Smoke and Mirrors - help ease the pain of figures for those who can't figure it out.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Figures Mundane and Mysterious, Finance for Non-Financial Managers
Philip Ramsden
Teach Yourself £9.99
A cracking guide to all matters financial for anyone who doesn't have an accounting background. Ramsden's clearly written explanations for everything from P&L to ROCE make this book a must-read for every manager. There are chapters on 'the purpose of accounting', 'financial information for managers' and even 'tricks of the trade'. Keep it on your desk and treasure it.
MT's Verdict: Best of its kind

The FT Guide to Using and Interpreting Company Accounts
Wendy McKenzie
FT Prentice Hall £22.99
A very thorough and well-thought-through guide to reading and understanding company accounts, which works through a real-life example. Broader in scope than the Teach Yourself book (it covers international accounting), it provides a detailed understanding of everything you should know about company accounts. More of a reference book than a straight read.
MT's Verdict: Best of its kind

Smoke and Mirrors
Nicholas Strange
A&C Black £12.99
Subtitled How to bend facts and figures to your advantage, this is not about understanding financial statements. It's about the clever presentation - even manipulation - of numbers to suit your own purpose. Written tongue-in-cheek, it's a provocative read for managers and spin-doctors alike, spilling the beans on how to use charts and graphs to persuade, impress or confuse. Entertaining.
MT's Verdict: Of minor interest

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