A certified public accountant offers small-business owners advice about common accounting mistakes.
In this excellent debut, the author proves that a CPA may be an entrepreneur’s best friend. Using a well-balanced combination of stories from her own practice and authoritative counsel, Hale methodically focuses on five primary areas she believes are most vexing to small-business owners: taxes, potential embezzlement, debt, profit, and major changes, such as buying or selling a company. For each area, she provides relevant anecdotes from a variety of small businesses, addresses “common misconceptions,” delivers best practices, and wraps up each chapter with useful tips. Portions of the material, such as details about business structure (corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships) and the explanation of a balance sheet, may be too basic for some, but there is plenty of solid advice for both beginners and experienced company owners. For example, the eye-opening chapter regarding embezzlement is particularly chilling. Hale cites research that indicates the crime is widespread among small companies but “often goes unnoticed” because business owners are “blinded by their relationship with the embezzler.” She helpfully identifies warning signs, describes at-risk areas for fraud, suggests steps for preventing embezzlement, and walks through “practices to fraud-proof” a business. While the first part of the guide concentrates specifically on the five accounting areas, Part II delves into effective practices, covering such essential topics as financial management, inventory, equity, and the collection of receivables. Every section of the work is delivered in a no-nonsense, straightforward manner; the text is easy to comprehend, free of financial jargon, and written in a conversational style. The blend of storytelling and exposition works well throughout the manual; at one point, Hale even illustrates the impact of business loss by recounting how her own company was robbed. This tale is oddly reassuring, because it demonstrates that even a CPA can fall prey to an unanticipated crisis. The author closes the book with six valuable recommendations, including “Have a future-looking plan” and “Become strong in forecasting.”
Artfully demystifies accounting practices; practical and truthful guidance in financial management for every small-business owner.