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Hidden Financial Risk: Understanding Off-Balance Sheet Accounting (Business) Hardcover – 2 Jul 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (2 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471433764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471433767
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 2.8 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,925,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Ketz′ discussion is fascinating, although all too useful to future scamsters wanting to find out just how those clever guys at Enron did it." ( UPI Business and Economics, August 11, 2003)

From the Inside Flap

The parade of catastrophic accounting scandals, chief among them the Enron debacle, has intrigued business and the general public as few corporate scandals ever have. The extraordinary number of people materially affected by these episodes, coupled with the irresistible spectacle of base human greed run wild, guarantees that public attention will not soon recede. Everyone agrees that "mistakes were made." There are two very different responses, however, on what to do about it. Are there simply a few bad apples whose just punishment will bring the financial stars back into alignment? Or are the scandals the product of profound systemic failures, the remedy for which can only be revolutionary reform? Accounting professor and renowned authority, Edward Ketz, emphatically proclaims the latter and offers a comprehensive analysis of how firms bury risk, why nobody stops them, and what to do about it in Hidden Financial Risk: Understanding Off–Balance Sheet Accounting.

In Hidden Financial Risk, Ketz thoroughly and accessibly explains the dubious methods by which firms hide debt and the failings by managers, directors, auditors, regulators, and investors who allowed these methods to poison financial reporting. Ketz places particular emphasis on understanding Special Purpose Entities (SPEs), Enron’s preferred method of deception. Among other services, this compelling analysis:

  • Identifies the incentives for managers to deceive investors and creditors about the firm’s financial risk
  • Illustrates the equity method, lease accounting, and pension accounting, popular methods of Off–Balance Sheet accounting, and explains how investors can deconstruct them
  • Examines the failure of boards of directors, accountants, the FASB, and the SEC to minimize accounting failures
  • Discusses what must be done to reduce the number of corporate managers who lie in financial reports
  • Shows what individual investors must do to protect their investments in a world filled with accounting and auditing fraud
  • Explains how the Sarbanes–Oxley bill will affect financial reporting

Ketz concludes with an illuminating look at Arthur Andersen who, while one of the biggest losers in the accounting scandals, may nevertheless hold the key to the industry’s resuscitation. Financial reporting is in critical condition. Edward Ketz supplies a compelling diagnosis, prescription, and vision of its road to recovery in Hidden Financial Risk.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mariusz Skonieczny on 15 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that elevates investors to another level. The author describes how management can hide debt with the equity method, lease accounting, and pension accounting. Looking at the consolidated financial statement is not enough to determine the financial condition of a company. Investors must dig deeper and read the footnotes. This book educates investors about how to read some of these footnotes. Remember what Warren Buffett said:

* Rule No. 1: Never lose money
* Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No 1

This book helps investors do just that. I highly recommend it.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Accounting for the Investor 3 Aug. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While experts wring hands and say "mistakes were made," this book gives average investors the "how to" in order to make sense of annual reports and balance sheets. It seems to blow the lid off of the various methods that managers used to hide bad debt and shaking investments. Undoubtly, good for most investors who want to avoid a repeat of Enron. It also offers a pretty explanation of why major accounting and auditing firms can't be trusted. At last, a book that allows investors to keep their investments and earn money--instead of CEOs and corporate executives. Favorite Chapter: How to Hide Debt with Pension Accounting.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Competent analysis of off balance sheet accounting 26 Oct. 2005
By Integrity Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An expert describes some the main devices used to distort financial information for public consumption, focusing on those which hide debt. I found it both informative and highly readable. Some background in business accounting is helpful but not necessary for the reader.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Uncover the hidden risk 12 Aug. 2009
By Mariusz Skonieczny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that elevates investors to another level. The author describes how management can hide debt with the equity method, lease accounting, and pension accounting. Looking at the consolidated financial statement is not enough to determine the financial condition of a company. Investors must dig deeper and read the footnotes. This book educates investors about how to read some of these footnotes. Remember what Warren Buffett said:

* Rule No. 1: Never lose money
* Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No 1

This book helps investors do just that. I highly recommend it.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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