on 3 September 2011
Understanding Company Financial Statements (6th edition, 2007) is probably much less of a useful book now as an introduction to company financial statements as it once was. It is short on analysis (see below). It's very concisely written and it's a very slim sleek book which can fit into a handbag or satchel. It's very light at only 150 pages and the text is minimal and easy to read. I remember thinking it was really very good. I am just disappointed at the current recommended retail price (it's a bit pricey) and I understand that the RRP shot up by nearly GBP5.00 between this edition (the sixth edition - published in 2007) and the last edition (the fifth edition). There are books with triple the pages of this book and more detail yet priced only at GBP7.99. This book is also in need of an update after four years (I write this review in 2011) yet it is still priced at over RRP12.00 even though it is of limited use now. Students might be forgiven for thinking that they might as well pay a bit more and go for the more detailed books on financial statements priced above GBP20.00, where there is certainly more analysis than in this book.
In terms of analysis and understanding, this book is at times of little depth when more detail and analysis would be useful. It even neglects important concepts. For example, I would have liked to see more analysis on insolvency, how you can test it and substantial commentary and analysis on this. However, the only attempt to analyse insolvency is the section called "Predicting Insolvency" and it is woeful. The section comprises 11 short lines of text which go off on a tangent about a research study into predicting insolvency using a 'z' score (no explanation is given about this or what this 'z' score is). Although this research might be interesting to some, there are actually legal tests for insolvency which are completely neglected. There is no proper analysis or insight given into the tests for insolvency which is a bit disappointing, given the book is supposed to show people how to understand financial statements. I can't help feeling short-changed and not purchasing what I thought I was getting. The blurb states Parker shows "what investors should look out for". It clearly does not if it goes on about 'z' scores without any explanation. I applaud the ambition but it needs an update and certainly is excessively overpriced given its deficiencies.