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Accounting for Non-Accountants, 3e: The Fast and Easy Way to Learn the Basics (Quick Start Your Business) Paperback – 1 Jan 2013
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"The 12 short, readable chapters offer a plethora of easy-to-understand examples along with "Quick Tips," "Alerts," and a glossary, which enhance the book's usefulness to the reader" - Choice
About the Author
Dr. Wayne A. Label, CPA, MBA, PhD, is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas. He has taught at several universities in the United States and abroad, and has published three books on accounting and over 30 articles in professional journals.
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The book is geared for people new to accounting principles, as it lays out, for instance, different sequential snapshots of the balance sheet to demonstrate how individual adjustments are treated. This is probably the highlight feature of the book for newcomers--its straightforward and sequential layout of accounting transactions.
With that said, let it be clear that Label has personality, demonstrated by his occasional use of humor and his engaging writing style.
Furthermore, Label covers a large scope of interesting material--not just information on financial statements-- to give beginners a broad overview of the industry.
To explain, about half of the book is dedicated to the financial statements, journal, and ledger, while the other half is dedicated to concepts such as fraud prevention, audits, GAAP, and--perhaps most interestingly--ratios (including rate of return on investment, current ration, sales ratios, and many others) for reporting short-term or long-term analysis of financial data.
As a specific example of what the book offers, Label expounds on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which apply to the United States (and Canada, too, so I am told). These principles outline the requirements for accounting, such as both the requirement that financial statements be relayed in monetary terms and the requirement that the depreciation estimates be sufficiently verifiable.
As another example, the book provides a somewhat cursory albeit introductory discussion on both the journal and the ledger, while providing a clear definition of the double accounting system, including an accessible definition of the somewhat arbitrary meaning of both credits and debits.
Perhaps unique to Label's book is the emphasis on corporations, where he outlines concepts such as preferred versus common stock, cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock splits. This section is more advanced than the rest of the book, but will be especially of interest if the reader either plans to incorporate, of course, or has had prior experience with the stock market.
While Label's book is an excellent introduction to accounting principles (with overviews of some advanced concepts such as stocks, corporations, and audits), it is only the first stop for acquiring a solid footing in accounting concepts.
A good follow-up (and relatively more advanced and academic) book to Label's that I've started reading is Barron's Accounting by Peter J. Eisen. Eisen's book does not ease the newcomer into accounting principles like Label's does, but it offers a lot more in-depth practice and insight into financial statements. Eisen's book also emphasizes proprietorship, unlike Label's which focuses a great deal on the corporation.
Another book recommendation to read in tandem with Label's is Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less by Mike Piper.
All in all, I'd recommend starting with Label's book if (1) you have little to no background in accounting, (2) you would like an overview of the industry, or (3) your long-term agenda includes setting up a corporation.
Dr. Label skillfully introduces the four key areas of accounting- GAAP rules, the balance sheet, the income statement, and the cash flow statement. For each area, he painstakingly defines the components that go into each area and the relationships between the individual components in an area as well as the relationships between different areas. He broadens his explanation of each area by introducing simple to follow examples of their use throughout the text. Although most of the book's emphasis is on the accounting required by sole proprietorships or partnerships, Dr. Label does extend the concepts to the stock corporation, and devotes two chapters to the analysis of a corporation's financial statements.
In addition, Dr. Label takes the reader through audits and auditors, the basics of keeping a general journal, the use of various financial statements for short and long term analysis, and the use of budgeting in business. Finally, one chapter covers some basic information on the internet and accounting (a subject that is a book unto itself), and Dr. Label thoughtfully provides a comprehensive and understandable glossary of key terms for quick reference.
Although the book is small, it is packed with a lot of useful information which is presented in a clear and succinct manner. It serves as an excellent springboard into the world of accounting, and provides a firm basis for understanding financial data and making good judgements based on such data. After reading this book, one can safely and confidently converse with an accountant and walk away with one's wallet full of cash still in one's pocket. Imagine that!