by Gene Siciliano

Manager's Guide to Strategy
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Table of Contents

Preface (download as pdf file)

Chapter 1. Counting the Beans: How Critical Is Good Financial Information, Anyway?
The Game of Business
Managing a Company in Today’s Business Environment
The Role of the Finance Department
GAAP: The “Rules” of Financial Reporting
The Relationship of Finance and Accounting to the Other Departments
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 1
Download pdf file of chapter 1

Chapter 2. The Structure and Interrelationship of Financial Statements
Tracking the Life Cycle of a Company
Accounting Is Like a Football Game on Videotape
The Chart of Accounts—A Collection of Buckets
The General Ledger—Balancing the Buckets
Accrual Accounting—Say What?
The Principal Financial Statements Defined
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 2

Chapter 3. The Balance Sheet: Basic Summary of Value and Ownership
Assets and Ownership—They Really Do Balance!
Current Assets—Liquidity Makes Things Flow
Fixed Assets—Property and Possessions
Other Assets—The “Everything Else” Category
Current Liabilities—Repayment Is Key
Long-Term Liabilities—Borrowed Capital
Ownership Comes in Various Forms
Using This Report Effectively
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 3

Chapter 4. The Income Statement: The Flow of Progress
They Say Timing Is Everything—And They’re Right!
Sales: The Grease for the Engine
Cost of Sales: What It Takes to Earn the Sale
Gross Profit: The First Measure of Profitability
Operating Expenses: Running the Business
Operating Income: The Basic Business Bottom Line
EBITDA—He Bit Who?
Other Income and Expenses—Not Just Odds and Ends
Income Before Taxes, Income Taxes, and Net Income
Earnings per Share, Before and After Dilution—What?
Using This Report Effectively
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 4

Chapter 5. A Profit vs. Cash Flow: What’s the Difference—and Who Cares?
The Cash Flow Cycle
Cash Basis vs. Accrual Basis
Net Profit vs. Net Cash Flow in Your Financial Reports
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 5

Chapter 6. The Cash Flow Statement: Tracking the King
Beginning Where the Income Statement Ends
Cash from Operations—Running the Business
Cash for Investing—Building the Business
Cash from Financing—Capitalizing the Business
Using This Report Effectively
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 6

Chapter 7. Critical Performance Factors: Finding the “Hidden” Information
What Are CPFs? Do They Mix with Water?
Measures of Financial Condition and Net Worth
Measures of Profitability
Measures of Financial Leverage
Measures of Productivity
Trend Reporting: Using History to Predict the Future
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 7

Chapter 8. Cost Accounting: A Really Short Course in Manufacturing Productivity
The Purpose of Cost Accounting—Strictly for Insiders
Fixed and Variable Expenses in the Factory
Controllable and Uncontrollable Expenses
Standard Costs—Little Things Mean a Lot
Manufacturing Cost Variances—Analysis for Action
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 8

Chapter 9.Business Planning: Creating the Future You Want, Step by Step
Why Take Time to Plan?
Strategic Planning vs. Operational Planning
Vision and Mission—The Starting Point
Strategy—Setting Direction
Long-Term Goals—The Path to the Mission
Short-Term Goals and Milestones—The Operating Plan
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 9

Chapter 10. The Annual Budget: Financing Your Plans
Strategic Decision Making
Tools for Telling the Future: Budgets, Forecasts, Projections, and Tea Leaves
How to Budget for Revenues—The “Unpredictable” Starting Point
Budgeting Costs—Understanding Relationships That Affect Costs
The Budgeting Process—Trial and Error
Flexible Budgets—Whatever Happens, We’ve Got a Budget for It
Variance Reporting and Taking Action
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 10

Chapter 11. Financing the Business: Understanding the Debt vs. Equity Options
How a Business Gets Financed—In the Beginning and Over Time
Short-Term Debt—Balancing Working Capital Needs
Long-Term Debt—Semi-Permanent Capital or Asset Acquisition Financing
Convertible Debt—The Transition from Debt to Equity
Capital Stock—Types and Uses
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 11

Chapter 12.Attracting Outside Investors: The Entrepreneur’s Path
The Start-up Company: Seed Money and Its Sources
Professional Investors: Angels on a Mission
Venture Capitalists: What You Need to Know to Attract Them
The Initial Public Offering—Heaven or Hell?
Strategic Investors: The Path to a Different Party
Acquisition: The Strategic Exit
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 12

ISBN for this title: 0-07-1441377-4

About the Author

Gene Siciliano,
CMC, CPA, is a financial management consultant. His business is helping companies increase profits and cash flow by raising their financial awareness and employing best management practices. His tools of the trade include business planning and modeling, financial department effectiveness audits, board service, management coaching, and a series of training and workshop programs, largely focused on finance and accounting for predominantly non-financial clients.

An active member of the National Speakers Association and an avid communicator, Gene speaks to corporate and association audiences nationwide on financial and management topics. His articles on financial management, business planning, and cost control have been published internationally. He also publishes an electronic newsletter for managers of privately owned companies entitled We Thought You’d Like to Know.

Following graduation from Penn State University’s Smeal College with a business degree in accounting, Gene spent several years on active duty as a Naval Reserve officer. He carries the permanent rank of Commander, U.S. Navy—Retired. Returning to civilian life, he joined Alexander Grant & Company (now Grant Thornton), a large public accounting firm. After nearly eight years as a practicing CPA, he entered the corporate world, where he held senior financial management positions with Computer Sciences Corporation, Epson America, and several smaller companies. In 1986 he founded Western Management Associates, the consulting business that he owns and operates today. In his practice he often serves as the part-time chief financial officer for client companies. From that experience grew the trademark of his business, Your CFO for Rent.®

When not in the office, Gene has served nonprofit organizations—both professional and charitable—as president, board member, and treasurer. He is most often drawn to organizations that help children. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis and the theater, both available in abundance near his home in Redondo Beach, California. He can be reached at 310 645-1091 or or by visiting his Web site at

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