Reading Financial Statements

Michael Dearing

Income Statements (aka Profit & Loss Statements, aka Statements of Operations) and Balance Sheets answer fundamental questions about any business:

How much capital is in the business?

Where did it come from?

How do we make the product or service we sell?

What do we spend money on?

Is selling our product or service profitable? Why or why not?

You might think you need to study finance or accounting for a long time to read and understand financial statements. I used to think so too. (Remind me to tell you about my asshole Finance professor in business school.) 

Thankfully, it’s not true at all. With just a few conceptual frameworks in your toolkit, it’s a delight to read financial statements, no formal accounting or finance training required. Being able to read financial statements gives your brain tremendous leverage. You can understand tons about any business and get to the good stuff faster: managing and leading the company.

About ten years ago, I started teaching the basics of finance to curious, intelligent people who worked in engineering, product management, marketing, sales, operations -- pretty much any field in pretty much any type of company.

If you work in a company, it’s imperative that you learn these concepts. You may or may not enjoy reading financial statements when we are done, but I want it to be your choice, not someone else’s, whether you participate in the full spectrum of General Management. Finance is an important part of that full spectrum.

In 60 minutes, I will give you all you need to know to be in the 95th percentile of all human beings when it comes to reading Income Statements and Balance Sheets. This class is open to alums of General Management.