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More Than a Numbers Game. A Brief History of Accounting

  • ID: 2242173
  • Book
  • August 2006
  • 256 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"More Than a Numbers Game is a revelatory history of how accounting conventions have shaped business reality, for good and ill."
Justin Fox, Editor at Large, Fortune

"Mr. King′s book should be of interest to both those who have lived through the accounting debates and debacles of the past half century and those just beginning their business careers. By focusing on a dozen or so major developments, particularly those with negative consequences, the book helps explain why good financial information is so critical to capital markets. Equal doses of insight and humor make this an easy–to–read, but hard–to–forget summary of an important business topic."
Dennis R. Beresford, Ernst & Young Executive Professor of Accounting, The University of Georgia, and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (1987 97)

"More Than a Numbers Game is a must–read for accounting students looking for a supplement to traditional textbooks. It offers a business perspective to accounting, providing readers with a holistic overview of taxes, cost accounting, regulation, as well as more traditional financial reporting topics."
Philip A. Laskawy, retired chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young

"Tom King provides even the non–accountant a fascinating look at how accounting rules and practices have evolved into the way corporations are valued today. He is particularly effective in analyzing the ′earnings game′ and the growing role of intangible assets in the valuation process."
Louis M. Thompson Jr., President and CEO, National Investor Relations Institute

"Tom King takes a very important topic in today′s world, accounting, and puts it into a perspective that sheds an entirely new light on the importance of accounting and the intrinsic shortcomings of the profession. Whether you use GAAP accounting, do quarterly earnings, or are a private company, there is more than meets the eye to the accounting profession. King′s book is an invaluable piece of work to demystify what tends to be a mystery."
Jeff Joerres, Chairman and CEO, Manpower Inc.

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About the Cover ix

Preface xi

1 Double–Entry 1

2 Railroads 13

3 Taxes 23

4 Costs 41

5 Disclosure 55

6 Standards 71

7 Science 89

8 Inflation 103

9 Volatility 115

10 Intangibles 131

11 Debt 145

12 Options 159

13 Earnings 171

14 SOX 187

15 Epilogue 207

Notes 213

Bibliography 223

Index 235

About the Author 242

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"With his solid credentials a CPA, CMA and Harvard MBA, as well as the current treasurer of Progressive Insurance King proves himself to be the insider, the historian, the yenta of the accounting profession.More Than a Numbers Gameoffers enough insights to give occasional pause even to those who have a real grasp of the wheres and whys behind the regulations that are dear to the heart of every practitioner." (Journal of Accountancy, May 2007)

"The author is at his best when telling stories, whether of the twists and turns in specific accounting standards from the 1940s to the present, of the accounting transgressions of Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, and HealthSouth, or of the factors leading to the demise of Arthur Andersen. ... King s gift for rendering complex ideas into easily understandable explanations, all in a conversational style, makes this book accessible to the general investing public as well.... This refreshing book is a well–researched, well–written, and intelligent explanation of modern–day U.S. accounting and how it has evolved to its present state." (The CPA Journal, April 2007)

"King′s chapter on volatility shows how U.S. companies can account for transactions in foreign currencies three different ways, all of them legitimate. His chapter about the Sarbanes–Oxley corporate disclosure laws has an astute analysis of the accounting frauds at Enron and WorldCom that begat that legislation." (Newsweek, April 16, 2007)

"This demystifying book is likely to interest corporate folk who want to understand better the whys of the accounting practices they use, as well as inquiring investors." (Harvard Magazine, November–December 2006)

"Inspired by a 1998 speech by former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, this book addresses the why of accounting instead of the how, providing practitioners and students with a highly readable history of U.S. corporate accounting." (SmartPros Accounting News & Insights, September 2006)

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