Synopses & Reviews
"Regulators, outside auditors and investors should all keep a copy handy."
Secrets for Protecting Yourselfand Your Investmentsfrom Today's New Breed of Financial Schemes and Scams
Inflated profits ... questionable write-offs ... hidden expenses ... These and other dubious financial maneuvers have become more widespread, and harder to detect, as companies pull out the stops to satisfy Wall Street. Financial Shenanigans, 2nd Edition, describes how investors and analysts can use today's state-of-the-art tools and tactics to decipher convoluted financial reportsand identify early warning signs that a company is in trouble.
Praise for previous editions of Financial Shenanigans...
"Is there any way an ordinary investor can protect against being torpedoed by financial scams and gimmicks? ... The answer lies in investors, large and small, becoming more skeptical and informed consumers of glowing financial reports, and efforts like Schilit's may help us get there." Louis Rukeyser
"Financial Shenanigans is must reading for every investor who desires to avoid financial losses created by the mine fields associated with 'generally accepted accounting principles.'" Thornton L. O'glove, Publisher, Quality of Earnings Report
"Deftly guides analysts through the obstacle course which financial statements can present. Financial statement users will find that study of the many examples and case studies presented in this work will greatly aid their financial task." Leopold A. Bernstein, Author, Financial Statement Analysis: Theory, Analysis, and Interpretation
"Indispensable to investors who are so often victimized by 'cooked books,' as well as those attorneys, forensic accountants, and government regulators whose work involved the discovery and pursuit of financial statement fraud." William S. Lerach, Partner, Milberg Weiss Bershad SpecthrieandLerach
Today's tumultuous corporate and financial markets and blinding new technologies combine to make accounting fraud much more high-impact and difficult to detect than in the past. As an investor or decision-maker, you must arm yourself with the latest investigative tools and techniquesor run the daily risk of falling prey to these increasingly complex, costly scams and schemes.
Financial Shenanigans, 2nd Edition, helps you fight fire with fire, giving you the state-of-the-art weapons you need to identify warnings of a company's problems before earnings come out and the damage becomes irreversible. Detailing the seven fundamental tricks that companies have used to fool auditors and investors for decades, yet providing updated information and techniques on how these shenanigans are being used in today's technologically advanced, financially savvy investment world, this fast-paced book provides updated explanations of how anyone can uncover and sidestep:
- Revenue tricksSide agreements lacking economic substance, investment income listed as revenue, release of revenue improperly "held back" before a merger, and more
- Expense trapsShifting of current expenses to an earlier period, costs amortized too slowly, impaired assets not written down, and others
- Liability scamsFailure to record expenses and their related obligations, creation of sham rebates, reducing liabilities by changing accounting assumptions, and more
Also included in this one-of-a-kind primer are recommendations of oversight committees charged with investigating questionable financial practices. Insights are provided into history's most well-known and financially devastating fraudsincluding the all-too-familiar warning signs behind this decade's massive Enron debacle. Numerous checklists, graphs, tables, and an accounting tutorial appendix make in-depth explanations both clear and accessible, even for those with little or no background in accounting or financial analysis.
Though much has changed in today's business world, dishonest company executives will still stretch and even hide the truth in their search for faster revenue growth, attractive balance sheets, and higher stock prices. Financial Shenanigans digs deep into both the age-old psychology and up-to-the-minute tactics of corporate greed, and provides a step-by-step procedure for looking into a company's black-and-white financials to protect your investmentwhile you still have an investment to protect.
Techniques to uncover and avoid accounting frauds and scamsInflated profits . . . Suspicious write-offs . . . Shifted expenses . . . These and other dubious financial maneuvers have taken on a contemporary twist as companies pull out the stops in seeking to satisfy Wall Street. Financial Shenanigans pulls back the curtain on the current climate of accounting fraud. It presents tools that anyone who is potentially affected by misleading business valuationsfrom investors and lenders to managers and auditorscan use to research and read financial reports, and to identify early warning signs of a company's problems. A bestseller in its first edition, Financial Shenanigans has been thoroughly updated for today's marketplace. New chapters, data, and research reveal contemporary "shenanigans" that have been known to fool even veteran researchers.
"Financial Shenanigans" pulls back the curtain on the current climate of accounting fraud. It presents tools that anyone who is potentially affected by misleading business valuations--from investors and lenders to managers and auditors--can use to research and read financial reports, and to identify early warning signs of a company's problems.
From the “ Sherlock Holmes of Accounting,” the tools you need to stay a step ahead of the crooks
“Howard Schilit is the authority on forensic accounting. Financial Shenanigans is invaluable reading for market participants seeking to identify deceptive behavior in company financial statements.” Julian Robertson, legendary investor and founder, Tiger Management
“A must-read! The authors teach forensic financial statement analysis in an easy-to-digest format with lots of war stories. Guaranteed to help investors in their quest to avoid ticking time bombs in their portfolios.”
Marc A. Siegel, board member, Financial Accounting Standards Board
“This is a timeless guide to better understand how financial malfeasance can be spotted early. Financial Shenanigans teaches all of us fraud-detection-made-easy.”
Jules Kroll, pioneering private investigator and founder of Kroll Associates and K2 Global
“Required reading for every investor who desires to avoid financial losses. This new edition is a classic and better than ever.”
Thornton L. Oglove, author, Quality of Earnings
“If the original Financial Shenanigans was the Bible of detecting accounting frauds, then this latest version is the Talmud of cooked books. Regulators, audit committee members, and business journalists should be required to read this work if they are involved in public companies.”
Boris Feldman, partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, Palo Alto
“An incisive and entertaining review of the recipes used by corporations and executives to ‘cook the books. Its a must-read for investors, lawyers, corporate directors, and anyone else interested in the integrity of the accounting and governance process.”
Joseph A. Grundfest, professor of law and business and codirector, Rock Center on Corporate Governance, Stanford Law School
About the Book:
With major financial scandals popping up in greater numbersand with more inevitably on the wayit has never been more important for you to understand what dishonest companies do to trick investors. Since the early 1990s, Financial Shenanigans has been helping investors unearth deceptive financial reporting at the most critical time before they suffer major losses.
Now, the third edition broadens its focus to include the newest, most sophisticated techniques companies use to mislead investors.
Referred to as the “Sherlock Holmes of Accounting” by BusinessWeek, Howard Schilit and renowned forensic accounting expert Jeremy Perler take you deeper into the corporate bag of tricks, exposing new levels of accounting gimmickry and arming you with the investigative tools you need to detect:
- Earnings Manipulation Shenanigans: Learn the latest tricks companies use to exaggerate revenue and earnings.
- Cash Flow Shenanigans: Discover new techniques devised by management that allow it to manipulate cash flow as easily as earnings.
- Key Metrics Shenanigans: See how companies use misleading “key”metrics to fool investors about their financial performance.
Financial Shenanigans brings you completely up to date on accounting chicanery in the global markets, shining a light on the most shocking frauds and financial reporting miscreants. This insightful, detailed guide written by recognized experts on the subject provides the knowledge and tools you need to spot even the most subtle signs of financial shenanigans.
About the Author
Howard Schilit, Ph.D., CPA
, is the founder and chief executive officer of the Financial Shenanigans Detection (FSD) Group, LLC, which alerts its clients to accounting chicanery. Previously he founded the Center for Financial Research and Analysis (CFRA). Smart Money magazine twice selected him as one of the “Power 30” of investing.
Jeremy Perler, CFA, CPA, is codirector of research of RiskMetrics Groups forensic accounting research boutique (formerly CFRA). RiskMetrics is a global leader in risk management, corporate governance, and financial research services. Mr. Perler is frequently featured at industry conferences and training seminars, as well as in media outlets such as Barrons, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.