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Order of the chapters

The order is to address firstly what the words 'strategy' and 'financial strategy' mean, why we need clear objectives and what these might be. This also starts to put in place the relevance of the balance sheet and income statement with respect to managing business strategies. Chapters 1 and 2 deal with these issues.

A thorough understanding of the three principal financial statements, the balance sheet, statement of financial position and income statement, how they are compiled and what rules pertain is vital if financial strategy is to be reported and the effects of strategic decisions understood - Chapters 3 and 6.

As well as understanding the purpose, the meaning and how to interpret the principal financial statements, it is essential to know what the law requires, 'law' being company law, governance rules and GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) - these topics are covered in Chapters 4 and 5. For many executives the ability to interpret figures is their prime aim and Chapter 7 focuses on how strategies may be revealed by interpretation of financial statements.

For some executives, cash generation and use are the only financial strategies they understand or need, but whatever your strategies, cash flows will be involved - Chapter 8.

Management accounting, internal reports and business models outline the modelling and internal reporting that can be done to understand the effect that strategies might have and monitor the chosen strategies - Chapter 9.

Budgeting of operations, that is, budgeting revenues and costs, is a universally adopted process by which both revenue and costs are planned and controlled. Revenue maximization and cost reduction will inevitably be continuing strategies in any sustainable business - Chapter 10.

Investing money is a strategy by itself, the aim being to make a return on investment; thus, understanding the techniques of capital budgeting or investment appraisal is essential for any executive - Chapter 11.

The structure of the balance sheet, how much borrowing or leverage you have, will affect returns to investors but also increase or decrease risk. This is pure financial strategic decision-making and for some, the only strategy they are interested in - Chapter 12.

Chapter 13 aims to summarize the many strategies and techniques for identifying, planning, tracking and hopefully delivering your chosen strategies. It aims to answer the question: 'What are the paths to sustainable success?'

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