How the book came about

Way back in the late eighties, there were five of us working for a specialist subsidiary of a consulting firm. It was decided that we  should separate our business from the main consulting firm. My four colleagues decided that I, despite not being an accountant, should deal with the financial separation, which meant dealing with the accountants at head office. They were very nice chaps but they kept sending me pages of “trial balances” and talking about “debits and credits” and I was really struggling to understand what they were on about.

On my third consecutive Saturday in the office trying to figure out what was going on, I suddenly “got it”. Everything became crystal clear in the space of that one day. Central to this clarity was the use of bar charts to represent a balance sheet and the impact of any transaction on that balance sheet. Since then, I’ve been finance director of a number of companies and now I help a number of small companies with finance-related matters.

Some time after that Saturday thunderbolt, I met a man who worked for my publishers to be and told him this story. Before you knew it, I had a contract to write the book.

That was back in 1992. A lot of accounting rules have changed since then but the fundamentals of accounting are the same (and have been for hundreds of years).

I truly do not believe there can be any other subject where there is such a huge gap between its generally perceived “difficulty” and the reality. It’s dead easy, I promise you.