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The Art and Science of Due Diligence
by Andrew J. Sherman, Author of The AMA Handbook of Due Diligence
Due diligence is not a quest to find the deal-breakers but a test of the value proposition underlying the transaction to make sure that the inside of the house is as attractive as the outside. Once the foundation has been dissected, it can either be rebuilt around a deal that makes sense or allow the buyer to walk away and prevent the consummation of a deal that doesn't make sense.

Five Overlooked Due-Diligence Factors for Assessing the Real Market Potential of an Acquisition Target
by Jerry Vieira, CMC, President & Founder The QMP Group

Too many acquired businesses fail to meet financial and other expectations upon which their purchase was predicated.  There are many reasons for this - and even more excuses.  In this article we proffer five frequently overlooked areas for due-diligence - factors that could go a long way in improving pre-acquisition decision making and the probability of achieving post-acquisition performance.

Is the Economy Half Full or Half Empty? You Be the Judge
by Gary W. Patterson

As we wind down another year my mantra still holds. As you have seen, the volatility of a global economy will continue to produce winners and losers. Those leaders who take direct control of their financial destinies in an effort to fund high-return opportunities will be the victors; those that let the external economic forces consume them will be the victims. The operative phrase is “take control.”

Five Strategies for Investing Properly, Cautiously, and Intelligently in This Bear Market
by Stephen T. McClellan

Beware of misleading Wall Street doubletalk, as it tempts investors into this dangerous bear market. The Street tends to discourage and even hinder proper investing. Its advice is unreliable and often contradictory. Professional insiders know better than to take the Street literally. To be an astute investor you must fathom the puzzling, strange, ambiguous ways of Wall Street that it would prefer to keep secret.

401(k) Strategies for Lean Times
by Peter Passell

Once upon a time, a monthly pension check was the standard reward for devoting decades to a single employer. Now, these sorts of "defined benefit" pensions are as rare as underpaid bank CEOs. But never mind: the 401(k) retirement savings accounts (named for a section of the Internal Revenue code) that have largely replaced them do have some advantages.

Ten Tips on Where to Put Your Money NOW
by Peter Passell

If you're like me and just about everybody I know, you lost a hefty chunk of your savings in the past year and have been too shell-shocked to revisit the scene of the crime. But duck-and-cover is not an adequate investment strategy for the long term. Some day you'll have to get back in the saddle. And the sooner you do, the more likely you'll be able to meet your savings goals.

Want to Cut Costs and Still Be Compliant?
by John Weathington

If your company is doing over $1 billion in annual revenue, you’re part of an “elite” group of organizations that have been fined an average of $80 million for each and every compliance failure. That’s right, $80 million on average for every compliance failure! Even if you’re the head of a smaller company, you may some day be handed a compliance remediation price tag in the millions. Would your company be able to survive such a hit?

A Plan to Exit your Business is Just as Important as a Plan to Expand your Business
by Stephen Meek
Are you a business leader who’s running your own company? And have you planned your exit from your business? Odds are that you haven’t. A BDO/COMPAS poll found that fewer than half of business owners have an exit strategy in place. Yet your company may be your most important asset. And even if you have no intention of exiting for many years, having a strategy can help you determine the appropriate direction for the business.

How to Improve Your Communication and Become a Marketable CFO
by Caroline Stockman

Today more than ever, successful interaction with one's Board is critical. As I develop the concept of the 'Marketable CFO', I find that financial leaders need not only to communicate rules and guidelines effectively but they also need to communicate about themselves. This is the only way they will demonstrate their competence and develop trust with the board.

Integrity in Management
by Dennis AuBuchon
The connection between Integrity and business ethics is simple.  The concept of integrity involves honesty, character and truthfulness.  It also involves a strict moral or ethical code and this is where the term ethics and integrity connect.

Integrity in Auditing
by Dennis AuBuchon

Integrity in auditing involves several aspects and each one is just as important as another. When integrity exists in all phases of the auditing process the result is an audit that exhibits accuracy, completeness and honesty.

From Sales Order to Cash to Reorder
by Abe WalkingBear Sanchez

In business there exists a disconnect between what is often the largest asset and how to best manage it to its fullest potential. Money due from customers on the purchase of goods and services is more and more becoming the single largest asset of many companies. A new and better understanding of how A/R is created and managed is needed.

The 900 lb. Gorilla Who Wrote a Book
by Abe WalkingBear Sanchez

Once, not so very long ago, there walked upon the face of the planet a juggernaut who crushed all that got in its way. This 900 lb. gorilla had an unusual name for a gorilla - Arthur - and it wrote a book.

Financial Blind Spots
by Jon Paul

Keep your business vision sharp, so you can have the information and resources you need to make smart decisions and execute them. Here are several common business “blind spots” that can put your business at risk.

Venture Capital: Russian Roulette for Your Business
by Andy Birol

With your friends, family and angel investors already tapped out, venture capitalists could be your best option to get the investment you need. Or, are they?

Treat Expenses as Investments
by Mark MacLeod

If you approach each expense decision from the perspective of an investment, you will automatically filter out low value (low return) expenses and will drive overall performance (by focusing on high return expenses).

Top Ten Ways to Maximize the Sale Value of Your Business
by Scott Roberts

Wherever you may be in the life cycle of your business, there are specific things you can do right now to help maximize the actual sales value of your company down the road - however long that road may be.

Stock Options and Restricted Stock: Microsoft's Missed Opportunity
by Dennis Aust

In an era when incentive compensation is subject to increased shareholder scrutiny and public criticism, Microsoft missed a major opportunity to redefine the focus of their incentive compensation program to the fundamental factors that determine sustainable shareholder value.

Cash Flow, Growth Money - Business Funding Beyond the Banks
by Debra Maples

The phrases, "too small," "too new," and "not enough net worth," do not deter asset-based funders. These lenders are "proactive" rather than "reactive" and can often help with creative structuring of deals to accomplish the goals and needs of their clients.

Financial Value Creation
by Michael L. Perla

It is important for business professionals to be able to intelligently discuss true value creation from a financial context. I've created an acronym as a mnemonic to help remember how a company creates WIDER levels of value.

The ABC's of CBA: Business Case and Cost Benefit Analysis
by Richard D. Janezic
It's your responsibility to choose whether to make a $2M investment for the company. An existing system fails often, at a cost of thousands per hour. A proposed new system, expected to take 1 year to install, is from a small, unknown vendor. Should you fix what you have or opt for a new system? Your choice carries "career consequences". How do you choose?

The Finance Triangle
by Paul B. Thornton
What do the numbers mean? Some managers feel insecure when it comes to challenging the numbers presented by the accountants and financial analysts. They have made the numbers more mysterious and confusing than they really are.

Intangible Management: What is it, Really?
by Peter Stone
In response to growing investor and management concerns regarding the current accounting and finance models, the International Intangible Management Standards Institute (IIMSI) has released 33 international intangible standards that provide a completely new way of managing and reporting the true value of organizational performance.

The Fork in the Road to Recruiting
by Patrick Murphy
The field of loss prevention has been changing slowly over the past several years towards a more business oriented approach. This change has caused a definite rethinking of the type of candidates companies want to see. The bar has now been raised to seek professionals who are more skilled in business acumen to adopt a more global approach to shrink reduction.

Hype is at the Root of the "R" Word
by Bob Ferchat & Tony Carlson
Yet another recession - several thoughts run through our collective minds. The cause of the economic slowdown across the broad base is psychological - activity at the margin intensified by mass perception.

Are Your Inventories Under Control?
by R. Michael Donovan
Management consultant, R. Michael Donovan says "In virtually all manufacturing companies, there is a direct correlation between inventory levels and overall business performance." A healthy balance sheet depends on having a quick, precise inventory avoidance and reduction methodology.

Business Valuation
by Michael Hoffman

An excellent overview of the business valuation process for business owners and chief executives.

IPO and VC Questions and Answers
from EDGAR Online
What is a direct public offering, a private placement, a collar, market maker? You need to know - and Edgar-Online has all of the answers.

How to Successfully Design & Implement an Incentive Program
by Mike Higgins, Jr.
Here is a list of 14 rules to follow in order to successfully design and implement an incentive program in your organization.

The Evils of Working Capital
by Rick Sidorowicz
It isn’t over until the fat lady sings -  and I say she doesn’t sing until you’re at zero working capital.

Warren Buffett's Investment Checklist
by Ian Bullock
The Warren Buffett criteria - what does great investment potential look like to the master?

Warren Buffett’s Wisdom
by Ian Bullock
Intelligent investing - evaluate companies within your circle of competence.

M*A*S*H*E*D Controls - A Matter of Trust
by Chris Call
A company's fiscal well-being is protected by one solitary factor - honest people.

Related Topics: Corporate Boards | The Legal Refresher

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