The Investigative Journalist’s Guide to Company Accounts
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This guide is definitely not for anyone who knows anything about accounting and the world of finance. It is aimed at complete beginners. If you are an experienced financial journalist, or worse still, an accountant, you are unlikely to derive any benefit. By necessity I shall present many complex ideas in a simple and non-technical manner. Like any profession, accountancy has its fair share of jargon and unnecessarily complex terminology. However, unlike medicine, it uses many common sounding words that often have a very technical meaning.
So who is this guide for? It is primarily for investigative journalists, but also those who need to make sense of a set of company accounts or to obtain an overview of a business in order to ask “on-the-money” questions. To do this at an expert level is difficult, if not impossible, without years of specialist training and experience. However, I want to persuade you that it is relatively straightforward to obtain enough of a working knowledge to know what questions to ask about a company and its accounts, and to know when the wool is being pulled over your eyes by the answers.