Getting Behind the Numbers

In brief: Effective oversight of financial reporting is a crucial board (and specifically audit committee) responsibility. Getting Behind the Numbers is designed to help directors understand the fundamental concepts of financial reporting: the balance sheet, the income statement, the statement of cash flows, sample financials, profitability, asset management, liquidity, market value, and key ratios. The handbook includes detailed descriptions of each concept, as well as sample financial statements from a large public company presented as a case study.

Topics covered include:

  • Basic concepts of accounting
  • Assets 
  • Equities
  • Balance sheet variations
  • The income statement
  • The statement of cash flows
  • Analyzing strengths and weaknesses

Boards can use this resource to:

  • Master many generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) concepts
  • Understand how financial statements are constructed and how much judgment is involved
  • Ask management the right questions about the financial health of the business
  • Spot red flags in the numbers that may reveal problems or accounting irregularities
  • Interpret balance sheets and income statements
  • Differentiate the sources and uses of cash in a business

Relevant audiences:  new directors, audit committees, nominating and governance committee chairs, CFOs and General Counsel