Sometimes you can find a real gem in the most unexpected places. An example: "Traps and Treasures in the Financial Statements," a video for lawyers packaged by accounting firm Ernst & Young ($30 from Versa-Tape, 800-727-8883; 818-791-8907 from Hawaii and Alaska). Despite its talking-head format, this 52-minute film is full of revelations about the ways financial reports can be used -- or misused.
If you've ever felt overwhelmed by accounting minutiae, you won't want to miss this tape's wonderfully accurate discussion of why generally accepted accounting principles are anything but user friendly. Nor should you pass up its frank discussion of the accounting problems that underlie such "potentially misstated assets" as accounts receivable, inventories, or goodwill. While some details will be relevant only for the in-house counsel at larger corporations, any manager of a growing company could benefit from the video's discussion of the critical nature of cash flow and how best to calculate it. -- Jill Andresky Fraser