Once in a great while, along comes a business how-to book that really is worth reading cover to cover. David Bangs's Financial Troubleshooting: An Action Plan for Money Management in the Small Business (Upstart, 800-235-8866, 1992, $19.95) is one.

The 180-page paperback has more to teach entrepreneurs than most business consultants do. It is packed with accessible action plans for everything from tightening cash controls to establishing budgets and forecasting sales.

Written clearly and crisply, the book breaks out a wealth of useful pointers. In the chapter on credit and collections, for example, there's a sample of a form that can be used for logging collection calls. The chapter on financial controls is specific on points such as how to prepare monthly income statements and cash-flow projections, and how and why to fill out monthly variance reports. The discussion of key financial ratios is worth circulating.