Optimizing Company Cash: A Guide for Financial Professionals

BY PAUL BONNER

by Michèle Allman-Ward and A. Peter Allman-Ward
AICPA, 2007, 271 pp.

Cash flows, liquidity, the banking system and other touchstones of business finance are laid out in this comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide to cash management, with copious exhibits and examples. Of particular interest to practitioners in this increasingly specialized field are the many points at which the husband-and-wife authors distinguish cash metrics from those of accountants and managers. As the authors note, cash managers and other financial professionals work along mostly parallel paths.

The book provides a grounding in the basics of financial reporting and progresses to international finance and banking, outsourcing of treasury operations and other timely topics. It includes practical guidance on selecting and evaluating a bank or financial services provider.

Corporate treasury operations have come a long way from simple disbursement and collection to become a strategic arm of management, with a finger on the pulse of one of the most telling indicators of business fundamentals—the statement of cash flow. The authors provide advice on such modern technological aids as treasury management systems. The information is scalable to smaller enterprises with such discussions as float in different contexts and cost-benefit analysis of a lockbox.

As the authors note, recent trends in check clearing such as truncation and imaging have been overtaken by electronic funds transfer, automated clearinghouse (ACH) and other electronic transactions. Readers with a particular interest in this area may also want to consult publications of NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association, a nonprofit organization that represents financial institutions and develops rules for ACH and other electronic systems.  

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