Kempe Gowda International Airport, Bangalore, had become somewhat of a second home for me in 2018. I had resolved to cut down on my travel at the beginning of the year, yet ironically, I ended up traveling more than ever. The KIAL now reminds me of the Kempegowda bus stand, thanks to the low-cost airline revolution spurred by Captain G.R Gopinath, the founder of Deccan Airways. It has become essential to reach the airport at least two hours before the scheduled flight to navigate through the congestion. After missing my flights a couple of times, I’ve made it a point to arrive well in advance. My favorite haunt at KIAL is the RELAY bookstore. Until boarding, I while away the time perusing the latest and most unique book titles. On one such occasion, I stumbled upon “Romancing the Balance Sheet” by Anil Lamba.
The subtitle read, “For anyone who owns, runs, or manages a business,” and a quote from Anil Lamba on the back cover stated, “Sooner or later, everyone realizes that their ability to lead successful businesses largely depends on their ability to read balance sheets.” The back cover also claimed, “Romancing the Balance Sheet is perhaps the easiest way to learn financial management. Written in jargon-free, user-friendly language, this book is your key to smart finance. Essential reading, whether you are a large conglomerate or a small trader, an executive or a student.” This was quite motivating. Anil Lamba is a practicing accountant, bestselling author, and financial literacy activist. I was extremely pleased to purchase a business book penned by an Indian author.
I bought the book on the spot. My grasp of the balance sheet was still somewhat nebulous, even though I had taken Financial Management as part of my MBA (Correspondence!). Up until then, my financial acumen was solely based on my father’s two adages: “Money saved is money earned,” and “What cannot be accounted for, cannot be saved.” If anyone inquired about details concerning my IT returns or balance sheet, I would direct them to my auditor. But as soon as I fastened my seatbelt on the flight, I dived into the book. By the time I reached my destination, not only had I read the book cover to cover, but I had also absorbed all the necessary financial management knowledge to operate my business ventures. At that moment, I resolved to pay off all my hospital building construction debts as soon as possible, regardless of the looming tax liability.
The author explains financial concepts in an easily digestible, jargon-free, simple, and conversational language with apt examples. This book isn’t just about understanding the balance sheet—it’s a guide to managing finances more effectively, maximizing profits, analyzing funds-flow statements, and building financially intelligent organizations. I had previously not fully grasped the concept of depreciation, but the author has explained it with remarkable clarity.
Overall, the book delivers more than it promises, and it’s indispensable for anyone, irrespective of the size and type of their business.
Prof. Dr. Prahlada N.B
12 January 2019