The Signs Were There – Tim Steer

This book was an impulse purchase based on Amazon’s recommendation. Amazon’s algorithms know what I am more likely to buy based on my purchase history. And needless to say, the algorithm was spot on.

The book does not disappoint. Most of the books are focused on the American companies whereas this one is focused solely on the UK companies. The book is up to date and features the recent – from an investing time horizon perspective – Carillion. Tim Steer does a splendid job to explain the accounting shenanigans to people with a limited accounting background and build a foundation to read financial statements.

Signs of failure are present provided you know where to look. And this book lists a decent number of symptoms which a prudent investor should be aware of.

Personal highlights

  • Cash is king; everything else is an opinion.
  • Read annual reports back to front.
  • Turning costs in assets by way of intangible assets!
  • Costs which are capitalised are kept out of the income statement and as a results earnings per share goes up.
  • Exceptional costs if the occurs more than once may not be exceptional at all.
  • IPO prospectus has more details than any other document in the future.