Value Ideas Blog
Value Essentials: Financial Shenanigans

Welcome to a further piece of our ‘Value Essentials’ series. ‘Financial Shenanigans’ is written by Howard M. Schilit, PhD, CPA and Jeremy Perler, CFA, CPA. It presents an empirical journey through many accounting tricks in an entertaining way while teaching its readers what to look for when analyzing balance sheets. This blog post is by no means a summary of all the facts given in the book. It is merely meant to give you an idea and remind you of the key lessons. I would highly recommend reading it as soon as possible, as it is also part of our recommended reading list that you find on our website. After all, there are passages that show the recklessness of managers and the absurdity of huge frauds (that have stayed unnoticed for decades) which makes the reading experience quite joyful.

  financial shenanigans  

NOTE: In this post we directly quote the book. If you find this interesting, please consider buying it (e.g. via this link).

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After I spend a week in Omaha to attend a German value investor conference and the show of Buffett and Munger, we have a couple of more ideas to work on and even more valuable readings. Overall I can say that this week was a unique experience and I have to be deeply grateful to the organisations of the event and particularly to two persons from which I learned the most and have such a great personality. The two guys I owe so much are  M&MMI, thank you guys for all the lessons which you have taught me.   Created with Nokia Smart Cam   I bought Berkshire Hathaway`s letters to shareholders from 1965-2013  for 12 Dollar in a book form, which is a pure bargain for a guy who does not like to read so much on a screen. I will try to summarize them all (after I have finished my studies) and upload them.   Furthermore I`d like to highlight the book “Dream big” which was highlighted by Warren Buffett at the end of the Meeting. You can read a summary here.   You can read the notes of the Meeting here, I would like to highlight WBs answer to the Cost of Capital.   Additionally I would recommend the lessons of failure from the really good moatology blog. As a person who admits to have failed a couple times I can recommend to use such an approach.   Due to the fact that I like entrepreneurship and like to spend my leisure time on edx courses I only can recommend to read about entrepreneurship, strategy  and learn something new in an edx online course! And last but not least I have learned how important a franchise is, so go out and lean-to account for it! (We will try it as well)   And always keep in mind that the intelligent investor estimates likely returns, and invests if the returns are worth the risk.  Most profitable investing takes an uncomfortable view versus the consensus, and buys when the market offers good deals.  If there are no good deals, profitable investing sits on cash, and waits for a better day. Have a great week!    
Once again, we share our most useful lecture with you, this week you might want to take some more time than usual:   An outstanding student investment newsletter from the Columbia Business School: http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/valueinvesting/sites/valueinvesting/files/Graham%20%26%20Doddsville%20-%20Issue%2020%20-%20Winter%202014.pdf   An exponentially growing company in a very competitive field: http://moatology.com/2014/02/20/optimizerx-a-little-company-in-the-sweet-spot-of-a-massive-industry/   And, as we like to do, we give you two great quotes:  
Really good investment opportunities aren’t going to come along too often and won’t last too long, so you’ve got to be ready to act. Have a prepared mind. ― Charlie Munger You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
  Finally, we do not want to miss out on making an announcement for those of you who are around: We are going to have a presentation on value investing, margins and moats at the European Business School in Oestrich coming up on Monday. Feel free to join if you have the chance! https://www.facebook.com/events/530086467089189/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming