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Just what is financial accounting? The aim of accounting is to provide useful and reliable information about businesses and non-profits. Financial accounting seeks to determine a firm’s economic performance and its condition. Did it make a profit or loss last year?

Financial Accounting

Financial Accounting

Understand financial accounting, Debits and credits. Balance sheets and income statements. Accrual vs. Cash Basis accounting.

Non-Profit Accounting

Non-Profit Accounting

Only some of the basic elements of financial accounting apply to Non-Profits.

Cost Accounting

Cost Accounting

Cost accounting is primarily concerned with capturing information that helps owners and managers operate their businesses more efficiently and profitably.

Business Appraisal

Business Appraisal

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

Time Value of Money

Time Value of Money

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

Advanced Accounting

Advanced Accounting

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

Books by Mike Sack Elmaleh

Highly Rated Books by Mike Sack Elmaleh

Perfect for Employees, Bookkeepers, Students, Accountants, and Small Businesses


Lectures on Financial Accounting

Why Accounting is Not an Exact Science

Using Percentage Conversions

Distinguishing Profit from Owner Compensation

Liquidity and Ratio Analysis

Goodwill and Liquidating Value

Financial Statement Preparation

The Accounting Cycle

Inventory and Costs of Goods Sold

Fixed Assets and Depreciation

Prepaid Expenses and Deferred Revenue

Accounts Payable and Wage Withholding

Accounts Receivable

Bases of Accounting

Analyzing Transactions

Debits and Credits

Revenue and Expenses

The Fundamental Accounting Equation

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Internal Controls and the Reliability of Financial Statements

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Mike Sack Elmaleh Services

I am a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) with over thirty years of experience in taxation, accounting, auditing and business appraisal. I currently maintain a private practice offering the services listed below.

Business Appraisals

Business Appraisals

Business appraisals, also known as valuations, are utilized for a variety of purposes including exit planning, ...

Strategic And Tax Planning

Strategic And Tax Planning

I provide consulting and tax planning services to business owners seeking financing, expansion, and exit strategies...

Speaking Engagements

I am available to speak on a wide range of topics, including accounting, non-profits, small business, and valuations.

Training Seminars

I offer two basic half and full day seminars: Basic Accounting for Small Business Managers and Their Advisors...

QuickBooks Consulting...

Through my firm in Madison, Wisconsin, Porter & Sack CPAs S.C., a full range of tax preparation, bookkeeping and...

If you are in need of any of these services please email me.

About Mike Sack Elmaleh

5.0 Rated

Michael Sack Elmaleh, Certified Public Accountant and Certified Valuation Analyst, is the author of Enterprise Goodwill in Small Service Businesses: Negotiating a Fair Price and Financial Accounting: a Mercifully Brief Introduction. Elmaleh has graduate degrees in accounting and philosophy and an undergraduate degree in psychology. He has published several peer reviewed articles on valuation theory and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Business Valuation and Economic Loss Analysis. He has testified as an expert witness in Wisconsin and Maryland courts.

Mike Sack Elmaleh

Reader Reviews

Sara Clarenbach,Attorney
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Financial Accounting: A Mercifully Brief Introduction is an informative and well-written primer on a range of important concepts necessary to “get a handle on” the financial basics that small business owners and allied professionals frequently confront. The author successfully employs humor in developing scenarios, examples, and explanations which remain in the reader’s mind and make these oftentimes abstruse subjects understandable. The Summaries, Exercises and Problems sections of the book are particularly effective teaching tools. I found the most interesting and useful Chapters to be Chapter One (Introduction: Difficult Measurement Problems), Chapter 7 (Fixed Assets and Depreciation Methods), and particularly Chapter 10 (Financial Statement Reliability), for its treatment of embezzlement prevention and related issues. I have practiced law for almost 33 years, and have represented many small businesses during that time. I am pleased to have encountered this book, which I will highly recommend as a very helpful tool for business owners and others in understanding, approaching and evaluating accounting issues.
Dr. Diane L. Boone,University of Maine, Augusta
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An easy to read, enjoyable guide to the basic principles that underpin accounting systems in businesses. Particularly useful in an educational setting as a supplementary reading to a technical textbook. However, also has a market for small business owners wanting to get to grips with the basics of how to get the most from their accounting function.
John Nessell,President Restaurant Resource Group, Inc.
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Financial Accounting is generally thought of as a very precise science. This 126 page book seeks to dispel the myth. In his own words, author Michael Sack Elmaleh has managed to erase the ill effects of nearly 30 years of formal accounting education and teaching. Michael has written an engaging and thoroughly readable overview of the accounting process so that you can actually understand it! The book is written primarily for small business owners and advisors to small business. He demonstrates how accounting information is organized and collected, and how the information contained in financial statements both informs and misinforms statement users. Since important management and investment decisions are often based on these statements it’s vital that small business owners gain a better understanding of what this information means and its inherent limitations.
M. Equinox EA
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This is a great book for small businesses. I’ve started recommending it to my clients who are doing their own bookkeeping (and all you professionals know what a nightmare that is!) and to bookkeepers who find themselves doing balance sheet accounting without a good background in the real story of debits and credits. This book covers the basics in an accessible, jargon-less prose yet still covers the essential points. I’m suggesting that this be a reference book my clients keep in their offices. That way they have a quick reference guide for themselves or their employees. Hopefully, when they go through 3 bookkeepers in a year the learning curve will be less steep than usual for the new employees, and I’ll get fewer “just a quick question” phone calls during tax season.
Daniel J. Guilfoil
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It is refreshing to read an accounting text with a liberal arts background. This author challenges you to think about what is useful to accounting but also its abuses. Good introduction for the curious reader.
Robert Walter AEI
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This book is an essential primer for small business owners who started their enterprise based upon their technical or creative skills – but now need to understand the basic terminology and ‘physiology’ of financial accounting in greater detail.

It is written in a very free flowing style and is as unthreatening an accounting text as I have encountered. The real life examples and Marxist humor (Groucho – not Karl) help make it that much more accessible. My favorite quote from the book, “Accounting can be accrual mistress.” (These are the jokes folks.)
Harold McFarland
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For the person who has no knowledge of accounting and wants to understand the very basics this book is indeed a good brief introduction. The author makes a good point of the fact that most introductory accounting texts spend a great deal of time covering the basics of transaction entry. In today’s marketplace the software packages take care of these details of ensuring double entry occurs and the entries balance. When that information is removed you end up with the very basics of accounting including the basic accounting equation, cash and accrual accounting, receivables and payables, fixed assets, inventory, and financial statements. Explained at a level that a reader with no previous knowledge of accounting can follow the author does provide a mercifully brief introduction that is only the basics needed for everyday work.