Accounting · Finance

Recommended books on finance & accountings for startups?

Mike Bidgoli Building something new

July 27th, 2014

Any recommended books on finance & accountings for startups?  Basically covering: balance sheet, income statement, cash flow, budget, financial modeling, etc.  I come from an engineering/product background and trying to get a quick crash course in startup finance/accounting side of the house.  

Thanks!

Lili Balfour Founder of Atelier Advisors + Creator and Host of Finance for Entrepreneurs

July 27th, 2014

I put together a free resource called Startup Finance Lab.

Check it out at www.atelieradvisors.com/videolibrary 

John Sechrest

July 27th, 2014

One good article to read early in this process is "No Accounting for Startups" from Steve Blank:

It talks about how there are critical things to think about for your startup, which are not focused on the traditional accounting documents. 

There are plenty of articles that support how to use Quickbooks or Freshbooks to do accounting for your startup. But before you have product/Market fit, these are not really the key things you need to have organized. 

There is a distinct difference between accounting and bookkeeping. Until you have revenue and expenses, there is little need for bookkeeping. But when you start moving money around, you need to keep track of it. 

The key document that I look for when exploring startups is to look at their cash flow projection. This will end up highlighting several of the assumptions that they are making. 

If they are in a startup and they are using MBA "comparables" as a way to create a foundation for the business plan, then we have to sit down and have a serious conversation about what the actual foundation of their business plan really is and how they will test that foundation to see if it is valid. 

Most of the material that I expect in the spreadsheet is one of four things: Assumptions, Income, expenses and bottom line/balance. 

I have not seen a good short book that focuses in on these core issues for startups.  It will be interesting to see what comes up. 

Mike Moyer

July 27th, 2014

Be sure to read Slicing Pie (slicingpie.com) about equity splits for startup companies! Mike

John Sechrest

July 27th, 2014

It is worth noting that for small businesses that already have a known set of recipes for them to work, you can get business plans and outlines to start from at http://www.bplans.com/sample_business_plans.php For startups, they don't know the recipe and need to take several steps back before they can understand the foundations. I recommend reading the book "Running Lean" by Ash Maurya to understand the startup problem around validating the business model.

Mike Bidgoli Building something new

July 27th, 2014

Thanks for the ideas so far.  I'm not looking for "business books" on how to build a startup, etc.  I am looking for a book to read for pleasure during the weekends and get smart on fundamentals of accounting & finance.  I don't think any of these topics block anyone from building a company but having a general high level accounting & finance knowledge is a good thing.  On the venture finance front for example Brad Feld's Venture Deals was an amazing and fun read.  Wonder if there are more books like that out there. 

Eric Burleson Product Manager-Program Services at Invodo

July 27th, 2014

I would say not to waste your time. Use the program called Less Accounting which will let you do your monthly accounting in maybe an hour or so every month. Use zen payroll to handle your payroll. The reason is that you are yourself an expensive resource, and anything that you are doing that takes you away from doing the thing at which you are most efficient is wasteful. Bonus, those two things are really cheap, so you won't break the bank using them. Eventually you'll need to either hire a service that will act as your CFO and Controller, or actually get those folks. But that's probably not for some time.

Shobhit Verma

July 28th, 2014

Nice collection Lili.
Please also look at this from David Weekly
http://www.scribd.com/doc/55945011/An-Introduction-to-Stock-Options-for-the-Tech-Entrepreneur-or-Startup-Employee