Guide to polygamy

How to Negotiate a Merger

The Rosenberg Associates; $150

Mergers between firms are so like marriages that the idea has become a cliché - one that, given the ongoing merger-mania, we've wallowed in many times. Here's one way in which firm mergers aren't like marriages: You can have as many as you like. Here's another: While serial marriers don't generally get any better at marriage, firms that engage in serial mergers do tend to improve at the process. For the firm that is new to the merger market, though, it can be a daunting prospect; as practice management expert and Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential Person Marc Rosenberg points out, most partners have never negotiated a merger before - hence his new book, How to Negotiate a Merger. This primer offers invaluable advice on the process, from assessing the cultural fit and determining what data you should review, to agreeing on key systems and what questions you should ask of your prospective partner, from the perspective of both the acquirer and the acquiree.

 

Who needs teenagers?

Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms: The Guide to Establishing Credibility and Accelerating Relationships

Wiley; $45

Any 13-year-old could explain the revolutionary power of social media, but who wants to talk to a 13-year-old? They're annoying, and what's more, they're unlikely to be able to explain how you can turn social media to the benefit of your firm. Michelle Golden, on the other hand, can - Accounting Today named her one of our Most Influential People because of her expertise and thought-leadership in the area - and she's not in the least annoying. Her new book, Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms, makes a strong case for the power of social media to transform how you market your firm, and an equally powerful case for why you need to let it do so. It's also got case studies, and tons of tips, strategies and best practices on everything from choosing the right social media for you, to integrating them into your marketing plan. We'd like to see some teenage Farmville addict do that.

 

Bring back the pharaohs!

As One: Individual Action, Collective Power

Portfolio/Penguin; $40

The pharaohs of Egypt knew a little something about getting large groups of people to work together: a little barley beer, some whipping, a hierarchical view of the afterlife, and presto - pyramids! That style of group management is now out of fashion, replaced in the business world largely with the command-and-control model, and the currently popular collaborative model. If neither of those is getting your large, pointy tomb built, you're in luck: The research behind As One has identified eight different leadership models that you can choose from, each suited to different kinds of leaders, followers and endeavors.

Co-written by the CEO of the international firm of Deloitte, James Quigley (who must know a little something about managing large numbers of people, as the global firm last year announced plans to hire hundreds of thousands of new people over the next four to five years), the book explores the archetypes through over 60 cases studies to identify the key characteristics and then shows you how to apply them, whether it's the Landlord & Tenants model, the Conductor & Orchestra Model, the Captain & Sports Team model, or any of the other five. The only thing we would suggest for the second edition is that they add a ninth archetype - the God-King & Abject Worshippers model.

 

A calculator, but not

The Manager's Pocket Calculator: A Quick Guide to Essential Business Formulas and Ratios

Amacom Books; $18.95

This may come as a shock to you, but many of your business clients don't own a calculator, and wouldn't know what to do with one if they did. The fact is that math and its many finance-related functions terrify most people, and so they avoid it, even when it can be crucial to the future of their business.

Despite its title, The Manager's Pocket Calculator is not, technically, a calculator - but it can get math- and finance-challenged clients to the point where they know what to do with one. It explains, in ways that non-accountants can grasp, over 100 useful formulas and ratios, on topics like preparing budgets and financial reports, analyzing performance, and calculating rates of return, and even includes some handy shortcuts for basic mathematical functions. It won't turn non-financial managers into accountants, but it will help them be better businesspeople - and make it a little less frustrating for you to deal with them.

 

Accounting is everywhere

Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies

Emerald Books; $134.95

We'll admit that we're not as sure as we once were that International Financial Reporting Standards will become the norm here in the U.S., but the prospect of their potential imposition has had the salutary effect of awakening us to the fact that accounting happens in other countries, too. The latest edition of Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies collects papers on a range of issues affecting accounting around the world, and while the focus on emerging economies may make them seem a little far removed from U.S. accounting, those who are both adventurous and fluent in academic-speak may find interesting insights in studies of IFRS adoption in Egypt, IFRS convergence in Brazil, or management accounting information in a volatile environment like Zimbabwe.

 

A love story

The Deal: Unzipping the Wall Between Sales and Finance

FinancialForce.com; free download at www.saleslovesfinance.com

The Deal is presented as a lesson in corporate integration, but this short, entertaining novella from the folks at FinancialForce.com is actually a love story between stereotypes: the brash, swashbuckling salesman and the numbers- and efficiency-obsessed young woman from finance. That the t

wo learn to see beyond their narrow focuses on their individual parts of the business and realize true love offers hope that employees (and departments) everywhere can begin to overcome their conflicts, and find love, happiness and operational efficiencies.

 

Curing negotiaphobia

The One-Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreements

Berrett-Koehler; $21.95

Like peace, prisoners at minimum-security facilities and certain skin rashes, negotiations can break out at any moment. You never know when you'll be called on to negotiate a major contract, a firm merger or who gets the last donut. Don't let the prospect of unexpected negotiations paralyze you - The One-Minute Negotiator has some very helpful tips on overcoming "negotiaphobia." You start by accepting that you are actually having a negotiation, then figure out what kind strategy is called for, based on the situation and your own negotiating skills and style - will you take no prisoners, or will you aim for a big group hug at the end of the session? Then you figure out what kind of strategy the other side is likely to use, and go from there. The book's approach and strategies will help you become much more comfortable with, and much more proficient at, the many negotiations life thrusts upon us - assuming, that is, you can negotiate the fairly pointless "business parable" format in which they're embedded.

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