This section is from the book "Business Finance", by William Henry Lough. Also available from Amazon: Business Finance, A Practical Study of Financial Management in Private Business Concerns.
This book, as its name indicates, is concerned with the every-day financial problems of the private business concern. The point of view taken throughout is that of an organizer or financial manager of an enterprise. While the book deals primarily with business conditions and financial practice in the United States, it includes many references also to the experience and practice of other countries which may yield suggestions of value to American business men.
Many social and economic questions are necessarily touched upon incidentally. These questions, however, in the author's judgment, belong to a separate field of study; no attempt is made, therefore, to discuss them at any length.
The subject matter of the book falls naturally into five distinct parts:
Part I begins with a brief exposition of the essential principles of all sound financing; it is devoted for the most part to a description of the different forms of financial organization of business enterprises, taking up in turn the individual proprietorship, the firm or partnership, and the corporation.
Part IV deals with efficient financial management; how capital funds are invested; how the amount required for working capital is ascertained; the proper management of capital and income through budgets; and some of the financial standards which should be kept in view.
Part V treats of financial mismanagement and irregularities, and of the processes of reorganization.
This very brief review is enough to make clear the main purposes of the book and the groups of business men to whom it is designed to prove useful.
The first group, whom the author has had constantly in mind, consists of organizers, directors, and executive officers of business concerns of all classes. It is hoped that they will obtain from the book many helpful suggestions which they can put to practical use.
The second group consists of bankers, bond dealers, and other financial men who are continually investigating and criticizing the financial management of enterprises.
There is a third group, composed of engineers, lawyers, accountants, and other professional men, who are frequently called upon to advise as to financial questions, although they are not necessarily well informed on these subjects.
The present edition is specially intended for a fourth group - which fortunately for the business of the country is rapidly growing in numbers - made up of students of business and economic subjects, including not only those enrolled in universities or other institutions of learning, but also the tens of thousands of young business men who realize that long continued study is required in order to achieve even a reasonable mastery of the intricacies of modern business.
For the use of this group the practical material contained in the first four parts of the general edition of this work has been retained in full detail and with all supporting illustrations, save in the chapters discussing budgets and financial standards. Here, where the subject is comparatively new and practice is unsettled, much of the theory and illustration has been dropped. In Part V, where detailed information is not of the same vital importance to the student, the more essential features have been retained, but much of the illustration and some of the discussion have been omitted.
Literature on the subject of business finance is so scanty that the present book necessarily breaks fresh ground to a considerable extent, and this must be the author's excuse if sometimes the treatment of a topic seems to be incomplete. This remark applies with special force to the chapter on "Financial Standards" - a subject to which a great amount of research could profitably be devoted.
William H. Lough.
New York City, April 9, 1917.