10 reasons to read Allen White's book "Direct Consolidation - Consolidate your expertise" today

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Consolidation techniques have changed little over the past years. Which is why it's surprising to hear that a new book on the subject has just been published. We’re talking about this one because we're proud to say that it was written by Allen White, one of the founders of our group, Sigma Conso.

Direct Consolidation (Consolidate your expertise) has just been published. The book is in English. It is 500 pages long and is intended for consolidation professionals, students, group financial managers and anyone looking for an introduction to consolidation or wishing to increase their knowledge about the topic.

Allen White had already published two books on the topic in French in the early 1990s (La Consolidation Directe, principes de base and La Consolidation Directe, études de cas). Several non-French-speaking clients and some of our partners in other countries had been asking him to publish a translation of the books in English for several years now.

While translating the books in 2015, Allen realised that, although consolidation techniques hadn’t changed much over the past 20 to 30 thirty years, his own approach had changed radically during that time. He felt that that the existing books could be significantly improved. His experience in the field and as a teacher enabled him to shed new light on the subject. Which is why a new book is being published this month.

Why should you read the book? Here are 10 good reasons!

1. It contains the essence of 30 years of experience in 500 pages

Allen has dedicated his entire career to consolidation. Over the past 30 years he has carried out many consulting missions with groups, contributed to the development of several group consolidation and reporting software packages and trained over 3,000 consolidators.

He wanted his book to reflect the pedagogical approach he has refined over the years. He also wanted to include the cases he had encountered and the comments and questions of many clients and participants in his consolidation classes. He therefore went into greater detail about certain aspects, added case studies of less common situations which every consolidator will likely come up against at least once in their career and he discusses certain practical aspects such as the organisation of the consolidation process.

He also included the most recent IFRS developments which impact consolidation technique.

2. It’s written in simple, understandable English

Given that the book will be sold in many countries, both English-speaking and non-English-speaking, the author has been careful to write in simple English and avoid useless jargon.

3. Readers learn a method step-by-step to carry out a consolidation in 7 stages

Like any good book on consolidation, this one includes the basics. You are guided through the seven steps to perform a consolidation. They include the identification of the companies included in the scope, the collection of information about subsidiaries, currency conversion, etc. through to the creation of consolidated reports by recipient: legal filing of the accounts and reporting for shareholders and group management.

4. It’s a complete book

The book describes the three consolidation methods as well as the direct and step-by-step consolidation techniques. It describes the major events occurring in the life of a group: changes in assets and liabilities, changes in shareholders' equity, preparation of the cash flow statement...and it describes currency exchange, intercompany reconciliation, consolidation adjustments and the elimination process.

5. Readers learn how to organise a consolidation

The book also includes:

  • Advice on selecting a computer tool: when is a spreadsheet sufficient and at what point do you need to use a group consolidation and reporting software application? On what criteria should you base your group software selection?
  • A guide for the first consolidation of a group: initial choices, the scope of consolidation, relations with auditors, the tasks of the consolidation department, how to organise the consolidation department, the impact of the first consolidation on subsidiaries, etc.
  • Implementation of the fast close process with many practical recommendations.

6. It provides a description of consolidation situations which “only happen to others”

With over 30 years of consolidation experience and practice with a wide range of groups, Allen knows that events in the life of a group do not necessarily unfold as they do in books. He shares many practical cases and their solutions in his book:

  • Classic cases: group restructuring, unusual group structures, mergers, equity transactions, etc.
  • He also includes cases which we believe "only happen to others": acquisition of a company with negative shareholders' equity, acquisition of a subgroup, the sale and acquisition of a company during the same fiscal period, a change in parent company, etc.

7. All situation analyses are fully explained

Regardless of its level of complexity, each situation is illustrated with a practical case over two years together with the necessary explanations (reserves, minority shareholders, etc.) to meet the expectations of the most demanding professionals.

8. It provides an illustrated methodology

The book provides a complete, practical case study of a consolidation over two years for a group dealing with realistic events occurring during each year. The simultaneous situations, which often result in difficulties, illustrate the effectiveness of the methodology applied at different points of the consolidation process through justification of the changes in the consolidated accounts and preparation of the funds statement.

9. It’s a useful tool for self-assessment

Three self-assessment quizzes with 10 questions corresponding to three knowledge levels are provided at the end of the book with answers and explanations.

10. It’s a book to read today and to use as a reference tomorrow

The book is both a necessary tool for anyone wishing to learn the consolidation business and a reference tool to be used when complex situations arise during group consolidation. Lastly, account consolidation is often an international exercise and the book provides a short glossary with translations of 50 technical terms in eight languages.

In conclusion, we’re convinced that this book adds an innovative approach to the literature about account consolidation. The book is based on more than 30 years of experience and teaching. It puts significant emphasis on the practical aspects of consolidation, including the organisation of the consolidation department, special cases, etc.

We’re sure you’ll enjoy the book!