It's always interesting to us, as to how someone first heard about Color Accounting, and their reaction to it. Here, Mark Samowitz (Johannesburg, South Africa) explains when that proverbial light bulb went off for him. It was New York City, and he reluctantly went along to the workshop that was to change his life.
First posted February 2014, by Jennifer Geier
Last Friday, 15 students and I started a 3-day journey into accounting. This program was for the School of International Service, so a majority of these students are seeking a career in the non-profit sector and will likely use financial statements for budgeting purposes. Because the class is 3 full days, the students earn 1 credit towards graduation.
The first hour of the first day is always pretty slow as we go through introductions but by the end of the day every student is quiet. After having posted 14 basic business transactions and diving into financials statements, they are always pretty tired. This silence used to make me nervous but I've realized that this lack of sound is because the students are thoroughly digesting the material. I dismissed class with the assignment to bring in some financials to analyze the following day. Students came to me after class asking why this isn't used as the accounting 101 curriculum? "Is accounting really this easy?"
The next morning, I asked my students, "How many of you taught someone accounting last night?" Three quarters of the students raise their hands. This wasn't a homework assignment, yet they were eager to share their learnings with their spouses, significant others, and even friends while they were at a bar. We jumped into Not For Profit Accounting and distinguished the differences between for profit and not for profit. We then went into case study questions about the Not For Profit entity, calculating Gross Profit Margin and substituting figures based on issues such as inventory loss, spoilage, theft, etc. After class, students came to me asking how to get this training at their places of employment, they had told their bosses about the program and they were eager to bring this skills training in house.
On the last day of class, we went through an exercise of government accounting, veracity analysis, and then we did personal finance. I had people record their assets and liabilities to calculate their net worth. The most interesting part is when we do their income statement and they see how little revenue is coming in and how expenses (even the small ones) can add up very quickly. Some people were shocked. They assumed their net worth was better but now that they could visually see the figures. I always have personal finance in these 3-day programs because good habits start at home, so if these students keep on top of their personal finances then this skill will translate into their professional realm.
The students completed an exam to test their skills and everyone passed with flying colors. The best part of this program is the ability to get people excited about numbers. Not only do they understand them but they are eager to learn more and this is sometimes the more powerful learning, the ability to instill this curiosity in the students.
I met with a program director at AU and he shared with me the feedback from the course Peter taught last October. It was the same course but with more emphasis on Social Enterprise. I want to share some of the feedback:
"AMAZING! The best course I have taken so far! I would recommend this class to everyone EVER."
"Even for someone with an accounting background this course was fantastic and a great refresher that also illuminated concepts I didn't understand before."
"This course was awesome! I have an MBA, and it wasn't until I took this course that I really understood Accounting. This class should be taught for longer than just a few days."
"Best course I've had at AU! I no longer hate/am afraid of accounting. I want more!"
"Amazing! Changed my perspective completely on Accounting. This is the best course I've ever taken. I felt like I got my money's worth. So thankful!"
First posted December 2013, by Peter Frampton
Here in the Southern hemisphere, where I'm writing this on a two-week trip, the holiday season feels well and truly underway. People have already left for the coast, and the summer languidness is distinctly noticeable as we set up the last of the year's business meetings. My wife, holding fort in cold Europe, was not impressed when I complained about one cold and rainy day down in the antipodes.
What a year it's been for Accounting Comes Alive. The next generation of the Color Accounting learning system, Version 4, was wrapped up in beautifully printed learning materials in September. The new learner packs will land on the desks of the participants in our live workshops in January. And the definitive Color Accounting, the text book, is on the printing presses as we speak, and will be in bookstores any day now. Accompanied by a reprint of The Color Accounting Parable, which now qualifies as an international best seller.
2013 was also spent developing Color Accounting Online, the e-learning version of the breakthrough graphical way to learn accounting. We're so excited about it. The 4.5 hour program will run on corporate learning systems, on PCs and Macs, on iPad and Android tablets. It has presenters who've worked in Hollywood and is fully interactive, so that learners actually do accounting as part of their learning. The world has seen nothing like it before. We're putting the final touches to the app, with our development partner Knowledge Foundry. It will go live at AccountingSchool.com to kick off 2014.
But probably the best thing about 2013 was the growth of the Color Accounting Partner community. We think of ourselves as a global family of passionate Color Accounting Partners, all committed to setting people free from the shackles of financial illiteracy. During the year we've gained new friends and partners in Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Sudan, Nairobi, Namibia, UK, USA... you name it. With over 100 partners the revolution that is Color Accounting continues to pick up speed.
North and South, 2013 is ending on an auspicious note for financial literacy. 2014 is lookin' good.
First posted August 2013, by Jennifer Geier
Color Accounting: The Fast, Graphical Way to Learn Finance and Accounting
New York - Monday September 30, 2013
Washington, DC - Wednesday October 2, 2013
EARN 8 CPE CREDITS
The Color Accounting workshop teaches essential concepts of accounting through a revolutionary new approach. While Color Accounting teaches accounting better than any other course, the ultimate learning objective is deeper, quicker finance and business literacy.
By the end of the course, students will not just know a new approach to understanding accounting, but also how to compile, read and analyze a balance sheet and income statement faster and more intuitively than ever expected. Students will know how financial statements tell the story of a business, learning deep insights into the workings of business itself. The benefit is more options, smarter decisions and better business outcomes.
The Color Accounting workshop uses multi-sensory methods to engage the learner. The result is rapid and permanent learning. The workshop uses a three-dimensional model (the patented Color Accounting Framework) of how accounting and business work. By working hands-on with this model the learners uncover concepts that often remain hidden. Color is used deliberately and as part of a logical system to demonstrate relationships, not simply to “brighten things up.”
OPPORTUNITY TO EARN 8 CPE CREDITSREGISTER TODAY!
Price Per Person: $ 595
(Class size is limited and classes often sell out so reserve your seat today)
New York, NY Monday September 30, 2013Venue to be announced Washington, DC Wednesday October 2, 2013
Venue to be announced
The Color Accounting workshop comprises of three modules:
Module 1: Context (90 minutes)
This introduction module sets the scene for the learner. It prepares them for the accelerated learning ahead, including the importance of ‘unlearning’ and letting go. The students start to look at a business as a funding story, with distinct sources of funding and uses of funding, presented in a balanced picture.
Module 2: Business Scenario (4 hours)
Module 2 draws on a realistic business scenario, which the students learn to literally account for. By recording a series of carefully ordered business transactions the learners develop and use accounting as a business framework as they examine:
· The general journal
· The general ledger
· The accounting equation
· The balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and statement of changes in equity
· Precise meaning of often misinterpreted terminology such as equity, margins, depreciation, double entry, duality, and accrual accounting.
· Other concepts are introduced as necessary, such as break-even, margins, EBITDA, GAAP, IFRS, asset valuation and income recognition.
Module 3: Application of Concepts (1-3 hours)
The learning capitulates with a case study of a business that has run into problems even while growing rapidly. Students first develop a simple yet profound business narrative that the balance sheet and income statement tell us about the business. They then do a financial analysis of the company, addressing business issues such as changes in borrowing, cash flow, marketing strategy, pricing and margins, and more. The business in the case study is sometimes substituted for the real financial statements of the client organization.
First posted August 2013, by Jennifer Geier
Accounting Comes Alive is happy to announce a partnership with Thomson Reuters to offer Color Accounting to lawyers and legal professionals via their web-based education service West LegalEdcenter.
Launched in 2001, West LegalEdcenter is the nation's leading online continuing legal education (CLE) service.
The West LegalEdcenter library contains nearly 6,000 CLE programs, spanning all learning levels and covering every practice area. Their up-to-the minute programming keeps pace with rapid changes in law and helps legal professionals stay on top of their game. And with easy, online access, people can view programming wherever they are - from home, the office, or while traveling - wherever there is access to the internet. West LegalEdcenter is CLE that's all about you.
The first of 5 courses will be taking place this Wednesday with a different course occurring once a month through the end of the year. The course topics are:
- Color Accounting for Attorneys: Accounting Comes Alive for Lawyers
- Color Accounting for Attorneys: Cash Flow Reporting and Cash Management
- Color Accounting for Attorneys: Poking Holes in Financial Statements
- Color Accounting for Attorneys: EBITDA and Ratio Analysis
- Color Accounting for Attorneys: Business Acumen for Lawyers
Hope to see you there!
First posted June 2013, by Peter Frampton
Colour Accounting Solution Provider MzN | International is a social enterprise supporting NGOs and international organisations worldwide. They offer a range of courses and services, including a powerful 4-day "Finance for Impact" training. It is scheduled in a number of cities close to where NGOs are doing important work.
Trainings are currently scheduled in 2013 for:
26-29th August Jakarta, Indonesia
2-5 September Kathmandu, Nepal
30 September – 3 October Yangon, Myanmar
7-10 October Delhi, India
28 October - 01 November Nairobi, Kenya
4-7 November Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
25-29 November Johannesburg, South Africa
Contact MzN International for more information.
First posted June 2013, by Peter Frampton
A new type of financial literacy course is proving to be a cost effective way of enabling business leaders to sharpen their business and leadership skills.
Traditional financial literacy courses emphasise financial jargon. They focus on the terms and acronyms used to talk about business performance. Terms like Return on Equity and EBITDA are defined, but – it is argued – ‘float’ without the anchor of an integrated business model.
The new-format financial literacy course begins lower and ends higher than the typical genre of finance for non-financial manager seminar.
By starting with the fundamentals of accounting literacy (that many financial literacy courses step over), the new type of course in the end goes further. It goes beyond finance by developing a holistic model of how business works. The course reveals a graphical accounting-based value-model of business.
The result is that the business manager sees every decision that they make in the light of a value cycle. Everything that happens in the business is either generating value or destroying value.
The new genre of financial literacy course achieves a greater return on course-time and course-cost than many executive education courses and traditional financial literacy courses. It does this because it:
Now that’s a leverage concept worth signing up for. Clearly.
Colour Accounting™ is that financial literacy course.
Colour Accounting solution provider, The Holst Group, are offering a public workshop on 1st and 2nd July 2013 in Central London, UK. For more information visit http://colouraccounting.holstgroup.co.uk
First posted June 2013, by Jennifer Geier
We are so excited to have Natasha accredited and running her first training with Color Accounting in June. She has been training finance for over a decade but has recently acquired Color Accounting as her prime tool for teaching and explaining financial concepts.
Click here to read the article and learn more about how Color Accounting came into being: Caymanian Compass 20130604 Playne
Update: The article is also here on our website.
First posted June 2013, by Mark Robilliard
Pop the corks! Our 'little book', Accounting Comes Alive: The Color Accounting Parable, has just surpassed 35,000 sales, a number quoted by some as signifying 'international best seller' status. We're often asked about the history of the Parable, so here is the back-story of the book that nearly wasn't!
We had decided in 2009 that we needed to start marketing Color Accounting around the world and increase our brand awareness, but how do you do that without a significant budget? A self-published book seemed the logical answer. After some initial research on what was available, we soon decided that much like Color Accounting, we needed to do something a bit different if we wanted to be noticed. And that's how we set upon the idea of writing in the voice of a Parable. With it's friendly conversational tone, and simple, hand-drawn diagrams, we wanted it to be appealing for people looking to better understand financial information but who might be afraid of a traditional '101' style book.
The first draft that Peter and Mark (the co-founders of Color Accounting) put together was a 'proof of concept' manuscript that was provided to some professionals from the traditional book publishing world. Suffice to say they didn't like it at all and provided some 'tough love' feedback. Peter and Mark were discouraged, and indeed they shelved the whole project for quite some time. Much later, on a whim, they sent the original manuscript to a well-read businessman for another viewpoint and this time the feedback was much more positive. Encouraged, they set to work with renewed vigour and finished the book. A professional young designer, Chang Won Chang, was instrumental in achieving that special 'Color Accounting' look and feel throughout and the Parable was born.
The final step in the process was to self-publish the book and for that the team initially went with an e-book format on iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. After some success, and with repeated requests to make a paperback version available on Amazon, they did an initial offset print run which has almost completely sold out.
The Parable has proven to be quite popular with people from all walks of life using it to enhance their financial literacy. It has rated well on the various websites where it is sold and mostly the reviews have been very positive. We enjoy the emails we get from people scattered across the globe, who invariably commence with something like "I've been reading your Parable, ..." In the US it is even prescribed at some universities as a text for accounting students and in Australia it is provided in corporate workshops as a development tool.
Peter and Mark have since written and self-published a much bigger second book, still conversational and friendly (but not a parable), called Accounting Comes Alive: Introducing Color Accounting. To date it has been available only as an e-book for the iPad as it uses quite sophisticated multi-media demonstrations throughout. Soon, it will be available also for the Kindle and other popular e-readers.
After repeated requests to print this book too, the Accounting Comes Alive team has rewritten "Introducing Color Accounting" so that it can work as a physical book without the multi-media elements. This book will be again self-published, with the possibility of using a global 'Print On Demand' service - more details to come on that soon.
Financial literacy never looked so good!
Update: and here it is, 288 pages of full colour gorgeousness! See more here.
First posted May 2013, by Peter Frampton
If it's April it's Henley on Thames with the Holst Group.