Dr. Alfonso Zea
Alfonso Zea, consultor de gerencia alfozea@gmail.com
Bogotá, Junio 20 de 2020


Whoever takes a finance book in their hands usually thinks, almost always with reason, that they are going to find an arid and monotonous compendium of abstract concepts and complex mathematical formulas, written by a theoretical scholar who never went from the library to the plow, to the daily work with the goings-on and vicissitudes of a company of current and ongoing life.

That does not happen in this case. The reader who is fortunate to come across the complete financial treatise of Dr. José Saúl Velásquez Restrepo will be able to enjoy a meticulous, elaborate, patient, and pedagogical fabric that covers the broad spectrum of both financial theory and practice.

The work as a whole is a very rare amalgam of scientific and academic knowledge, enriched with the practical wisdom of those who have been nourished at the source with a varied and inexhaustible collection of business experiences and situations, of real events.

All this reflected in a diaphanous, direct language, without superfluous decorations or unnecessary technicalities. And, in addition, complemented by numerous practical exercises, developed on the Excel platform, which will make immersion in the subject even more tangible and friendly with the help of digital resources.

Let us first talk about the solid and dense academic support of the work: EAFIT University is recognized as the pioneering and most respected institution in the disciplines of administration and finance in Colombia. In these cloisters, Dr. Velásquez made the journey from A to Z: first, he obtained his professional degree, later complemented by a postgraduate degree in finance; and already in the maturity of his career, he decided to put his experience at the service of society, by accepting to run the chair of the subject there. Not satisfied with that, he was also an outstanding teacher of the subject in some of the most prestigious Colombian universities.

To all of the above, is added his persistent passion for learning, researching, deepening, updating, and transplanting the techniques learned and taught, to specific business situations.

And moving to the pragmatic level: the author was at the head, sometimes, of the financial division, and at other times, he was general manager, in companies of the most diverse business modalities. His journey includes, among others: a pioneering business organization that has long held a leading position among its kind in the country. A manufacturing company with secular prestige and tradition at the national level; In it, he was the protagonist of his foray into the international market, from its most incipient stages to achieving a continuous flow of business as a supplier for brands of orbital relief, among which is the French company Guy Laroche. A solidarity economy institution, which inextricably combined commercial operation with financial management. A supplier of inputs for food manufacturers, with substantial dependence on import operations. As part of such vast experience, it cannot be overlooked that he was also in charge of being the head of one of the most important and influential sports associations in the national sphere.

It was at the helm of economic entities with such dissimilar operating atmospheres, how Saúl Velásquez greatly increased and shaped his experience. In addition, he had to overcome both challenging trances within his organization and crises of national significance, which were close to annihilating the country's banking system.

As if the highlights so far were not enough, the work has an added value that I never noticed before in a finance text: the deep and sincere recognition of the capital importance of human talent in companies, and the author's almost obsessive insistence on commitment to ethical and moral values ​​that, above the merely material results, must inspire the company's senior management (the person, the satisfaction and motivation of the collaborators and their family, honesty as a natural virtue, respect and helps the social environment, preserving the environment) But do not think that it is a conventional and artificial moralistic discourse. The entire life of Dr. Velásquez is a continuous testimony of indeclinable devotion and attachment to rectitude and transparency.

The day that private companies and government entities understand and embrace in their true dimension how much the two values ​​proclaimed by him mean, we will immediately see the transformation of society and the world.

I am not going to pretend a review of the many topics of interest that the work includes. I highlight just a few, particularly striking and innovative: it breaks paradigms such as the liquidity vs. profitability dilemma, by demonstrating with forceful and simple logic that these objectives are not opposed to each other; or the other, that common mirage that leads one to believe that capital contributions are free or cheap money for the company. It puts the value generation mentality in its most rigorous sense in the place of preponderance it deserves. It deals in detail with the importance of the state of origin and application of funds as an essential tool for financial planning, and indicates step by step how to prepare and take advantage of it. He hesitantly analyzes and points out the protruding limitations of financial statements emanating from traditional accounting, but it does not stop there: it is sincere and categorical in pointing out guidelines that could correct this distortion. He discusses the pros and cons of the tax economy approach, when it comes to defining policies on the accounting treatment given to items of capital importance, such as inventories, expenses - which he considers investments - in developing business talent, the same than in advertising for positioning, and in research and development. It teaches in detail the importance of maintaining liquidity and the benefits derived from this health policy.

As a marshal hardened in a thousand battles, Dr. Velásquez, after making known -in an abundance of details- the mechanics, the technique of the financial framework, proposes to the reader a wise topic for reflection, which could be condensed in these terms: numbers yes; mathematical formulas yes. But to use them only as a tool, as a starting point, as a compass, since no technical boast works miracles on its own, if you lack the prudence, depth of analysis and common sense that, ultimately, are the essential ingredients of good management. financial.

Welcome then, dear reader. I have no doubt that the work in your hands will become your mandatory vademecum. In it, the finance executive will find lights to face any situation that arises in the full performance of his delicate job.

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