In the absence of accounting rules, financial reports and disclosures were of little use to shareholders and stakeholders before World War I. To offset the unreliability of financial information, several banks, including the Crédit Lyonnais, implemented a system of accounting analysis that, in essence, anticipated modern financial-analysis tools based on funds statements and cash-flow statements. This paper, based on the Crédit Lyonnais archives, sets out to explain the purpose of this method, to present the different concepts employed, and to show how they interact. The relevance of this model is assessed through two case studies.

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