8 Must-Read Books for Accountants and Bookkeepers

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In any business, your bottom line depends on the way you handle your finances and investing. One of the best ways to continually build your expertise in these areas is to read financial and accounting books. Whether you already have a working knowledge of accounting or you need to brush up on the basics of bookkeeping, check out these great reads.

The Undoing Project (Michael Lewis)

When working with numbers, the facts rarely lie. Yet if we turn to intuition and emotional responses, we are often steered in the wrong direction. “The Undoing Project” follows the groundbreaking research of two psychologists who coined the term “behavioral economics”. It all leads to the use of big data and evidence-based algorithms over our intuitive responses. In this book, you’ll learn how to filter through your feelings when working with figures and how to use data to support your decisions.

Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)

As a Nobel Prize in Economics recipient, Kahneman is certainly a thought leader in the industry. His book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is a winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award. Discover the two main systems of thought and how to decipher between the two. Building on the concept in “The Undoing Project”, this book discusses the benefits of thinking slow. From an accounting perspective, this knowledge will inspire you to work more judiciously in order to reduce mistakes.

Accounting Made Simple (Mike Piper)

If you are completely green to accounting or need a refresher on the basics, check out this book. “Accounting Made Simple” is written by a certified public accountant and offers a no-frills accounting lesson. Piper leads you through formulas and processes without letting things get too confusing. You’ll learn key lessons like how to prepare financial statements and calculate financial ratios for your business. In addition, you’ll pick up the terminology of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are essential knowledge for every industry.

Intermediate Accounting (Donald Kieso, Jerry Weygandt, and Terry Warfield)

In the 16th edition of “Intermediate Accounting”, you gain the tools of accounting students and professional accountants. This book is best suited for individuals who have already read “Accounting Made Simple” or have basic bookkeeping skills, and want to dive deeper into the principles of accounting. It’s also a great resource for those who are preparing for the CPA exam or are interested in getting certified in the future. With this book, you’ll gain valuable access to problems, examples, and other opportunities to apply your accounting skills.

The Little Book That Still Beats the Market (Joel Greenblatt)

Once you’ve mastered the basics of accounting and are ready to progress to more advanced financial topics, check out this book. “The Little Book That Still Beats the Market” offers insight on how to invest for your business. If you are looking to increase your profits, Greenblatt explains how to find the best investments in layman’s terms. In fact, when he wrote the book he wanted to be sure that it could be understood by his five children, the oldest being 15. Simple enough for kids to understand, the principles of investing described in this book will help you develop a long-term strategy for your business.

The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America (Warren Buffet and Lawrence Cunningham)

Business magnate and investor Warren Buffet is worth more than $90 billion and is the second most charitable man on Earth. To reach these economic achievements, Buffet has spent his lifetime learning about investing. Now you too can take advantage of the insight from the Oracle of Omaha. “The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America” gives you Buffet’s best investing advice for any business in any industry. From his letters, you’ll gain plenty of inspiration to help you grow your business (though perhaps not to the extent of Berkshire Hathaway).

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (John Maxwell)

For accounting managers who are leading teams of accountants and bookkeepers, start with this read. In “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You”, you’ll pick up the essential skills you need to better manage your employees. In particular, you’ll learn how to build credibility amongst your team members, which is critical for protecting against theft, fraud, and other bookkeeping scams.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner)

For some lighter economic reading with a touch of humor, pick up “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything”. Economist Steven Levitt goes beyond basic social statistics to examine the secrets of everyday life. While numbers don’t lie, they often have underlying stories that paint a much bigger picture. While not explicitly about accounting, “Freakonomics” can help you investigate and interpret unexpected facts and figures in your own business. For instance, why did your revenue for ice cream bars skyrocket one winter? As a bonus, this book makes for some light reading after a long day of crunching numbers at the office.

Benefits of Reading Accounting Books

If you’re not sure where to start with this reading list, consider what stage you’re at in your career. Those who are newer to accounting may find that books with formulas and equations will become their go-to resources. Meanwhile, books like “Thinking, Fast and Slow” can transform your way of thinking at any stage in your accounting practice. And don’t forget to seek guidance from resources besides books! When you combine the books on this list with reading daily news from sources like the Wall Street Journal and economics journals, you’ll be well-equipped to build a knowledge base that will benefit you for years to come.

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