5 Great Books for CPAs

Nonfiction books about Certified Public Accounting tend to be heavy on numbers and light on human interest. A few books for CPAs stand out above the crowd not only for the valuable information they provide but also for their readability. Here are five of the most interesting, reader-friendly books for CPAs, presented in no particular order.

1. Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership by John C. Maxwell

Asking questions is essential to the CPA profession. By reading this book, accountants will learn how to ask the right questions, including the tough questions. Not only for CPAs, this book shows its readers how to be an influencer. Readers will come away understanding how leadership works, how to handle conflicts with members of the team, and even how to help development leadership traits in other people.

2. Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports by Howard Schilit and Jeremy Perler

Although aimed at an audience of CPAs, this book can also be appreciated by the general reading public, with all its intrigue – and tips on what to look out for to avoid financial loss. Readers of this volume will learn to detect shenanigans regarding earnings manipulations, cash flow, key metrics, and more.

3. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Steven D. Levitt is an economics professor at the University of Chicago; Stephen J. Dubner is a journalist and English professor. Between the two of them, the manage to make the subject of economics seem indispensable to nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. Reading like a good work of fiction, this book focuses on incentives-based thinking, a behavior we all engage in without realizing it. This bestseller was made into a documentary in 2010, cementing its popular appeal.

4. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! by Nicholas Carlson

Marissa Mayer is a remarkable businesswoman, becoming CEO of Yahoo! at the age of 38. In Carlson’s interesting and reader-friendly account, the author explores the challenges of staying relevant as a tech company in a field that changes in the blink of an eye. Carlson’s narrative looks at finance, the stock market, and the inner workings of large company operations.

5. A Brief History of Economic Genius by Paul Strathern

Strathern is a talented storyteller who paints a mental picture with his vigorous, decidedly un-boring CPA history book. He traces the cultural history of mathematics and bookkeeping, covering all the philosophical developments in economic theory, from Adam Smith to Karl Marx to John Nash. He shows how the great economic theorists influenced one another, weaving a fascinating web that informs as it entertains.

Books for CPAs don’t have to read like stereo instructions. In the hands of authors like these, certified public accountants can deepen their knowledge and expertise while getting lost in a good book.

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