2014 Summer Reading for Accountants

Big thoughts under blue skies

Summer's here -- the perfect time to dive into the new revenue recognition standards from FASB, and then spend some quality time reading up on the Affordable Care Act (so you can finally understand what all the fuss is about). That ought to take you up to fall.

Or, you can take a step back from the technical and grab some of these shorter reads, which skew heavily toward positioning your firm and your career for the future, offering new ways to think about where the profession is headed.

The Intentional Accountant: Your Roadmap to Building a Next Generation Accounting Firm

RootWorks; e-book -- $9.99, paperback -- $14.95

Thought leader and consultant Darren Root uses his own journey towards creating a “next-generation” firm as the core of this guide to that very thing. If you’re looking for a new model for your firm, this is a great place to start.

Firm Forward: A Journey from the Land of Compliance to the World of Reliance

CreateSpace; paper -- $25, e-book -- $9.99

Everyone knows that the old model of business is under extreme pressure from clients, from other firms, from technology, from demography, and from half a dozen other annoying factors. The question is, what are you going to do about it? This book offers a more comprehensive answer, what author and well-known consultant Edi Osbourne calls "Level 5 Service," an approach to delivering high-value-added advisory services that just may be the answer to many of the problems facing the old firm model.

The Journey Ahead: A New Roadmap to Collaboration in Your Firm

CreateSpace; $17.99

The firm of the future will be working a lot more closely with its clients, and while that may be terrifying or exciting, depending on your clients, it's also inescapable, as technology commoditizes many traditional services, and true value comes more and more from strong relationships with, and in-depth knowledge about, your clients. This book from future-firm expert Sandra Wiley is a great guide to this new model, with case studies, interviews, tools and more to guide you in creating a firm that can succeed through collaboration, both inside and out.

Beyond the Days of the Giants: Solving the Crisis of Growth and Succession in Today's CPA Firms

Productivity Press; $39.95

In this book, Paul Fisher goes backward to go forward – diving into the way the profession operated in the past to find the roots of its present problems. The old model, he maintains, has crumbled, but no new model has taken its place to engage and inspire the next generation of accountants, so he proceeds to offer one. A dense but worthwhile book that lays out a viable starting point for moving on.

Stratagem: Simple, Effective Strategic Planning for Your Business and Your Life

Smart Business Network

Once you pick a strategy for your firm’s future, you still need to implement it. And that often comes down to two things: Applying a static document becomes harder and harder the further you get from the date the document was created, and many firm strategies don't take into account the growing integration of work life and personal life. This book offers a way around those issues, by turning "strategy" from a document into a process, and by showing firm leaders how to align their business and their personal goals. Written by thought leaders Jay Nisberg, Gary Shamis and Sandy Manson, it brings a lot of hands-on expertise and wisdom to an entirely new way of planning your future.

CPA Firm Mergers & Acquisitions: How to Buy a Firm, How to Sell a Firm, and How to Make the Best Deal

AICPA; paper - $73.75, e-book - $66 (member discounts available)

Mergers are no longer a trend in the accounting profession - they are a more or less permanent factor that will, at one point or another, affect pretty much every firm in the country. With that in mind, we strongly recommend you read up on the subject. This book is a great start – it’s by leading M&A consultants Joel Sinkin and Terry Putney, and explains the current market, how it's going to change, and how to buy low and how to sell high, depending on your firm, as well as offering great advice on how to make your firm more attractive as a deal partner.

CPA Firm Mergers: Your Complete Guide

Rosenberg Associates; $165

M&A’s a big enough topic to support more than one book, and this one, by firm management guru Marc Rosenberg, gives you the benefit of his extensive experience so you’ll know what to expect and how to make a deal that serves your purposes, whatever they may be. A worthy companion to the previous entry.

101 Questions and Answers for Managing an Accounting Practice

CPA Trendlines; $95

Withum-Smith+Brown partner Ed Mendlowitz is the Dear Abbie of accounting, providing answers to tough questions from colleagues, peers and anyone else who wants to reach out for years. This fantastic book is a compilation of their questions and his wise answers on a huge range of topics related to running a practice, from how to raise rates or add new service lines, to how to deal with careless staff or plan your retirement. A great reference to keep by your desk for whenever you run up against a problem.

Online Accounting Software: Finding the Right Match

The Sleeter Group; $79.95

There are a ton of new accounting software options out there, and at some point you’ll need to recommend one to a client. This new offering from the Sleeter Group offers an in-depth look at seven leading options for small-business accounting: QuickBooks Online, Xero, Cheqbook, Kashoo, Wave, Zoho Books and Freshbooks. It compares them on 185 different features and includes hundreds of screenshots – and yes, it’s a great big doorstop. But don’t worry – it’s an e-book, so you can take all those screenshots with you wherever you and your reader go.

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A short history lesson about Black Americans who became CPAs after they were told that it wasn't possible.

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Top 10 Myths and Realities about W-2 and 1099 Reporting

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10 Things Holding Your Firm Back

Self-created obstacles to growth

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8 Last-Minute Tax Tips

With minutes counting down to this year's tax deadline, clients (and many of their accountants) are scrambling to get paperwork wrapped up on time. But many financial and tax professionals caution that in the heat of the moment, even the most knowledgeable can forget the basics – never mind easy-to-miss, specialized strategies.

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