Summer reading for accountants — 2019

Long, lazy days offer a great opportunity to catch up on new reading on building a better practice — and to revisit some classics.

Below are a dozen or so good reads chose by Accounting Today's editors for accountants, tax pros, bookkeepers and others to take to the beach or the mountains, to return fired up and ready to go.

Shamis - Building Blocks cover
Building Blocks: Case Studies of a Serial Entrepreneur
Given his storied career as a firm leader and a consultant, Gary Shamis' name is one to conjure with in accounting, so it should come as no surprise that his latest book is a treasure trove of good advice on entrepreneurialism. It draws lessons from the Top 100 Firm he built, the firm association he helped found, and six other ventures he led, on everything from developing and executing a business plan to dealing with failure, creating a strong culture, and finding and hiring the right people.
49 Tips for a Successful Accounting Career cover
49 Tips for a Successful Accounting Career
Career paths in accounting have multiplied and significantly changed in the past 10 years or so, which makes this collection of advice from podcaster and CPA Mark Goldman particularly useful for up-and-coming accountants
Making of a Manager cover
The Making of a Manager
Knowing how to do something is not the same thing as knowing how to manage someone who's doing that thing — and yet that's why most people get promoted to manager. For those who find themselves suddenly responsible, Julie Zhuo's bestseller uses her own war stories to deliver useful advice on a wide range of management topics that will help you grow into the role less painfully than most.
Taking the Number out of Numbers cover
Taking the Numb out of Numbers
When you combine that ever-increasing amounts of client data being generated with accountants' uncanny ability to sort through it for insights, you get an unprecedented opportunities for better client service — if you can manage to communicate those data-driven insights in a meaningful way. That's where CPA Peter Margaritas' book comes in — it will teach you how communicate clearly and confidently so that your clients recognize the value you're offering.
Purpose and a Paycheck cover
Purpose and a Paycheck
Subtitled "Finding meaning, money and happiness in the second half of life," Chris Farrell's book looks at all the advantages older workers can bring to the workplace, and with the accounting profession struggling to find staff, it only makes sense to tap into the vast talent pool that millions and millions of near- and post-retirement baby boomers represent.
Book cover - Future of the Professions
The Future of the Professions
We've recommended this in previous years, but we're including it again because technology really is changing accounting, and this is a fascinating (and slightly disturbing) look at the ramifications.
PFP for Execs and Entrepreneurs - cover
Personal Financial Planning for Executives and Entrepreneurs
The rich are different from you and me — and that subset of the rich that starts and runs businesses are even more different, with complex, confusing financial situations that they often don't have the time or knowledge to handle well. Drawing on the expertise of 10 seasoned financial planners, this book offers practical discussions of how their needs differ in terms of managing compensation, investing, estate planning, insurance and more.
Handy Accounting Answer Book cover
The Handy Accounting Answer Book
Most of the books on this list are for accountants — but some are for those who love them, and this is a case in point. Accounting professor Amber Gray's "The Handy Accounting Answer Book" is a good gift for accountants to give their less-sophisticated clients. It'll help them understand you, and might make them less irritating.
Company of One cover
Company of One
Subtitled "Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business," this book offers an alternative for all the accountants out there who've ever wondered if bigger really is better, and who've wanted to just build and maintain a strong practice without constantly aiming to expand.
100 Years and Counting cover
100 Years and Counting
"Modern" accounting was only just taking shape a century ago, and the Institute of Management Accountants was in at the birth — it is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and published this history, which is full of fascinating tidbits of organizational and professional history, to mark the occasion. You can get download free digital copies or purchase hard copies at the IMA website.
Tufte -- Visual Display of Quantitative Information book cover
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
While Edward Tufte's book is aimed more at those who are sharing information with the general public, its core principles of honesty, clarity and simplicity in presentation should guide anyone who communicates with data. And the centerpiece map of Napoleon's march into Russia — where the directional arrows tracking his armies get thinner and thinner as more and more of his soldiers die — is worth the price of admission.
What are you reading?
Share your favorite business books in the comments!