Slideshow 2016 Summer Reading for Accountants

Published
  • June 22 2016, 5:04pm EDT

Good books for good times

With summer officially here, it’s time to relax and recharge, so you can go back to your firm with new ideas and new strategies. With that in mind, we’ve put together this collection of worthwhile reads.

The topics range pretty widely, but with the staff crunch that’s currently gripping the profession, don’t be surprised if there’s a significant focus on HR and generational issues.

The End of Accounting, and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers<BR> Baruch Lev and Feng Gu; $49.95

No one mentions airstrikes in “The End of Accounting,” but it’s pretty clear that the authors, accounting professors Baruch Lev and Feng Gu, view current financial reporting as a quagmire. With strong research to back them, they make the case that financial reports are increasingly less reliable, and that they fail to measure the things that are, more and more, most valuable about companies, like patents, brands and information systems.

Lev and Gu are not just interested in nuking current reporting from orbit, however: A large portion of the book, which is due out this month, is given over to describing a new model that will accurately gauge a company’s value-creating resources and faithfully reflect its corporate strategy and execution, so rather than being the end, it might actually be the beginning — but we don’t know a Doors song for that.

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Bridging the Gap<BR> The CPA Consultants’ Alliance; $49.97

The gap in “Bridging the Gap” is the metaphorical distance between the accounting profession’s current leadership and its emerging leaders, a mutual incomprehension that has older CPAs wondering why the younger generation doesn’t step up, and the younger generation wondering why they should.

It’s a dangerous disconnect, and bravely leaping in to resolve it are some of the leading consultants to the accounting profession, a veritable brain trust who have put together a guide that is chock full of their combined insights and strategies to help both sides come together to resolve the issues that are impeding the profession’s progress.

8 Steps to Great: The Eight Essential Strategies to Driving Success at the World's <br>Largest CPA Firms<br>Domenic Esposito; $295.50

Not every firm can be great, but every firm can try – and it’s a little easier now with this book from Domenick Esposito, who has held leadership positions at not one or two but three of the biggest and most successful firms in the profession, and has laid out this roadmap to similar success. Moving up into the ranks of the top firms in the profession requires a commitment to long-term strategy, and new ways of thinking about your partners, your governance structure, the value you bring clients, and the brand you intend to create. If you’ve ever wondered what it would take to elevate your firm to the next level, this is the place to start.

The Engaged Employee: 10 Initiatives for Successful Firms<BR> Sandra Wiley; $59 ($49 for AICPA members)

Astonishingly, the accounting profession got along for decades by mistreating entry-level staff and subjecting most of its members to months on end of 20-hour days without seeing their families, and still managed to produce and retain proud professionals. Recently, however, new accountants have discovered that they have other options, and firms are beginning to realize that abuse and overwork are not retention strategies.

Enter Sandra Wiley, one of the leading voices on these issues in the profession, with a solution: building engagement. Her recent book shows you how to keep staff and build strong teams by replacing misery with happiness, resentment with trust, and sullen acquiescence with passion. A must-read for firms that hope to have more than one person left on staff by the end of tax season.

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CPA Firm Retreats: The Do-It-Yourself Guide <BR>Marc Rosenberg; $165

Taking time away from your practice to focus on its future is a proven way to take it to a new level – and many firms hold them during the slower times of the summer -- but it’s easy for these kinds of meetings to devolve into undirected ramblings that are all blue sky and no accomplishments. To get the most out of it, you want direction and a clear process, and that generally means hiring an outside facilitator with some expertise in herding cats – or, now, relying on a copy of Marc Rosenberg’s new DIY guide to running firm retreats, which draws on his decades of experience with countless firms to let you organize a meeting that leads to meaningful action.

Riding the White Water Rapids: Career Success in the 21st Century (Special Accountants’ Edition)<BR> Ayalla Reuven Lelong; $4.99

Once upon a time, we talked about “career paths” and “ladders to success” – so it’s a little disturbing that the most appropriate metaphor for the course of your life in the workforce is “white water rapids.” And yet that’s where we find ourselves – enormous changes in technology, demography, business practices and more have brought us to the point where managing your career is as complicated (and dangerous!) as shooting 50-year-long set of rapids. Rather than head out alone, consider taking this book along as your guide – it’s full of precisely the sort of landmarks you’ll need to make it to the calmer water.

Improv Is No Joke: Using Improvisation to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life<BR> Peter Margaritis; paper -- $14.99, Kindle -- $9.99

We usually associate improvisation with laughter (at least when it’s done well), but that doesn’t have to be the case, as CPA Peter Margaritis proves in his book. By their very nature, the rules and methods of improv are designed to foster collaboration and teamwork, and can be applied to any organization to make it a better place to work. With disarming candor and a host of real-life examples, Margaritis explains the value of listening to and respecting those around you, of parking your own agenda to help build a bigger one, and much more.

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The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook: Dominating Strategies for CPAs<BR> Becky Livingston; $295.95

Tweet this book! And don’t just tweet it; share it on Facebook, create a LinkedIn group about it, share it with your friends on Instagram, and so on – all of which you should be better prepared to do once you’ve read the book, since it’s a comprehensive guide to how you should be using social media to boost your practice and your career. With content ranging from case studies to step-by-step procedures, it covers both the how and the why, and will leave you better prepared to gain new clients, interact with old ones, recruit new talent and generally make yourself famous.

Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge<BR> Lynne Curry; $17.95

Having received our share of Indian burns, both on the job and off, we’re receptive to anything that can take the edge off bullying, which is why we opened “Beating the Workplace Bully” with great hopes — and we weren’t disappointed, as the book goes into a great deal of detail on the many different types of office bullies, their habitats, how to avoid their attentions, and tactics for outmaneuvering them. As we read through the many real-life examples of how bullies make other people miserable, though, we began to realize that being a bully might actually pay off — provided no one in your office has a copy of this book … .

The Trusted Executive: Nine Leadership Habits that Inspire Results, Relationships and Reputation<BR> John Blakey; $27.95

Books like this have us beginning to think there might be an ethics problem in the country’s C-suites. Actually, we’ve been thinking that for a long time, but while it hasn’t prevented the functioning of the economy, we suspect that making the effort to build even a little more trust would pay big dividends. “The Trusted Executive” aims to help business leaders rebuild their credibility by teaching them nine “habits of trustworthiness” through self-assessments, coaching exercises and real-life case studies from businesses.