If you aren’t familiar with the basics of accounting, or if you are an industry veteran looking to brush up on your accounting knowledge, it never hurts to crack open a great book and learn some new things. What better way to prepare for that big CPA exam or that big meeting you have with a substantial client?
But where do you even start? Luckily for you, the internet is a prominent place, and these are the best, most accessible, and best-rated books on accounting anywhere. These are listed continuously and praised within the financial sphere.
Top 50 Accounting Books
Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper is a tour de force in breaking things down to basics. This is the be-all and end-all resource for those who want to brush up on their accounting skills, or if they’re just coming through the industry. This is easily the top accounting book. Overall, this book is best for beginners, but that doesn’t mean that more accomplished tax professionals can’t benefit from its knowledge. It mainly tackles concepts, ideas, and basics, distilling them down into an excellent resource for people racking their brains trying to understand some of the more advanced topics in the realm of finance.
Maire Loughran authors this classic guide in the wildly popular ‘For Dummies’ series of tutorial books on various topics. For those of you who don’t have the energy to wade through some maybe drier texts on taxes and finance, Accounting for Dummies could be your easy-to-access gateway into the accounting field. Accounting for Dummies is marketing towards and is best for beginners. Veteran accountants and tax specialists will already be intimately familiar with these concepts, so it’s best left for those looking for an easier to understand avenue of learning.
3. Accounting QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Financial & Managerial Accounting For Students, Business Owners, and Finance Professionals
This guide by Josh Bauerle, a CPA, is precisely what it claims to be: a fantastic, quick guide into getting into the basics of accounting. However, it diverges from a book like Accounting for Dummies as it is marketed towards not only students preparing for the CPA exam, but already established business owners and professionals.
This top accounting book is recommended for everyone. More specifically, I would recommend it towards beginners and intermediate readers of accounting. But as the title suggests, it’s marketed towards everyone, so I’ll defer to Mr. Bauerle here!
What can I say about Mr. Buffett that people don’t already know? Warren Buffett’s influence on the financial world cannot be understated. As the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has earned not only billions of dollars in his career but has made a valuable and trusted name for himself in the world of finance. Perhaps not for recent CPA grads, (yet!), Buffett’s info is a vital and critical glimpse into one of the most successful CEOs who has ever lived.
Paul Strathern offers readers a valuable and deep dig back into the history of economics. Warren Buffet? Bill Gates? Richard Branson? No, Strathern is dealing with titans of the foundations of the economy itself. We’re talking Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations, David Hume, and English and French philosophies regarding the economy that brought us to this point.
This is for anyone, particularly anyone who wants to know more about the economic geniuses that created our current system hundreds of years ago to understand better where we come from and perhaps where we’re headed.
Onto the second edition of this book by Thomas Ittleson, the step by step guide is perfect for everyone. Whether you’re in your sophomore year of college, a small business owner, or a CPA, Ittleson’s intimate knowledge with the steps involved with financial statements is illuminating and extremely helpful.
I would recommend this first and foremost to newer students and professionals in accounting. This by no means excludes veterans of the business, as there’s always something more to learn.
Aswath Damodaran writes expertly on the unique combination of compelling storytelling to pump up a business, as well as the crucial partnership hype has with those who do the heavy lifting.
This book is excellent for anyone interested in finance and especially useful for those in the infant stages of running a small business. It instructs as well as educates through statistics and educational anecdotes.
Steven D. Levitt is the genius that presents this wildly popular bestselling book about economics. But not just plain economics; economics that is deeply examined through witty storytelling and valuable examination. It’s a widely lauded book, nearly coming in at an impressive 4-star rating on Goodreads. This is perfect for anyone even remotely interested in accounting and economics as a whole.
Along with having a unique name, this book, written by Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff, does a deep dive into ‘The Clearest Explanation Ever of Key Accounting Basics’ that will appeal mostly to beginners and those breaking into accounting, perhaps undergraduate students majoring in economics. The book itself markets towards these groups, along with entrepreneurs and small business owners, who will also no doubt glean valuable financial knowledge from this book.
As you can already ascertain, this book is perfect for small business owners. It is one of the top accounting books for this group of individuals. Tycho Press published this illuminating book in which small business owners read about setting up a business, managing products and services, and balancing accounts. Accounting terms are broken down into uncomplicated terms where some aspects of finance before seemed like reading a different language, are accessible and easy to learn.
Authored by Jerry J. Weygandt, Paul D. Kimmel, and Donald E. Kieso, Financial Accounting deals with, you guessed it, International Financial Reporting Standards. This book deals profoundly with relations with foreign businesses and how to best account for them when building connections financially with them. This book is perfect for international students, economy majors, and business owners who regularly deal with international businesses. One of the most helpful exercises in this book is the ones showing how to best deal with foreign currencies.
12. Visual Finance: The One Page Visual Model to Understand Financial Statements and Make Better Business Decisions
For visual learners out there, Georgi Tsvetanov has the perfect solution for learning concepts of accounting. It boasts, “Over the past five years, this model has been used in thousands of “finance for non-financial managers” training sessions in more than 30 countries.” This book is perfect for those who want a breath of fresh air when it comes to learning to account, as well as business owners and team leaders for better employee efficiency and comprehension.
Mark J. Kohler provides an inside look into how tax planning can save your life. He encourages readers not to accept CPA defeatist attitudes and to examine what’s underneath complicated jargon and see what it means to take charge of your finances. This is intended for beginners, but everyone in finance should embrace the great storytelling by Kohler.
Best for beginners, this book by Marcus Smalling heavily emphasizes the importance of bookkeeping, and the benefits of harnessing all the knowledge you can, rather than the extreme peril your small business can experience if you aren’t careful. This is best for small business owners and those beginning with QuickBooks.
John A. Tracy succinctly states that much of the time, “…financial statements in a financial report seem to be written in a foreign language that only accountants can understand.” The main pillars of this book are the “…discussion of the transition to international accounting and financial reporting standards, streamlined centerpiece exhibit used throughout the book to explain connections between the three financial statements, an integrated section on analyzing profit, cash flow, and solvency for investors, lenders, and managers…financial reporting and auditing in the post-Enron era.”
Mark J. Kohler wrote this book, especially for small business owners, with burning questions as to how to run their business better financially. Say goodbye to dry, dull writing and get ready to read an easily-digestible and casual, frequently humorous, descriptions of key concepts and terms. Running a small business can be extremely daunting, but hopefully, Kohler’s book can take away some of that anxiety. This is best suited for small business owners.
Thomas Yerger Dunbar authors this book for newer accountants. Just starting? Dunbar’s advice and guidance are invaluable. The book stresses examining the critical thinking skills and common-sense practices that accompany the calculator and spreadsheets of newly hired public accountants.
18. Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports, 3rd Edition
Howard Schilit writes to accountants and those interested in one of the top accounting books on how to be extremely careful in the financial sphere. He shows prominent examples and points out some of the telltale signs of gimmicks and snake oil salesmen within finance that are unfortunately all too common. Howard Schilit is a forensic accountant and will give anyone and every one the tools they need to sniff out foul play and fraud. This book is best for anyone, regardless of their field.
This is a heavy-duty textbook. However, don’t let that deter you! This isn’t a dry read like many other textbooks; Charles T. Horngren, Srikant M. Datar, and George Foster lay it all out there. For newer students of accounting and finance, this may be more difficult to follow. By no means is this too difficult for a newer student of accounting. However, it is aimed at people more familiar with concepts. I would recommend at least a graduate school level of accounting experience to start with.
Dawn Fotopulos emphasizes that small business owners, although easily serviced by third party accountants, shouldn’t depend on them entirely with their finances. Accounting should be about taking financial independence, and Fotopulos give small business owners an easy to understand guide. This would be utilized best by small business owners but can be sound commercial practice advice for nearly everyone.
The best part of reading one of the top accounting books is that they become more accessible for everyone over time. While some examples may not precisely be evergreen, the core principles more or less never change. In this book by Wayne Label, the basics of accounting are explored in a simple, easy to understand manner. Newcomers best use this book to the field of accounting and economics. If you’re more established, it’s safe to say that you’re over the basics and are familiar with them.
As Mike Michalowicz’s title suggests, this book will help you be a better accountant for your different small business needs. He’ll walk you through helpful steps in how to balance budgets, cut those unnecessary expenses weighing you down, and how to utilize the field of accounting properly to make a small business run as efficiently as a larger one. This book is tailor-made for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Mihir Desai wrote this book based on a popular college course at Harvard Business School. He touts this book as ‘demystifying’ finance, like accounting and other aspects, can be extremely intimidating to those not familiar with basics and advanced concepts. This book is excellent for intermediate students of accounting and economics but can serve as a valuable resource for nearly anyone.
Frederick W. Daily is this author of this book called “…”Best Tax Book” by Entrepreneur magazine.” This is a book best suited to the beginning and intermediate tax students and professionals. Things like handling audits, writing off longterm assets, dealing with payroll taxes, and business entities are the bread and butter of this comprehensive text.
Have you found that you aren’t getting the best out fo your business in terms of accounting? Accounting Best Practices by Steven M. Bragg is your key to really clamping down on better accounting practices. This book is all about accounting fixes, and Mr. Bragg provides them and more.
This book is best suited to intermediate accountants and financial professionals. This mammoth tome is over 1,000 pages, which may be daunting. However, all of these pages contain instrumental pieces of financial information. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not adding it to your library.
Burton G. Malkiel exhaustively goes over the ins and outs of investing, stock markets, accounting, bonds, and even real estate trusts in this beneficial and exciting book. It’s currently in its updated edition, so everything is more current. This is great for all levels of expertise in accounting and finance.
This book authored by Donald E. Kieso is, you guessed it, best for those who have progressed considerably in their accounting career or study. While the basics are, of course, present, Kieso takes readers and accounts on a journey to tap into their full potential, eventually leading them to more advanced principles. Don’t know what GAAP is? Donald Kieso will educate you.
Donald Kieso is back, but with a more specified field of accounting. With managerial accounting, Kieso informs readers how best to develop fantastic accounting principles, practices, and concepts. Practice, practice, practice is the name of this book, as exercises will help readers better understand what they’ve read.
It’s time to get back to basics with this entry from the Barron Business Dictionaries. As expected, the Dictionary of Accounting Terms lays out the foundation for a good education in all things accounting. This is suited mostly for beginners, but who’s to say that an intermediate reader wouldn’t benefit as well?
31. Accounting: The Ultimate Guide to Accounting for Beginners – Learn the Basic Accounting Principles
Another deep dive into the basics, Greg Shields, is your guide this time into learning the fundamentals of accounting and finance. As the name would suggest, this title is geared for and best utilized by beginners.
32. Bookkeeping and Accounting: The Ultimate Guide to Basic Bookkeeping and Basic Accounting Principles for Small Business
Another entry from Greg Shields, this comprehensive collection is geared towards those starting their own business or, at the very least, trying to maximize profits as well as efficiency. This covers bookkeeping and a more intermediate guide to accounting. This is for small business owners, employees, and those who are trying to brush up on their accounting knowledge.
Author Michael Kane is here to help you launch a home-based small business, and this book will show you how to maximize your accounting efficiency. This book is recommended for beginners in accounting, as well as those who are starting their own business.
Much in the same vein as A Brief History of Economic Genius, The Reckoning by Jacob Soll is a valuable historical resource for those even remotely interested in finance. It explores the origins and implications of financial and historical decisions in our past and what it means for our future in society.
35. Understand Accounting Without Falling Asleep: A Simple Explanation of the Basics for Non-Accountants
Blending humor with a deep understanding of accounting, Tim Shortridge introduces the sometimes intimidating world of accounting to those who just couldn’t pick it up. He does this impressive feat in only 76 pages, too! This is definitely for beginners.
“Are you ready to become the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of the accounting world?” What is a forensic accountant? How do they do what they do? In this book by Greg Shields, you’ll not only get these answers, but you’ll get the inside scoop of the world of a forensic accountant.
This book by Vibrant Publishing is perfect for both beginners and intermediate learners in12 accounting. It’s an excellent workbook where beginners can practice with terms and word problems, and more experienced individuals can hone their existing skills with practice.
This reference book is for beginners and is primarily about one thing: information retention. It’s all about keeping all of the critical accounting information in your brain, and that’s what the authors intend to do with this large, informational book.
This is the first book by the talented team of Walter T. Harrison Jr., Charles T. Horngren, C. William Thomas, and Wendy M. Tietz. In it, they teach the basics of financial accounting, and more importantly, put the readers’ skills to the test by challenging them with more complicated problems. This is perfect for beginners to those intermediate in accounting.
You read that correctly, the 20th edition. This book has been in print since the 1970s and has been a fantastic resource for beginners learning accounting principles. Examples and reading are emphasized rather than rote memorization, which should be a breath of fresh air for college students who are cramming for exams.
41. Bookkeeping: Simple And Effective Methods Of Bookkeeping And Accounting Principles To Build A Successful Business
Abraham Douglas brings you this new and helpful guide for small business owners who may feel like they have their plates full already even to begin to understand the nuances of bookkeeping and accounting. This book encourages you to get intimately familiar with finances, so you have better control of the prosperity of your small business.
Author Paul Dunn offers this helpful guide for intermediate and more advanced professionals who may need some guidance in their particular field. Just because you’re a professional doesn’t mean you can’t use the help, and Paul Dunn offers illuminating advice in the form of pro-forma business plans, diversifying your options, and solving the quality of life issues
Brad Horton offers this guide for those perhaps too hesitant to break through into accounting due to it being outside their comfort zone. He encourages beginners that accounting isn’t some scary thing to avoid, but rather something handy to embrace and utilize.
Written by CPA Michael E. Batts, this book deals with nonprofits. This book is aimed at multiple team members, intermediate to advanced levels of knowledge in accounting, to help better run the financial accounts of nonprofit organizations and businesses. Your team will be better equipped, having read this easy to read guide.
Michael Sincere guides you through the sometimes complicated world of stocks. This is mainly for beginners, but stock advice is always appreciated and always relevant, no matter who you are.
Written by Leslie K. Breitner, Essentials of Accounting emphasizes self-paced learning, giving readers, mostly beginners, a better way of learning through simple exercises, much like a workbook you’d use in school.
47. Accounting Made Simple: Basic Accounting principles for new managers, business owners or anyone who wants to get ahead
Your accounting ‘phobia’ will be addressed, (and undoubtedly cured), if you pick up this book. It’s meant to serve as both a guide as well as encouragement not to shy away from some of the more seemingly complicated aspects of the field. This is suited for beginners.
48. Small Business: A Complete Guide to Accounting Principles, Bookkeeping Principles and Taxes for Small Business
This three-book set, including taxes for small business, accounting, and bookkeeping, you’ll learn everything to know about the field. You’ll learn the basics, more intermediate terms, and concepts, as well as advice for your small business. This is geared towards those running small businesses, but beginners can benefit as well.
49. Accounting Principles: Learn The Simple and Effective Methods of Basic Accounting And Bookkeeping Using This comprehensive Guide for Beginners
This guide promises to break the monotony and dreary activities of endless scrolling and data entry and add new knowledge, tips, and tricks into your accounting playbook. Max Ruell writes extensively about how to harness the inherent power of accounting to save money and energy.
Carl Warren has authored this excellent accounting resource for beginners here in the form of this text. With easy to read the language, a fast-paced method of learning, and a great design, beginners will no doubt benefit from reading it.
With these 50 books, there’s no excuse not to dominate the field of accounting. From experts like Warren Buffett to actual CPAs, there’s no shortage of solid foundations to glean helpful knowledge from.