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The Best Finance Books to Add to Your AP Reading List

This comprehensive AP reading list of the best finance books for financial professionals helps them hone their skills, focus on personal development, and enjoy light industry-related reads.

AP reading lists aren’t just for finance, business, and economics students. Take advantage of quiet weekends and vacation time to pick up one or more of the best finance books on this list for a read that will advance your career education and keep you entertained while you kick back on your days off.  

Informative Books on Finance

Finance books may not be at the top of your AP reading list, but there’s incredible value in taking the time to hone your skills and broaden your education when it comes to AP and finance. The books listed below will help you achieve that without feeling like you’re reading a textbook.

1. Accounts Payable in the 21st Century Business Environment: From standard to advanced and most current AP practices by Costa Levi Perepeliza

“This is a real world practical Accounts Payable guide written by a practicing Accounts Payable professional. A must have reference for all Accounts Payable professionals, AP administrators and clerks, as well as CPA's, auditors, accounting executives and business owners.”

This informative guide to all things accounting is based on 20+ years of experience in AP. It covers topics from basic processes and their underlying purpose to the more advanced topics of eInvoicing and AP metrics. Prepare yourself to come back from summer vacation with a better understanding of the how and why AP processes matter to the business. 

2. Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less by Mike Piper

Find all of the following explained in Plain-English with no technical jargon:

  • The Accounting Equation and why it's so significant
  • How to read and prepare financial statements
  • How to calculate and interpret several different financial ratios
  • The concepts and assumptions behind Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Preparing journal entries with debits and credits
  • Cash method vs. accrual method
  • Inventory and Cost of Goods Sold
  • How to calculate depreciation and amortization expenses”

This quick and systematic introduction to the essentials of accounting is a perfect, quick read for those new to accounting or for those outside of accounts payable who want to understand the world of bookkeeping better.

3. The New Controller Guidebook: Fourth Edition by Steven M Bragg, CPA

The accountant needs to be competent in many areas in order to be an effective controller - the person responsible for all accounting operations. The New Controller Guidebook covers every aspect of being a controller, including the management of accounts payable, cash, credit, collections, inventory, payroll, and more. The book also shows you how to close the books, which reports to issue to the management team, how to create a budget, and how to select and install an accounting computer system. In short, this book provides the accountant with the most essential information needed to be a successful controller.” 

If you plan on moving up to the role of Controller, or if you’re starting a new role in accounting management, this informative guide lays out the structure of how to set up your department for success in your first few weeks on the job, as well as ideas for reporting, cash flow forecast, collection and internal controls.

4. 60 Minute CFO: Bridging the Gap Between Business Owner, Banker, and CPA by David A. Duryee

“Business owners believe that if sales and profits are strong and growing, banks should enthusiastically provide the necessary funding. Bankers are concerned that business owners do not understand the difference between profits and cash flow, and may overly rely on debt to support the growth. CPAs provide valuable information in the form of financial statements, but often struggle with explaining how they should be interpreted. This book bridges the communication gap between these parties, and describes in simple and easy to understand language what it all means. What key indicators to look at and why. What the rules of behavior are for dealing with the banker and CPA. The Excel-based workbook that is available on the author's website makes it easy by doing all the calculations automatically, including the ability to forecast profits, cash flow and financial strength. It is critical that the business owner, banker, and CPA understand each other. Give it 60 minutes a month. That’s all it takes to make it happen.”

A book of wise insights in simply stated terms, David A. Duryee’s book presents an understandable, practical discussion of what it takes to drive profitability on a day-to-day, month-by-month basis. Read this book if you’re looking for a refreshing take on how to manage and forecast at a higher level.

5. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

“Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.”

This #1 New York Times Bestseller shares the learning of Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, an investment firm that has grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States. The book is filled with original ideas for organizations and institutions, as well as strategies for decision-making that can apply to anyone with goals they’re hoping to reach.

6. Reinventing the CFO: How Financial Managers Can Transform Their Roles and Add Greater Value by Jeremy Hope

“Grounded in extensive research, Reinventing the CFO outlines seven critical roles—from streamlining redundant processes to regulating risk to identifying a few key measures—that CFOs must take on in order to successfully transform the finance operation.

Challenging many of the finance field’s accepted practices and systems, this bold book revolutionizes the role of financial managers and frees them to make smart, ethical, strategic decisions that add real value to the firm.”

A must-read for those aspiring to leadership in finance, Jeremy Hope’s “Reinventing the CFO” clearly and concisely outlines the strategies and vision needed to run the finance of an organization more efficiently. This book will challenge you to ask tough questions and provokes thoughts that challenge the traditional role of leadership in finance.

Personal Development Reading for Finance Professionals

When work and life slow down for the languid summer months, it brings about the perfect opportunity for some self-reflection and personal development.

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie

“An adaptation of Dale Carnegie’s timeless prescriptions for the digital age.

Dale Carnegie’s time-tested advice has carried millions upon millions of readers for more than seventy-five years up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Now the first and best book of its kind has been rebooted to tame the complexities of modern times and will teach you how to communicate with diplomacy and tact, capitalize on a solid network, make people like you, project your message widely and clearly, be a more effective leader, increase your ability to get things done, and optimize the power of digital tools.”

One of the most influential books ever written, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and annually sells in excess of 100,000 copies. Dale Carnegie lays out the quintessential tenants of effective leadership and engagement within a professional environment with concepts you’ll find yourself applying both inside and outside of the office.  

8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

“Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. It's wrong. As Daniel H. Pink explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”

This New York Times Bestseller and persuasive case of how to harness the power of intrinsic motivation will challenge the way you think about leadership and inspire you to implement the practical suggestions for approaching motivation within your organization.

Financial Reading for Your Knowledge and Pleasure

Taking on the lighter reading material during the summer months doesn’t mean the content isn’t enlightening. These reads will be hard to put down and will impart takeaways you won’t soon forget.

9. The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations by Jacob Soll

“In The Reckoning, historian and MacArthur "Genius" Award-winner Jacob Soll presents a sweeping history of accounting, drawing on a wealth of examples from over a millennia of human history to reveal how accounting has shaped kingdoms, empires, and entire civilizations.

A masterwork of economic and political history, and a radically new perspective on the recent past, The Reckoning compels us to see how accounting is an essential instrument of great institutions and nations-and one that, in our increasingly transparent and interconnected world, has never been more vital.”

If you’re a fan of historical reads, Jacob Soll’s The Reckoning is the summer page-turner you won’t be able to put down. This collection of the captivating stories linked with capitalism and the global economy will provide you with a newfound appreciation for financial transparency and accounting.

10. Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism by Richard Brooks

“The world's 'Big Four' accountancy firms - PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG - have become a gilded elite. Up in the high six figures, an average partner salary rivals that of a Premier League footballer. But how has the seemingly humdrum profession of accountancy got to this level? And what is the price we pay for their excesses?

Leading investigative journalist Richard Brooks charts the profession's rise to global influence and offers a gripping exposé of the accountancy industry. From underpinning global tax avoidance to corrupting world football, Bean Counters reveals how the accountants have used their central role in the economy to sell management consultancy services that send billions in fees its way. A compelling history informed by numerous insider interviews, this is essential reading for anyone interested in how our economy works and the future of accountancy.” 

Hot off the summer 2018 press, this new release from Richards Brooks explores the shadowy world of the upper-crust in accountancy, exposing the unhealthy dominance that traces its roots to the double entry bookkeeping in 13th century Florence. A gripping, must-read for everyone in finance and business.  

While some of the best financial books may not be the first genre you gravitate towards for summer reading, you won’t regret picking up any of the books listed above. No matter what your summer plans are, now is the prime time to dive into new material to further develop your professional skill set and round out your outlook as an individual.  

Eye on Finance for 2019

The editorial team at Untapped will continue to update this AP reading list through 2019, so nobody will miss the best finance books for accounting professionals, such as:

11. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Beloved by millions, this timeless classic holds the key to all you desire and everything you wish to accomplish. This is the book that reveals the secret to personal wealth. The Richest Man in Babylon is a book by George Samuel Clason which dispenses financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. Through their experiences in business and managing household finance, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons in financial wisdom. Originally a series of separate informational pamphlets distributed by banks and insurance companies, the pamphlets were bound together and published in book form in 1926.

While this timeless treasure reads like fiction, itis a revealing tale of the history of finance and how it impacts mankind. Exploring the roots of financial wisdom often helps shed light on the quandaries we face in AP today.

12. Growth IQ by Tiffani Bova

Trying to find the one right move that will improve your business's performance can feel overwhelming. But, as you'll discover in Growth IQ, there are just ten simple--but easily misunderstood--paths to growth, and every successful growth strategy can be boiled down to picking the right combination and sequence of these paths for your current context.

Tiffani Bova travels around the world helping companies solve their most vexing problem: how to keep growing in the face of stiff competition and a fast-changing business environment. Whether she's presenting to a Fortune 500 board of directors or brainstorming over coffee with a startup founder, Bova cuts through the clutter and confusion that surround growth.

In a world driven by technology and constant change, it can be difficult to determine which growth paths to take for success. This book addresses how to view problems, make the right changes, and ensure ongoing business growth.


While some of the best financial books may not be the first genre you gravitate towards for leisure reading, you won’t regret picking up any of the books listed above. No matter what your plans are for weekends and holidays, now is the prime time to dive into this AP reading list to further develop your professional skill set and round out your outlook as an individual.  

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