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Continuing education for accountants--books you must read

Your current reading program determines your future
 

Move Your Cheese and Go Fish in One Minute? True business success is rarely the result of trendy management ideas, but rather the result of dedicated attention to the basics. Sometimes it makes more sense to read or re-read some of the great business classics, than to read an over-hyped current best seller.

Whether you are a CPA or an EA, or work in accounting, tax or finance-you need to know how to manage time, money and people. You may know GAAP (or the tax code), but if you can't communicate effectively, you won't move up the career ladder.

Like a diligent personal librarian, I've sifted through the stacks of books to come up with a reading list to help you achieve the success you desire. These books are classics for a reason: the ideas are timeless. These titles should be on every smart accountant's reading list.

8 classic business books

1) Personal Finance

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
By providing a "behind the scenes" look at how millionaires live and work, Stanley and Danko have shown that sometimes it is a good idea to focus on spending as well as earning. 

2) Technology

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture John Battelle
The Internet has affected every aspect of our lives. Google is the dominant player on the Internet. Gain an understanding of how search engines work and how that will impact you personally as well as your business. 

3) Organization

Getting Organized Stephanie Winston
This is the first book I read on "getting organized" and I still use many of the suggestions that Winston made in her book. We all need help getting and staying organized and who wants to waste time looking for things? A similar, more current book on the same topic is "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. 

4) Career

What Color is Your Parachute? Richard Nelson Bolles
Hasn't everyone at one time questioned what career path they should take? As Bolles says, it would be fun if we could actually try out all the careers we might be interested in, but we don't have time to do that in a single lifetime. Instead, he suggests techniques to help provide insight into what you might find fun and even meaningful work. 

5) Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing Jay Conrad Levinson
This grassroots approach to promoting your business encourages the use of low-cost, creative approaches to marketing that can be applied to any industry. Any of Levinson's books are excellent sources of marketing ideas. And keep in mind that even though you might not be in the "marketing department" of your company right now, everyone is at least indirectly responsible for marketing their company. 

6) Sales

Advanced Selling Strategies Brian Tracy
Selling is the cornerstone of business, and it is critical to your success to understand the buying process. Whether you own your own business (or want to) or work for someone else, your ability to understand customer needs and meet those needs will affect your earning ability. Tracy demonstrates that people are not "born salesmen" and shows how the skills can be learned to prospect, present and close the sale. 

7) Management

How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie
Carnegie argues that success is only 15% professional knowledge; the remaining 85% is the ability to assume leadership and arouse enthusiasm in others. Read this book to find out how to effectively live your life with enthusiasm. 

8) General Business

The Effective Executive Peter Drucker
Really, any of Drucker's books could be considered a classic, but this recently revised book is a good place to start. Drucker is a clear and insightful writer who provides examples and specific "how-to" advice that make it fairly easy to adopt his methods. His time management and productivity suggestions alone make this book one everyone should read-whether you are an executive or on your way to becoming one. 

"A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."
- Italo Calvino

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FunCPE offers interesting continuing education courses for CPA, EA, ATP, CMA, ECS and many other accounting professional licenses. Take our Free tax CPE course for one hour of free CPE credit online.

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