5 Great Accounting Books

5 Books About Accounting

  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • Accounting Made Simple
  • Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports
  • Warren Buffett’s Favorite Books
  • Freakonomics

Finding great accounting books might feel like looking for a cobra in a haystack. Even if you find what you’re looking for, do you really want to interact with it? This list has taken your concerns into account. These five books for accounting students are engaging, informative and recommended by experts in the field. You won’t feel the sting of boredom as you read through them.

1. The Millionaire Next Door

This classic economics book highlights one of the paradoxes of the accounting profession: Why do so many accountants fail to manage their own money well? Author Thomas J. Stanley analyzes data from self-made American millionaires and reveals that most of the nouveau riche are blue collar workers, not white collar professionals. Stanley presents the spending and saving habits of plumbers and mechanics that lead to wealth accumulation. He also points out what accountants do wrong: Spending too much money on too many things. This is a must-read book for any accounting student wondering how to achieve financial goals.

2. Accounting Made Simple

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Mike Piper’s straightforward explanation of basic accounting principles should be required reading for anyone interested in accounting. Piper uses clear, simple language to break down complex concepts like the Accounting Equation, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and interpreting financial statements. His book works as a study supplement for students, but it also shines as a quick reference guide for practicing accountants who need to brush up on old concepts. You’ll want to purchase this book in hard cover so it can last through years of use.

3. Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports

Author Howard M. Schiliit has been called the “Sherlock Holmes of Accounting.” With this detailed book on accounting fraud, he shows how he earned that name. Schilit walks readers through tricky financial statements, pointing out errors and fraud attempts buried deep within the numbers. Reading through financial documents is excellent practice for budding accountants. Having a skilled mentor like Schilit makes the practice even more powerful. Even if you’re not considering a career in forensic accounting, this book’s explanations of real life financial statements makes it a great learning tool.

4. Warren Buffett’s Favorite Books

This three-book omnibus was shaped by famous investor Warren Buffett’s claim that three books shaped his entire investment strategy. These books teach accounting, investing and wealth management strategies at a level that anyone can understand. If you’re an accounting student, you’ll appreciate the real-world applications of principles you’re learning in class. The three books are “The Wealth of Nations,” “Security Analysis” and “The Intelligent Investor.”

5. Freakonomics

When you need a break from accounting textbooks, turn to this short, lively text that reinvigorated the economics field. Learn why drug dealers make less money than you suspect, how sumo wrestlers cheat the system and how to find the best real estate agent. Freakonomics has been praised for making economics easy to understand and fun to learn about. Hopefully authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner will bring their light-hearted explanations to accounting. This book has spawned a business empire, with the Freakonomics site offering a regular podcast and blog.

Related Resource: 5 Great Accountant Careers

Enrolling in college is a serious decision. Before committing to a degree in accounting, use these five great accounting books to sample the field.