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4 Books That CFOs Recommend

What you’ll learn


  • Some good books surveyed and recommended by CFOs and finance executives
  • How reading books can improve decision-making skills of a modern CFOs team

The hallmark of successful people is that they stretch themselves to learn new things. And, they also read a lot! To paraphrase a famous quote by Bill Gates, “Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding.”

Now, more than ever, executives are finding themselves picking up new knowledge from a variety of books. Leadership, corporate finance trends, and team management are some of the preferred category picks.

In October 2021, we surveyed around 1000+ CFOs, business leaders, finance executives, and entrepreneurs. We tried to glean the categories of books they like, books they plan to read, and their reading habits. This summary of book recommendations is for every aspiring financial leader to get their hands on insightful books and stay updated.

As per the votes we got, we list below the 4 books that you should add to your  bookshelf. To make life easy, we have also presented a synopsis and a handy purchase link. Who knows, you may even be in for a bonus at the end.

Analyzing preferred book categories

The books you like to read are your personal choice and your requirements at the moment. Your reading can be inclined to any category or categories.

Some finance executives like to read books on business management, while others prefer to read financial management. Be it any category, a reading habit is a plus.

That being the case, our poll conducted on 8 LinkedIn groups and our official Twitter channel for 1000+ CFOs and finance leaders resulted in some insightful findings.

47% of people with Director of Finance in their designation like reading financial management books, as compared to 28% people who prefer the leadership category. The total votes collected were 1048.

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4 top voted book recommendations

The reading habit develops and evolves your mind, and puts you ahead of your competitors. And when it comes to making decisions for your finance team, consuming knowledge from the experts is crucial.

After learning about the preferred categories, we found the best books according to finance executives and CFOs.

Of the 4 book recommendations we gave, 80/20 Principle by the British author Richard Koch was voted the highest. 36% for 80/20 Principle, and 32% for 60 Minute CFO. Let’s understand all the recommended books in detail.

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The 80/20 Principle By Richard Koch

The popular British writer and venture capital investor Richard Koch showcases the importance of thinking and strategizing by following the 80/20 principle. In this book, he describes how thinking requires us to spot the important aspects of business and to reflect on them.

From a financial point of view, the 80/20 principle accounts for 80% of the revenue and 20% of the total customers. Abiding by this principle, any finance leader will achieve a lot by putting in minimum effort, while properly channelizing the 20% that counts the most.

Detailed summary | Buy here | Read here

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

The American author and advisor, David A. Duryee explains the need to understand the 14 key indicators used by  bankers and accountants to analyze financial statements.

Duryee clarifies  that many new-age entrepreneurs start their businesses with very little knowledge of finance. This book describes the key concepts related to accounts receivable and liquidity, which is a godsend for newcomers to the business world.

Detailed summary | Buy here | Read here 

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

This book focuses on the new changes brought by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. According to the act, the federal government is bound to perform regular audits for public companies. Thus, after the bill was passed, CFOs were expected to handle more responsibilities apart from managing numbers.

Jeremy Hope, the author of this book, explains why a modern-day CFO needs to have decision-handling skills to improve the company’s bottom-line results. The American author also redefined the role of a CFO in modern-day companies where they are expected to support their team to improve financial operations.

Detailed summary | Buy here | Read here 

Adding Profit by Adding Purpose: The CFOs CSR Handbook by Devin D. Thorpe

Devin D. Thorpe, explains how a productive corporate life can increase the profit and worth of an organization. He showed three simple and accessible models for implementing the actions.

According to this book, a successful entrepreneur and CFO must add praise and purpose in their actions to enhance business profit. This book is a powerful toolkit for anyone who wants to grow within a company through a CSR program.

Detailed summary | Buy here | Read here 

Getting to know about reading habits  

Reading corporate finance books can become monotonous at some point of time, but it will teach you a lot about leadership, trends, and business management.

After we learned about preferred categories and must-read books, we asked people whether they have read or would like to read the top voted book.

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It is interesting to note that 35% of readers have enjoyed reading the 80/20 Principle, and 12% of the audience are about to read it. It gives us immense joy to share that 27% of the voters feel that this book written by Richard Koch is life-changing for them.

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