Books on Small Business Accounting

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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As a lifelong cat lover, Tina is thrilled to be opening her own pet store, where she will provide fellow feline aficionados with food, treats, and toys for their furry friends. While Tina is great at managing sales and marketing, she is less skilled when it comes to accounting. Because Tina is currently building up her business, she cannot yet afford to hire a professional accountant. For this reason, she decides to learn all she can about bookkeeping so that she can steer the ship for the near future. Never a fan of numbers, Tina heads for the library, where she hopes to find a book targeted at small business owners with little knowledge of accounting.

Best accounting books for entrepreneurs

Most entrepreneurs and small business owners would admit that they do not particularly enjoy the boring daily tasks of bookkeeping and accounting. After all, they do not carry the excitement that comes with sealing deals and making sales. That said, it is important that business owners understand these elements, which are responsible for keeping a company healthy and solvent.

If accounting is not a business owner’s cup of tea, or their strength, they would not be alone. Luckily, there are plenty of books about accounting that have been written with small business owners in mind.

The following is a list of six great books about bookkeeping that every small business owner should read.

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

Piper, the author of a number of books on personal finance and the Oblivious Investor Blog, here explains the concepts behind Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). He also describes how to create and understand important financial statements. The book has a helpful straightforward approach that explains the basics of small business accounting for even the most inexperienced of entrepreneurs.

  1. Accounting for Non-Accountants: The Fast and Easy Way to Learn the Basics, by Wayne Label

This guide is a great tool for any new entrepreneur that has never taken an accounting course or is in general frightened of the entire concept. Organized into 12 chapters, the book includes real life anecdotes, tips, and a glossary.

  1. Small Time Operator: How to Start Your Own Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, and Stay Out of Trouble, by Bernard B. Kamaroff

One of the most popular guides to starting a business, this book discusses many important topics, including creating a bookkeeping system and dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Aimed at small business owners and on-demand workers, the book offers excellent advice on being self-employed.

  1. Accounting for the Numberphobic: A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners, by Dawn Fotopulos

For anyone who despised math class, this is the book for you. Fotopulos’ book describes how to read financial statements and ratios in order to assess a company’s financial health, as well as to make smart business decisions.

  1. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz

The book offers a unique approach to understanding and handling a company’s accounting. Rather than offering conventional accounting advice, Michalowicz suggests a behavioral approach. He suggests focusing on a business’ profit, as well as four principles that make the accounting process easier.

  1. Financial Statements: A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Reports, by Thomas R. Ittelson

This book is an excellent introduction to accounting for small business owners who want to understand this aspect of business management. Ittelson explains how the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement together provide a look at a company’s financial wellbeing at any point in time.

Other Accounting Tips for Small Business Owners

  1. Hire an Accounting Firm

If an entrepreneur’s business is growing faster than expected, and he or she does not have the time or energy to learn accounting, then it may be best to hire an experienced accountant or firm. This professional will be an expert who can help lower the risk of mistakes in bookkeeping, which may otherwise occur if the owner manages it themselves.

  1. Invest in Accounting Software

Tools like QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Xero can help a business owner improve the accuracy of their account books. As a plus, they can reduce the amount of time and energy put into bookkeeping.

  1. Take an Accounting Course

After reading the above recommended books, it may be wise for a small business owner or entrepreneur to take a course on management accounting. This could be a class at the local community college or even online, from the comfort of one’s home.


To become a successful small business owner, it is important that an individual educate themselves on all aspects of their business, including accounting. The six books described above, as well as the subsequent tips, can get an entrepreneur started on their road to success.

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