10 must-read books all finance leaders should have on their shelves

Are you looking for some great reading material? Or maybe you want to gain insight into the fundamentals of strategic finance before you sit down with your CEO? Either way, the readings below are sure to interest anyone working in Finance.

10 must-read Finance books of all time | Abacum.io
Laura Ambros
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Finance leadership teams are often tasked with helping organizations navigate through turbulent times. As a result, they must stay ahead of the curve and always be acquiring new knowledge.

Over the last decade, there have been major developments in the financial services industry. Technology advancement, globalization, and regulatory changes have all had a significant impact on the way businesses operate. These tendencies are only expected to continue.

Regardless of job description or industry, most Finance professionals today face the same challenges. Because of this, they must stay up-to-date on all the latest financial practices so they can adapt to these changes and succeed. 

Luckily, there are numerous resources available that can provide you with valuable insights into your field. Continue reading to learn about the top 10 Finance book recommendations from our favorite authors that every leader should have in their collection.

1. The Secrets of Sand Hill Road by Scott Kupor

This is a comprehensive guide to understanding what makes VCs tick, from the history of the industry to their investment strategies. It includes background on the people behind the scenes who fund startups and how they evaluate them, as well as insights into why some startups succeed while others fail. In addition, it covers the abilities required to properly pitch a story and the blunders that even experienced founders make when fundraising.

This finance book reveals the success formula that has helped top Silicon Valley venture capitalists become some of the world's wealthiest people.

2. Valuation by McKinsey

This corporate finance book, considered one of the greatest finance books of all time, provides helpful guidance for valuing businesses across industries, sectors, and geographies.

Leadership, innovation, marketing, digitalization, and growth are some of the topics covered in its chapters. It also lays out some proven principles and techniques for value creation, as well as case studies and best practices to assist business executives in creating, managing, and optimizing economic value for their shareholders.

3. Principles by Ray Dalio

As a successful investor and entrepreneur, Dalio shares some of his most profound business insights in his book, Principles. It is a concise guide on how to build world-class organizations, covering topics ranging from leadership and strategy to operations and culture.

He explains the best approaches for making decisions, solving issues, and forming effective teams through radical transparency. This book also takes a unique approach by explaining how  all aspects of life, including management, economics, and investing, can be standardized into rules and comprehended like machines.

4. Amp it Up by Frank Slootman

By reading Frank Slootman's book “Amp it up”, you can discover how to take action to increase organizational effectiveness. Slootman argues in his book that most leaders can develop and implement strategies to boost productivity and drive results across the business without making costly changes to their talent, structure, or core business model. This can be accomplished by continuously focusing on making conflicting decisions that break the status quo and eliminate mediocrity.

The secret sauce? Bringing people together around what is actually essential and executing it every day with a sense of urgency and determination.

5. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham's classic book on value investing offers excellent guidance on what it takes to be a successful investor in any market.

This book, which is generally considered a stock market bible, addresses a wide range of topics from how to identify great investment opportunities by tuning out market noise, to how to prevent potential mistakes and develop successful long-term strategies.

If you want to take a deep dive into everything there is to know about value investing and how to attain your financial goals, this is the book you should read first.

6. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

Profit first is the game-changing roadmap for business leaders seeking sustainable profitability.

By taking profits first, Finance professionals are usually forced to think smarter, and be more innovative. Which, at the end of the day, means being able to focus on eliminating unnecessary spending in favor of financial health.

With dozens of case studies and practical advice, Michalowicz shares his proven system for running a company efficiently. He explains how to make profit a habit, cut costs, and transform companies from cash-eating monsters into profitable cash cows to ultimately meet long-term growth goals.

7. Investment Banking by Joshua Rosenbaum & Joshua Pearl

Rosenbaum and Pearl share the primary valuation approaches now in use, such as comparable companies, precedent transactions, DCF, LBO, M&A analysis, and IPO analytics, to introduce the fundamentals of technical valuation. They refer to this book as the one they wished had existed when they were trying to break into Wall Street since it addresses the need to properly codify valuation and deal-making.

Based on their prior experience, the authors provide detailed how-to approaches for each methodology in an effort to guide Finance professionals pursuing a career on Wall Street.

8. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

High Output Management is a legendary management book that offers invaluable insight into creating a successful organization and aiding executives in managing real-life business challenges.

This management manifesto is intended for CEOs, founders, sales managers, accountants, consultants, and even teachers. It offers tactical advice for building and motivating highly productive teams by establishing processes, focusing on the critical indicators of output, and setting expectations to reshape the way we operate.

9. The New CFO Financial Leadership Manual by Steven M. Bragg

A must-read for any CFO looking to master the fundamentals of leadership and play a strategic role in their organization. 

From tried-and-true proactive strategies to management best practices, Bragg gives a fantastic overview of how to increase efficiency, minimize risk, and keep a business competitive. It contains current information on the CFO's relationship with multiple entities, control flowcharts for key accounting cycles, and a timeless, detailed list of the critical tasks every CFO should complete upon starting the role to succeed.

10. Create Value as a Finance Business Partner by Bo Foged, Anders Liu-Lindberg, Henriette K.B. Fynsk, Andrew Codd

This in-depth manual explains how to turn your company from a cost center to a profit center. By acquiring a complete understanding of your business and implementing value-creating, collaborative strategies you will be able to serve as a pivotal business partner for your organization.

The authors present a set of frameworks for assessing a company's financial performance and revolutionizing the Strategic Finance function through automation and digitalization. As a result, you will be able to adopt a business partner mindset by applying the key findings from this book.

Pair your learning with the right financial tool

Learning by doing is the best way to approach business in today's dynamic environment. Whether you are a seasoned Finance leader, an investor, or just getting started within the Finance industry, one thing is certain: more precise projections are required in volatile times. Which means there is no better moment than now to start investing in financial software to help in strategic decision-making.

That is why, at Abacum, we created an FP&A solution to assist Finance professionals in becoming heroes in their organizations through greater insights and faster execution. Plan, forecast, analyze, and optimize your finances with our agile and collaborative tool designed to make smarter decisions faster.

Request a demo today to learn how our product can help you put all of your knowledge into practice.

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