13 Best CFO Books for Financial Leaders

By: | Updated: August 29, 2023

You found our list of the best CFO books.

CFO books are publications that provide insights for chief financial officers or finance professionals who aspire to become CFOs. Examples of CFO books are The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros and The 80/20 CFO by Janice Berthold and Suzy Taherian. These books typically cover topics such as financial management, which are relevant to the CFO’s role in an organization. The purpose of reading CFO books is to gain knowledge and insights into various aspects of finance and accounting.

Chief financial books are similar to other finance resources, including personal finance books, corporate finance books, and business finance books. Readers can gain insights into subjects like cost-saving ideas for companies and team management skills.

This list includes:

  • startup CFO books
  • Chief Financial Officer books
  • CFO bookshelf ideas
  • books for new CFOs

Let’s get started!

List of the best CFO books

A variety of CFO books are available, ranging from introductory texts to more advanced and specialized topics. Here is a list of the top CFO books you should read.

1. CFO Techniques: A Hands-on Guide to Keeping Your Business Solvent and Successful by Marina Krakovsky

CFO Techniques offers a practical and hands-on guide for CFOs and financial professionals to effectively manage their organization’s financial health. Marina Krakovsky dives into techniques and strategies that CFOs can use to ensure their company’s financial stability and success. This resource covers topics such as cash flow management, risk assessment, budgeting, and financial analysis. The book provides actionable insights that empower CFOs to navigate complex financial landscapes and make informed decisions.

Notable quote: “Efficiency must be your highest priority. You will be able to achieve it only by balancing a hands-on managerial approach and the appropriate delegation of duties.”

Learn more about CFO Techniques.

2. The Essential CFO: A Corporate Finance Playbook by Bruce P. Nolop

In The Essential CFO, Bruce P. Nolop provides an overview of the role of a CFO in driving corporate finance strategies. The book offers insights into financial leadership, strategic planning, risk management, and performance measurement. Nolop’s extensive experience as a CFO shines through in his writing. He addresses the key challenges and opportunities faced by CFOs in today’s dynamic business environment. The book serves as a valuable guide for aspiring and seasoned CFOs alike, offering practical wisdom and actionable advice.

Notable quote: “The CFO’s first task is to define and confirm the business objectives that form the building blocks for creating shareholder value. This typically encompasses a systematic review of the company’s historical performance, its positioning against the competition, and the strategies being emphasized by each of the company’s business units and product lines.”

Learn more about The Essential CFO.

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3. Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports by Howard M. Schilit and Jeremy Perler

Financial Shenanigans focuses on equipping CFOs, auditors, and investors with the tools to identify potential accounting manipulation and fraudulent financial reporting. Howard M. Schilit and Jeremy Perler dive into the tactics that companies may use to distort financial information and present a more favorable picture than reality. The book covers various accounting tricks, red flags, and warning signs that CFOs need to be vigilant about. By understanding these shenanigans, CFOs can make more informed decisions and protect their organizations from misleading financial practices.

Notable quote: “Financial shenanigans are actions taken by management that mislead investors about a company’s financial performance or economic health. As a result, investors are tricked into believing that the company’s earnings are stronger, its cash flows more robust, and its Balance Sheet position more secure than they really are.”

Learn more about Financial Shenanigans.

4. The Lean CFO: Architect of the Lean Management System by Nicholas S. Katko

The Lean CFO explains how a chief financial officer can create and implement a Lean management system. This innovative improvement approach will benefit the finance team, company executives, and Lean leaders alike. In The Lean CFO, Nicholas S. Katko explains why the CFO is essential for companies adopting a Lean business strategy. Also, Katko provides examples of creating and incorporating a Lean management system into the broader Lean business strategy. Further, this book explains why CFOs should employ Lean performance assessment systems instead of performance measurements based on conventional manufacturing processes.

Katko discusses changing your enterprise resource planning system to help rather than hinder your Lean business strategy. In addition, the book teaches the strategic components of making money from a Lean business strategy.

Notable quote: ”As a chief financial officer, you are responsible for an external financial reporting system as well as an internal management accounting system.”

Check out The Lean CFO.

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

Most companies need their CFO’s assistance with decision-making and performance insights that can boost financial success. Unfortunately, these duties leave little time for value-adding activities. Jeremy Hope believes it is time to redefine the CFO’s job in today’s firms. This act would free these leaders from pointless accounting duties and allow them to concentrate on assisting managers in enhancing performance.

In Reinventing the CFO, Hope describes seven crucial tasks that CFOs must assume to restructure the finance operation successfully. These roles result from significant research and range from simplifying unnecessary processes to managing risk. Reinventing the CFO challenges the job of financial managers and frees CFOs to make wise, moral, strategic decisions that actually add value to the company.

Notable quote: ”Pressured by corporate scandals and a tough regulatory environment, companies today demand far more from their CFOs than simply managing the numbers.”

Check out Reinventing the CFO.

6. The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros

George Soros is among the world’s most influential and successful investors today. BusinessWeek listed Soros as the Man who Moves Markets. In The Alchemy of Finance, Soros offers a theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary financial trends. He also discusses a new paradigm for comprehending the modern financial market. This book describes Soros’ innovative investment strategies and perspectives on the world and the global order. Also, the author outlines a new paradigm for the theory of reflexivity, the foundation of his original investing approaches. The Alchemy of Finance uncovers the time-tested concepts of an investment legend and comes with professional guidance and insightful business lessons.

Notable quote: ”When we act as outside observers, we can make statements that do or do not correspond to the facts without altering the facts; when we act as participants, our actions alter the situation we seek to understand.”

Check out The Alchemy of Finance.

7. The 80/20 CFO: How to Make Strategic Transformations in Your Company by Janice Berthold and Suzy Taherian

The 80/20 CFO is one of the best books for new CFOs. This book provides shortcuts a CFO can utilize to get respect and credibility. This act will contribute to change within the company. One of the biggest hurdles for a new CFO is companies often do not provide a clear job description. To tackle this challenge, Janice Berthold and Suzy Taherian provide insight into what a CFO should do and how to carry out each task. Berthold and Taherian believe that CFOs are the organization’s police and steward, pitting the CFOs against others.

The first 90 days are crucial for CFOs to make substantial changes and have an impact, so they need to hit the ground running. The 80/20 CFO aids officers in establishing rapport with important stakeholders and gaining alignment. This way, CFOs can become a catalyst for change.

Notable quote: ”It is said that CFOs are one of the loneliest positions in the executive suite. It is perceived that way by design because the CFO is the counterbalance, the police, and the steward of the organization, and the role naturally pits them against others in the organization.”

Check out The 80/20 CFO.

8. The Chief Financial Officer: What CFOs Do, the Influence They Have, and Why it Matters by The Economist and Jason Karaian

From back-office accountants to front-line executives, the importance of the role of the chief financial officer is rapidly rising. With access to every aspect of the company, CFOs today have power that is second only to top executives. The Chief Financial Officer discusses how CFOs came to enjoy such privileges and what lies ahead for them. The book further explains CFOs’ constantly expanding roles and how these individuals are restructuring the department to cope with this change. The Economist and Jason Karaian share perspectives from current and previous CFOs while offering a first-hand look at the hopes and fears of finance professionals.

Notable quote: ”There is no single way to describe the role of the chief financial officer. CFOs themselves struggle to provide an answer. What is agreed, however, is that the dismissive stereotype of a mere bookkeeper or bean counter no longer applies.”

Check out The Chief Financial Officer.

9. The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer: Why Most Small Businesses Run Out of Money and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber and Fred G. Parrish

To help small business owners efficiently manage their finances, Michael E. Gerber and Fred Parrish wrote The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer. The book is primarily for small business owners but is also one of the top CFO bookshelf ideas. The authors cover various financial management-related issues, including developing a financial strategy, controlling cash flow, budgeting, and financial reporting. The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer also offers insights into small firms’ typical financial management errors and offers helpful recommendations on how to avoid these mistakes.

Additionally, this book provides readers with all the tools necessary to either launch a profitable company from zero or improve the performance of an existing company. This all-in-one resource provides all the advantages of a successful business and information on putting these resources into practice.

Notable quote: ”We want a system that can be followed by anyone willing to have the discipline to implement it! It should be straightforward enough to be a plug-and-play process that facilitates broad involvement and acceptance by people in every function. And it must be flexible enough to work in every company.”

Check out The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer.

10. The Definitive Chief Financial Officer: How They can Transform your Business by Mark Gruner

In The Definitive Chief Financial Officer, Mark Gruner offers insights into the duties of a CFO and the potential effects this role might have on a company. The Definitive Chief Financial Officer is one of the best chief financial officer books for CFOs who want to better understand their position and how to benefit the company. The book touches on leadership, risk management, corporate strategy, and financial management. Gruner also offers valuable guidance on how to be a successful CFO. These tips include how to forge strong connections with other executives and stakeholders, handle change, and keep up with new technological developments. In this book, Gruner shares his secrets of being a successful CFO across four continents for the past twenty years.

Notable quote: ”Anyone who is creating a business and wanting to scale that business further can benefit by understanding how a CFO can help a company and also when it is time to hire a CFO and when it is not the right time to hire.”

Check out The Definitive Chief Financial Officer.

11. The Financial Controller and CFO’s Toolkit: Lean Practices to Transform Your Finance Team by David Parmenter

The Financial Controller and CFO’s Toolkit is a hybrid guidebook and toolkit that provides senior financial managers with over 100 Lean solutions and various useful tools. This book includes advice on becoming a successful change leader. The author also describes the mindset of paradigm shifters pertinent to finance teams preparing for the future. David Parmenter’s advice will give you the knowledge and resources to realize your full leadership potential and accomplish more for your company. The Financial Controller and CFO’s Toolkit assists readers in adhering to the best practices in reporting, forecasting, KPIs, planning, and technology. This book is also full of templates and checklists to aid learning.

Notable quote: ”Many finance teams are far from being future ready. They spend long, frustrated hours working with antiquated error-prone systems—and to make it worse, they follow procedures because they were carried out last month.”

Check out The Financial Controller and CFO’s Toolkit.

12. Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Financial Statements and Financial Ratios by Paul Borosky

Investors, finance, accounting, and business students all require the critical skills of reading and comprehending financial statements and ratios. These skills create a better foundation for building a retirement portfolio. Paul Borosky believes business courses will be challenging for students without a firm understanding of financial statements. To tackle this challenge, The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Financial Statements and Financial Ratios instructs students on fundamental and advanced accounting, finance, and related ideas. In addition, the book also teaches readers how to apply these principles to the analysis of financial statements and ratios for five consecutive years.

Notable quote: ”No matter the reason, the fact remains that students, even investors, business owners, and financial analysts, sometimes struggle with understanding or remembering income statement and balance sheet analysis strategies, formulas for financial ratios, or interpreting means from calculated financial ratios.”

Check out Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Financial Statements and Financial Ratios.

13. The CFO Guidebook by Steven M. Bragg

The role of the CFO in an organization is critical and demanding. As a result, The CFO Guidebook provides comprehensive guidance on performing each duty as effectively as possible. This book covers all the traditional finance roles of a CFO, including fundraising, investing, going public, investor relations, and share management. The discussion then moves on to more recent additions to the position, including information technology, risk management, control environments, and strategic planning. The CFO Guidebook is one of the most effective startup CFO books and serves as a reference book for readers looking to improve effectiveness in the role.

Notable quote: ”The chief financial officer (CFO) occupies the top financial position within a company. In that role, the CFO is responsible for an enormous range of activities, including accounting, fundraising, risk management, acquisitions, and strategic planning.”

Check out The CFO Guidebook.


The role of a CFO is crucial to the success of any organization. As an aspiring or professional CFO, reading relevant books is a great way to develop skills and stay up to date with the latest trends and practices in the industry. CFO books above provide insightful information on various financial topics, including risk management, corporate governance, and financial planning and analysis.

hese books are a great place to start, whether you are an experienced CFO trying to hone your abilities or a budding financial professional hoping to expand your knowledge. All of these books will improve your ability to make decisions and develop your financial management skills. Ultimately, this information contributes to the long-term success of your business by applying the knowledge you gain from these books to your work.

For more resources for c-suite executives, check out these lists of CEO books and COO books.

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FAQ: Best CFO books

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about best CFO books.

What are CFO books?

CFO books are publications that provide insights for chief financial officers or finance professionals who aspire to become CFOs. These books typically cover topics such as financial management, accounting, corporate finance, risk management, and other areas relevant to the CFO’s role in an organization.

What are the best CFO books?

The best CFO books include:

  • The Definitive Chief Financial Officer by Mark Gruner
  • The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer by Michael E. Gerber and Fred G. Parrish
  • The 80/20 CFO by Janice Berthold and Suzy Taherian
  • The Lean CFO by Nicholas S. Katko

​By reading CFO books, financial professionals can stay current with the latest trends, best practices, and regulations in their field.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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