The trusted advisor’s reading list

Value-based pricing for your clients

Many leaders in the accounting profession are rarely seen without a book (or e-reader) in their hands, and it’s easy to see why. Books allow people to consume an enormous amount of information in a relatively short amount of time.

As a voracious reader myself, I often share book recommendations with our Boomer CIO Circle and love to get suggestions from others. Here are a few books – broken out by theme – that have really made an impact in our community and are especially relevant for CPAs that offer advisory services.


In The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, author Stephen M.R. Covey explains why trust is integral to relationships. Everything else you do as an advisor to your clients or leader in your firm relies on trusting the people you’re working with and understanding their roles.

This book looks at why building trust must be a focal point for all leaders and how to go about it. Spoiler alert: trust is hard to build but easy to lose.

Future of Technology

In The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies are Transforming Business, Industries and Our Lives, authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kolter discuss how rapid technological disruption will change our world in the next decade.

This is an excellent read for anyone looking to focus on having an abundant mindset. It explains how the technologies we’ve been hearing about for a while – AI, robotics, virtual reality, blockchain, etc. – will become part of our daily lives sooner than you might expect. It really forces you to get out of your comfort zone and start thinking about what’s possible.


Pricing on Purpose: Creating and Capturing Value by Ronald J. Baker provides real-world examples and practical strategies for firms that want to optimize packaging and pricing their services.

Every firm needs to think about value instead of hours in their pricing, especially for advisory and consulting services that don’t lend themselves to hourly billing. This book is an excellent primer to help you start thinking about how you’re positioning yourself and change the way you price your services.


In The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson, the author describes how many world-changing innovations come from people with little or no experience in the field. For example, Charles Darwin (a geologist) proposed the theory of evolution, and Russian astronomer Joseph Shklovsky was the first to theorize a supernova showering Earth with radiation is what killed the dinosaurs.

This book will help you change your thinking and look for opportunities in other professions and industries to innovate in your own firm.

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Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results by Roger Connors and Tom Smith discusses how leaders can achieve amazing results by shaping company culture to capitalize on an organization’s most valuable asset: its people.

I’ll admit, at first, I resisted reading this one, but once I did, I couldn’t believe I waited so long. It’s really fantastic. If you’re interested in creating a culture of accountability in your firm and driving change through accountability, this is your manual.

Project Management

Scrum is a framework that helps people productively and creatively solve problems and deliver products and services of the highest possible value. While the concept started in software development, it’s now used in other fields, including research, sales, marketing and technology.

In SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, authors Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland lay out a way for teams can get more done. This is about project management, but so much more. Any firm could benefit from putting the book’s advice to work to become more efficient and effective.

Emotional Intelligence/Talent

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny is the seminal book on how people interact with one another when they need to have difficult or important conversations.

This book teaches you how to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their perspective so we can all get what we want instead of letting our emotions rule our interactions.

Being a great leader comes down to seeing the big picture. These books will help you get a fresh and captivating take on how you live, think, and lead your firm, whether you listen to them on audiobook or prefer to sit down with a hard copy.

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