The Ultimate Reading List for CFOs and Finance Leaders

We’ve curated a list of the best newsletters, white papers, and books to support CFOs and Finance Leaders in their scale-up journey.
The Ultimate Reading List for CFOs and Finance Leaders

Financial health in a startup or scaleup is one of the biggest indicators of longevity and sustainable growth. If you open the lid of any fast-growing company and look inside, there are likely some key finance leaders – CFOs, heads of finance, etc. – who are working hard to ensure the success of their company.

There are always plenty of new things to learn in the world of finance, especially in the rapidly changing startup/scaleup ecosystem. To help CFOs and finance leaders lead their companies to financial success, we’ve curated a list of the best books, guides, and resources to support their learning journey.

These pieces were chosen based on the value they offer to a modern finance leader in a fast-growing company. Less basics, more substance. You’ll find plenty of expert guidance, relevant global finance news, and even insight on navigating crises like COVID-19. Ready to get started?

Blogs to Follow

Generation CFO

This blog has been around since 2009, and has grown to a community of over 100,000 members. The site provides insight for a range of industry finance professionals, including CFOs, finance managers, financial controllers, FP&A, commercial finance and other financial decision-makers.

Both Sides of the Table

Whether your startup is looking for external funding or not, there’s plenty of finance lessons to learn from the experts at venture capital funds. This newsletter is exactly what it sounds like: insights from both sides of the startup/investor table.

CFO Strategic Partners

Articles focusing on the challenges finance leaders face, whether day-to-day struggles like dealing with inventory shortages or more macro-level issues like effects of the pandemic.

Venture Hacks

This is the blog for AngelList, the startup job board. It’s essentially focused on “good advice for startups”, which can range from funding to headcount – plenty of good lessons for finance leaders and anyone at a fast-growing startup.

The SaaS CFO

A blog specifically for all the finance leaders at SaaS startups and scaleups out there (and we know there are many). Helpful for better understanding analytics, forecasting, and more.

Reports & White Papers

Top Goals for Finance Leaders in 2022 and Beyond by Acceleration Economy

This white paper focuses on key topics for finance leaders such as post-pandemic financial strategies, the finance exec’s role in creating a strong culture, building digital skills (e.g. AI, machine learning, etc.) in the finance industry, and much more.

CFO 3.0: Digital transformation beyond financial management by Sage

This downloadable guide is a deep dive on the evolution of the CFO. Taking the next step in a digitized world means moving away from manual data input and reporting, and instead focusing on becoming a visionary within your business.

What 157 Senior Finance Execs Say about Using Technology to Drive Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight by Insight Software

Get your insights straight from the source – 157 of your finance peers. This downloadable white paper covers the common issues financial executives face regarding technology and data. One key finding: many execs feel their companies are data rich but information poor.

New CFOs: A Roadmap to Success by Gartner

This guide is specially designed for new CFOs (and finance leaders who are heading that direction), offering insights to help these professionals effectively manage a range of responsibilities that are likely to arise early on. It also runs through the four key steps Gartner recommends to make a fast start in your new CFO role.

Newsletters 

Andrew Chen

Chen is a partner at Andressen Horowitz, a major player in the Silicon Valley VC space, and a board member for a variety of startups. No matter where you’re at along your business journey, he’s been cited extensively in financial publications and has great insight into what’s happening in the startup scene.

CFO Newsletter by Gartner

The latest research and thought leadership on finance strategies and key finance issues, plus invites to events for finance leaders.

Fintech Today

This newsletter by Ian Kar gives you the latest news in the world of fintech, with fintech conversations beneficial to new startups and global companies alike.

CFO Dive

This daily newsletter delivers insight and analysis for CFOs and other financial executives.

Books

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

Did you know that 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of revenues? According to Koch, the 80/20 principle – also called the Pareto Principle – is one of the great secrets of highly effective organizations and people. 

Good to Great by James C. Collins

Can a good company become a great company – and stay that way? Collins uses research-backed principles to show how greatness at your company is a matter of conscious choices and discipline.

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick M. Lencioni

Through four actionable steps, Lencioni outlines how organizational health offers the greatest opportunity for building competitive advantage.

Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Ries’ unique approach helps founders and executives build startups that are capital-efficient, less wasteful, and more innovative.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

In this book, Sinek – bestselling author of Start With Why – poses an important question: how do we win a game that has no end? Finance leaders can benefit from this framework for leading with an “infinite mindset” and building an organization that will last.

Podcasts 

Motley Fool Money with Chris Hill

This weekly podcast from The Motley Fool covers top business news and financial headlines with a panel of investment analysts.

Planet Money with Amanda Aronczyk, Erika Beras, Mary Childs, Jacob Goldstein, Sarah Gonzalez, Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Kenny Malone

This NPR podcast has won many awards since its 2008 launch, including a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow Award. The team aims to find creative ways to make sense of the major forces at play in our economy. 

BBC’s Business Daily with Manuela Saragosa and Ed Butler

This short daily podcast from the BBC breaks down international stories on money and work in 18-minute, information-packed episodes.

CFO Bookshelf with Mark Gandy & Bruce Reed

It’s not hard to guess what this podcast focuses on. Every episode features a discussion on the best finance books the hosts have on their shelves. They also bring on special guests – always with extensive finance experience – to share their insight and favorite reads.

Let us know which items on our resource list are the most helpful, or if you’ve got another favorite resource for startup finance leaders that we missed.


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Jenny Liu
Finance Leader @ Marshmallow