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Accounting Textbooks for High School: 4 Best Options for 2023

January 26th, 2023 | 9 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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As a high school accounting teacher, it’s critical to have the right resources to share with your students. After all, if learners aren’t rehearsed in today’s best accounting practices, how can they be effective employees in a field that demands accuracy and integrity?

If you don’t have the resources to teach accounting or your textbooks are outdated, your students could miss important information they need to succeed.

Below, you’ll discover four of the best accounting textbooks for high school in 2023:

  1. Accounting
  2. Financial & Managerial Accounting
  3. Introduction to Accounting: An Integrated Approach
  4. Century 21 Accounting

For each book, you’ll find information about its content and price to help you decide which is best for your accounting classes.


1. Accounting

Authors: Carl Warren, Christine Jonick, and Jennifer Schneider accounting-textbook-cengage

Publication Date: 2021 (28th Edition), 2024 (29th Edition)

Publisher: Cengage

Cost: $179

In Accounting, major academic publisher Cengage offers a survey of introductory concepts designed to help students see the “bigger picture” involved in accounting. This book covers a broad range of topics, introducing students to the many elements of accounting work and providing considerable detail on several subjects.

Accounting from Cengage includes 26 chapters:

  1. Introduction to Accounting and Business
  2. Analyzing Transactions
  3. The Adjusting Process
  4. Completing the Accounting Cycle
  5. Accounting Systems
  6. Accounting for Merchandising Businesses
  7. Inventories
  8. Internal Control and Cash
  9. Receivables
  10. Long-Term Assets: Fixed and Intangible
  11. Current Liabilities and Payroll
  12. Accounting for Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
  13. Corporations: Organization, Stock Transactions, and Dividends
  14. Long-Term Liabilities: Bonds and Notes
  15. Investments
  16. Statements of Cash Flows
  17. Financial Statement Analysis
  18. Introduction to Managerial Accounting
  19. Job Order Costing
  20. Process Cost Systems
  21. Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
  22. Budgeting
  23. Evaluating Variances from Standard Costs
  24. Decentralized Operations
  25. Differential Analysis, Product Pricing, and Activity-Based Costing
  26. Capital Investment Analysis

In addition to the textbook, teachers can purchase an optional instructor and student website to access related materials.

Overall, this comprehensive textbook introduces students to the ins and outs of accounting. But with over 1400 pages, there’s probably far more content here than you could possibly cover in your high school accounting class.

In other words, the authors discuss each topic in great detail, so beginning accounting students might be better off with a shorter textbook that still covers the basics.

Note: A new 29th edition of Accounting is in the publication process and will be available to teachers in 2023.


2. Financial & Managerial Accounting

Authors: Carl Warren, Jefferson Jones, and William B. Tayler financial-managerial-accounting-textbook

Publication Date: 2023 (16th edition)

Publisher: Cengage

Cost: eBook from $48.50, Hardcover $290

Also available from Cengage is Financial & Managerial Accounting, an accounting textbook more specific to the CTE career interests of high school students. Would-be accountants seeking to work in the business world will appreciate that this text more specifically tailors to their interests than the original Accounting.

Like its predecessor, Financial & Managerial Accounting is comprehensive and includes 28 chapters:

  1. Introduction to Accounting and Business
  2. Analyzing Transactions
  3. The Adjusting Process
  4. The Accounting Cycle
  5. Accounting for Retail Businesses
  6. Inventories
  7. Internal Control and Cash
  8. Receivables
  9. Long-Term Assets: Fixed and Intangible
  10. Liabilities: Current, Installment Notes, and Contingencies
  11. Liabilities: Bonds Payable
  12. Corporations: Organization, Stock Transactions, and Dividends
  13. Statement of Cash Flows
  14. Financial Statement Analysis
  15. Introduction to Managerial Accounting
  16. Job Order Costing
  17. Process Costing
  18. Activity-Based Costing
  19. Support Department and Joint Cost Allocation
  20. Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
  21. Variable Costing for Management Analysis
  22. Budgeting
  23. Evaluating Variances from Standard Costs
  24. Evaluating Decentralized Operations
  25. Differential Analysis and Product Pricing
  26. Capital Investment Analysis
  27. Lean Manufacturing and Activity Analysis
  28. The Balanced Scorecard and Corporate Social Responsibility

To accompany the text, publisher Cengage also offers an optional online homework platform at an added cost.

Financial & Managerial Accounting shares an author and many of the same chapters as its sister textbook, Accounting. But the emphasis here is on accounting in everyday business environments. This could make it a better choice for students in classes like Principles of Business, Marketing, and Finance, who may favor an integrated approach.

However, this text is just as extensive as Accounting, providing a wealth of content most teachers cannot cover in a single high school accounting course.


3. Introduction to Accounting: An Integrated Approach

Author: Penne Ainsworth management-accounting-textbook

Publication Date: 2019 (8th edition)

Publisher: AICPA

Cost: $179 ($149 for AICPA members)

A third high school accounting textbook option is Introduction to Accounting: An Integrated Approach. This textbook comes directly from the Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is designed for introductory accounting classes.

Compared with other accounting texts, it’s more readable and takes a narrative approach to instruction. Introduction to Accounting is also designed for high school and college students and is appropriate for new accounting students at either age level.

The textbook is separated into seven parts, and these 20 chapters:

  1. Accounting and Business
  2. Business Processes and Accounting Information
  3. Operating Processes: Planning and Control
  4. Short-Term Decision Making
  5. Strategic Planning Regarding Operating Processes
  6. Planning, the Balanced Scorecard, and Budgeting
  7. Accounting Information Systems
  8. Purchasing/Human Resources/Payment Process: Recording and Evaluating Expenditure Process Activities
  9. Recording and Evaluating Conversion Process Activities
  10. Marketing/Sales/Collection/Customer Support Process: Recording and Evaluating Revenue Process Activities
  11. Time Value of Money
  12. Planning Investments: Capital Budgeting
  13. Planning Equity Financing
  14. Planning Debt Financing
  15. Recording and Evaluating Capital Resource Process Activities: Financing
  16. Recording and Evaluating Capital Resource Process Activities: Investing
  17. Company Performance: Profitability
  18. Company Performance: Owners’ Equity and Financial Position
  19. Company Performance: Cash Flows
  20. Company Performance: Comprehensive Evaluation

The AICPA textbook is roughly half the size of other accounting volumes for the same price. But its structure is easier to follow, and its narrative style makes it a solid choice for high school classes, where the breadth of accounting material is just as significant as its depth.

It also comes from a reputable professional organization that sets academic standards for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). However, this book’s 2019 publication date is less current than other options on this list.


4. Century 21 Accounting

Authors: Claudia Bienias Gilbertson and Mark W. Lehmancentury-21-accounting-textbook

Publication Date: 2019 (11th edition)

Publisher: Cengage

Cost: eBook from $42.99 for a six-month subscription

Century 21 Accounting: General Journal differs markedly from other introductory accounting texts.

This accounting textbook is explicitly designed for a high school audience and provides a step-by-step introduction to many of the core concepts surrounding accounting. Unlike other texts intended for high school and college-level accounting courses, this textbook spends more time on basics like financial statement analysis.

Century 21 Accounting features these 24 chapters:

  1. Starting a Proprietorship: Changes That Affect the Accounting Equation
  2. Analyzing Transactions into Debit and Credit Parts
  3. Journalizing Transactions
  4. Posting to a General Ledger
  5. Cash Control Systems
  6. Work Sheet and Adjusting Entries for a Service Business
  7. Financial Statements for a Proprietorship
  8. Recording Closing Entries and Preparing a Post-Closing Trial Balance for a Service Business
  9. Accounting for Purchases and Cash Payments
  10. Accounting for Sales and Cash Receipts
  11. Accounting for Transactions Using a General Journal
  12. Preparing Payroll Records
  13. Accounting for Payroll and Payroll Taxes
  14. Accounting for Uncollectible Accounts Receivable
  15. Preparing Adjusting Entries and a Trial Balance
  16. Financial Statements and Closing Entries for a Corporation
  17. Financial Statement Analysis
  18. Acquiring Capital for Growth and Development
  19. Accounting for Plant Assets, Depreciation, and Intangible Assets
  20. Accounting for Inventory
  21. Accounting for Accruals, Deferrals, and Reversing Entries
  22. End-of-Fiscal-Period Work for a Corporation
  23. Accounting for Partnerships
  24. Recording International and Internet Sales

Because it’s designed exclusively for a high school audience, Century 21 Accounting doesn’t go into as much depth as some of the other textbooks on this list. But if you’re teaching an introductory course, that could be a good thing.

Teachers who want to spend more time on fundamental concepts in their accounting lesson plans will do well when teaching from this textbook. However, if you’re looking for more advanced material, consider a more recent text that covers advanced accounting concepts.

Choose the Right Accounting Resources for Your Students

Finding the right textbook for your high school students can be difficult. On the one hand, you want learners to understand accounting basics so they’re ready for more advanced coursework and future job opportunities. On the other hand, they need up-to-date information to be prepared for whatever accounting scenarios they encounter in the real world.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re forced to choose between the most up-to-date and the most appropriate content for high schoolers. But this isn’t a choice you have to make!

When you consider a continually updated resource for your high school accounting course, you receive the latest accounting information for your students as part of a comprehensive high school business curriculum.

With the accounting curriculum from AES, you’ll be able to cover the basics of high school accounting while gaining access to an entire business curriculum that’s continually updated.

To learn more about the AES accounting resources to decide if they’re appropriate for your students, visit the accounting module page.

Check out the Accounting module