Excel at Everything: The Best Laptops for Accounting

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Key Points

  • Accountants don't need anything too fancy in a laptop.

  • Mac and Windows computers are both acceptable laptops for accounting.

  • Acer, HP, and Mac are all great choices for laptops for accounting.

When picking out a laptop for accounting, you don't need anything too heavy. The most you need is a laptop that runs Microsoft Excel and other software your team may work with, something that has a decent battery life, and handles a few dozen tabs open simultaneously.

After that, it's all personal preference. Though you don't need anything specific for a laptop for accounting, some computers do better than others.

Do you often work in dimmer lights? You may want a backlit keyboard. Finding one with a camera is a good move if you work remotely with clients or your team. If you are always on the move, you want a computer with long battery life and a slim frame for portability.

Macs or Windows for Accounting

Long gone are the days when accounting was done by hand! Software that follows your commands hasn't always been a thing. It's almost impossible to imagine handling accounting without a laptop by your side.

Most computer accounting technology is due to modified accounting advancements.

In a Bridgewater State University Honors Program thesis, Emmanuel J. Quinto II states, "Today's accounting industry relies on technology to provide more efficient services to its clients. The first abacus was designed for use in business to assist people in keeping track of their math.

"Many people attempted to build machines that could help accountants with math problems in the past, even though it was not known as technology," the paper continues. "It was only a matter of time before the calculator appeared. As accounting technology advanced, the accountant's job became more complex and time-consuming."

Those calculators turned into laptops, which is what most accountants use.

There are pros and cons to using Macs and Windows for accounting. The biggest issue with using Mac devices is with using Excel. While Mac computers run Excel, they don't do it as well or efficiently as Windows computers. It's a relatively minor difference. If you are used to using Microsoft on a Mac, it doesn't matter.

Windows computers typically break after four or five years, but a Mac lasts much longer. While Macs are more expensive than many PCs, you get about the same amount of time with your device for the money.

It mostly depends on how much money you must pay upfront for the computer and when you want to upgrade down the line.

Your decision comes down to which user interface you are more familiar with and the software you know best. Macs and Windows are both viable options for an accountant job.

Accountant works on laptop at desk

The Minimum Requirements for ACCA Remote Sessions

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is one of the world's leading accounting bodies. Taking classes or being certified through the ACCA is a great way to advance your accounting career.

The best part is that classes are available online and remotely. They even offer exams at home so you don't have to travel to a testing center.

To take the classes, you must have the right computer. The ACCA doesn't allow Macs.

The organization's minimum requirements for online classes and exams are:

  • OS System: Windows 8.1 with the most recent updates to software and security, or Windows 10. RT, Surface, and Cortana aren't supported.

  • CPU: Two GHz is your minimum CPU speed.

  • Memory: Four GB with 200 MB free is the minimum requirement.

  • Hard Disk: A minimum of 1000 MB free is required.

  • Size: It needs to be a full-sized laptop or desktop with a minimum of a 17" screen.

  • Graphics: You need a graphics adapter that accepts DirectX 9c or newer, has at least 128 MB of video RAM, and supports 1024 x 768 resolution in 32-bit color. Dual monitors aren't allowed.

  • Power: The device must be plugged in and not running on battery power and must not sleep or hibernate while running the exam.

Being an Accountant Is Taxing, but These Five Laptops Make It Better

Except for ACCA classes, there is no reason not to use either a Mac or a Windows.

These five laptops provide you with the best options for the "taxing" tasks of any accountant.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go – 12.4"

The Microsoft Surface Go has a 12.4" touchscreen for maximum efficiency. It's also lightweight, only 1,110 g and 15.69 mm thickness. You also get 13 hours of battery life.

This computer is perfect for accountants who are always on the go. With 720p HD cameras, video chatting with clients is no problem.

The CPU speed is just under four GHz, and the hard disk is 256 GB. The laptop has eight GB of memory. It comes with Windows 10 S with the 10th generation of the Intel Core i5.

It has everything you need for accounting except Microsoft Office, which you install later.

It also connects to a wireless mouse, printer, and other accessories.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go - 12.4"Photo source: Amazon.com

Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13"

The best Mac for accounting is the Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop. It has a 13" screen, eight GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and the Apple M1 Chip for its CPU.

Macs connect to other Apple devices smoothly, allowing you to make your workspace any size you need. Connect a tablet and a phone for a bigger workstation, or take your work on the go with just your phone.

The battery lasts up to 18 hours. The thin laptop is just over a half-inch and weighs under three lbs.

It has Thunderbolt USB ports, allowing it to connect to devices like an external hard drive, mouse, and keyboard.

Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13"Photo source: Amazon.com

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6"

The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop is another fantastic choice for an accountant. This laptop has a bigger screen for those wanting to see as much as possible without connecting external monitors. The 15.6" screen has a battery life of seven hours between charges.

The Acer has a Windows 10 S operating system and includes four GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, and an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU.

It is a bit bigger, weighing four lbs and an inch thick, making it ideal for those who are rougher with their devices.

Hearing your clients without headphones is easy with the Acer True Harmony sound system in this computer.

The keyboard is backlit, making typing easy under even dim-light conditions.

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6"Photo source: Amazon.com

HP 15 Laptop, 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7

The HP 15 Laptop comes with a 15.6" screen. It also has an 82 percent screen-to-body ratio for the best view.

The laptop comes with eight GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage. It runs for seven hours between charges and has fast charging built-in so the computer charges from zero percent to 50 percent in less than an hour. It runs on Windows 10 Home Edition.

The computer weighs less than four lbs and is less than an inch thick, so it's a good mix of sturdy and portable.

While the USB-C port doesn't support display data, this HP laptop has an HDMI port for attaching to a secondary screen. There are also two USB-A ports and a headphone jack to connect all your accessories.

The computer has a camera with HP True Vision that allows you to video chat with clients, even when the lighting isn't ideal.

HP 15 Laptop, 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7Photo source: Amazon.com

ASUS VivoBook F512

The last computer on the list is the ASUS VivoBook F512. This laptop has the best screen-to-body ratio at 88 percent. The screen is 15.6". It has Windows 10 Home, eight GB RAM, and 256 GB of SSD. It also has a free RAM slot if you want to upgrade your memory down the line.

Like other laptops on this list, it has a standard weight of three to four lbs and is less than an inch thick. The keyboard is backlit.

The battery time is a little less than others, managing four to six hours even with light use. The laptop's frame is sturdy and can handle some light abuse from a busy accountant.

ASUS VivoBook F512Photo source: Amazon.com

Time To Crunch Those Numbers

Now that you know Windows and Mac work fine for accounting — unless you want to take ACCA courses online — and are aware of the top five laptops for accounting, it's time to shop.

The five laptops reviewed are the best of the best. Satisfaction is guaranteed with any choice.

These laptops serve multiple purposes. They are a perfect student laptop, great for home use, or your job.

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