As the old saying goes “With fast accounting comes more money”
Obviously, making money is more about job hoping until you find a good one that can pay that sweet 100k a year rather than computer hardware.
Since a laptop will be your main tool of work. You want to get at least this part right especially if you’re on your way there, aka, still trying to pass CAPP examinations.
The best laptop for accounting will be something that doesn’t take a toll on your efficiency and productivity which means:
- Must have numpad + FN Keys (for macros) as shown below
- Decent CPU to apply functions all across huge files
- High resolution display for multitasking when say writing reports, linking data between word and excel
- Must open software and boot up in split seconds (Solid State Drive)
- Lightweight: 3lb
While it’s true a fast computer will let you run functions on QuickBooks or Excel slightly faster (even if its just a few ms) and the small intervals will add up to less hours spent on the computer.
Modern CPUs will give you the same performance for accounting purposes, so there’s no need to worry about speed. There will be zero difference between the latest CPU and last year’s CPU.
Best Laptop Specs For Accounting
Before we go over the 5 best laptops for accounting in 2023, let me talk about the hardware issue a bit more and also throw in some tips so that people who do not have access to these laptops ( available in the US mostly) can find one on their own.
By modern I mean a CPU that says either Ryzen or Intel Core.
Ryzen 3/Core i3: These are plenty plenty fast and found on cheap budget laptops too.
Ryzen 5/Core i5:These will give you as much power as accounting software can take.
I’d avoid Ryzen 7 CPUs and anything Core i5 and Ryzen 5 from the latest (12th generation) because they’re too expensive (grab them if they’re on a deal though). More details and tips on the last section.
This is way way way more important than CPU or any other piece of hardware.
8GB: bare minimum. Should be plenty for all the multitasking you have in mind.
16GB: As much as you’re going to find useful and only if you have to run extremely big data sheets (a companys entire logo database for ex).
Solid State Drive is the piece of hardware that will let you open 100 MB or 1GB spreadsheets w/ macros all over in split seconds. Not placed first all modern laptops have it.
Since the above hardware is found on most laptops, ergonomics are actually way more important (it isn’t as universal as good hardware).
FHD: This resolution is a MUST for multitasking and get a bigger view of your data and logs. Not common under 400 dollars!
QHD: This resolution is insanely good and will boost productivity TONS unfortunately only found on expensive ultrabooks, rarely on 600 dollar laptops.
Keyboard: Full Size + Numpad
By Full Size I mean keyboards with dedicated FN keys and a numerical pad. This is usually found on 15” laptops which may not be ideal if you are a student because they’re not easy to carry fear not! Just buy a 13” portable laptop and add an external numerical keypad.We’ll talk more about that later.
Top 5 Best Laptops For Accounting
I’m including laptops for both students and accountants. If you are an accountant already and you see a 15-17” this is for you, if you are a student it may be useful to you to provided you don’t bring laptops to school.
The Best Laptop For Accounting
Intel Evo 12th Gen i7 1260P
Intel UHD Graphics
1TB NVMe SSD PCIe 4.0
17.3” QHD IPS
Most people reading this post are students and I bet very few are actual accountants.
Last year’s we featured the ASUS VivoBook as the ideal choice for accountants mostly because of its 17 inch display + FHD resolution you can see it down below:
Unfortunately, it was heavy thus it was only useful for those people working at an office, basically accountants. Not for students who also need something portable.They’re still a good choice for accountants, feel free to buy it if you have a low budget.
This year we have the LG Gram , released a few months ago, which is MILES ahead of the ASUS VivoBook in terms of hardware and design. This time this 17 inch laptop is ideal for BOTH students and accountants mostly due to the design which we’ll talk about next.
Display: 17 inch QHD resolution (2560 x 1600)
This resolution is becoming more and more popular and it offers a LOT of extra screen space over the popular & common FHD found on most laptops. If you pair that with a 17 inch display that has no bezels, you’re basically getting the same workspace area you would with a real desktop. There’s going to be a massive amount of space to visualize data like graphs and spreadsheets raws at a single time thus removing the need to scroll down all the time.
Also this much extra screen space makes it SUPER comfortable to work with say a report (Word) + a graph or a spreadsheet (EXCEL) both next to each other or just makes your spreadsheet large enough to fit in graphs all over the place:
Keyboard: NumPad + FN Keys + Backlit
Now this is a very thin laptop and designing good responsive keyboards on thin laptops is very very difficult. Luckily, the LG gram was able to pull it off and the keyboard’s responsive, clicky and registers characters with just a slight touch.
What’s more important though is that as you can see in the picture, it has ALL FN keys in it (useful for macros) and a complete full sized-numpad. Plus let’s not forget that because this is 17 inch laptop, the keys are going to be slightly bigger and have a much bigger space between again making it much much easier to type and giving you extra space to rest your forearms and palms when typing.
Now there’s another advantage of going for 15-17” laptops: the keyboard. All 15-17” laptops can accomodate full sized keyboards that means having a numerical keypad , keyboards well spaced apart and dedicated FN keys. All of these are paramount for you to crunch numbers fast and have access to macros when using software like QuickBooks, Excel, Sage 50, etc.
Try and find another 17 inch laptop with this much screen space at 3lbs. You won’t. In fact, even without the resolution, you won’t find a single 17 inch laptop that weighs below 4lbs. It’s impossible, the only laptop that comes close at 4lbs is the MacBook Pro 16”.
3lbs is easy to carry the problem is going to be finding a bag to fit it into.
Hardware: Core i7 1260P + 16GB DDR5 RAM + 1TB SSD
The CPU is way too fast for accounting software like Excel, Sage 50 and QuickBooks. Even if your companys’s database files sit in the gigabyte range, this CPU is not going to run calculations faster than a 11th gen CPU. Accounting software doesn’t need that much CPU power let alone a graphics card so try to save money by choosing the model with integrated graphics. Unfortunately, you are stuck with the Core i7 but if a model with a Core i5 comes out by the time you read this grab it as it’ll probably be a lot cheaper.
As for RAM & Storage, it’s got all you’ll ever need and more. 16GB is kind of overkill for accounting software so is 1TB.
2. ASUS ZenBook
Best Laptop For Accounting Students
Intel Evo i5-1240P
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
14” 2.8K OLED 90Hz
The ASUS ZenBook, ever since it was released, has tried to mimic the MacBook Air in every department. It’s succesfully done so and in fact, like I said before, it is slightly thinner. Now let’s talk about what’s different and what’ the same about the ZenBook.
If you are a student and the LG GRAM is too expensive or you just find it too big to carry around, then you want to consider 13-15” ultrabooks. We’ll go through 3 ultrabooks in the next 3 reviews and if they seem too expensive we’ll talk about alternatives too.
Display & Design
Weigh and Size: New vs Old ZenBook
This year the ASUS ZenBook’s design has changed a little bit in terms of weight and size. The older models were usually 13” and weighing around 2.7 lbs and thinner than the MacBooks (Air). This year’s model is 14.5” and weighs around 3lb. This is not a bad thing at all because 14.5” is still much much smaller than 17” and 0.3lb is basically nothing.
Display: QHD Resolution + 90Hz
On the other hand, the display’s been taken a new design too: the resolution is just as high as the LG Gram and other premium and more expensive ultrabooks like the MacBooks. This is good news because like I said, you’ll have a better view of spreadsheets & graphs. If you are a student, you’ll also find it useful to multitask with up to 3 windows next to each other.
Keyboard: Full Sized + Virtual NumPad
The keyboard’s design is pretty much the same. Clichet-type keyboard with small travel and very responsive just like the high quality keyboards from the MacBooks. The Numpad is still on top of the trackpad (which is good you don’t need the trackpad, you should always get a mouse for a faster workflow). The fact that it is 14 .5” and that there is no numpad means that there’s more roomspace to fit in bigger keys and more space in between this is good news as it makes much much more comfortable to type as opposed to a cramped 13” or even 11” notebook’s keyboard.
If you really want an ultrabook that is because there are plenty of cheaper options (see last laptop).
Core i5 1240P + 8GB DDR5 + 256GB SSD
The hardware of the latest ZenBook is OVERKILL for accounting software. In fact, even the previous last year’s ZenBook 11th generation CPU is also overkill for accounting software. So you can save a lot of money if you can go for the older models. One thing you should know is that the hardware is SOLDERED to the motherboard that means you cannot take it to a repairshop to upgrade it. Whatever RAM and Storage you want, you have to get it before purchase.
Again 8GB +SSD is all you need. I would not even look at the CPU, it’s the least of your concerns.
The latest ASUS ZenBook with the QHD resolution featured here sells for about 750 bucks (tax and shipping included and extra mouse included) and I would call this a very good deal because of the QHD resolution and the hardware + the fact that it’s slightly bigger and still ~ 3lbs, which basically feels like a MacBook without the huge price tag.
If you can’t afford this, you can grab last year’s model which is pretty much the same in terms of hardware (a bit outdated but still just as fast for accounting software) and design (under 3lbs). The only thing you’ll have to give up is the QHD which is a big deal but if you’re on a budget it gets really no better than the ASUS ZenBook. Below is an slightly cheaper model of this very same ZenBook:
Best Mac Laptop for Accounting
8-core Apple M2 Chip
8GB-24GB RAM Unified Memory
10-core Apple M2 Chip GPU
13.6” Retina Display 2560 x 1664
This is not the most expensive laptop on the list, the LG Gram is. However, it has the best display, keyboard, battery, hardware and design on the list. There are two drawbacks though:
- The Price: there’s a workaround this.
- The fact that it doesn’t have Windows installed natively: there’s a workaround for this too.
- No numpad: there’s a workaround this too.
With these drawbacks especially the second one. Why would I even suggest it for accounting? Well Im not suggesting it for accountants but more like accounting students.
Display & Design
Battery: 18 hours
You see when you’re still a student either in college or trying to pass the CAPP examinations, you need to be productive and that means having something very portable, something you can easily carry everywhere you go and has a long long long battery. This only weighs 3lbs and is thin as paper and has an amazing battery. If all you do is actual work on this MacBook, it should last you ~15 hours (a bit less than advertised).
If you pick the older models (which again are a good good choice if you’re on a budget), you may get up to 10 hours or 8 hours depending on how old the model is (300-400 MacBook Airs will only get you 8 hours tops).
Operating System: Windows on Parallel
If you buy the M1 or M2 MacBook air, you don’t want to use excel or MS office on a OSX (Mac’s operating system), it is somewhat different than the Windows version. The Macros are different, the FN functions are different, etc.
You want to download parallel and install Windows through Parallel. If you buy the older models, you can just install Windows through the control panel’s bootcamp option which is natively installed on older models.
Why bother with all of this?
Just in case anyone reading this is a MacBook fanboy or fangirl, they should be aware MacBooks should not be discarded for accounting. Sure there’s no numpad but you can attach an external numpad through the thunderbolt (newer models) or USB ports (older models).
Keyboard & Display:
And also these have the best keyboards ever designed on laptops, ALL OF THEM, even the older models. It’s very very easy to type and as an accounting student, there’s going to be more typing of words than crunching numbers at least during the first few years.
The resolution is somewhat lower than 2.8k displays nonetheless is still far higher than FHD so the same type of multitasking is possible. In fact, this is the reason why it’s got unbeatable battery life, the macbook air has the right ratio of power distribution and efficiency. The CPU is not an energy hog and neither is the display.
The newest Macbooks with the M1 & M2 chips sells for about 1000 dollars. Not Cheap! But you can grab the older models and they’ll still run MS Office, Sage, QuickBooks just as fast as the newer models (for learning purposes as in college, not so pretty for real world accounting).
Best Portable Laptop For Accounting
12th gen Intel® Evo Core™ i5 or Core™ i7
8GB-16GB RAM DDR5
Intel Xe Graphics
128GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” IPS 2880 x 1920
The last ultrabook of the list is special and should only be looked at by students. Not a good choice for accounting work in the office.
Design: 2 in 1 Convertible Laptop
This means it can turn into a tablet and back into a laptop. This is not the only laptop that can do that there are several including but not limited to: Dell XPS 13 & The HP Spectre.
Unlike those two however, this one acts sort of like an iPad when it’s turned into a tablet, that is, you can use the stylus to take very accurate notes and draw visual diagrams. Not something an accountant will find useful but if you are a student, you’ll definitely find it useful even for math equations.
TouchScreen: Stylus & Note-taking
The tablet mode works better for taking notes the iPad, the technical differences are outlined in the video but the reason why Im saying this is because Microsoft has installed One Note on every Surface Pro 9 natively (unlike the iPad you don’t have to buy it) and it works perfectly with the features of the Surface Book 9.
Keyboard: No Numpad + Sold separately
Once you attach the keyboard it turns into a laptop which attaches really well in the latest models and feels quite sturdy. On a hard surface, it feels like a laptop. The only real problem is the lack of numerical keypad but as an accounting student you aren’t likely to crunch numbers everyday and for those assignements that do require the external numerical keypad and attach it to the one of the USB ports.
Hardware: Intel Core CPU
We all know the iPad Pro can do this too but unlike the iPad Pro, there’s a full blown operating system installed on the Surface Pro 9, Windows 11 Home, the same one used on laptops and that’s exactly why you can call it a laptop too.
Which unlike the iPad lets you install accounting software just like you would with a normal computer.
Which brings me to my next point: the hardware is powerful and despite being so small and thin, it is as powerful as ANY of the laptops we’ve covered so far. There’s a full blown 12th gen Core i7 CPU in it and you can upgrade RAM & Storage to 32GB & 2TB correspondingly. It must be done before purchase though as it is very difficult to upgrade it on your own.
Docking station: turn it into a desktop
Because it supports powerful hardware and it’s basically a laptop you can turn into a full blown desktop computer by buying the docking station which gives you access to ports for an external display, external keyboard, external mouse, sound speakers, etc. Basically, the Surface Pro 8 turns into a CPU for desktop use. Why would you want that? Well if you’re back home and you want to be more productive this is the way to go, as you’ll have a desktop keyboard + a much bigger display.
Best Cheap Laptop For Accounting
11th Intel i3-1115G4
Intel UHD Graphics
15” full HD IPS
Wifi 6 802.11AX
The cheapest laptop for accounting in 2023 is still the Acer Aspire 5 selling for about 340 bucks.
Now, last year I posted a model with only 4GB and Windows in S mode which basically meant you had to do the upgrade to 8GB RAM & upgrade Windows 11 S to Windows home.
2023 Acer Aspire 5: 8GB RAM + FHD Display
You no longer need to do that as the new version has 8GB RAM out of the box and luckily it does not discard the FHD which is really hard to find once under 400 dollars. As for the upgrade, all you have to do is go to settings–>system—>Activation as shown here.
The installation process is long and there is a lot of TOC docs to agree but once you do that’s it, you have a full blown windows laptop ready to have all the software you have in mind installed.
This laptop also has an SSD and a late generation Core i3 CPU so accounting software and even multitasking with it along with 50 web browsing tabs is going to be a breeze. It has a keyboard with a numpad and it’s backlit too.
The only issue with it is the weight. 4lbs is not heavy but it’s still not very easy to carry everywhere and this is what you have to give up if you have a low budget basically.
Probably a much better choice for an accountant who doesn’t have to bring the computer other than the office and for a student too as long as you’re not walking all over campus all day.
How To Choose A Laptop or Computer For Accounting
This short guide can be used by both professionals and students since both are basically using the same software anyways.
*Note that I wrote this guide when I got out of business school which was several years ago. I tried to make it more relevant for today by adding more information from redditors in the accounting subreddits.
Below is all the software you’ll come across as an accounting student. An accountant will only useful the last two mostly:
The software used in accounting doesn’t require any special hardware. This doesn’t mean they will run on any computer you find but the hardware requirements bar is super slow. In summary, most modern laptops above 350 bucks will have enough hardware to run accounting software plenty fast so as not to mess with your productivitiy.
What makes a laptop for accounting expensive…
Will be whether or not its portable, has a great display and a full sized keyboard. In fact, only a couple of laptops have all these three features (LG Gram, ASUS VivoBook) and they are anywhere from 800-1000. Most will ditch the full sized keyboard (but this is easily fixed by adding an external numerical keypad).
There is a way to save money without going refurbished….
And that is checking your department (if you’re in school) to see if there is any partnerships with known brands like Dell , Lenovo & HP which may have special discounts for students.
Now that doesn’t mean you should buy whatever they have on discount, you still have to make sure it’s at least something portable.
Lastly, if you’re reading this because you’re about to join an internship, chances are you’ll be given a laptop during your internship so keep that in mind.
Operating System: Windows only
There is a 99% chance you’ll be stuck with Windows (that means no Chromebooks, Macs or Linux). Because:
- Teachers use the Windows version of Excel and PowerPoint: you want to do the same to keep up with classes & homework tips.
- Computer labs run on Windows only due to Excel being more ‘robust’ (we’ll talk about this soon).
- Schools which use software to take exams will usually use software that are more ‘compatible’ and less prone to crashing with Windows.
Excel: The most important reason
Although Windows makes sure you can run all accounting software, including obsecure simulation software like Risk Palisade , with no compatibility issues.
The main reason why windows will always be prefered is due to the windows version of excel being more ‘complete’ .
Now you could use OSX or any other OS (Linux?) too but that depends on how proficient you are with excel and how much your work depends on ‘advanced tool’s and plugins.
If what yu do relies on basic excel functions (basically what 90% of people , not accountants, use), then you can use the OSX (Mac) version of excel or even an excel alternative found on Linux systems.
If you are an accountant that isn’t likely to be the case though. And it’s not just about excel really, it’s about the whole MS Office ecosystem being more popular on Windows devices because the Windows version of Excel, Powerpoint & Word just seems to be better.
Why is the Windows version of MS Office better?
Microsoft Office is Microsoft’s most popular software so there’s obviously going to be a bias towards the version that runs on ‘Microsoft’ Windows. Whether its intentional or not (to encourage people to buy Windows laptops) doesn’t matter, the end result is the same:
Excel will always be better on Windows, more robust and more complete.
This is the main reason why most computer labs and networks in every accountaing department runs Windows systems and why Windows is the industry standard for accountants.
If you have access to a windows and mac device, you can check the differences yourself by looking at:
- Ribbon composition
- Keyboard ShortCuts
- Add ons and Plugins : Data Analysis ToolPak and Solver for Excel work on every Windows version of excel but only on the latest version of OSX
Best Laptop Specs for Accounting
What CPU do you need for Windows, thus accounting software, to run fast? How much RAM is too much? If budget is not an issue, exactly, what display and keyboards should I look for?
Everything will be answered here starting with the CPU.
Now the truth is most CPUs will run Windows 10 or 11 Home (or Professional) and accounting software without issues. There’s only a handful that will give you troubles and all of them are either CPUs that too old or CPUs that were designed for tablets (but for whatever reason are being used in laptops).
Instead of listing all the CPUs you should go for, I will tell you which ones to avoid. Any CPU not in this list is GOOD and equally as good as ANY other CPU for accounting purposes.
Instead opt for the following:
|Ryzen 5 5500U||2.1||4.4||6|
|Ryzen 5 4500U|
|Ryzen 3 5300U||2.6||3.8||8|
|Ryzen 3 4300U|
This is a small list but you can extrapolate it if you change the first number within their model number. Ex: Ryzen 5 3500U –> AMD Ryzen 4500U , both are basically the same thing and equally good (the latter is more recent).
A few more tips:
- Core i5 and Ryzen 5, if found on ultrabooks (thin 3lb laptops), are the sweetspot in terms of performance and battery
- If found on thick heavy laptops, usually means battery wont be as good (7 vs 10 hours).
- Ryzen 7 and Core i7 are unnecessarily powerful and expensive and not only that but they also consume more energy which means less battery.
- This doesn’t mean you can discard Core i7 or Ryzen 7 laptops altogether, some have really good batteries, displays and keyboards which makes them equally good (or better as in the case of the LG gram) than core i5 or ryzen 5 ultrabooks.
Since most laptops have the above CPUs (unless your looking for laptops under 300 dollars), RAM becomes the most important spec.
4GB RAM: Some laptops, despite all the bells and whistles, will only have this much and this may have been okay for Windows XP but certainly not for Windows 8, 10 and much less 11. All easily taking 3.5-4GB RAM leaving you with almost nothing for your software. Usually laptops with this much RAM will run Windows in S mode (a weaker version) and it will be fast with this version of Windows but it won’t let you install a lot of software you will need.
8GB RAM: Minimum for any type of accounting. The full versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11 will take 50% of it which leaves you with 4GB for all the multitasking you have in mind. You can even run all accounting software listed above simultaneously and still be fine: Sage 50, peachtree, Excel, quatoPro, viscicalc, lotus ,etc.
16GB RAM: Only useful if you are an accountant working with many software simultaneously and pretty large database files say for a big big company.
If for some reason you end up running scripts that perform functions on very large chunks of data as a student (for a project or an internship) then you may need 16GB RAM too.
Note: Any laptop that doesn’t weight less than 3lbs (ultrabooks) is upgradeable. You can upgrade RAM if you feel like you need to.
Laptops and desktops today have a minimum of 128GB with 256GB being the standard and 512GB-1TB being found only on very expensive rigs.
You don’t need high storage if you’re only using this computer for accounting purposes. It’s only an issue if you play games.
What about having several hundreds of large spreadsheets?
Even the largest data file you’ll come across within your lifetime will only take 100MB (10% of 1GB) and since most laptops have 128GB, that means (after taking out 60GB for Windows & Accounting software) you can have 60/.1= 600 of those in 128GB.
Remember most laptops have 256GB so you’ll be able to store 600*3 approx 2000 of the largest data files ( spreadsheets, database files) in existence.
If you use QuickBooks, then the largest data file I’ve heard of weighed about 1.5GB and you only come across 2 or 3 of these during all the time you spent on a company (2-3 years), you can have sixty of those on a 128GB storage device.
Type: SSD vs HDD
So if its not storage size, what’s the thing to look out for?
It’s storage type.
There are two types: HDD and SSD.
SSD (Solid State Drive) is many many many times faster (depending on how many lanes your SSD uses – 4 being the highest- it can be x17 faster than HDDs). As long as you grab an SSD (regardless of lanes or sub-type : PCie NVMe vs SATA III), you’ll still get the same speed and benefits:
- Load up all your apps and software in a flash (in less than a second).
- Find particular pieces of code or data embedded across huge databases (or within the entire computer) almost instantly.
- Boot up your system and get it ready to work in less than 10 seconds (HDDs will do so within several minutes).
Solid State Drives are now universal on all laptops above 350 dollars thus ‘not having an SSD’ is only an issue if you are on a very low budget and you have to buy much cheaper and older laptops.
4. GPU (Graphics Card)
What graphics card you get on your laptop or desktop does not matter at all. Every excel chart or quickbooks chart, even if its in 3D, it will run lagless on ANY graphics card even those made 20 years ago. You get by default an integrated graphics card with every processor (CPU). The ‘integrated’ default graphics card is also useful for video editing (for marketing purposes) and graphic design (if you ever have to do some marketing work).
Since most laptops above 350 bucks have all the hardware boxes CHECKED, the rest of your money (or if you have a high budget) should be invested on ergonomics: making your workspace area as comfortable as possible.
Accountants use the numerical keypad way more than they use the keys with letters. Unfortunately, most laptops don’t have a full sized-keyboard with the numerical keypad unless they’re anywhere from 14 to 17”.
Some 14” laptops won’t have a numerical keypard but virtually every 15-17” laptop will have the numerical keypad.
If you’re an accountant, you can deal with the weight since you’ll be mostly at the office.
If you’re an student however, it’s not so wise to pick heavy 15 or 17” laptops for the sole purpose of having a numerical keypad (unless they weigh 3lbs or so) and since you’ll be most likely spending time writing reports and essays, it’s okay to just discard a built-in numerical keypad and opt for an external numerical keypad.
External Numerical KeyPad
You don’t want to look like a loser trying to crunch in lots of numbers in class by using the top row numbers.
You don’t have to sacrifice portability for the numerical keypad either. Just get an external numer bad pad shown below:
You don’t even to plug it in either if you choose a wireless (bluetooth) numerical keypad.
I encourage you to get a lightweight device (cheap is fine) then buy an external a numerical keypad.
It is much better than having to lug around a 14”-15” heavy brick to school everyday.
Dedicated F keys – F1 F2….
FN keys (F1, F2) are super useful for accountants as you can use them for macros (kind of like macros for games) which basically call all steps (of a custom function) with just one key.
All laptops have FN keys even the smallest ones.
A lot of these laptops will only let you access the FN keys after you press Shift or command and although that may be fine too you want to prioritize laptops with dedicated FN keys which let you directly access FN keys (no need to press shift or command).
The only thing you want to maximize when it comes to display is resolution as this will let you work with a bigger wokrspace area and thus you’ll get a more complete coverage of graphs, tables & rows.
Now you could do this with a gigantic display but you don’t want to maximize portability either (unless you’re building a desktop), the only left way to do this is by maximizing resolution.
More resolution means more pixels to display icons , numbers, interfaces, and so on without compromising image quality. Thus higher resolution can fit in more ‘stuff’ by reducing the size of letters and objects. Higher resolution also means smaller icons that are easier on the eyes.
This also means more space to multitask: have a couple of windows open next to each other (one for a spreadsheet next to another one to type a report).
How much resolution?
FHD: 1920×1080 also known as 1080p or FHD is the bare minimum for multitasking (two windows next to each other.
QHD: This 2.5k resolution and as of 2023, it’s getting more and more common. If you can afford it or if you find it on a laptop that’s on a deal, all power to you, this will increase space massively to the point of having x2 the amount of rows visible in a spreadsheet.
4k: You will only find this much on laptops above 1000 dollars. Of course, it is desireable but you’ll have to compromise weight & money for it.
Display size is correlated to weight, if you’re an accounting student on a budget you will have to make some compromises, it will usually be weight by here are some tips that may help you make the right choice:
3lb: This is the ideal weight if you are a student, however, laptops with this lightweight usually cost 700+ dollars. Going for refurbished models will only lower down the price by 100 dollars at best. All of these laptops are called ‘ultrabooks’: ASUS ZenBook, Dell XPS, HV Envy, LG Gram, etc.
3.5lbs: You can get laptops with this much weight for about 400 dollars but they’re going to be somewhat rare and you will usually have to compromise hardware, that is, it won’t be bad hardware but it will be slightly older. You’ll find this laptop by typing the keywords “thin laptop” “slim laptop” as shown in this link. Good news even slightly older hardware will run windows 11 Professional just fine and supports multitasking with several accounting software, it will make almost no difference in how productive you are.
4lbs: This is much more common although not the rule for laptops under 500 dollars and as much weight as you should aim for. Anything more is just going to exhausting.
If you need a long battery, keep the following in mind:
- All Ultrabooks (super thin powerful laptops like the ASUS ZenBook) will have at least 8 hours and 10 on average.
- All MacBooks (even the older models) have at least 10 hours. The latest M1 MacBooks – 15 hours. Refurbished models may get you 8 hours tops.
- Budget laptops with Core i3 or Core i5 CPUs will have, at the most, 7 hours of battery.
- Laptops with Ryzen 7 and Core i7 CPUs will have less than 10 hours on average with some exceptions (due to being able to fit in bigger batterries).
- Any laptop with dedicated graphics (which you don’t need anyway) will only get you 4 hours (2 on average) TOPS.
Tips to increase battery life:
- Turn off bluetooth
- Turn off wifi if you are not using it.
- Use headphones
- Reduce display brightness
- Reduce resolution
- Turn off the backlit feature.
Operating System: Macs are good too?
OSX itself (Mac OSX operating system) is useless for accounting unless you do not need the advanced functions of excel and only use excel and MS Office. However, the hardware on MacBooks , even those on older models, is powerful enough to run any software for accounting plenty fast. If you could install Windows on a Mac, then that would be perfect as that would eliminate all compatibility issues and will also ensure you get the best version of Excel.
Can you install Windows on a Mac? If so, how?
Well yes and no. You can install Windows on the older models (pre-2020) but not on the newer models (M2 & M1 models).
Mac: BootCamp & Parallels
Best way to install Windows on a Mac is by using Bootcamp, a built-in software in all pre-2020 MacBooks that will ask you for a Windows CD or a Windows image file to start the windows installation process.
Once the installation is complete you will choose which operating system to use right after you turn on your computer: Mac OSX or Windows?
If you have any suggestions, questions or recommendations. Please leave a comment below.
- I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.
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