5 Best Laptops For Accounting (2024 Software)

If you want to make lots of money with accounting you need to keep job hoping until you find that sweet 100k a year salary. 


Since your laptop is your main tool of work, it’s important to pick one that can speed up your workflow so you can save lots of time to study for the CAPP examinations. That exam is going to be one of the main requirements for this salary.

The best laptop for accounting will have the following:

  • Numpad = fast number crunching
  • FN Keys = set up macros
  • High resolution display = lots of windows open next to each other (i.e write reports + link/work on data between word & excel simultaneously).
  • Solid State Drive = boot up software & windows in split seconds.
  • (Bonus) Lightweight = take it anywhere with you so you can keep crunching numbers
  • Fast & well designed keyboard = bad keyboards will slow down your workflow.
The LG Z90R has all the features the best laptop for accounting should have. However, the keyboard design isn’t that great. 

What about CPU & Power ?

That should be the LEAST of your concerns.

While its true a more expensive and recent CPU runs functions on QuickBooks or Excel faster, the performance difference with older and ‘slower’ CPUs are insignificant.

Best Laptop Specs For Accounting

I would love to get right into the best laptops for accounting but some people reading this article won’t have access to the following laptops (this is a post written for the US). So before that, let me talk about the hardware a bit more so everyone can find their best pick.


As long as the CPU is no older than 3 years and it’s either Ryzen or Intel Core, it’s good.

Ryzen 3/Core i3:  Good enough if you’re on a budget. Get the most recent one if you can.
Ryzen 5/Core i5:  More expensive but faster. Older ones are still faster than recent Ryzen 3/Core i3 CPUs.

*** Try to avoid Ryzen 7 CPUs. they’re unncessarily FAST and consume more battery.

The most important piece of hardware.
8GB:   minimum. Plenty for most multitaskers.
16GB: This is useful for crazy multitaskers OR those running very large data sheets (a companys entire logo database for ex).  This is rare. However RAM is upgradeable so it isn’t a concern before you purchase a laptop.

Storage: SSD
SSD means Solid State Drive.  This is the second most important piece of hardware. You can open 100 MB or 1GB spreadsheets containing hundreds of macros in split seconds. All modern laptops have however.

Most laptops have all the above hardware by default (if they’re not old or cheap <300 dollars) so ergonomics is the only thing to watch out for.

Display: Resolution
FHD: This is the BARE MINIMUM resolution.  You need high resolution for multitasking. It will also give you a bigger picture  of your data and logs. Common on laptops over 350 dollars.

QHD: This much resolution will boost productivity massively especially if you multitask a lot (more space mean more windows next to each other. It isn’t uncommon to find under 600 dollars.

Keyboard: Full Size
A Full Sized keyboard has numerical numpad + dedicated FN keys.

Numerical keypads are only available on 15” laptops which usually means a heavy & thick laptop (if paying under 500). Not ideal if you are a student.

If you can’t find a 15” portable laptop you can afford, you can always buy a 14” or 13” laptop and use an external numerical keypad when you need to.

Top 5 Best Laptops For Accounting

The following list has laptops for both students and accountants. Students should focus on the lightweight and portable laptops while accountants can afford to focus on a huge display with a full sized keyboard.

As for power, they all really have almost the same performance for accounting software.

The best laptop for accountants is #1.

The best laptop for accounting students is #2. 

1. 2024 LG ROCK 17

The Best Laptop For Accounting

  Core i7-1360P


  Intel Iris Graphics

  2TB NVMe SSD PCIe 4.0

  17.3” QHD ‎2560 X 1600 IPS 16:10 ratio

  2.98 lbs

  13 hours

    WiFi 6

There was a problem with last year’s LG GRAM and that was the keyboard. This year the LG GRAM has fixed this by changing the design slightly and for those that don’t know the LG GRAM also has all the features you’d want in a laptop for accounting.

The latest LG Gram still has the previous versions CPU and although previous version’s CPUs are plenty fast too (most CPUs are fast for accounting) they have a big issue with the keyboard. If you are mostly crunching numbers, this shouldn’t be a problem but if you are typing lots of reports then it can get annoying.


Keyboard: NumPad + FN Keys + Backlit

It’s well known that 17 inch laptops have a full sized keyboard which includes a NumPad + FN Keys. The LG Gram also has a fingerprint reader on it and has the backlit feature. Although previous versions have great and responsive keys too the way the keyboard was placed made it difficult to type and make your very prone to errors, the keyboard was compressed into a smaller area .

If you look at the picture above, now you can see the keyboard taking most of the space available.

This also means the keys are slightly bigger which makes it even easier to type. Since this is a 17 inch laptop, there’s naturally goign to be lots of space to rest the palms of your hand and forearms. This is VERY VERY important to avoid any injuries like carpan tunnel syndrome, the extra space from 17 inch laptops eliminate the need to bend your wrists when typing.

Display: 17 inch QHD resolution (2560 x 1600) 16:10

This features is available on all versions of the LG Gram. All of the have a 17 inch display (the largest on laptops is 18”) and weigh less than 3lbs! This is the most salient feature of the LG GRAM since most 17 inch laptops weigh at least 4lbs with most weighing +5lbs on average.

Of course, if you are account who’s mostly using this laptop at a office, weight doesn’t really matter. If said laptop is stayign mostly in one place you don’t have to pay 1000 dollars for the LG Gram 17 , you can find cheaper 17 inch with okays keyboards.

Resolution: what’s going to make the biggest difference when it comes to adding screen space area is the resolution. All recent versions of the LG Grams have QHD (2k) resolutions whereas cheaper 17 inch laptops are limited to FHD. There decent 16” laptops with QHD resolution as well : Lenovo IdeaPro 5i! You can buy that if you can’t afford the LG Gram 17 but still need a big screen space area.

Below an example of what you can do with a large display: Not only can you have graphs to visualize data but also have plenty of space (left and right) to see data or rows. 

This will also the reduce the amount of scrolling up and down a sheet because more data will show up at once.

Although there are displays with 4k resolutions on laptops. Those can get really HEAVY because they add lots of unncessary hardware (for accounting) like high end GPU & CPUs plus they’re heavy too. Basically, it’s the weigh defeats the whole purpose of buying a laptop with a 4k resolution.

Weight: ~3lbs

The LG Gram 17 is the only 17 inch laptop that weighs less than 3lb. Not even premium ultrabooks like the MacBooks weigh this much.

The latest 16” MacBook and even the 14” MacBook weigh over 3lbs.

The only laptop that’s both as large and portable is the Dell XPS 17 (though it weighs around 4lb) however it’s got unncessary CPU power and costs twice as much as the LG Gram 17. 


Although the LG Gram 17 is lightweight, you will need to buy a slightly larger backpack because it’s still BIG and won’t fit nicely on smaller backpacks. 

Hardware: Core i7 1360P + 16GB DDR5 RAM + 1TB SSD

This model has the latest “power efficient” Core i7 CPU ( “U” “P” or “G” labels stand for low voltage – low power & more battery).

Hwoever, you don’t need a Core i7 and much less one from the 13th gen. It is  WAY WAY TOO FAST for the typical work of the average accountant working with software like Excel, Sage 50 and QuickBooks.

Even if you know how to program  and work with banking software, it’s still way too fast. 

As for RAM, it’s got 16GB from the latest RAM generation: DDR5 . Again it’s unncessarily way too fast for most accounts except for those working with super heavy databases who might see a small performance gain that will add up to less time working on a project over the course of the week only IF they work with these huge database files all the time.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an LG Gram model with a Core i5 & 8GB RAM CPU thus if you want to enjoy the size + weight & super high resolution  you will have to buy the LG Gram 17. You won’t even find alternatives from other brands, it’s the only laptop packing all these features on a portable device.

Although you can save lots of money with the older models, please beware of the keyboard issue we discussed. The latest model has a much better keyboard for a speedy workflow. That should be the most important takeaway from this review. 

LG Gram 17
  • Large high resolution display
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Full sized decent keyboard
  • Physical Numpad
  • Maxed out RAM & Storage
  • Extremely long battery
  • Expensive
  • Bad keyboards (Older models)

2. ASUS ZenBook 14X

Best Laptop For Accounting Students

  Intel Core i5 13500H


  Intel Iris Xe Graphics

  1TB SSD 

  14” 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED 90Hz


  10 hours

The ASUS ZenBook is a cheaper alternative to the LG Gram 17 or the MacBooks which are both portable and have high resolutions.

This year, I did not update the ASUS ZenBook to a newer version because the 2024 models are:

  • Too Expensive
  • They have way too much CPU power
  • Smaller sized models no longer have the NumPad

You are welcome to check them out on this link. There’s also the ASUS VivoBook DUO which has TWO displays (one goes below the  keyboard which is detachable).


Pretty much ALL ASUS ZenBooks or VivoBook models , even their older models, have the hardware you need for ALL accounting software and multitasking. The older and weakest models have a Core i5 + 8GB RA.)

The model featured here has a 13th generation and I would’ve listed a CPU that’s 2 generations older however this laptop isn’t that much more expensive.

It also has the latest RAM generation (DDR5) which you MAY find useful if you work with heavy database files as we discussed before.

  Display & Design

Because is a smaller laptop that only weighs around 3lbs, it’s a much better choice for students than the LG Gram 17.  If you are an accountant, you want to choose another model that’s slightly bigger and has a physical numpad.

Keyboard: Full Sized + Virtual NumPad

The keyboard’s is responsive. It’s a clichet keyboard that’s clicky and easy to type, keys are spread all over the base of the laptop and although there’s no physical numpad, there’s a virtual numpad that sits on top of the trackpad.

If you are a student, this is perfect since you won’t be crunching numbers as much as an accountant does. Giving up a physical numpad for a much cheaper and portable machine is a good move.

Now although there are 14” laptops with physical numpads, they reduce the size of each keys to fit in the numpad on the right side of the keyboard and they also get rid of some keys pr placed them unconventially. These keys MAY be useful for macros thus you don’t want to compromise the keyboard’s key layout.

This is the only laptop that doesn’t compromise the keyboard’s layout by placing a virtual numpad on the trackpad.

As for the trackpad, if you want a speedy workflow you always want to attach mouse no matter how good the trackpad. 

Weigh and Size

If you are a student anything over 3.5lbs starts to take a toll on you if carrying it all day and you will be more reluctant to bring your laptop to school for sure.

With the exception of the 15” versions of the ASUS ZenBook & VivoBook, most ASUS ZenBook including the latest and older ones weigh around 3lbs. Some models (the very old ones) that are much cheaper will weigh an extra 1/2 a pound (3lb vs 3.4lb). 

Most of the ASUS ZenBook models, including this one, will be thicker than the MacBook Air (0.66” vs 0.45”) but still thinner than the average 14” or 15” laptop (.75-.80” think). Note that you can find thinner and lightweight laptops (LG GRam 17 & Surface Laptop Devices) but all of them are around or over 1000 dollars. When you shop for the ASUS ZenBook you will also find 1000 dollar versions with all these features but also as low as 700 dollars with almost the same features (without a Core i7 & TouchScreen both which you don’t need).

Display: QHD Resolution + 90Hz + OLED

Though this laptop’s display is 14”, you can find more portable ASUS ZenBooks (older models) with 13” displays (however with a smaller keyboard and no virtual numpad).  If you cannot afford this ASUS ZenBook, you can go for the older models and buy an external numerical pad.

Pay no attention to refresh rates. They offer no benefits for eye health unless you’re watching videos or gaming all day. The OLED does make a difference when it comes to viewing angles, that is, flipping the display back and forth will not make the screen less visible you will still be able to read what’s on the screen.

Resolution: the biggest reason to go for the newest models like the one featured here is the QHD resolution. Although it’s paired with a smaller display (14”), it will still give you a lot  of extra space for a bigger view of your spreadsheets and graphs. You’ll get A LOT more screen space than the average laptop which has 15” and FHD resolution. 

  Hardware & Upgrades

The main thing I dislike about this model is the CPU. It’s a gamer / high performance CPU more useful for….obviously gaming and heavy stuff like content creation (video editing).

This not only adds more cost to the overall price but also reduces battery since more powerful hardware consumes more energy. I wish this model had been fit a low voltage CPU ( U , P or G) even if its two or three generations older.

But there’s no other option as of 2024. The cheapest ZenBook with the QHD resolution and virtual numpad only comes with this CPU.

Upgrades: RAM & SSD

SSD & RAM is SOLDERED to the motherboard, that means YOU CANNOT add additional storage or RAM. You will be STUCK with whatever you get at the time of purchase. If you buy this model however you WON’T need to do any upgrades though. 8GB & 1TB is plenty for accountants even those working with big database files.

ASUS ZenBook 14X
  • Large Storage
  • Latest RAM (DDR5)
  • High QHD resolution display
  • Very portable
  • Includes Virtual Numpad despite laptop size
  • Long Battery
  • Cannot be RAM & Storage Upgradeable
  • Latest models are very expensive
  • CPU eats up too much battery

3. 2024 M3 MacBook Air 

Best Macbook for Accounting 

  8-core Apple M3 Chip

  8GB Unified Memory

   10-core Apple M3 Chip GPU


  13-15” Retina Display True Tone

  3.3 lbs

  +15 hours 

This is the latest MacBook Air.

It’s not meant to be taken as the ONLY option when it comes to MacBooks. You can go for ANY of the recent MacBooks (Apple Silicon Chips) or even the slightly older versions.

Anyways…we’ll talk more about the older & cheaper MacBooks later.

Why are MacBook a good option?

Because they have a solid build, top of the line keyboards and insane battery lives. Super useful for students. Not so much for accountants.

The main drawbacks for are:

  • No Numpad: Even though they have the best keyboards for typing (silent yet click and extremely responsive). they don’t have full sized keyboards
  • OSX: the operating system is not windows but rather OSX and you’ll be limited to a ‘nerfed’ version of Excel.

We’ll talk about how to get around these drawbacks soon.

What about price?

It’s only an issue if you go for the latest models. The latest MacBooks Air at 1000 dollars (MacBook Air) with the M3 model featured here at 1200 dollars. 

   Design & Ergonomics

Display: Retina 15-16”

The more recent models have a retina display. You can find retina displays on ALL MacBooks (Air & Pro) on models released after 2020 (older MacBook Pros have retina displays too).

Retina resolution displays have resolutions either equal to  QHD or higher.

For example, older MacBok Pros after 2012 have 2880 x 1800 (the resolution of the laptops we went over) whereas the new models (16”) have 3456 x 2234 which is close to 4k. The MacBook Air models (post 2020) have a minimum resolution of 2560 x 1600.

Thus, MOST macbooks will give you enough screen space to easily multitask with two or three windows on the same screen as well as giving you a larger view of spreadsheets and data.

With the exception of the older models, the recent MacBooks (post 2020) also have lots of brightness: ~500 nits. Thus if you are a student, you can take this laptop out in the park with the sun on your face and still be able to see what’s on the screen.

Battery: 13-18 hours

The latest MacBooks with the Apple Silicon Chips have their batteries easily reach 15 hours with the latest M3 MacBook Air reaching a whooping 18 hours.

The older models should in theory have about 13 hours (even this is much higher than most windows laptops) however older models are hit or miss since they’re refurbished.

Refurbished laptops may or may not have their batteries replaced. If the battery’s replaced then expect to have at least 13 hours.

That’s all assuming you don’t play games on these MacBooks and you spend most of the time doing actual accounting work.

This is yet another reason to buy it if you are a student. Producitivity will shoot up exponentially if you have a laptop that doesn’t run out of battery even if you use it throughout school hours.

Keyboard: Warning!

Typing on the MacBook keyboards is miles better than typing on most windows laptops (with the exception of the ThinkPads who are as good). Most windows laptops do not come near the same comfort , responsiveness and silent design of the keyboards on the MacBook.


That’s only speaking about the MacBooks post 2020. Somewhere between 2018-2020, Apple completely redesigned the keyboards and it simply backfired (the famous ‘butterfly keyboards’ ). They were no longer special nor as ‘clicky’ and ‘bouncy’ as the older design (‘scissor keyboards). For a complete list of all keyboards and their design, check out this link.

Numpad: though there is no numpad this is easily fixed by buying an external Numpad with USB 3 Type C (MacBooks do not have USB ports).

Though it may feel annoying to use one it really isn’t because you won’t be crunching numbers on most of your classes. These type of assignments are limited to 3rd or 4th year classes and even then it’s just a few classes.

OSX: Windows  & Excel

This is the main drawback of buying a MacBook. OSX (Macbook’s operating system) does run Excel and Office however it’s a different version than the Windows version of Excel. Some functions are not available on the OSX’s version AND the shortcut keys are slightly different as well. 

Of course, you can get used to this but your teacher will likely use a windows version of excel and you MAY fall behind trying to figure out how to perform the same function. 

The solution to this problem is installing Windows on a MacBook. No you don’t have to delete OSX, you can install Windows on top of OSX. Basically, you can use both OSX and Windows on the same machine. You can switch back to Windows when you see the need to (it will mostly be for QuickBooks or Excel and any other accounting software).

You can use a virtual machine with the newer models.

As for the older models, it works even better, you can install windows natively, that is, no need for virtual machines, windows will entirely take over your MacBook and turn it into a windows laptop. You can revert back to OSX with a restart.


Older models are obviously cheaper but you’d be surprised on how cheap those models that are very old are. Last time I checked as of 2024, they can be found as low as 300 dollars. Yeah they won’t be new but they’re pretty much new and will last you at least 5 years.

The newest models are very expensive but you don’t have to get the latest M3 MacBook Pro or Air. The M1 & M2 MacBook Pros & MacBook Air work equally well. They all share the features, display and keyboard design.

You don’t have to worry about what hardware to choose on MacBooks, they all run fast for accounting purposes, even the older models. 

M3 MacBook Air
  • Extremely Long Battery (18 hours)
  • Fast Memory & CPU
  • Extremely thin & portable
  • Large high resolution display
  • Best keyboard on the market
  • Very Expensive
  • Lacks numerical keypad

4. Surface Pro 9

Best 2 in 1 Laptop For Accounting

  12th gen Intel® Evo Core™ i5 or Core™ i7


  Intel Xe Graphics


  13” IPS ‎2880 x 1920


  +15 hours

This is another choice for accounting students (not accountants). It works just like the MacBook with a nice extra feature.

Tt’s portable, lightweight, has a long battery life and it’s a 2 in 1 device. That means you can turn it into a tablet.

Design: 2 in 1 Convertible Laptop

Once turned into a tablet you can write notes as if it were a physical notebook. You can also store notes and pages in nice folders that may also include audio clips/videos recorded from class or even book excerpts. You can do this through oneNote although you can use plenty of other third party software to do the same thing (some have more cool functions than OneNote).

The sensitivity of the touchScreen when drawing and writing is good enough for mathematicians and even graphic designers who also draw animation through it. The cool part is that this is true regardless of the version you pick. The latest Surface Pro 9 is shown here but everything applies to the older models too (Surface Pro 5,6,7,8). They all have nearly the same touchscreen sensitivity and accuracy when using the stylus.

Keyboard: No Numpad + Sold separately

The keyboard is sold separately but once attached it turns the Surface pro back into a laptop. Although the FN keys are present there is no numpad and you will have to buy an external keypad when using it in laptop mode. Note that the ports are limited on the Surface Pro and if you’re going to use a mouse with the numpad, you’ll need either a wireless numpad or an adapter that can turn one port into many.

Though the keyboard quality and design are pretty much the same on older models there is the problem of tethering with the older models. That is, the keyboards unstable when you start typing hard with the surface Pro sitting on your laptop or a soft surface. On hard surfaces like tables and desks or even the floor, it should feel like a real traditional laptop there will be no tethering.

If you think you’re going to spend a lot of time typing on your laptop, you want to favor the latest models (Surface Pro 9 and 8), the more recent models are designed to minimize tetheering though they are still present.

Hardware: Intel Core CPU i7 vs Core i5

So far the surface pro doesn’t same anything more special than an iPad Pro or most tablets really. You can do all the above with the iPad Pro & tablets as well (attach keyboard, numpads,etc).

However, the Surface Pro supports hardware found on laptops. Unlike the iPad and tablets, you’ll find the latest Core i7 with 16-32GB RAM on the recent models. The older models will let you choose between Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs.

The performance of these CPUs is not weaker than the performance of the same CPUs found on laptops especially for accounting purposes since accounting software doesn’t require anything more than a modern CPU (they can even run on tablet CPUs!).

This means you don’t have to buy the latest Surface Pro (9 at the time of writing) you could buy the older model save a lot of money and still get the same bang for your buck.

Upgradeability: Warning!

None of the Surface Pro models are upgradeable. You will be stuck with whatver RAM & Storage you choose at the time of purchase. This isn’t a problem since accounting software doesn’t require anything more than 8GB RAM and a CPU supported by Windows Home/Pro and the latest Surface Pro models come with 16GB RAM!

If you go for the older models, be sure to choose a model with a Core i5 and 8GB RAM as the bare minimum!

Desktop Mode: Surface Dock

The Surface Dock allows you to turn your Surface Pro into a desktop-like computer. It basically acts like a big adapter with lots of ports for just about any computer device like spakers, extra monitors, mouse, keyboard. You can even get faster internet speed if you use the ethernet port.

This is EXTREMELY useful if you are a student because you won’t have to use a small laptop size display back in your dorm, you can turn your Surface Pro into a desktop and be even more productive with a much bigger screen and a full sized keyboard.

Surface Pro 10:

The Surface Pro 10 hasn’t been released yet. It is expected to either be announced or launched this Spring 2024. I honestly cannot give you an accurate date but just seeing the pattern of the Surface Pro models it won’t be any different from previous models other than upgrading the CPU & Storage Speed it will have pretty much the same performance & functionality as past models for accounting related software.

Surface Pro
  • Extremely long battery
  • Extremely lightweight (~2lbs)
  • High Resolution Display
  • Accurate touchscreen display for writing
  • Expensive (recent models)
  • Slightly smaller display
  • No NumPad
  • Keyboard is not stable on soft surfaces

5. Lenovo IdeaPad 1

Cheap Laptop For Accounting

  AMD Ryzen 3 7320U


  AMD Radeon 610M

  256GB SSD

  15” full HD IPS


  7 hours

    Wifi 6 

If you are on a budget and want something both portable and with decent hardware you have two choices: the lenovo ideapad here or the Acer Aspire 5. Type those names on the amazon store search bar or your favorite computer’s website and narrow down the search to models with either a Ryzen 3 or a Core i3. Those are going to be the cheapest bare bone minimum laptops to run Windows Home or Pro fast enough to launch accounting software & multitask with no lag.

This year. I am featuring the Lenovo Ideapad but the Acer Aspire 5 with the Ryzen 3 CPU (same CPU) works just as well. 

But you don’t have to buy an acer aspire with the latest CPU, feel free to choose cheaper models!

Lenovo Ideapad: 8GB RAM + FHD Display

When you shop for laptops under 350 dollars, it’s important you pay close attention to RAM & Display.

That’s the two areas manufacturers try to cut down prices and it is very common to find 4GB RAM laptops or laptops without a FHD Display.

Both the Lenovo Ideapad & Acer Aspire 5 have a FHD and 8GB RAM out of the box, you can upgrade RAM as well storage in either of those models.

More important than being upgradeable is the FHD display. Lower resolutions like HD+ and HD resolutions limit the amount of data you can see at once in excel or any accounting software.

Windows 11 S mode:

Usually these laptops will have Windows in S mode but all of them can be upgradeable to Windows Home or Pro free of charge. You just need to go to the windows app store and look for windows home or pro then click upgrade.

Once installed, you’ll have access to Home/Pro versions of MS Office, Zoom, Quickbooks,etc.


Both the Lenovo Ideapad shown here and the Acer Aspire weigh anywhere from 3lb to 3.5lbs. Anything more than 3.5lbs can be considered heavy and it’s pretty common to find heavy laptops (4lb) with this much budget especially if they have a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 (another reason to avoid faster CPUs). Note that full sized keyboards with the numpad are usually available on 15” laptops and almost never available on 13” laptops. 

It is rare to see a 14” laptop with a numerical numpad but they’re out there.

Lenovo Ideapad 1
  • Extremly Cheap
  • Latest Ryzen 3 CPU
  • Latest RAM (DDR5)
  • Includes Numerical Keypad
  • RAM & Storage Upgradeable
  • Slightly heavier
  • OKAY battery
  • no QHD resolution

How To Buy The Best Laptop For Accounting (or Computer Desktop)

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 I found from forums.

Accounting Software

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.  They can run on pretty much any computer released within the past 5 years that has at least 8GB RAM.

This means most aptops above 300 dollars will have the hardware you need: CPU & RAM. 

So what makes the best laptop for accounting expensive?

Portability, high resolution display and a high quality keyboard.

Very few laptops have all these features. The LG Gram for example has two out of those.

Most laptops compromise the full sized keyboard for portability purposes. The more portable (smaller) , the more compact & crowded the keyboard becomes which means no physical numpad.

Of course, you can fix by attaching an external numerical keypad.

Operating System: Windows only

There is a 99% chance you’ll be forced to use Windows (no Macs) because:

  • Windows version of Excel and PowerPoint are used for classes.
  • Exam software are more ‘compatible’ and less prone to crashing with Windows systems. 
  • Computer labs run the Windows version of Excel because it’s more ‘robust’ (more complete).

accountant-1794122_640Excel: Windows vs Mac

Windows assures you of compatibility with pretty much every accounting software. Even obsure simulation software like Risk Palisade are written for windows only.

But that’s not the reason why Windows is prefered for Accounting. Main reason is that Excel runs better on Windows systems. It will have no features disabled.

Now you could use OSX or any other OS (Operating System) too but that depends on how proficient you are with spreadsheets and how much your work depends on ‘advanced tools’ , ‘functions’ and plugins.

If what you 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 spreadsheet software alternatives like Apache Office or WPS Office which are also compatible with Linux systems.

If you are an accountant , you are very likely to be stuck with Excel.

Not just excel but the whole MS Office ecosystem. Because it’s the more popular “Office” software thus it assures you of compatibility when sharing docs with any body. 

Why is the Windows version of MS Office better than the OSX version?

Microsoft Office is Microsoft’s most popular software (the compan makes Windows too) so there’s obviously going to be a bias towards the version that runs on Windows.

Whether its intentional or not (to encourage people to buy Windows) doesn’t matter, the end result is the same:

Excel will always be better on Windows.

This is the main reason why most computer labs and networks in every accountaing department run 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
  • Toolbars
  • Keyboard ShortCuts
  • Add ons and Plugins like 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

The best laptop specs should aim to run Windows optimally.  We’ll start with the number one most important spec: RAM.

1. RAM(Memory)

Most laptops above 300 bucks have CPUs that are fast enough for Windows & accounting software. However such laptops come with different RAM sizes if you’re looking at laptops under 300. How much RAM you have dictates how many programs, which kind of programs you can run and how fast Windows will run too.

4GB RAM: This is too low. It may be OKAY for Windows XP but certainly not for Windows 8, 10, 11 and much less Windows 12.

These versions of windows can take anywhere from 3.5-4GB RAM to run optimally (they can take less or more depending on how much RAM you have).

This means you’ll be left with almost nothing to run accounting software.

4GB RAM however is plenty of RAM for LINUX, OSX , Chrome OS and Windows in S mode. The last two (Chrome OS & Windows in S mode) do not allow you to have many options for accounting software (you cannot install third party programs), the first two behave have just as much software available as Windows.

8GB RAM: Minimum for any type of accounting.

The full versions of Windows 11 or Windows 12 will take 50% so you’ll have 4GB left for all your software & web browsing tabs

You can even run several of the accounting software listed above simultaneously: Sage 50, Excel, Xero + Web browser and still be fine.


The only time you’ll find it useful is when you work with several accounting software being run simultaneously ALONG with large database files(the kind of data files a big company has).

Running scripts/functions on large data sets/spread sheets will take significantly less time with 16GB RAM.

Most laptops (except for thin ultrabooks) can have their RAM upgraded AFTER purchase as shown here: How to Ugprade RAM

RAM Generation: DDR4 vs DDR5

You may come across descriptions saying DDR3, LPDRR4, DDR5, etc. Y

Just pay attention to the last number (3, 4 or 5), the higher the number the faster the data feeding speed of the RAM memory found in that laptop.

The recent generations (recent number) increase peformance but unless you’re working with huge databases, the performance gains are minuscule.

It is much better to focus on how MUCH RAM you’re getting as opposed to what TYPE of RAM. 

2. CPU(Processor)

I said that most CPUs will run Windows 10 or 11 Home (or Professional) and accounting software without issues.

That’s true…

There’s really only a handful that will give you lag when running windows because they’re either too old OR they are CPUs designed for tablets (but they’re used on laptops to reduce manufacturing prices):

Instead of listing all the CPUs you should go for, I will tell you which ones to avoid.


Pentium, Celeron, MediaTek, Atom

Any CPU with the number 6 or below (after taking out the last three digits) . Ex: Intel Core i5 6100U —> take out 100 —> Core i5 6 …this means this is the 6th generation (released 10 years ago)

Any CPU from AMD that doesn’t have the word Ryzen. Ex: AMD A8-5545M.

And OPT for CPUs like the following:


CPU Base Turbo Cores
i3 10050G1 1.2 3.4 2
i3 10100U 2.1 4.1 2
i3-1115G4 3 4.1 2
i3-1215U 3.3 4.4 2/4
i3 1315U
3.3 4.5 2/4
i5 1115G4 2.4 4.2 4
i5 1240P 3.3 4.4 12
 i5 1335U  3.4  4.6  8/2
i5 1345U
3.5 5.0 8/2


CPU Base Turbo Cores
Ryzen 5 7530U  2.0 4.5 
Ryzen 5 7520U  2.8 4.3 
Ryzen 5 5500U 2.1 4.4 6
Ryzen 5 4500U  2.3 4.0   6
Ryzen 3 7320U
2.4 4.1 4
Ryzen 3 5300U 2.6 3.8 4
Ryzen 3 4300U  2.7 3.7 

A few more tips:

  • Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are the sweetspot in terms of performance and battery
  • Ryzen 7 and Core i7 are unnecessarily powerful and expensive and not only that but they also consume more energy which means they are likely to give you less battery (though this isn’t the case with ultrabooks like the Surface Pro which has 13+ hours).

3. Storage


Laptops have a minimum of 128GB.

256GB is common and 512 the least common (usually found on +500 dollar laptops). 

You don’t need much storage if you’re only using this computer for accounting purposes.

What about having several hundreds of large spreadsheets?

Even the largest data files you’ll come across within a lifetime will only take 100MB (10% of 1GB). Since most laptops have 256GB, that means (after taking out ~190GB for Windows & Accounting software) you can have 190/.1= 1900 .

If you use QuickBooks, then the largest data files will be around 1.5GB . Even if you come across 100 of these, you’ll still have plenty of gigabytes left. 

Type & SSD Speed

In 2024, there’s only one type of storage: SSD

The type doesn’t matter as far as performance with Windows & Software goes: As long as you grab an SSD ( PCie NVMe 5.0/4.0 or SATA III), you’ll still get the same benefits:

  • Loading up all your apps and software in a flash (in a few seconds). 
  • Find particular pieces of code or data embedded across huge spreadsheets (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).

PCIe NVMe 5.0: The fastest

The fastest SSD types are PCie NVMe 5.0 and 4.0, the former hasn’t been released yet however the performance differences will be insignificant for the above scenarios. There’s only performance gains when transfering data from an external device (Ex: USB) to your laptop or vice versa.

4. GPU (Graphics Card)

They have NO usefulness in accounting

Every excel chart or quickbooks chart, even if its in 3D, 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 CAN also be used for graphical intensive tasks (which accountants never come across) but with lower performance.

Video editing (for marketing purposes) and graphic design (if you ever have to do some marketing work) can also be done with an integrated graphics. 

5. Ergonomics

Since most laptops have all the hardware we mentioned, your time, money and effort should be spent on finding a laptop that can make your workspace area as comfortable as possible: ergonomics.


Numerical KeyPad

Accountants use the numerical keypad way more than they use the keys with letters. Unfortunately, small sized portable laptops don’t have a full sized-keyboard with the numerical keypad.  

You’ll usually find them on 15”+ laptops and occasionally on 14” laptops.

Thus if you want the best keyboard you want at least a 15” laptop. If you are an account, weigh and size should not be an issue since this will mostly be staying in one 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).

You’ll be most likely spending time writing reports and essays rather than crunching numbers so it’s okay to discard a built-in numerical keypad

External Numerical KeyPad: Accounting Students


If you buy a portable laptop that doesn’t have the physical number pad shown in the figure below:

You don’t have to look like a loser trying to crunch in lots of numbers in class by using the top row numbers. 

You can just buy an external numerial keypad as shown below:

You don’t even to plug it in a USB port. There are wireless (bluetooth) numerical keypads too.

If you cannot afford a huge laptop thats lightweight and has a full sized keyboard. Just opt for smaller laptops which are naturally more portable and buy an external numpad.

It is much better than having to lug around a  15-17” heavy brick to school everyday.

Dedicated F keys – F1 F2….

FN keys (F1, F2) are super useful for accountants for macros. What are macros? A series of functions (steps) that can be activated with a shortcut 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 OKAY.

You want to prioritize laptops with dedicated FN keys which let you directly access FN keys (no need to press shift or command).


When it comes to display you want to maximize screen area so you can get a better view of graphs, tables & rows as well as having more functions on interfaces at your disposal (rather than accesing menus).


You can maximize screen area with a bigger display but that also means a heavier laptop. (Fine if you’re an accountant, not good if you are still a student).

If you are a student, your focus should be on resolution. If you aren accountant, resolution is a HUGE bonus.

More resolution means more pixels to display icons , numbers, interfaces, and so on without compromising image quality. Thus higher resolution displays can fit in more ‘stuff’ by reducing the size of letters and objects. 

This also means more space to have a couple of windows open next to each other (Ex: one for a spreadsheet next to another one to type a report).  

How much resolution is good?

FHD: 1920×1080 also known as 1080p or FHD is the bare minimum for multitasking (two windows next to each other).

QHD: This is not as rare now in 2024. This much will massively improve your productivity. The amount of extra screen area is insane, you can have
x2 the amount of rows visible in a spreadsheet compared to FHD.

4k:  You will only find this much on laptops above 1500 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 and below:  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.

Laptops that weigh this much are called ‘ultrabooks’:  ASUS ZenBook, Dell XPS, HV Envy, LG Gram, Surface Pro, etc.

3.5lbs:  You can get laptops with this much weight for about 400 dollars or less.

They’re going to be somewhat rare and you will usually have to compromise hardware (storage and rarely RAM).

You’ll find this laptop by typing the keywords “thin laptop” “slim laptop”.

Good news is that if you look for slightly older models (older CPUs) your chances of finding a lightweight (3.5 or even 3lb) cheap laptop is higher. Just remember to watch out for 8GB RAM!

Battery Life

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 only have 8 hours depending on how old the battery is.
  • Budget laptops with Core i3 or Core i5 CPUs will have, at the most, 8 hours of battery.
  • Laptops with Ryzen 7 and Core i7 CPUs will have less than 10 hours on average with some exceptions (Surface Pro uses a better battery).
  • Any laptop with dedicated graphics (which you don’t need anyway) will only get you 2-4 hours depending on the graphics card.

How 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 fast.

If you could install Windows on a Mac, then you can eliminate all compatibility issues and get the best version of Excel.

Can you install Windows on a Mac? If so, how?

There are two methods depending on how recent the MacBook is.

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 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? 

Parallels & Virtual Machines:  The recent models cannot have Windows installed “natively” (full screen & entirely dedicated to Windows) but only through a virtual machine (a windows open and dedicated to running Windows as shown in the image).


If you have any suggestions, questions  or recommendations. Please leave a comment below.

Author Profile

Miguel Salas
Miguel Salas
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.

Miguel Salas

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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