Top 5 Laptops for Accounting reviews (2023 Software Compatibility)

The saying “With fast accounting comes more money” emphasizes the importance of productivity in the accounting profession. While finding a well-paying job is crucial for financial success, your laptop is also a vital tool for the job, especially during the process of passing CAPP exams.

To ensure maximum efficiency and productivity, the ideal laptop for accounting should have a numpad and FN keys for macros, a decent CPU to handle large files, a high-resolution display for multitasking between programs like Word and Excel, a Solid State Drive for quick software boot-up, and be lightweight (around 3lb).

Although a faster computer can save a few milliseconds when running QuickBooks or Excel functions, modern CPUs provide the same performance for accounting tasks, making the latest CPU models unnecessary. Ultimately, choosing the right laptop can enhance your accounting work and contribute to your success.

Top Laptop Specifications for Accounting


Before we delve into the 5 best laptops for accounting in 2023, let’s discuss hardware and offer tips for those who may not have access to laptops available mainly in the US.


For modern CPUs, look for Ryzen or Intel Core processors. Ryzen 3/Core i3 CPUs are budget-friendly and fast enough. Ryzen 5/Core i5 CPUs offer enough power for accounting software. Avoid Ryzen 7 and the latest (12th generation) Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs as they are expensive, unless you find a deal.


RAM is more important than CPU or any other hardware. 8GB is the minimum requirement, and it should suffice for multitasking. 16GB is necessary only for running extremely large data sheets.

Storage: SSD Solid State Drive is crucial for opening large spreadsheets with macros in split seconds. Most modern laptops come with an SSD. Ergonomics Since the above hardware is commonplace, ergonomics become even more critical.

Display: FHD FHD resolution is a must for multitasking and offers a better view of data and logs. It’s rare to find FHD resolution under $400, and QHD resolution is expensive and typically found on ultrabooks.

Keyboard: Full-Size + Numpad A full-size keyboard with dedicated FN keys and a numpad is essential for accounting. They are usually found on 15″ laptops, which may not be portable for students. For a portable option, consider a 13″ laptop and add an external numerical keypad. More on this later.

The saying “With fast accounting comes more money” may hold some truth, but landing a high-paying job is more about job hunting than computer hardware. Nevertheless, since a laptop is your primary work tool, getting the right one is crucial, especially if you’re still pursuing a CAPP certification.

The best laptop for accounting should not impede your productivity, meaning it should have:

  • A numpad and FN keys for macros
  • A decent CPU to handle complex functions and large files
  • A high-resolution display for multitasking, such as writing reports and linking data between Word and Excel
  • A Solid State Drive for quick software launch and boot-up times
  • A lightweight design, ideally around 3lb

While a faster computer may marginally speed up functions on QuickBooks or Excel, the difference is negligible in terms of time saved. Modern CPUs offer similar performance for accounting purposes, so the latest and most expensive models aren’t necessarily the best choice.

1. LG Gram 17Z90Q: The Top Laptop Choice for Accounting


In the previous year, we recommended the ASUS VivoBook as the best laptop for accountants due to its 17-inch FHD display, which you can see below. However, it was heavy and not suitable for students who need a portable option. Nonetheless, it’s still a great option for accountants on a budget.

This year, we have the LG Gram, which was released a few months ago and far surpasses the ASUS VivoBook in terms of hardware and design. This 17-inch laptop is now perfect for both students and accountants due to its design, which we’ll discuss below.


Display: 17-inch QHD resolution (2560 x 1600)

This resolution is increasingly popular and provides a lot of extra screen space compared to the common FHD found on most laptops. Coupled with a bezel-less 17-inch display, it provides a massive workspace area equivalent to that of a desktop. This feature eliminates the need for constant scrolling, allowing you to visualize data like graphs and spreadsheets with ease. Furthermore, it’s comfortable to work with reports, graphs, and spreadsheets simultaneously or even make your spreadsheet large enough to accommodate several graphs.

Keyboard: NumPad + FN Keys + Backlit

It’s challenging to design a responsive keyboard for a thin laptop, but the LG Gram pulls it off. The keyboard is clicky and registers characters with a slight touch. Additionally, it includes all FN keys (useful for macros) and a complete full-sized numpad. As this is a 17-inch laptop, the keys are slightly larger with more space between them, making typing easier and providing extra space to rest your forearms and palms.

Weight: ~3lbs

It’s almost impossible to find a 17-inch laptop with this much screen space that weighs only 3lbs. Even without the high resolution, you won’t find any 17-inch laptops that weigh below 4lbs, except for the MacBook Pro 16″. The weight is manageable, but finding a bag to fit it into might be a challenge.

Hardware: Core i7 1260P + 16GB DDR5 RAM + 1TB SSD

The CPU is too fast for accounting software like Excel, Sage 50, and QuickBooks. Even if your company’s database files are in the gigabyte range, this CPU won’t run calculations faster than an 11th gen CPU. Accounting software doesn’t require that much CPU power, let alone a graphics card. Hence, save money by choosing the model with integrated graphics. The Core i7 is the only option, but if a Core i5 model is available, choose it as it’ll be more cost-effective. Additionally, the 16GB RAM and 1TB storage are more than sufficient for accounting software, and they’re overkill.

2. ASUS ZenBook: The Best Laptop for Accounting Students


The ASUS ZenBook has been striving to imitate the MacBook Air in every aspect since its release, and it has been successful in doing so. In fact, it is slightly thinner than the MacBook Air. However, there are some differences and similarities between the two laptops that are worth discussing.

Hardware If you are an accounting student who finds the LG GRAM too expensive or too bulky to carry around, you may want to consider ultrabooks with 13-15” screens. In the next three reviews, we will go through three ultrabooks, and if they seem too expensive, we will suggest some alternatives.

Display & Design

Weight and Size: New vs Old ZenBook This year, the ASUS ZenBook’s weight and size have changed slightly. The older models were usually 13” and weighed around 2.7 pounds and were thinner than the MacBook Air. This year’s model is 14.5” and weighs around 3 pounds. However, this is not a bad thing since 14.5” is still much smaller than 17”. The 0.3-pound difference is negligible.

Display: QHD Resolution + 90Hz

The display’s design has also been updated. The resolution is as high as that of premium and more expensive ultrabooks such as the LG Gram and MacBook. This is great news since you will have a better view of spreadsheets and graphs. As a student, you will also find it useful to multitask with up to three windows next to each other.

Keyboard: Full Sized + Virtual NumPad

The keyboard’s design is pretty much the same. It has a chiclet-style keyboard with small travel and is very responsive, just like the high-quality keyboards from the MacBook. The Numpad is still on top of the trackpad, which is a good thing since you don’t need the trackpad. You should always get a mouse for a faster workflow. The fact that it is 14.5” and has no Numpad means that there is more room for bigger keys and more space in between them. This makes it much more comfortable to type, as opposed to a cramped 13” or even 11” notebook’s keyboard. If you really want an ultrabook, there are many cheaper options available (see the last laptop).


Core i5 1240P + 8GB DDR5 + 256GB SSD

The latest ZenBook’s hardware is overkill for accounting software. In fact, even the previous year’s 11th generation CPU ZenBook is also overkill for accounting software. So, you can save a lot of money if you opt for the older models. One thing to keep in mind is that the hardware is soldered to the motherboard, which means you cannot upgrade it at a repair shop. You must purchase whatever RAM and storage you require before making your purchase. Once again, 8GB + SSD is all you need. I would not even consider the CPU since it is the least of your concerns.

Price: $500-750

The latest ASUS ZenBook with the QHD resolution, which is featured here, sells for approximately $750 (including tax and shipping and an extra mouse). This is a fantastic deal due to the QHD resolution, hardware, and the fact that it is slightly larger than the MacBook Air but still weighs around 3 pounds. If you cannot afford this, you can go for last year’s model, which is virtually identical in terms of hardware (a bit outdated but still as fast for accounting software) and design (under 3 pounds). The only thing you will have to sacrifice is the QHD, which is a significant issue. However, if you are

3. The M2 MacBook Air: The Best Mac Laptop for Accounting


Although the LG Gram is the most expensive laptop on the list, the M2 MacBook Air has the best display, keyboard, battery, hardware, and design. However, it does have two drawbacks: the price and the fact that it doesn’t have Windows installed natively. Nevertheless, there are workarounds for both of these issues. Additionally, there is no numpad, but there is a workaround for this as well.

You may wonder why I suggest this laptop for accounting despite these drawbacks, especially the fact that it doesn’t have Windows installed natively. However, I’m not suggesting it for accountants but for accounting students.

Display and Design: Battery: 18 hours

As a student, whether you’re in college or preparing for the CAPP examinations, you need to be productive. This means having a portable device that you can easily carry around and has a long-lasting battery. The M2 MacBook Air weighs only 3 pounds, is thin as paper, and has an amazing battery that can last up to 18 hours. If you only use it for work, it should last around 15 hours (a bit less than advertised). If you choose an older model, which is also a good choice if you’re on a budget, you may get up to 10 or 8 hours, depending on the age of the model (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 macOS because it’s somewhat different from the Windows version. The macros and FN functions are different, among other things. To solve this issue, you need to download Parallel and install Windows through it. If you buy an older model, you can simply install Windows through the Control Panel’s Boot Camp option, which is natively installed on older models.

In conclusion, MacBooks should not be dismissed for accounting. Even though there is no numpad, you can attach an external numpad through the Thunderbolt (newer models) or USB ports (older models). Moreover, the MacBook Air has the best keyboard ever designed for laptops, even the older models. It’s very easy to type on, and as an accounting student, you’ll be typing more words than crunching numbers, at least in the first few years. Although the resolution is somewhat lower than 2.8K displays, it’s still far higher than FHD, allowing for the same type of multitasking. This is why the MacBook Air has unbeatable battery life; the CPU is not an energy hog, and neither is the display. The newest MacBooks with the M1 and M2 chips sell for about $1000, which is not cheap. However, you can grab an older model for $400-$1000, and they’ll still run MS Office, Sage, and QuickBooks just as fast as the newer models (for learning purposes in college, not so pretty for real-world accounting).

Why bother with all of this?

In case you’re a MacBook enthusiast, don’t overlook MacBooks for accounting. Although there’s no built-in numpad, you can always connect an external numpad via thunderbolt (for newer models) or USB ports (for older models).

Keyboard & Display:

Moreover, MacBooks have the best keyboards ever designed for laptops, including the older models. Typing is effortless, and as an accounting student, you’ll be typing more words than crunching numbers, at least in the first few years. The display resolution may be lower than 2.8k displays, but it’s still higher than FHD, allowing for multitasking. Additionally, the MacBook Air has remarkable battery life because of the optimal power distribution and efficiency. The CPU and display don’t consume too much energy.

Price: $400-$1000

The latest MacBooks with M1 & M2 chips cost around $1000, which is not cheap. However, you can buy older models that can still run MS Office, Sage, QuickBooks as quickly as the newer models (for educational purposes such as college, not for actual accounting work).

4. The Surface Pro 9 is a great ultrabook for students, but not recommended for accounting work in the office.

Surface Pro 9-review

Design: 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop

This laptop can transform into a tablet, similar to other laptops like Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre. However, the Surface Pro 9 is unique in that it works like an iPad when in tablet mode, allowing for precise note-taking and diagram drawing with the stylus. While not useful for accountants, this feature is helpful for students, especially for math equations.

Touchscreen: Stylus and Note-taking

The Surface Pro 9 has One Note pre-installed, making note-taking easier than on an iPad. However, the lack of a numerical keypad on the keyboard may be inconvenient for accounting tasks. An external numerical keypad can be attached to the USB port when needed.

Hardware: Intel Core CPU

Unlike the iPad Pro, the Surface Pro 9 runs on Windows 11 Home, allowing the installation of accounting software. It has a powerful 12th gen Core i7 CPU and can be upgraded up to 32GB RAM and 2TB storage, but upgrades must be made before purchase.

Docking Station: Turn It Into a Desktop

The Surface Pro 9 can be turned into a desktop computer with the addition of a docking station, allowing for a bigger display, external keyboard and mouse, and other peripherals. This makes it a great option for students who want to increase their productivity at home.

5. Top Affordable Laptop for Accounting: Acer Aspire A515-56-347N


The Acer Aspire A515-56-347N is considered the best cheap laptop for accounting in 2023, with a price tag of around $340. An older model was previously recommended with only 4GB RAM and Windows in S mode, requiring an upgrade to 8GB RAM and Windows 11 S to Windows Home.

2023 Acer Aspire 5

The 2023 Acer Aspire 5 now comes with 8GB RAM out of the box and retains its full HD display, which is rare to find in laptops under $400. Upgrading from Windows 11 S to Windows Home is still necessary but can be done easily through the settings menu. The installation process can be lengthy, but once completed, the laptop is ready to run any software desired.


Weighing 4lbs, the Acer Aspire A515-56-347N features an SSD and a late-generation Core i3 CPU, making it suitable for accounting software and multitasking. The keyboard has a numpad and is backlit. However, the weight can be a drawback for those looking for a more portable option, although it is still manageable.


This laptop is an ideal choice for accountants who primarily work in an office setting or for students who do not need to carry it around campus all day. It is an affordable option with good performance and a quality display.

Choosing a Laptop or Computer for Accounting: A Guide for Professionals and Students

Whether you’re a professional or a student of accounting, the process of selecting a laptop or computer for your work is similar. In this guide, I’ll provide some helpful tips for choosing the right device for your needs.

First, let’s take a look at the software commonly used in accounting. Programs such as Sage 50, Peachtree, Quatepro, Visicalc, Lotus, Quickbooks, and Excel do not require any special hardware, and can run on most modern laptops. However, it’s important to ensure that your device meets the minimum hardware requirements for these programs.

When it comes to selecting a laptop for accounting, portability, display quality, and keyboard size are important factors to consider. Laptops with all three of these features can be expensive, with options such as the LG Gram and ASUS VivoBook ranging from $800 to $1000. If you don’t require a full-sized keyboard, you can save some money by purchasing a smaller device and adding an external numerical keypad.

If you’re a student, it’s worth checking with your department to see if there are any partnerships with brands such as Dell, Lenovo, and HP that offer discounts for students. However, be sure to choose a laptop that is also portable and meets your needs.

Finally, if you’re starting an internship in accounting, keep in mind that you may be provided with a laptop during your internship.


Why the Windows Version of MS Office is Superior

Microsoft Office is one of the most widely used software suites in the world, and it is no secret that there is a preference for the version that runs on Microsoft Windows. Whether this bias is intentional or not is irrelevant, as the result is the same: Excel is always better on Windows, more robust, and more complete. This is why most computer labs and networks in accounting departments use Windows systems, and why Windows is the industry standard for accountants.

If you have access to both Windows and Mac devices, you can compare the differences yourself by looking at the:

  • Ribbon composition
  • Toolbars
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Add-ons and plugins: Data Analysis ToolPak and Solver for Excel work on every version of Windows Excel, but only on the latest version of Mac OSX.

What are the important laptop specs for accounting?

When it comes to choosing a laptop for accounting, there are a few key specs to consider. Let’s start with the CPU (processor).

  1. CPU (Processor)

Most CPUs will run Windows 10 or 11 Home/Professional and accounting software without issues. However, there are some CPUs to avoid:

  • Pentium, Celeron, MediaTek, Atom: These CPUs are weak and usually made for tablets.
  • Any CPU with the number 6 or below (after taking out the last three digits). For example, Intel Core i5 6100U – take out 100 – Core i5 6…this means it’s the 6th generation (released 10 years ago).
  • Any CPU from AMD that doesn’t have the word Ryzen. For example, AMD A8-5545M.

A few additional tips:

  • Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are the sweet spot in terms of performance and battery life. If found on thin ultrabooks, battery life is usually around 10 hours. If found on thicker, heavier laptops, battery life may be around 7 hours.
  • Ryzen 7 and Core i7 are unnecessarily powerful and expensive, and consume more energy, resulting in less battery life. However, some Core i7 or Ryzen 7 laptops have really good batteries, displays, and keyboards which makes them equally good (or even better) than Core i5 or Ryzen 5 ultrabooks (such as the LG Gram).

Regarding other specs to consider:

  • RAM: 8GB is the minimum, 16GB is a good option if you plan on running multiple applications at once.
  • Display: A 14-15 inch display with a resolution of at least 1920×1080 (1080p) is recommended. IPS panels are preferred as they offer better viewing angles and color accuracy.
  • Keyboard: A backlit keyboard is useful if you work in dimly lit environments. A keyboard with good key travel and feedback is also important for extended typing sessions.

2.RAM (Memory)

Assuming you have one of the above-mentioned CPUs (unless you are looking for laptops under $300), RAM becomes the most important specification.

4GB RAM: Some laptops may only have this much despite having all the latest features. This amount may have been sufficient for Windows XP, but certainly not for Windows 8, 10, and especially not for 11. These newer versions of Windows can easily take up 3.5-4GB of RAM, leaving you with almost nothing for your accounting software. Laptops with this much RAM will usually run Windows in S mode, a weaker version of the operating system, which can be fast but won’t let you install a lot of necessary software.

8GB RAM: This is the minimum requirement for any accounting work. The full versions of Windows 10 or 11 will take up 50% of it, leaving you with 4GB for multitasking with your accounting software such as Sage 50, Peachtree, Excel, QuattroPro, VisiCalc, Lotus, etc. You can run all of these simultaneously without any issues.

16GB RAM: This amount of RAM is only useful if you are an accountant working with many software programs simultaneously and handling large database files, such as for a large company. Students working on projects or internships that involve running scripts that perform functions on very large chunks of data may also need 16GB of RAM.

Note: Any laptop that weighs more than 3lbs (not an ultrabook) is upgradable. You can upgrade the RAM if you feel like you need more.



Capacity: Modern laptops and desktops come with a minimum of 128GB storage capacity, with 256GB being the standard and 512GB-1TB found only on expensive models. For accounting purposes, high storage is not necessary, but it can be an issue if you play games.

What if you have hundreds of large spreadsheets? Even the largest data file you will encounter in your lifetime will only take up 100MB (10% of 1GB). Most laptops come with 128GB of storage, so after taking out 60GB for Windows and accounting software, you can store 600 of those data files. Remember, most laptops have 256GB, which means you can store around 2000 of the largest data files (spreadsheets, database files) in existence. If you use QuickBooks, the largest data file you’ll come across will be around 1.5GB, and you’ll only come across 2-3 of these during your time with a company (2-3 years), so you can store up to sixty of those on a 128GB storage device.

Type: SSD vs HDD If storage size isn’t an issue, what should you look out for? Storage type. There are two types: HDD and SSD.

SSD (Solid State Drive) is much faster than HDDs (Hard Disk Drive) (up to x17 faster, depending on how many lanes your SSD uses – 4 being the highest). As long as you have an SSD (regardless of lanes or sub-type: PCie NVMe vs SATA III), you’ll enjoy the same speed and benefits:

  • Load up all your apps and software in less than a second.
  • Find specific pieces of code or data embedded in large databases (or the entire computer) almost instantly.
  • Boot up your system and get it ready to work in less than 10 seconds (HDDs may take several minutes). Solid State Drives are now standard on all laptops above 350 dollars, so not having an SSD is only an issue if you’re on a tight budget and have to purchase much older and cheaper laptops.

4. Graphics Card (GPU)

The graphics card on your laptop or desktop does not matter when it comes to running excel or quickbooks charts, even if they are in 3D, as they will run smoothly on any graphics card, even those made 20 years ago. Every processor (CPU) comes with an integrated default graphics card that is also useful for video editing and graphic design for marketing purposes.

5. Ergonomics

Since most laptops above $350 have all the necessary hardware, the rest of your budget should be invested in ergonomics to make your workspace as comfortable as possible.


Accountants use the numerical keypad more than they use the keys with letters. Unfortunately, most laptops don’t have a full-sized keyboard with a numerical keypad unless they are 14 to 17 inches in size. Some 14-inch laptops won’t have a numerical keypad, but virtually every 15-17 inch laptop will. If you’re an accountant, you can deal with the weight since you’ll mostly be at the office. However, if you’re a student, it’s not wise to choose a heavy 15 or 17-inch laptop just for the numerical keypad (unless they weigh around 3lbs or so). Since you’ll most likely be spending time writing reports and essays, it’s okay to discard a built-in numerical keypad and opt for an external numerical keypad.


When it comes to display, the only thing you want to maximize is resolution to have a larger workspace area for a more complete coverage of graphs, tables, and rows.


You can do this with a large display, but if you want portability, the best way to maximize your workspace is to maximize 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 content by reducing the size of letters and objects, making it easier on the eyes. Higher resolution also means more space to multitask by having a couple of windows open next to each other, such as one for a spreadsheet and another for typing a report.

How much resolution?

FHD: 1920×1080, also known as 1080p or FHD, is the bare minimum for multitasking with two windows side by side. QHD: This 2.5k resolution is becoming more common and can increase your workspace area massively. If you can afford it or find it on a laptop deal, all power to you. It can provide double the amount of visible rows in a spreadsheet. 4k: This resolution is only available on laptops above $1000. It is desirable, but you will have to compromise weight and budget for it.

To Sum Up

When choosing a laptop for accounting as a budget-conscious student, weight is an important factor to consider. Typically, the ideal weight for a student laptop is around 3 pounds, but laptops with this weight usually cost $700 or more. Refurbished models may lower the cost by $100 at best. These laptops are commonly known as “ultrabooks,” such as ASUS ZenBook, Dell XPS, HP Envy, and LG Gram.

If you’re willing to compromise on weight, laptops around 3.5 pounds can be found for around $400, but the hardware may be slightly older. However, even slightly older hardware can run Windows 11 Professional and support multitasking with several accounting software. It will make little difference in productivity.

When it comes to battery life, ultrabooks typically have at least 8 hours of battery life, while all MacBooks have at least 10 hours. Budget laptops with Core i3 or Core i5 CPUs usually have a maximum of 7 hours of battery life. Laptops with Ryzen 7 and Core i7 CPUs have less than 10 hours on average, with some exceptions. Any laptop with dedicated graphics will only give you 4 hours at most. To increase battery life, consider turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if not in use, using headphones, reducing display brightness and resolution, and turning off the backlit feature.

Regarding operating systems, Mac OSX itself may not be useful for accounting, but the hardware on MacBooks is powerful enough to run accounting software efficiently. If you install Windows on a Mac, you can eliminate compatibility issues and ensure you have the best version of Excel. BootCamp, a built-in software in all pre-2020 MacBooks, is the best way to install Windows on a Mac. However, you cannot install Windows on newer models (M2 & M1 models).


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