What is the Best Computer for Accounting?
When people go out to buy a computer for their work or studies, they usually have a list of prerequisites in mind. Depending on the software you’ll need to run and the types of tasks you’ll need to do, your PC may end up being quite specialised for your particular job. Accountants are no different. They have certain fundamental features that they need to appraise before they go out and make a purchase. And, as always, they have to consider the price. With all this in mind, let’s work through a few important factors that might influence your decision. We can do this by asking ourselves – What computer/laptop should I get for accounting? What does it need to have? And how important is all this anyway? What is the Best Computer for Accounting?
A lot of different websites out there will tell you that you need a real beast of a machine to get your accounting work done. And by all means, if you have the money to spare, go get something like a Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (the version with 32GBs of RAM), and live life to the fullest.
However, if you scroll through some forums for a while and talk to some actual accountants, you’ll find that there are only a few things that you really need to look for in a PC –
- RAM – During your work or studies, you’re probably going to have a lot of different tabs/tasks open and running at the same time. And many types of accounting-based software can be quite resource-draining. Thus, it’s always a good idea to find something with a decent bit of RAM attached (4 GBs is going to feel painfully slow after a while, so try for something higher). This will ensure that your machine still works effectively, even when you’re multitasking.
- Windows – This isn’t exactly a must, but generally speaking, you’re going to be doing a lot of work in Excel. Windows is great for this reason, as something like a Mac may require you to get familiarised with a different program instead.
- 10-Key – A ten-key number pad is extremely useful when doing accounting work. Make sure that the computer or laptop you’re purchasing has one attached to make your life a lot simpler. If you’ve already bought a laptop that doesn’t have a 10-key, don’t panic! You can find the USB version online for a very reasonable price.
- Multiple Monitors – If you’ve got the cash to throw around, you might want to consider purchasing an extra monitor or two. This can make it much easier to use multiple programs at once, without having to constantly switch between them all.
Even if you can’t afford it right now, it may be worthwhile buying a screen with multiple input ports, just in case you end up trying it out in the future.
- Versatility – One of the reasons why the Surface Pro is so commonly recommended is because of its size. It’s lightweight and easy to manage, and these are both great features to have. But before you rush out to buy one, consider what kind of work you’re going to be doing. If you’ve got a lot of places to be during that day, you may want to spring for a comfortable laptop just to make your life a little bit more convenient. However, if you work at home and you find that you’re almost always in the same place, you could probably build a much more powerful PC for far less money.
In other words, the right choice will depend on your own personal circumstances.
Remember: Most employers will provide you with a computer or laptop when you start working for them. So if you’re a student or someone looking for a job, maybe wait and see what you’re offered before you go out and buy a brand-new machine.
What’s the Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit?
Both 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the processing power of your computer. Most older devices work using 32-bit processors, while newer devices tend to use 64-bit ones. Generally speaking, 64-bit processors are faster and more efficient than their 32-bit counterparts.
Similar to your RAM, your processor is going to impact how well your PC or laptop runs, and how effectively it can handle multiple tasks before it begins to slow down. For this reason, accountants and accounting students should usually be on the lookout for devices with high processing power.
How Much RAM can a 64-bit Use?
Theoretically, a 64-bit can address 16 exabytes of RAM, which is more Excel spreadsheets than you can possibly fathom.
What Happens if you Install 64-bit on a 32?
Sadly, you cannot install a 64-bit processor on a 32-bit machine. Would be cool, though.
How Much RAM is Enough?
More RAM just means more efficiency and less hair-pulling when your computer begins to slow down. In other words, you can get through your work with 4GBs of RAM – but you’re going to need a lot of patience.
Running Excel, QuickBooks, and your emails, all at once with 4GBs of RAM, is probably going to feel laggy and tedious. If you can put up with that, feel free to settle for lower amounts of RAM.
What’s the Best Computer for my Studies?
Technically speaking, all you’ll normally need for your studies is a simple PC or laptop with a 10-key number pad that can run excel. If you’re struggling with funds while at university, definitely reconsider spending a fortune on a high-end machine that isn’t even strictly necessary.
That said, more power can only make your life easier, and you’ll probably end up using that same laptop for some years into your actual career. So, if you’ve got a lot of extra money lying around, you may be able to justify that kind of spending.
What is an SSD?
An SSD, or Solid State Drive, is a storage device that can be added to most computers and laptops to further increase their speed. They can be a little bit pricey. But if you’re struggling with your current device, you may want to make the investment all the same.
In Conclusion – What is the Best Accounting Computer and How Important is it?
Many people agree that the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 with 32GBs of RAM is one of the best laptops to use as either an accountant or as an accounting student. It is powerful enough to run a variety of tasks and programs at once without lagging or slowing down, and its lightweight design means that it’s easy to carry around with you wherever you go.
All that said, the Surface Pro is very expensive, and, technically speaking, it’s not strictly necessary. In reality, all you will really need is a PC or computer that can run Excel along with a 10-key number pad and as much RAM as you can find.
The various improvements that come from investing in a higher quality item will go a long way towards improving your work life and ensuring that you don’t get bogged down with a slow device – but you can actually get by with a much simpler and cheaper unit.
When you’re on the lookout for things to buy, try to focus on the following points as they tend to have the biggest impact on the work that you will need to do –
- Get as much RAM as possible. You can get by with as little as 4GBs, but it’s likely that your device will slow to a crawl when you try to do multiple tasks at once.
- Get Windows. Windows usually offer Excel, which is the most common program for accountants to use. Similar programs exist on Macs, for example, but it’ll be much easier to just get a machine that already utilises the system, rather than learning a whole new one.
- Get a 10-key. Number pads are very useful and can streamline your workflow. If you already have a machine that does not feature a 10-key, look online for the USB version of the keypad.
- Get Multiple Monitors. If you have the money to spare, getting more than one monitor can make life much simpler as you’ll be able to switch between programs and tabs without having to navigate around as much.
- Get something that suits your situation. If you move around a lot, you may be more comfortable with a light laptop that can be carried around without much hassle. However, if you work from home, you might be better off with a PC.
Also, remember that most employers will provide their accountants with company laptops/computers, so check to see if you even need one before you go out shopping.
Much like RAM, your processor will impact the efficiency of your machine while you’re working. With this in mind, it’s generally better to go for a more powerful model (64-bit) as it will be able to better cope with any pressures you expose it to.
You may also want to invest in an SSD as it will further improve the speed of your computer/laptop.
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