- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Laptop for Accounting is the MacBook Air 2023 15-inch.
- When choosing a laptop for accounting work, you need to factor in battery life, software compatibility, and RAM.
- The good news is that most popular accounting software tools are available for both macOS and Windows.
The old-school belief that accountants are little more than deskbound number crunchers is a stigma that needs to go away. Instead, today’s accountants are more mobile than ever and can prepare a tax return from anywhere they can find a power outlet.
The growth of cloud-based accounting software has made it even easier to work anywhere, which has helped accountants make the shift from large desktop computers to laptops.
Let’s take a look at the 6 best laptops you can buy today for accounting work.
- Best Overall: MacBook Air 2023
- Best for Comfort: ASUS ZenBook Pro 15
- Best for Portability: Microsoft Surface Pro 9
- Best Budget-Friendly: Acer Aspire 5
- Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre X360
- Best Big Screen: Dell XPS 17
Laptop Compatibility Requirements for Accounting Work
Before diving into the laptops themselves, it’s important to know what some of the specific requirements should be for this profession.
Here are some of the most important factors you should consider before making a purchase decision.
|Weight||Less than 4 pounds|
|Battery Life||8-10 hours|
|Software Compatibility||QuickBooks, Excel, FreshBooks|
|Storage||At least 256GB|
|RAM||At least 8GB|
|Display||15-inch display or larger|
#1 Best Overall: MacBook Air 2023
- 15.3" Liquid Retina Display
- Up to 18 hours of battery life
- 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
- Apple M2 processor
- 1080p FaceTime camera and six speakers
When it comes to the best overall laptop for accounting work, the 2023 15.6-inch MacBook Air 2023 is the best option for most people.
Powered by the Apple M2 chip, there is almost nothing accounting-wise you can throw at the 15.3-inch MacBook Air that it cannot handle. Everything centers around the beautiful Liquid Retina 15.3-inch display that offers 500 nits of brightness and support for one billion colors. With the vibrancy of colors, any accounting application will look terrific and feel immersive as you enter any variety of accounting information for an individual or small business.
Beyond the display, the M2 chip is supported by 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD that combine for some of the best computing performance available today. Best of all, no matter how hard you try and push the MacBook Air in QuickBooks, the fanless hardware ensures silent running throughout the day.
QuickBooks, which is the most used accounting software, is available as either an application download on the MacBook Air or through using Quickbooks Online. This makes any previous fears of using macOS and not having software support a moot point, which is great news for future MacBook Air owners.
|Best overall laptop for accounting work||Windows has broader software compatibility|
|Outstanding Liquid Retina display|
Check out the MacBook Air 2023 on Amazon.
Best for Comfort: ASUS ZenBook Pro 15
If you are looking for an accounting laptop that can be used all day with less discomfort overall, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is the best choice.
Right away, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 stands out thanks to its 3-degree lift off a table, which gives you a more optimal typing angle for hugely improved comfort. Add to that a 135-angle for the display and there is also more comfort from not having to hunch over a desk in order to see everything on screen.
The screen on the ZenBook Pro is a 15.6-inch OLED NanoEdge Full HD touch display that offers 400 nits of brightness and looks gorgeous. The 88% screen-to-body ratio gives you plenty of workspace to use any accounting application and the ultra-vivid colors make everything look truly lifelike.
Such a notable screen deserves strong performance to match, and the ZenBook Pro 15 delivers with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. On top of that, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU is also on-board for playing plenty of AAA titles after the accounting workday is over.
|Excellent ergonomics||The raised angle for typing isn’t for everyone|
|Beautiful display with plenty of brightness|
Check out the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 on Amazon.
Best for Portability: Microsoft Surface Pro 9
- 13" 2-in-1 tablet and laptop
- Thin and lightweight
- Intel 12th Gen i7 fast processor for multi-tasking
- 16gb ram
- 256gb STORAGE
- Windows 11
Available in 4 different colors, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is hands-down the best laptop for accountants who value portability above all else.
As you look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, it’s immediately easy to tell why this is an ultra-portable laptop for accounting work. First and foremost, the detachable screen and keyboard make it easy to jump right into tablet mode when the workday is over and you want to binge Netflix. On top of that, the optional Surface Slim Pen, which stores right into the keyboard, can be used to mark up just about any document you might need to make a note of for later use when entering information into QuickBooks.
The Surface Pro 9 also shines with up to 15.5 hours of battery life, which is more than enough to work remotely, sit through classes as an accounting student, or visit clients all day long.
In order to be truly portable, Microsoft opted for a 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, which is a little smaller than generally recommended for accounting. However, the overall benefits of the Surface Pro 9, like the ability to adjust the angle with its built-in kickstand, help alleviate any concern over a smaller display size.
|Very portable for taking on the go||A 13-inch display might not be for everyone|
|The detachable keyboard is a great design||No number pad on the keyboard|
Check out the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 on Amazon.
Best Budget-Friendly: Acer Aspire 5
- 15.6" Full HD display
- 20GB RAM
- 1TB SSD storage
- AMD Ryzen 4-core processor
- Backlit keyboard
- Fingerprint login
- Ethernet port
- Windows 11
Offering a price tag that is hard to beat, the Acer Aspire 5 is the best option for new accountants or accounting students just getting into the profession.
Even with its budget-friendly price, know that the Acer Aspire 5 is a truly capable laptop ready for all manners of accounting work. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3350 quad-core processor and paired with 20GB of RAM, there is plenty of hardware power to handle anything you can throw at Quickbooks, Excel, or other accounting programs.
The Acer Aspire 5 also punches above its price tag with its 15.6-inch Full HD 1080p anti-glare IPS monitor. When paired with an AMD Radeon Vega 6 GPU, color accuracy is truly remarkable at this price point, which means all of your work will show up in true-to-life colors for increased accuracy.
Other niceties with the Acer include a backlit keyboard and a dedicated number pad for easily inputting accounting info into any software tool. Ensuring all of your accounting data is safe, Acer includes a fingerprint reader to lock up the desktop from prying eyes.
|Terrific price tag||It’s the least powerful processor on this list|
|Impressive display for the price||Better for students than professionals|
Check out the Acer Aspire 5 on Amazon.
Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre X360
- 16" 3K+ Touchscreen
- Intel Core i7-12700H Evo
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB SSD
- Wi-Fi 6
- Backlit KB
- FP Reader
- MPP2.0 Tilt Pen Included
- Windows 11 Home
If you need the best of both worlds with the ability to write on a screen while still having a full-size laptop, the HP Spectre X360 is the best choice.
As far as beautiful displays go, the HP Spectre X360 offers a beautiful 16-inch 3K (3072 x 1920 pixel resolution) display that is just truly wonderful to work on. No matter what type of accounting work you are doing at any moment, the edge-to-edge and anti-reflection display is large and a joy to use each and every day.
Thankfully, the screen isn’t the only highlight of the X360, as the 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics help push the hardware to its limits. Add in 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, and there is absolutely no accounting work or software you cannot do with the X360.
The HP Spectre X360 also has the benefit of being a 2-in-1 screen, which can be folded into tablet mode. In tablet mode you can draw, mark up, or make notes on the screen with the included Tilt Pen. This is an ideal position to work with clients so you can both see all of the work being handled in real time.
|Wonderful form factor for accounting work||Tilt pen is hit or miss with accuracy|
|Fast performance means easy multitasking||Have to be careful with the keyboard when working in tablet mode|
Check out the HP Spectre X360 on Amazon.
Best Big Screen: Dell XPS 17
- 17" UHD+ touchscreen display
- Intel Core i7-12700H
- 16GB DDR5
- 512GB SSD
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
- Killer Wi-Fi 6
- Windows 11 Pro
- 1-year Premium Support
When the day comes that your accounting work on a laptop demands a larger screen, the Dell XPS 17 is the best 17-inch laptop available.
The Dell XPS 17 is backed by a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, so you have all of the performance you need to take on any accounting task. Plus, you even get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU with its own 4GB of dedicated RAM so you can game after work and unplug from all the number-crunching you performed during the day.
Where the Dell XPS 17 really shines is with its 17-inch UDH Infinity Edge touchscreen display with its anti-reflective coating and 500 nits of brightness. The excellent resolution of the 3840 x 2400 pixel display makes it truly enjoyable to work on, for both accounting work and casual tasks.
Along with the outstanding display, Dell XPS 17 has also helped give the hardware a bit of future-proofing by including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. Both of these networking tools are more advanced than you may find on other computers on the market, which should help give the Dell XPS 17 plenty of life in your accounting work future.
|Big beautiful screen for multitasking||Can get pricey|
|Future-proofed with Wi-Fi 6||Not as portable with heavier chassis|
Check out the Dell XPS 17 on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Laptop for Accounting: Step-by-Step
When choosing the best laptop for accounting work, you should look at these 3 main considerations before making any purchase decisions
- Battery life
- Screen size
When you look at battery life on a laptop, you want to make sure the battery can handle at least an 8-hour workday without needing to be recharged. As that is possible with every laptop on this list, you can rest assured battery life won’t be a huge priority.
No matter what type of accounting work you are doing, having a comfortable keyboard, ideally with a number pad, is going to be hugely important. The MacBook Air keyboard is widely praised as a best-in-class experience while the Acer Aspire 5 offers a friendly number pad for easily inputting numerals into QuickBooks or an Excel spreadsheet.
While there can be rare exceptions as is the case with the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, you ideally wouldn’t want to go any lower than 15 inches for a laptop screen. The larger the screen, the more work you are able to do at once inside any accounting tool.
It’s definitely important to maximize the workspace you have available so multitasking is easy and you don’t get bogged down having to open and close different screens to perform any accounting work.
Using a Laptop for Accounting: What It’s Like
As more and more accounting programs like QuickBooks, Zoho, NetSuite, or GnuCash shift to online work, you need to rely less on storage than ever before. However, going online means you still want as much screen space as possible, so laptops like the Dell XPS 17 or the HP Spectre X360 are going to be among your best choices for accounting work.
For a long time, using a MacBook Air for accounting work might have been questionable as not every application has a Mac counterpart. With all of the aforementioned accounting software tools going online, the operating system you run is less important than ever before. Still, you want to ensure your OS of choice has all the available tools necessary to do any accounting work.
|#1 Best Overall||MacBook Air 2023||Apple M2 chip, 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, silent running|
|Best for Comfort||ASUS ZenBook Pro 15||3-degree lift for optimal typing angle, 15.6-inch OLED NanoEdge Full HD touch display, AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU|
|Best for Portability||Microsoft Surface Pro 9||Detachable screen and keyboard, Surface Slim Pen, 15.5 hours of battery life, 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, built-in kickstand|
|Best Budget-Friendly||Acer Aspire 5||AMD Ryzen 3 3350 quad-core processor, 20GB RAM, 15.6-inch Full HD 1080p anti-glare IPS monitor, AMD Radeon Vega 6 GPU, backlit keyboard, dedicated number pad, fingerprint reader|
|Best 2-in-1||HP Spectre X360||16-inch 3K display, 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 2-in-1 screen, included Tilt Pen|
|Best Big Screen||Dell XPS 17||12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 17-inch UDH Infinity Edge touchscreen display, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©lovelyday12/Shutterstock.com.