If you are a professional accountant, CPA, CFA, or mortgage broker, you will have to spend most of your time doing calculations, analyses, and computations.
The calculations’ complexities might differ for each professional, but the need is almost identical. However, it will be unjustified if a professional at such a level is not provided with the right equipment.
What do we mean by that?
Yes, we mean an efficient, quick, and precise way of doing computations and analysis than struggling with Excel sheets or a scientific calculator.
So, the crux of the whole thing is that you need a financial or accounting calculator to make computations easy for you. It holds true for professionals as well as students pursuing relevant degrees.
But which is the best financial calculator for accounting-related fields?
In this article, we will list the best calculators a CFA or CPA should consider getting to make the financial analysis and their lives easier. Besides, it will be a complete buying guide for you that you can rely on.
So let’s get into it.
What Is An Accounting Calculator?
Accounting calculators, more popularly known as financial calculators, are electronic calculators with financial functions that regular calculators don’t carry.
These financial calculators easily handle interest rate calculations, reinvestment rates, tax rates, loan-related expenses, investment values, cash flows, etc., making them unique from any other regular calculator.
We can also define a financial calculator as,
A device designed and developed for Chartered Accountants, CPAs, and other finance-related professionals for quick and efficient computations and financial analysis. Most financial calculators have dedicated finance function keys, just like a scientific calculator has dedicated keys for mathematical functions.
Difference Between Scientific Calculator and Accounting Calculator?
Many people think a scientific calculator is just the same as the financial one. But is it actually true?
The answer is no!
The two might look similar with dedicated function keys, one-line display, etc., but both of them are different.
You must know the difference between both before you go to a shop and buy a calculator that can’t be called a financial calculator for missing basic functions.
A scientific calculator is generally built around mathematical functions that are helpful for maths, physics, etc. The main functions revolve around algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and advanced mathematics.
However, a financial calculator is built around finance functions and computations. Most professional financial calculators have dedicated keys for interest rates, mortgage payments, loan amounts, etc.
Why Do You Need An Accounting Calculator?
Why do you need a financial calculator, not a regular or scientific calculator?
Many people often ask this question when they come to know that accountants, too, have dedicated calculators for quick computations. So here is the answer!
As a professional, time-saving without compromising precision and accuracy is one of the first priorities.
However, if you are using a basic calculator or a scientific one, you will find yourself looking for the right formulas and doing everything manually.
It is not only time-consuming, but if you forget a formula, you will be sitting helpless with no clue what to do.
A financial calculator is developed and designed to facilitate accountants. Therefore, it has dedicated finance functions that mean you can make quick and precise calculations without any hassle.
That’s why you need a financial calculator and not a regular one for doing computations related to accounting & finance.
7 Best Calculators For CPA, CFA, And Accountants
So finally, we are here with a list of the 7 best financial calculators you must consider to make your life easier as an accountant or finance professional.
An all-rounder that wins in all departments
Let’s start with the beast of the industry that comes with the most capabilities and can be easily called the best financial calculator.
HP’s 12C Platinum, commonly called 12CP has been there for over 30 years but is still relevant. The calculator might not come with very flashy features, but when it’s come to efficiency and effectiveness, the beast is unbeatable.
The main highlights of HP 12C Platinum are as follows:
- 130 financial functions
- Large memory of saving 400 steps + 30 cash flows
- Edit your inputs to save your time and make precise computations
- Six times faster than other similar calculators
- Single battery life will generally last for a decade
- Shock-resistant build to survive any falls or strokes
You should buy this calculator because the company is continuously working to improve the product.
Best for CFA and CPA Students –CFA Approved
Texas Instrument BA II Plus is also an industry-grade professional financial calculator that you can easily trust. In general, the products of Texas Instruments are known for efficiency, amazing features, and usability.
The most important highlight of the Texas BA II Plus is that it is a CFA-approved calculator that students can carry when appearing in exams.
Like other products, BA II Plus also features advanced features that are fit for financial professionals. In fact, you can also rely on this calculator for scientific calculations as well.
The main highlights of the Texas calculator are as follows:
- 10-digit display with a good amount of brightness
- Basic to advanced financial functions like NPV, IRR, etc.
- Amortization Schedules and Depreciation computations with different methods
- Quick computations
- Interest rate conversions
Industrial 3400 Pocket Real Estate Master is also a dedicated financial calculator that is a safe haven for real estate professionals and mortgage calculators.
The handy and precise calculator is affordable, fast, and does the job very well.
The entry-level calculator comes in pocket size, making it easier to carry everywhere with you. Whether you are a financial professional or a real estate professional, you will find all functions in this calculator.
The main highlights of the calculator are as follows:
- 9 digits LCD display
- Dedicated functions like amortization, quarterly/non-monthly loans, interest-only and future values, payment, loan, term, interest, etc.
- You can set decimal places to get precise values
- Basic Calculator + Accounting calculator
- A large battery that is included with the package
- Compact size and weight to fit in your pocket
4. HP 17BII+ Financial Calculator
When we are talking about the calculators for CFA/CPA students, HP 17BII+ is also a name that cannot be put at the back of your mind.
Whether you want to do accounting computations or you work in the real estate industry, there are dedicated functions for your convenience and ease.
From calculating NPV to interest rates & loan values, you can do a lot with this machine. Besides, it comes with free online training on how to use this calculator and make the most out of it.
The main features of the machine are as follows:
- Over 250 functions that include financial functions, real-estate-related functions, and mathematical functions
- 28KB memory to keep a record of your data computations
- User-friendly design with fast computations
- Both Alpha and Numeric keyboard
- 2-line by 22-character LCD
- Power-off memory protection is also available
5. HP 12C Financial Calculator
HP 12C Financial Calculator is similar to HP 12CP, but the latter is more powerful. HP 12C is actually the older version that existed in the 80s and 90s.
However, it doesn’t mean that the machine is no more relevant to the market. It is still considered one of the hot-selling products that come with a basic display and fewer errors.
The main highlights of HP 12C are as follows:
- 120 built-in functions
- Three-by-five-inch sizes make it a device easy to carry around in your pocket or backpack
- Comes at an affordable price
- Capabilities of power-off memory to keep your data safe
- Finance functions like APR, NPV, IRR, etc
6. Canon Office Products HS-1200TS Business Calculator
The next one on our list is a product of Canon HS-1200TS that can be regarded as good enough but not a professional grade like Texas BA II or HP 12CP.
Whether you want to do general financial computations or play with complex financial functions, the calculator has the relevant functionality.
Therefore, this product is not only for accountants or students; businessmen also rely on this machine.
The main highlights of the Canon HS-1200TS are as follows:
- Basic business functions like COST/SELL/MARGIN, taxes, etc.
- Sturdily built with ergonomic design
- Large keys to avoid accidental clicks
- 12-digit display with appropriate brightness
- Memory to keep data safe
7. Casio DM-1200BM Business Calculator
Last but not least, Casio’s DM-1200BM business calculator is also a good choice for those businessmen, students, or real estate brokers who want to do financial computations very often.
Although a basic calculator for CFAs or CAs, it is still a decent machine with enough features.
The main highlights of 1200BM are as follows:
- Basic finance and accounting functions like margin, selling price, taxes, etc
- 12-digit large display with good brightness
- Screen design that gives a good view even when tilted
- Large keys to prevent accidental clicks
- Solar powered plus battery backup
Things To Consider When Buying An Accounting Calculator
Here is the list of things that you should consider when at a shop to purchase a financial calculator:
- The first consideration should be choosing a product that is allowed when taking CPA, CFA, or CFP exams. It has benefits for students and professionals alike. Professionals can perform computations on the go, and students won’t be sitting clueless when taking their exams.
- Price is also an important consideration; as a general rule, a financial calculator should cost anywhere between $40 and $60. If you successfully break the deal within this range, that’s not a problem.
- The battery of an accounting calculator is also an important consideration. And it’s because the financial computations can be long, and you might use calculators for several hours daily.
- When you are there to shop for a financial calculator, don’t ignore the design of the product. Personally ensure that the calculator has the basic finance function keys like TAX, COST, MARGIN, CURRENCY CONVERSION, etc.