"Update" key on computer keyboard

Okay, we all know that the Microsoft Windows operating system is preferred to run computers by the primary vendors to the accounting profession.

While firms don’t place too much emphasis on the workstation operating system, one significant issue firms can’t overlook is increasing computer memory to ensure computers function optimally with today’s multi-monitor requirements and the multitude of concurrent applications your staff will be running that can impact your Windows version decision.

With Microsoft discontinuing support of Windows XP in April 2014, Windows 7 became the most prevalent operating system utilized within CPA firms, particularly as the initial release of Windows 8 received very poor reviews from CPAs (causing IT personnel to buy new computers and “downgrade” them to Windows 7). In 2015, Microsoft released Windows 10 (the Window 9 name was skipped) with the intention of having the same operating system running on accountant’s workstations, tablets and smartphones. This is expected to reduce firm training and support requirements and make applications available across all devices.

According to the CPAFMA 2018 IT Survey, while a slight majority of firms were standardized on Windows 7, the total number of workstations that ran Windows 10 across all respondents was slightly higher, pointing to larger firms adopting Windows 10 faster and making it the standard.

We recommend today that all new workstations be purchased with Windows 10, i5/i7 processors, solid state disk drives and a minimum of 8Gb RAM for audit/administrative personnel and 16Gb RAM for tax personnel. It is anticipated that all software vendors will eventually transition to annual subscription pricing for all applications, including Microsoft Windows, Office, Adobe, etc.


  1. Standardize purchases of new computers on Windows 10 for firm stability.
  2. Verify all workstations have adequate RAM to handle multiple monitors and applications for the projected life of the workstation.


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