The calculator: An accountant's best friend

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There are fewer physical objects more associated with being an accountant than the classic calculator.

In more modern times smartphones, tablets and even watches have made the traditional number-crunching, palm-held calculator somewhat redundant.

But many of our members have shunned new technologies and stuck with the devices that have seen them through the years.

AccountingWEB member Glennzy brought the issue to light when he lamented the demise of his beloved old Casio, which he had named ‘Ralph’.

Glennzy had been given Ralph in 1995 as a reward for...

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About Rachael Power

Your friendly, neighbourhood community editor. 

Twitter: @rachpower10 


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26th Jul 2013 11:54

Citizen CT-700 bought in 1992 after passing my exams.  Large usable buttons, solar with 2 AA battery back up (1 new set of batteries in 21 years).  A mark Up button,  day of the week button (input a date and it tells you the day it fell on).  Days between dates and a scrollable editable list of numbers for double checking those calculations in pre-spreadsheet days.



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26th Jul 2013 11:19

Casio HS-8L

I am still using a Casio HS-8L, normally given away free with 30 esso tiger tokens.   Acquired in around 1989 at a cost of £2.10 as i was an Esso Licensee at the time. I found a box (of 10) containing 8 of them the other day when clearing a cupboard, so in 24 years i've used three. One of the others is on my desk, the other one i seem to remember had a cracked display.



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By Fenella
26th Jul 2013 11:23

I'm a calculator tart

I just use whatever comes to hand or was going cheap when I needed to buy one. However isn't it time there was a Universal Standard Layout of calculators? Using any old calc does mean having to get used to different layouts. Also, why are calculator and phone numberpads laid out in reverse to one another? Can we get the UN to change one or the other to stop accountants constantly misdialling?

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26th Jul 2013 11:52

Casio fx-7400G

Purchased when I was still at school circa 1986.  Has a 2.5 inch screen and EXE instead of = which means that no one else in the office can use it!

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By Ron001
26th Jul 2013 12:08


When I started in accountancy, (not yesterday!) one of the first sights to truly amaze me was a dedicated comptometer operator banging away on a machine with what seemed like a keyboard of something like 10 x 10 numeric keys and rattling through tots of pages and pages of client daybooks, checking totals, and of course finding a multitude of errors. 

Anyone know if there are any still in use?

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26th Jul 2013 12:39

Correction to self

Obviously i didnt use one when i wrote my earlier post else i'd have put seven instead of eight.

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26th Jul 2013 14:16

"I'm going to be like Peter"

Like @Ron001 I started my training a while back. I think comptometers were very much on the way out.We had no computers so instead of spreadhseets we used either single or double analysis pads - for everything!

Back in 1977 I was allocated to a really old guy called Peter Church. He seemed ancient at the time, but I'd guess now he was probably about 45! I used to watch in awe as Peter ran his index finger down a column of numbers to add them up and then wrote the total in the space below. 

Peter did this so confidently that I decide to shun those new-fangled calculator thingies that had just come on the market.  As I watched Peter I decided that I was going to be like him. I had been top of the class in mental arithmetic at school so I knew I could do the same as Peter. 

For the next two days I practiced running my finger down columns of figures, putting in my totals and Peter checked them for me. I was good. I made the occasional mistake but I could do it. I wasn't as fast as Peter but I was sure I could get there. The good news was that I didn't need one of those big electronic calculator marvels.

The next week I moved into the main audit room where all my peers were working. They questioned my sanity when I shunned the use of a large electric calculator to add up columns of figures. They were all faster than me. Within another 2 days I had given in and have used a calculator ever since! Ever since then I have embraced all forms of modern technology. Why make life harder than it needs to be?





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26th Jul 2013 14:37


Any one with BODMAS logic. Currently a trusty Casio fx-85WA.

Unfortunately my trusty Decimo Vatman died during (!) my P2 ICAEW exams, but the Casio is infinitely better. 

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29th Jul 2013 01:28

No! Kids!

I got my lovely sharp calculator when I first started studying back in 1996 so she would only be 17 now.

I have now finished my degree and have three lovely children that keep asking me if they can you her for their homework.  The pangs of anxiety that run through me at the thought of her lovely buttons getting grimy and sticky ensure that she stays safely out of harms reach :)

Funny how we become so attached to some inanimate objects



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By CathyB
29th Jul 2013 12:55

The dark ages

I started work before 1971 so had to add up columns of £ s d without a calculator!  There was 1 adding machine in the office.  I recently had to go back to estate accounts for 1966 and the younger people in the office were gobsmacked at the idea of 12d to a shilling and 20s to a £.



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