Besides choosing the right CFA study materials, choosing the right calculator is also essential to cracking the CFA exam. CFA exam policies permit only two models of financial calculator on the CFA exam; Texas Instruments BA II plus (including Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional version) and Hewlett Packard 12 C (including Platinum, Prestige and 25th and 30th anniversary editions). See the CFA calculator policy here
Today I’m going to review each of the permitted calculators for you to help you decide which calculator to choose for your exams.
Texas Instruments BA II Plus
Texas Instruments BA II plus calculator is a solidly built calculator with a plastic body (black) and color coded keys. Its key features include Time value of money calculations, cash flow analysis for up to 24 uneven cash flows, amortization schedules, Net Present value (NPV), Internal rate of return (IRR), Depreciation with four different methodologies – SL, SYD,DB, DB with SL crossover, breakeven calculations, profit and percentage difference calculations, BGN/END payment settings, partial years settings.
Besides these features it has four regression options – linear, logarithmic, exponential and power. Math functions include trigonometric calculations, natural logarithms, and powers.
The calculator has a second key feature to calculate terms fast. It has a ten digit display. Besides these, it has 10 memories, which is a very useful feature given the lengthy calculations in the CFA syllabus.
The calculator comes with one lithium 2032 battery and an impact resistant protective cover. Quick reference card and user manual are included. At around $27 in the US or Rs.2500/- in India its the cheapest of all options listed here.
Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional
Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional is a solidly built calculator with a metallic silver body and is sleeker than the Plus version.
The BA II Plus and BA II Plus Professional versions are identical in terms of functionality, with the exception of five key features. You can perform four more cash flow calculations and one more bond calculation with the BA II PLUS PROFESSIONAL that are not included on the BA II PLUS. These are listed below.
- Net future value (NFV)
• Payback – (PB)
• Discounted payback (DPB)
• Reinvestment rate (RI)
• Modified internal rate of return (MOD)
• Modified duration (DUR)
All of these calculations are covered in the CFA syllabus and there’s a chance you may see them on the exam. Take this into consideration when you choose between the BA II Plus and BA II Plus Professional.
The calculator comes with one lithium 2032 battery and a black protective pouch. Quick reference card and user manual are included. It retails for around $57 in the US and Rs.5500/- in India
Hewlett Packard 12C
Hewlett Packard 12 C has a plastic body with a brushed metal gold finishing and weighs 116 grams. It is capable of performing calculations for loan payments, interest rates and conversions, standard deviation, percent, TVM, NPV, IRR, cash flows, bonds and much more. It has over 120 built in functions.
The main feature of Hewlett Packard calculators is that they are built on RPN logic, i.e. Reverse Polish Notation. For example, to get the total of 4 plus 6, you just have to type in “4 [enter] 6 [enter] +”, instead of having to use the equal sign. This cuts down the time a user has to work on the keypad. However this way of calculating will take some getting used to.
12C has 10 digit single line display and 20 memory registers, which is 10 more than Texas Instruments BA II plus and professional. It has 99 step key stroke programming and internal precision of 12 digits. The calculator comes with a 1 CR2032 battery which lasts about 2 years approximately.
Given their higher features, HP calculators are priced higher than the TI calculators. It sells for about $55 in the US and Rs.6600/- in India.
Hewlett Packard 12C Platinum
Hewlett Packard 12 C Platinum has a plastic body with a brushed metal silver finishing and weighs 116 grams. Features are similar to that of HP 12C except that it has over 130 built in functions. Its key stroke programming memory capacity is 399 steps as against 99 steps in the HP 12C version. Besides RPN it also has algebraic logic.
The calculator has internal precision of up to 15 digits. It is up to 6 times faster than the HP 12C version. It has up to 4 times the memory to handle up to 80 cash flows. It also has undo and back space buttons which are lacking in the original version. It sells in the US for about $69 and in India for about Rs.7200/-.
Hewlett Packard 12C 25th and 30th anniversary editions
There is nothing new and different on offer here except 2a5th anniversary edition and 30h anniversary edition written on the calculators. If you are a fan of Hewlett Packard 12C calculators you may want to buy these and add them to your collection. The 30th anniversary edition retails in India for about Rs.19000/- and in the US for about $180.
That’s all from me guys. Hope this post helps you choose the right calculator for you.