Quickbooks vs Wave: Which Software is Best for You?

wave vs quickbooks

You can integrate Wave Payroll with Wave Accounting for seamless general ledger updates, but only QuickBooks Payroll will let you check payroll amounts and pay employees on the go. While Wave syncs with third-party time-tracking apps, it doesn’t have a built-in employee time clock or self-service portal. You also have the ability to create categories with four levels of subcategories. Once you’ve set up your inventory, you can create purchase orders to send to vendors. The inventory tracker will update when vendors bill you for products and after you invoice customers. Can manage multiple businesses for free under one account; lacks project tracking tools, industry-specific reports and transaction tracking tags.

As your business grows, you will need more users on your QuickBooks account. In an ideal world, it would be great if you could be the only one to manage your business, but you know it takes a village if you want to be successful. If you can, decide from this list which plan fits your business right now.

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The Digital Merchant has the best strategies and tools to grow your digital business. That said, IF you sell physical “things” online, QuickBooks online is a much better option here. To create a fair comparison, I’ll do the same overview of Wave following the same format as I did above for QuickBooks and end the piece with a side-by-side comparison from a third-party reviewer. Some people complained that there is a learning curve to use QuickBooks which I would have to agree.

Since it’s cloud-based, customers loved being able to access their secured data from anywhere and do things like check inventory on the fly. When it’s tax time, this reporting feature has been huge for my business. With a few clicks, I send my accountant what he needs without sorting through receipts or crunching numbers. These reports have also helped me track trends within my business and have given me the data I need to anticipate revenue.

Mileage tracking is another feature built into QuickBooks that Wave doesn’t have, unless you use a creative workaround. With this QuickBooks feature, your employees can enter their trip information. Trips then go into a bucket for your review, where you can confirm each trip as Business or Personal. There’s also a convenient Round Trip toggle, so you don’t have to manually enter two separate trips.

You can connect your financial institutions to Wave for automatic transaction import, or use the Add Manual Transactions feature to record banking transactions manually. There’s also an Journal Entry for Rent Paid Cash, Cheque, Advance, Examples optional payroll feature available in Wave if you have any employees you need to pay. Have you read our accounting software reviews but still aren’t sure which product is right for you?

Feature set

Has robust reporting tools and report customization options, invoicing for an unlimited amount of clients, inventory tracking in higher tier plans, plus a capable mobile app. QuickBooks Self-Employed, QuickBooks’ accounting plan for freelancers, is . For $15 a month, it lets you send invoices, scan receipts, and separate business expenses from personal ones. Meanwhile, QuickBooks Online’s cheapest small-business accounting plan starts at $30 a month.

  • The service automatically adds billable hours to invoices so you don’t have to manually calculate them every month for each employee.
  • Yeah, you’ll pay quite a bit more, but it’ll likely be worth it to help you scale efficiently.
  • If you’re a freelancer or other solo service provider, Wave is a better option.
  • While human error will always play some role in security breaches, you can be confident in your accounting platform when it comes to keeping your information safe.
  • With Wave, you’d have to integrate a third-party app in order to track time.

Higher-tier QuickBooks accounting plans add even more features, such as time tracking, inventory management, bill management, profitability forecasting and more. I only had to keep track of my ice cream bucket with my business, but if you sell a product, you’ll probably have a bit more to organize. To access the feature, you have to turn on a setting under Sales to allow inventory tracking, which I learned through a demo video.

In terms of price, Wave is a free application, which requires you to pay nothing to use all accounting features. Another handier option available on QuickBooks Online is that it enables you to feature a MasterCard number or inspecting account number on to the invoice for cash. Another convenient feature is that the option to have online payments automatically applied to an impressive invoice, or manage the method manually as it will confirm the proper application of the payment. Just like Wave Accounting, though, Wave Payroll is cheaper than QuickBooks Payroll. Its self-service plan costs $20 a month plus an additional $6 per employee. And its full-service plan is just $35 a month, which puts it on the lower end of the payroll-cost spectrum.

Users can customize the dashboard to display the most relevant information for their needs, giving them a quick overview of cash flow, income, expenses, and other critical financial data. All plans of QuickBooks Online include 24/7 live chat support, ensuring that help is available whenever needed. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the business of your dreams probably didn’t involve all of the accounting and bookkeeping that goes into running a real-life small business. It may not be the most glamorous, but accountant is one of the many hats you’ll need to wear as an entrepreneur. QuickBooks Online’s customer support is more reachable, and they can provide answers to your questions quickly.

Very small businesses and self-employed professionals needing basic invoicing may do well with Wave. You can also customize invoices, but there’s no option to preview the color. Reports can play a big role in the management of your business, and Wave and QuickBooks Online both offer reporting options, though those options vary widely between the two applications. Like Wave, if you accept online payments with QuickBooks Online, you’ll incur a transaction fee of 2.9%, plus $0.25 per transaction. A 1% transaction fee is charged for ACH transfers, although QuickBooks Online caps its fee at $10. The Sales feature in QuickBooks Online also offers some nice functions, including solid customer management capability and good invoice creation and management capability.


Wave does not offer built-in inventory management features, making it less suitable for businesses that deal with physical products and need to track their inventory levels. QuickBooks Online includes time-tracking features in its higher-tier plans. It is especially beneficial for businesses that bill clients based on hourly work, allowing them to track employee hours and generate accurate invoices. QuickBooks Online excels in reporting with extensive options and the ability to create custom reports. It offers various pre-built reports, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

wave vs quickbooks

With QuickBooks, your online payments will be deposited into your connected bank account within the next business day, or you can pay a 1% fee for instant deposit (free with a QuickBooks Checking account). You’ll pay a 2.9% plus $0.25 per transaction fee for invoiced credit card payments; and 1% (up to $10) for ACH payments. Besides, estimates can be created for your customers and upload receipt images to record expenses. Checkouts, a new feature on Wave, was created to allow your customers to tip for products or services from your website in a direct way, banishing the demand to invoice. Let’s start by going through the Wave accounting app and the details of this software. Wave accounting software is totally free and you can sign up for an account on their website at ease without any credit card required.

Conclusion: Is Wave better than QuickBooks?

Wave is genuinely free software that anyone can use almost immediately after signing up. Of course, they need to make money somehow, so there are some features you need to pay for, but many of the core features are free to access. Zoho Books is the all-encompassing small business accounting solution. With added features – like real-time inventory tracking – and great customer support, it’s definitely a competitor for your small biz dollar.

If you’re sold on the first three features of Wave (accounting, invoicing, and payments), then you might want to continue riding the Wave with their Payroll and Receipt features. The accounting software is 100% free, and there are no trials, limitations, or hidden fees. It includes invoices, accounting, and receipt scanning and your data is secured by 256-bit SSL encryption.

If apps can not function well, it will even confuse the situation and make a great amount of busywork for your business. So, choosing a good and suitable accounting tool to spend more time working on your business and less time on accounting is what we absolutely need to care for. Since QuickBooks Online is so popular, it syncs with just about every major payroll provider—including Gusto, one of our favorite payroll systems. If you’re trying to decide between QuickBooks’ native payroll solution and a highly rated third-party option like Gusto, check out our in-depth Gusto vs. QuickBooks Payroll comparison.

I’m an owner as well, and I was once just like you—doing my homework to make sure I make the best choice for my bottom line. This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication.