QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting: What's the Difference?

November 7, 2022
Business Basics

Choosing the right accounting software for your small business is a must. It will help you manage your finances more effectively, track expenses more accurately, and get as much value out of your financial data as possible.

QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting is a common comparison for small business owners who are looking for accounting software. If you're trying to figure out which is suitable for your company, you're in the right place.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make a decision.

QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting: Overview

QuickBooks Online is a popular cloud-based accounting platform with four plans to choose from ($30 - $200/month). QuickBooks is owned by Intuit, one of the leading financial service providers.

QuickBooks offers many helpful features, automation, and integrations for small business owners, which we'll explore more in-depth below. The critical thing to note is that it's a paid software that delivers best-in-class value for a monthly fee.

Wave offers free accounting software with basic features, integrations, and limited customization options. It can work for new small businesses with limited budgets but isn't scalable or a fit for larger companies.

We'll tell you why below.

QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting: Pricing and Features

Wave Accounting

Wave's accounting software is 100% free. The company also sells payroll and payment software, which carries a monthly fee based on how often you use them.

With that in mind, here are the main features that you get from Wave's free accounting software:

  • Fast and easy setup
  • Link as many bank accounts and credit cards as you want
  • Generate reports that help to track sales tax, cash flow, profit/loss, and more
  • Uses a system of double-entry accounting
  • Allows you to set customized rates for sales taxes and exchange rates

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks gives you several plans and pricing options to choose from. The diverse pricing structure makes the software easier to scale with since you'll be able to upgrade your plan when needed instead of changing services entirely.

We'll break down what each plan includes below.

QuickBooks Simple Start ($30/month)

QuickBooks' Simple Start plan allows you to track everything from revenue and expenses to business receipts and sales tax. You'll also be able to send invoices, accept payments, and create reports that give you deeper insight into your company's financial status.

Simple Start is the most basic plan available; you can only create a single user account.

So, if you only have one person managing your company's finances, it can work. But if you have several accountants on your staff, you'll likely need a more advanced plan.

QuickBooks Essentials ($55/month)

With QuickBooks Essentials, you get all of the benefits from the Simple Start plan and the ability to track time and pay bills. You'll also be able to give up to three people in your company access to your QuickBooks account.

QuickBooks Plus ($85/month)

QuickBooks Plus gives you access to all the benefits we've already covered. Plus, you'll be able to start tracking inventory and project profitability in your QuickBooks account.

This plan also allows access for up to five users.

QuickBooks Advanced ($200/month)

QuickBooks Advanced includes all of the previously-covered benefits in addition to the following:

  • In-depth business analytics and insights
  • Access to exclusive premium apps such as Salesforce and workflow automation tools
  • Access for up to 25 users
  • Option to customize access based on an employee's role
  • Automated data backup and the ability to restore previous versions
  • A dedicated support team for your account and access to on-demand training modules
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QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting: Integrations

QuickBooks Online gives you access to 650+ integrations through its integration with Zapier and its dedicated app marketplace. These task-specific tools can help you manage your company and its finances more effectively in many different ways.

With 650+ integrations to choose from, you should always be able to find an integration that helps you take the next step toward your goals.

Wave Accounting doesn't offer direct integrations. But you can use Zapier to connect it with other tools and software. You'll need to set up an account and potentially pay for a Zapier subscription to fully take advantage of the automation benefits, depending on how many tasks you plan on completing each month.

QuickBooks vs. Wave Accounting: Mobile App

If you're a business owner constantly on the move, accessing your accounting software via a mobile app can be helpful. QuickBooks makes that extremely easy by offering a mobile app with the same features and capabilities as its standard online service.

Wave Accounting has a mobile app, but it doesn't include support for the company's accounting software as of the time of writing.

That means if accessing your accounting platform on the go is essential to you, QuickBooks is the only real option.

Which Should You Choose? QuickBooks Online or Wave Accounting?

The answer entirely depends on where your business is at in its development and what you need to manage it.

If you're starting a brand new business, Wave Accounting can be an excellent stepping stone to get you to the next growth stage. It offers reliable essential accounting tools and doesn't cost a dime, so you can manage your company's finances without adding another cost.

As your company grows, you'll be able to benefit more and more from having access to more detailed financial reports and management features.

That's where QuickBooks Online shines.

QuickBooks accounting platform is a good fit for small, medium, and large companies. You can start with the basic plan and work up to the advanced one as you grow. No matter how large your company gets, you'll never need to swap platforms again.

Plus, QuickBooks Online has many extra features that Wave Accounting doesn't, including automated report generation and inventory tracking, to name a few.

You'll even be able to manage your finances on the go with the QuickBooks mobile app.

The bottom line is that your company will likely need to choose QuickBooks over Wave Accounting at some point in its development. The only question is when you'll have to make the switch.

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Kellan Jansen
Written by:
Kellan Jansen

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