QuickBooks vs Wave: Which is Better for Your Startup Business?

Running your business quickly reveals that it takes more than just doing what you love. Being a freelancer or entrepreneur […]

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Running your business quickly reveals that it takes more than just doing what you love. Being a freelancer or entrepreneur may require you to take on multiple roles, such as chief finance officer (whether you love it or hate it), marketer, customer service lead, and head of sales.

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You are in trouble if you do not have smooth procedures in place to manage the money flow in your company. Financial software, however, can be useful.

You may streamline, automate, and simplify your financial responsibilities using the numerous accounting and invoicing software available on the market.

QuickBooks and Wave are two of the greatest accounting software for independent contractors and small enterprises.

Due to its many features and integrations, QuickBooks Online is a superior option for expanding companies with more than a few employees. Wave excels as a free choice for independent contractors, freelancers, and small organizations but, it is not intended for companies looking to grow.

Two well-liked solutions for accounting and invoicing small enterprises are Wave and QuickBooks. For many years, QuickBooks has been the industry standard. Still, Wave is a relative newcomer that has emerged to meet the demands of contemporary freelancers and microbusinesses who don’t require the sophisticated services that QuickBooks provides.

While Wave and QuickBooks both have similar invoicing functions, Wave’s service offering is significantly more limited than QuickBooks’, which makes it less suited for larger enterprises. While QuickBooks offers a wide range of features and capabilities that require a major learning curve to manage, Wave, being a more current platform, has a simpler and easier-to-use user interface (UI).

Wave and QuickBooks Online are two completely different accounting software packages designed for various kinds of companies. Ultimately, which one to choose depends on your desire for a solution that can grow with your company. So, this article will help you in selecting the best one from the both.

About Wave

The accounting program Wave is free. Being web-based, Wave Accounting allows you to access the program from any location with an internet connection once you’ve registered for an account (no credit card needed). Wave gives you access to basic accounting and bookkeeping features along with the option to personalize your platform with both free and paid add-ons to increase its functionality.

Wave is an amazing accounting partner who simplifies money management. It all comes down to making money management easier by providing free tools for tracking expenses, creating invoices, and more—all without the hassle of exorbitant fees. Wave is here to simplify your financial life, regardless of the size of your company.

Wave makes it simple to manage your accounts and is ideal for sole entrepreneurs and micro businesses. The Wave includes strong accounting capabilities as well, and if you want to take online payments, you just need to pay the standard transaction costs you would pay with any other application.

Wave provides a host of benefits for individuals who anticipate working alone for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, you might want to think about a product that can grow with your business if you see it developing and growing.

About QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online is another of the products that have been created with small business owners in mind since the company’s founding. QuickBooks Online offers a single-user plan that is ideal for small businesses, sole proprietorships, and expanding companies. It can also be scaled up to a plan that can accommodate up to 25 people, which is ideal for expanding companies.

In addition to having one of the strongest and most comprehensive networks of consultants and accountants at your disposal, QuickBooks Online can provide you with outstanding and comprehensive features.

QuickBooks vs Wave: Find your perfect accounting fit!


Wave provides many of the same capabilities as QuickBooks Online, plus a few extras like full-service payroll and simple bill payment. QuickBooks Online also offers accounting, invoicing, payments, payroll, and receipts. Wave doesn’t support bill payment, though, so that could be a problem if you have a lot of things to pay.

  • Feature Wave Offer:
    • Wave’s capacity to generate bills, especially personalized invoices, is one of its greatest advantages.
    • Wave offers full invoice customization, as demonstrated above, so you can personalize every invoice you make with your company’s accent color and logo. You can also utilize one of the many templates that Wave offers, or it only takes a few minutes to make your own. Provide your clients with an online payment option and include a link to the payment when you email them the invoice to expedite payment.
    • For those that charge a fixed monthly cost to their clients, you have the option to set up recurring invoices.
    • To import transactions automatically, you can connect your financial institutions to Wave. Alternatively, you can manually record banking transactions by using the Add Manual Transactions tool. Should you need to pay any staff, Wave additionally offers an optional payroll feature.
    • You may track spending by uploading receipt photos and creating estimations for your customers. Checkout is a new feature that allows your clients to pay for goods or services right from your website, saving you the trouble of sending invoices.
    • Wave has the capability to track invoices, but you can only track a limited amount of data. In addition, you cannot issue checks to pay suppliers, so any payment you make will have to be manually entered.
  • Feature QuickBooks Offer:
    • Similar to Wave, QuickBooks allows you to import photographs of your receipts, track and manage your spending, take online payments, and link your bank accounts. In QuickBooks, you are able to pay your merchants with checks; this is not possible in Wave.
    • Additionally, QuickBooks’ Sales section has some excellent features, such as strong customer management and efficient invoice preparation and administration.
    • You can send an email reminder to your clients or follow up with a phone call for those that are seriously past due by using QuickBooks’ Invoice screen, which gives you an overview of the status of every invoice in the program. Additionally, while creating a custom invoice in QuickBooks, you can include a link for online payment when the invoice is sent by email.
    • The ability to directly add a bank account number or credit card information to the invoice (see above) for instant payment is one of the more convenient features offered by QuickBooks Online. The option to manually manage the process and guarantee correct payment application, or to have online payments automatically applied to an outstanding invoice, is another useful feature.
    • For those who prefer not to link their financial institutions to the program, QuickBooks Online offers the same manual transaction entry feature as Wave.

Results: This one goes to QuickBooks. Wave provides many of the same functions as QuickBooks Online, but QuickBooks Online often has more features, like the ability to pay bills and handle customers and vendors more effectively.


The accounting software available today is simple to use and requires little assistance or training. But it doesn’t mean that product assistance isn’t vital, even if they are simpler to use. Strong user communities mean you have access to educated users at your fingertips, and both Wave and QuickBooks Online offer a good range of tools and resources to make navigating through either application simple.

That is not, however, a replacement for in-person product support.

  • Wave Offers:
    • Users of Wave can utilize the Wave website to file a support request. Furthermore, chat assistance will be available to new users for the first sixty days of their contract. You’ll only be able to communicate once those 60 days have passed if you have a Wave Payments or Wave Payroll subscription. Wave also provides the following:
      • Highlighted content
      • Within-product assistance
      • Waveguides
      • Searchable knowledge base for the user community
  • QuickBooks Offers:
    • QuickBooks Online provides its users with a plethora of assistance alternatives, such as the following:
      • User base
      • within-product assistance
      • Searchable knowledge repository
      • Highlighted content
      • Choices for product training
      • Email a support agent to get in contact with them.
      • Use messaging to get in contact with a support agent.
      • Make a phone call to a support agent.
    • Like Wave, QuickBooks Online is meant to assist customers in locating solutions through a range of tools; live support is encouraged only as a last resort.

Results: QuickBooks Online is the winner in this area. Even though Wave offers an impressive amount of support and assistance, especially considering that it is a free application, having live support is always preferable.

Ease of Use

Nobody desires a confusing product to use. Thankfully, Wave and QuickBooks Online both provide user-friendly setup and navigation processes, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android phones.

  • Wave Offers:
    • A fantastic place for novice users to start is the Wave Launchpad (see photo below). All you have to do is select one of the options on the screen, and you will be directed through the setup procedure right away.
    • To get started, you only need to input the strictly necessary information; the remaining details can be added later. Moreover, Wave allows you to import CSV files including customers and other data from other programs. Help is available from any screen inside the application, and all product features are accessible through the vertical menu bar located to the left of the main screen.
  • QuickBooks Offers:
    • Similar to Wave, QuickBooks Online lets you set up the simplest amount of information and add more lately. Similar to Wave, QuickBooks Online provides access to all system features through a vertical menu bar on the left side of the screen.
    • One of the primary distinctions between QuickBooks Online and other online accounting software is that selecting a category opens the main page for that category instead of the feature itself.
    • Additionally, you can import data from other programs by utilizing the QuickBooks Online Import Data option and a CSV or Microsoft Excel file. If you run into trouble, you can easily obtain help from any screen.

Results: It’s a tie in this one. It’s simple to get started and navigate about with ease using both applications.


With all accounting tools included, Wave is a free application. One user can easily upgrade to a more advanced edition of QuickBooks Online without losing any data or needing to start over with a new program, making it a more scalable product than other options.

  • Wave Offers:
    • Although Wave offers free accounting capabilities, you will need to pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction if you wish to accept payments online with Wave Payments or another payment provider. For each ACH transfer, Wave levies a fee of 1%.
  • QuickBooks Offers:
    • Of the four plan options offered by QuickBooks Online, the Simple Start plan—which costs $12.50 per month for the first three months and covers a single user—is the most similar to Wave’s free account. The following plans are provided by QuickBooks Online:
      • Simple Start: $25 per month after three months at $12.50. One person can use the Simple Start plan.
      • The necessities are $20 a month for the first three months and $40 after that. There is a three-user maximum for the Essentials plan.
      • Plus: $35 per month for the first three months, followed by $70. There is a five-user maximum for the Plus plan.
      • Advance payments: $75 each month for the first three months, followed by $150. You can have up to 25 users on the advanced plan.
    • The Simple Start plan can create invoices, run basic reports, track sales tax, and handle receipts in addition to tracking income and spending. More features in the more comprehensive plans include time monitoring and vendor payment.
    • Similar to Wave, there is a 2.9% transaction fee plus $0.25 per transaction when using QuickBooks Online to accept online payments. For ACH transactions, a 1% transaction fee is assessed; however, QuickBooks Online caps this price at $10.

Results: The wave prevails. When something is free, it’s hard to argue against it. Wave even gains when you add the transaction costs that you will pay for QuickBooks Online (or any similar application).


Good software app integration is provided by Wave and QuickBooks Online.

  • Wave Offers:
    • In addition to many CRM and email marketing programs, Wave integrates with PayPal, Etsy, Stripe, and Shopify. Through Zapier, which connects web apps automatically, you can also combine Wave with over 1,000 apps.
  • QuickBooks Offers:
    • In addition to expense-tracking tools like Expensify and Concur, QuickBooks Online integrates with hundreds of other programs for invoicing, time tracking, HR, CRM, and e-commerce. Additionally, you may instantly link QuickBooks Online to any accessible apps by selecting the Apps category on the navigation bar.

Result: This one goes to QuickBooks Online. Although Wave has a greater selection of apps for possible integration, QuickBooks Online app integration is simpler and involves fewer steps than Wave app integration. The ability to link the app from within the software program—which is possible with QuickBooks Online—is a good feature.


Reports are a valuable tool for managing your company, and both Wave and QuickBooks Online provide alternatives for reporting, but with significant differences.

  • Wave Offers:
    • Wave currently only provides 12 reports, however they are helpful reports with limited customization options. Any report can be exported as a PDF or saved as a CSV file for further customization.
  • QuickBooks Offers:
    • Over fifty common reports are available in QuickBooks Online, which can be further customized within the program, exported to Microsoft Excel, or saved as a PDF.

Results: This is definitely won by QuickBooks. Although Wave’s reports are sufficient, the reporting features of QuickBooks Online provide you access to a lot more data.

Read About: Wave to QuickBooks Data Conversion


For small firms, Wave and QuickBooks both provide typical features and capabilities for invoicing. While QuickBooks is made to expand your business and handle sophisticated business needs, Wave’s platform is more straightforward and easier to use for one-person operations and freelancers.

Wave is a superior choice if you work as a freelancer or as a lone service provider. You can spend more time providing your services and less time running your company because it is free to use and has an intuitive user interface that is simple for everyone to adopt.

QuickBooks is a typical choice and can be worth the membership cost if you’re a small business owner working with an accountant or bookkeeper, or providing in-person services. There won’t be a learning curve for your team to get started because it satisfies a wider range of business needs and is now considered standard among accountants.

Accounting Professionals, CPA, Enterprises, Owners
Accounting Professionals

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which payroll software is most suitable for small businesses?

ADP Run offers a highly customizable payroll and benefits administration platform. Gusto is ideal for startups and small enterprises with both contractors and employees. OnPay is ideal for small businesses seeking a user-friendly solution. Find out more about small businesses’ top payroll software options.

What are the advantages of using billing software?

Billing software automates numerous manual operations, hence reducing the possibility of human mistakes to some or all extent. It also saves time. Moreover, automated invoicing, billing, and other procedures enhance customer and project management. Bills are processed and distributed on time, and your invoicing and billing procedures are also more efficient.

How to choose accounting software based on a business’s specific needs?

When deciding which accounting software program is ideal for your firm, you should weigh the characteristics that are most relevant to your particular circumstances. The finest accounting software programs all offer similar functionality. You can use this to determine which accounting program best suits your requirements. Software that offers cost tracking, inventory management, and the ability to collect and submit sales tax is more suited for retail businesses than it is for tasks like accounts payable (A/P), banking, and cash management. A/R and financial reporting performance, customer service quality, and the software’s mobile app are additional elements you might wish to take into account.

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