Wave vs. QuickBooks Online: Which is Better?


Digitization, is the new wave of business convenience that is being adopted both near and far. Organizations are moving their activities to a digital landscape and they are all the better for it. The conveniences of decentralized information storage, easy to use features and extensive support make going digital more beneficial long term. 

The accounting industry is no different. With a plethora of software now easily available, the stress of managing numbers is now at ease. Accounting software is able to compute calculations with pinpoint accuracy on a large scale  while maintaining a user friendly format.

Wave and QuickBooks online are two well established options in their field. We explore which option is truly more business friendly and worthy of the investment. 

What is Wave?

Wave, formerly known as Wave accounting, is a free software that has garnered 3.5 million users over the last five years. Wave offers a free space with a plethora of features while offering more complex solutions with a payment option. Creating invoices, contacts and other features are allowed as far as you need and entirely free of cost. The payroll maintenance, payroll processing and bookkeeping are paid for aspects that offer to digitize a large chunk of accounting tasks. The software is constantly updated to include newer, more convenient features and helps new business owners in particular to develop a strong foundation for their financial management activities. 

While Wave offers a multitude of benefits, there are a few areas of improvement. Without a project management feature, poor integration to a mobile application and limited time and inventory management the application would not work as well for bigger organizations. The software lacks scalability. The well designed user interface may be a better investment for growing organizations.  

What is QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online is currently used by 4.5 million customers across the globe. Built by technology company Intuit, QuickBooks is a popular choice for small businesses looking to invest in accounting software. The software is offered at three different price points with varying feature access. If you’re unsure of what works best for your business, QuickBooks offers a thirty day free trial. 

The introductory plan (at USD $25) works best for microbusinesses. Expenses can be tracked, invoices created, bank accounts connected, reports generated and taxes maintained among other features. Moving to the next payment plan (USD $40), adds billing management, additional users and time tracking to the baseline features. At the highest end payment plan (USD $70) additional users supported can be upto five along with profitability projections and inventory tracking. The most advanced version of this software is offered to larger businesses with pricing structures available on request. 

Considered to be the best accounting report generating software on the market, this may be a better investment for organizations that are better structured and looking for a scalable option with growth. 

The Debate

The choice between Wave and QuickBooks online has been a long standing debate. QuickBooks has been a heavy hitter in the field since 2004 and offers a scalable set of comprehensive features. Wave is a heavily cloud based accounting solution. While the software is free of cost to some degree, quality is not sacrificed in the process. To compare and contrast we begin assessing;


Both software models offer all the generic features of accounting software. They both offer invoicing options, management of contacts, tracking of expenses and inventory, reporting  features, sales orders and support for taxation. Additionally they both possess internal financing or lending options to help small scale businesses generate investment revenue. However in terms of more advanced features, QuickBooks has the advantage. With time tracking features and strong project management frameworks, QuickBooks may be a better investment for a more comprehensive choice. 


Wave is the most comprehensive free to use accounting software on the market. Its core features such as invoicing, are available with no limitations on a user friendly interface with no advertising pop ups. If you are looking to incorporate processing of payments and payroll service, this is available at a nominal pay per use fee. While payment processing is available at different rates depending on the issuer of the card, the use of payroll features is available at either USD $20 or $35. This is contingent on your chosen mode of operability. More personalized services are available with Wave at higher costing packages starting at USD $129.

QuickBooks Online lures customers in with a thirty day free trial of its comprehensive feature pool. After the conclusion of the trial, subscriptions are offered between USD $25 and $150. They also offer a version for freelancers at a subsidized rate of USD $15 per month. Their simple start plan is entry level and covers a wide range of features including income tracking, estimation and receipt organization. As the plans increase in price, the range of features expands. The most advanced plan is able to host over 25 users, incorporates business analytics, online training and automated workflows for maximum convenience. 

User Friendly?

While both boast easy to use interfaces, Wave offers a more simple to use interface in comparison to QuickBooks. Prior knowledge of accounting is needed to operate QuickBooks the way it needs to be. Additionally Wave offers less scalability options in terms of adding users. It offers support for a single user while QuickBooks can include up to 25. QuickBooks and Wave also have opposing views on customer service. While Wave focusses on email support, QuickBooks brings emphasis to phone support. 

Most importantly, Wave and QuickBooks can be integrated into other business solutions. This offers a streamlined approach to digitizing all organizational activities. Wave integrates fundamentally with only three applications and does offer Zapier integration to work with thousands of plugins. QuickBooks on the other hand offers 650 application addons and over 25 payment processing options.


Picking between the two requires a granular assessment of what your organization needs, this makes deciding what features are a priority easier and helps with deciding who deserves your investment. 

Final Thoughts

Wave and QuickBooks Online are two of the most popular financial accounting software’s for smaller businesses available on the market. With a number of key differences between feature options, pricing and ease of use, organizations need to prioritize their needs to decide what software may be a better option. If integration with other applications is a priority, QuickBooks may be a better option. If an easy to use interface with limited feature options is what your business needs right now Wave may be a better choice. Conduct a thorough assessment of your business needs before making a decision. 

Accounting Software 101 – Picking QuickBooks Online Or Wave

Picking an accounting software may seem intimidating. Read the Invensis article to learn whether investment is a better decision in QuickBooks Online or Wave.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here