Wave Vs. QuickBooks

Compare Wave vs. QuickBooks. See pros and cons of Wave vs. QuickBooks and easily decide which accounting software is right for you.

In another article, we gave you a comparison of the two most popular accounting programs on the market – FreshBooks vs. QuickBooks. QuickBooks turned out to be the winner in that one. So, can QuickBooks retain its crown against another relatively new player in the market?

Who’s this new player you ask? This new player is none other than Wave. Wave is a cloud-based accounting software that’s very similar to FreshBooks. But, can it do what FreshBooks couldn’t? Can it defeat the “granddaddy” of all accounting applications?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to find out in our latest battle – Wave vs. QuickBooks. So, let’s stop wasting time and begin the battle.

Wave Vs. QuickBooks Accounting Software Comparison


We’re going to start the battle by looking at the most important area of performance for both these applications – accounting. Now, the key difference between the two is that QuickBooks offers accrual-based accounting while Wave only provides cash-based accounting.

So, with QuickBooks, you’re bound to receive a more accurate picture of the financial situation. For instance, the application factors in everything from receivables to payables. Things aren’t just limited to cash. This is where Wave fails.

However, that doesn’t mean Wave is completely useless. There are methods that allow you to work around the limitations. Now, we don’t have time or the space to tell you what these methods are how they work. So, you’ll have to do some research on your own. The good news is that it won’t be too hard to come across some information.

But, the point is, you’re still forced to do something extra, which is where QuickBooks shines with its hybrid capability. It’s definitely the smarter and more useful of the two as far as accounting goes.

Also, QuickBooks offers 5 invoicing templates whereas Wave only offers 3. But, the latter does provide more customization options.

As for automatic invoicing for recurring accounts, both applications provide the feature.

On the whole, QuickBooks wins this round of “Wave vs. QuickBooks”.


QuickBooks offers around 100 reports while Wave only offers 12. So, yes, victory goes to QuickBooks again.


The Online Plus version of QuickBooks offers budgeting. It’s quite an easy-to-use function. But, you are limited to single annual budgeting.

Wave doesn’t even offer that. You have to use a spreadsheet.

So… QuickBooks wins this round of Wave vs. QuickBooks, again.

Category Tracking

QuickBooks allows you to track records whether they move between accounts or categories. Now, if you’re thinking what this means, look at it this way. Your categories are basically like digital boxes. Each box contains a bunch of specific records and probably has a specific label as well. For instance, the label could be Checking, Food, Savings, or Bills etc.

Now, in QuickBooks, you can shift one record to another category like you would shift a record from one box to another. For example, you can take a record from your Savings category and put it in the Food category. This can make your life a little easier.

On Wave, you don’t have this. You’d have to do everything manually, which means you’ll have to delete the record from one category and manually enter it into another.


Wave lets you integrate both, personal and business finances in a single platform. However, QuickBooks doesn’t offer this feature.

But, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Well, it depends on the clientele the program is trying to serve. QuickBooks is meant for businesses of all sizes and therefore prefers to keep things business-like.

Wave, on the other hand, caters exclusively to small businesses. Since most small business owners use personal credit to pay business bills, the Wave setup works better for them.

In other words, the application works in a way that suits small business owners.

So, it’s kind of a draw here. There really is no way to compare the two in this regard. It’s just a target market thing.


Wave is a clear winner here because it’s free of cost. There are no hidden fees, no limitations with regard to features, or anything other hidden condition. The program makes money via a payroll service that can be integrated with the primary application.

QuickBooks (Online) charges anywhere from $5 to $35 based on the kind of plan you opt for. The most comprehensive plan on QuickBooks might be tempting. However, even if you could afford it, we would still recommend Wave. It’s a tool that’ll familiarize you with cloud accounting and you’re getting all that “training” for free.

Number of Users

Wave allows an unlimited number of users while QuickBooks Online has a 5-user limit. Again, the approach used by each application in this department is based on the audience they cater to.

QuickBooks has the limit because it mainly focuses on large enterprises where financial data is rarely shared by more than a group of 5 people. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance.

Wave, as you already know, is small-business-specific, where accounting doesn’t need too much confidentiality. Most of the accounting is done by the business owner or his/her family members.

However, having unlimited user access is necessary if you want efficiency. How else are your employees going to upload their estimates, expenses, and reports? So, Wave wins this round of Wave vs. QuickBooks.

Also, security and confidentiality can be maintained by establishing proper user permissions.


QuickBooks takes the cake here with almost infinite integration capabilities. Though the integration environment is mostly native, there are a few third-party systems that QuickBooks is accepting of. Wave, unfortunately, directly integrates with a total of just 3 programs.

Ease of Use

Wave is definitely easier to use since it is aimed at small business owners. Of course, there are fewer features as well. QuickBooks is a little more complex, but it is built for complex accounting environments, which makes sense.


We still think QuickBooks is a far better accounting program. It’s not because we are biased. It’s simply because QuickBooks is a more comprehensive piece of software. Wave might win in a few departments, but it simply cannot compete with the robustness of a program that’s been selling for years.

In fact, it’s not even fair to compare Wave with QuickBooks. Wave is for the small-business owners and it’s calibrated to meet their needs and sync with their habits.

QuickBooks is for everybody (as long as you’re willing to pay).

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