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Edited by: Kimberlee Leonard
 and Reviewed: Kimberlee Leonard

Wave vs. QuickBooks: Choosing the Right Accounting Software in 2023

Author: | Oct 5, 2023

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Go Sifter Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

In the dynamic financial landscape, there exists a plethora of financial management software. Making the right choice for your business is a crucial decision. In 2023, two prominent names are Wave and QuickBooks. While both have earned a reputation for streamlining accounting processes, invoicing, and expense tracking, each of them offers unique features and functionalities. We will be comparing Wave vs. QuickBooks Online in this article and look at their features, pricing, integrations, user reviews, and suitability for different business needs.

Deciding Factors – Wave vs. QuickBooks

Before we dive into the details of each software, let’s take a look at some of the key factors that can help you decide which one is right for you. The table below summarizes the main differences between Wave and QuickBooks Online:

FactorPriceMaximum number of usersAccessibilityMobile appInventory ManagementSales Tax ManagementLive Customer SupportGuided Support
WaveAccounting: $0
Payments: $ 2.9% + $0.30/transaction
ACH payments: 1%/transaction
Payroll: $35
Payroll self-service: $20
Unlimited for accounting and invoicing; one user for payrollCloud-BasedAvailableNot AvailableAvailableAvailable only for paid usersAvailable
QuickBooksSelf-Employed: $15
Simple Start: $30
Essentials: $55
Plus: $85
Advanced: $200
Depends on plansSimple Start – 1 userEssentials – 3 users Plus – 5 usersAdvanced – 25 usersCloud-BasedAvailableAvailable in Plus and Advanced plans; allows tracking inventory quantity and cost, creating purchase orders, and managing vendorsAvailableAvailable for all users via phone, chat, or emailAvailable

Wave vs. QuickBooks Online: Features

Wave and QuickBooks Online offer numerous features for managing finances, including invoicing, expense tracking, and robust reporting tools. While Wave is known for its free accounting software with unlimited invoicing, QuickBooks Online has a more extensive approach that caters to a broader range of businesses with advanced features.

What QuickBooks Online Offers

  • Invoicing: QuickBooks Online offers robust invoicing features and allows customization of invoices and the inclusion of your company’s branding. You can also provide online payment links within the invoices for faster payments.
  • Sales management: QuickBooks Online excels in sales management and offers features like comprehensive customer management, efficient invoice creation, and detailed invoice tracking. You can easily follow up on overdue invoices and send reminders.
  • Payment options: QuickBooks Online allows customers to add their credit card or bank account details directly to invoices for immediate payments. This enhances the convenience of payment processing.
  • Vendor payments: Unlike Wave, QuickBooks Online enables you to pay vendors with checks, streamlining your accounts payable process.
  • Financial integration: QuickBooks Online offers the option to connect your bank accounts for automatic transaction imports, similar to Wave. It also allows manual entry of transactions for greater flexibility.
  • Expense tracking: You can import and categorize receipt images in QuickBooks Online, simplifying expense tracking and reporting.
  • Custom invoice fields: QuickBooks Online provides customizable invoice templates with various fields to meet your specific invoicing needs.
  • Automation of online payments: QuickBooks Online offers an automated online payment application to ensure proper allocation of payments to outstanding invoices.
  • Manual transaction entry: Similar to Wave, QuickBooks Online supports manual entry of transactions for users who prefer not to link their bank accounts.

What Wave Offers

  • Invoicing: Wave offers robust invoicing capabilities. With these, users can create custom invoices. You can easily add your company logo and accent color to personalize your invoices. It also provides various templates for quick invoicing setup. Additionally, you can set up online payment options to expedite customer payments.
  • Recurring invoices: Wave enables you to create recurring invoices, which is convenient for businesses that bill clients a fixed amount each month. This feature helps streamline repetitive billing tasks.
  • Financial integration: You can connect your financial institutions to Wave for automatic transaction imports. Alternatively, there’s an option to add transactions manually, giving you flexibility in managing your financial data.
  • Payroll: Wave offers an optional payroll feature and makes it suitable for businesses with employees. It allows you to process payroll efficiently.
  • Estimates: You can generate estimates for your customers, providing them with quotes for your services. This feature helps in managing potential projects and conversions to actual invoices.
  • Receipt tracking: Wave allows you to upload receipt images and makes it easy to track and categorize expenses. This feature is beneficial for maintaining accurate financial records.
  • Checkouts: Wave’s Checkouts feature enables customers to make direct payments for goods or services from your website, simplifying the payment process and reducing the need for formal invoicing.
  • Bill recording: While Wave offers bill recording, it lacks automated bill payment functionality. Any payments to vendors need to be manually entered.
  • Customer and vendor management: Wave provides basic customer and vendor management capabilities, but the information you can track is minimal compared to some other solutions.

Wave vs. QuickBooks Online: The Pricing

One of the main differences between Quickbooks vs. Wave accounting is their pricing structure. Wave is free to use for accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning. You only pay for payroll and payment processing if you need them. QuickBooks Online pricing includes a monthly subscription fee based on the plan you choose. A comparison of their prices:

PlanWaveQuickBooks Online
AccountingFree$25/month (Simple Start)
InvoicingFree$25/month (Simple Start)
Receipt ScanningFree$25/month (Simple Start)
Payroll$35 per month + $6 per user (tax-service states)$20 per month + $6 per user(Other states) $45 + $4 per user(Payroll Core add-on) 
Payment Processing2.9% + 30 cents for most cards4% + 30 cents for American Express 2.4% + 25 cents (swiped)2.9% + 25 cents (invoiced)3.4% + 25 cents (keyed) 

As you can see from the table, Wave is cheaper than QuickBooks Online if you only need basic accounting and invoicing features. There are also Wave accounting alternatives that you can go for. However, QuickBooks Online is more expensive than Wave if you need advanced accounting features, payroll services, or more users. You should consider your business needs and budget before choosing the software that suits you best.


Both Wave and QuickBooks Online integrate with various third-party apps and software to enhance their functionality and streamline your workflow. Wave integrates with apps such as Zapier, Google Sheets, Mailchimp, HubSpot CRM, Shopify, Etsy, etc. QuickBooks Online integrates with apps such as Zapier, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, TSheets, Gusto, Expensify, etc.

However, QuickBooks Online has more integrations than Wave, especially in the categories of e-commerce, inventory management, project management, time tracking, etc. For example, QuickBooks Online integrates with Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, etc. for e-commerce; with TradeGecko, SOS Inventory, Unleashed Software, etc. for inventory management; with Asana, Trello, Basecamp, etc. for project management; with TSheets, ClockShark, Time Tracker by eBillity, etc. for time tracking; and so on.

These integrations can help you sync your data across different platforms and automate your tasks more easily. You can also access more features and functionalities that are not available in the native software.

Wave vs QuickBooks Online: User Reviews

Both Wave and QuickBooks Online have received positive reviews from users on sites like G2, TrustRadius, Capterra, etc. However, they also have some negative reviews and complaints from users who faced issues or limitations with the software.

Wave User Reviews

Users like Wave because it is free to use for accounting and invoicing. They also appreciate its simplicity and ease of use. They find its features, such as receipt scanning, bank reconciliation, sales tax management, etc., to be useful and convenient. It also praises its customer support team for being responsive and helpful.

Users dislike that Wave does not have advanced accounting features such as budgeting, cash flow forecasting, project profitability tracking, etc. Users also complain about its lack of inventory management and recurring invoicing features. They find its payroll and payment processing fees to be high compared to other software. They also report some issues with its integration with Stripe and PayPal.

QuickBooks Online User Reviews

Users like that QuickBooks Online has a comprehensive set of accounting features that can handle complex and diverse business needs. They also appreciate its user-friendly interface and guided setup process. They find its features, such as invoice automation, progress invoicing, inventory management, budgeting, cash flow forecasting, etc., to be powerful and efficient. They also praise its customer support team for being knowledgeable and professional.

Users dislike that QuickBooks Online is expensive to use compared to other software. They also complain about its frequent updates and changes that can cause confusion and errors. They find its features, such as payroll services, payment processing, reporting tools, etc., to be buggy and unreliable at times. They also report some issues with its integration with other apps and software.

Which Is Best for My Business Needs?

Both Wave and QuickBooks can be labeled as excellent small-business accounting software. However, depending on your business needs and preferences, you may find one software to be more suitable than the other. Here are some scenarios when each software could be a better solution for your business needs:

When to Choose Wave

You should choose Wave if:

  • You are a freelancer or a small business owner who does not need advanced accounting features or multiple users.
  • You want free and simple accounting software that can handle your basic accounting and invoicing needs.
  • You do not have a lot of inventory or e-commerce transactions to manage.
  • You do not mind paying extra fees for payroll and payment processing services.

When to Choose QuickBooks Online

You should choose QuickBooks Online if:

  • You are a small or medium-sized business owner who needs advanced accounting features or multiple users.
  • You want comprehensive and customizable accounting software that can handle your complex and diverse accounting needs.
  • You have a lot of inventory or e-commerce transactions to manage.
  • You do not mind paying a monthly subscription fee for the software and its features.

Wave vs. QuickBooks Online Comparison: The Final Verdict

Wave and QuickBooks Online are both popular accounting software for small businesses. However, they have different strengths and weaknesses that can affect your decision on which one to use. Now it is time to decide: What’s better: Wave or QuickBooks? In the above comparison of Wave accounting vs. Quickbooks, we have seen that Wave is best for freelancers and small businesses who want free and simple accounting software that can handle their basic accounting and invoicing needs. QuickBooks Online is best for small and medium-sized businesses that need comprehensive and customizable accounting software that can handle their complex and diverse accounting needs. Ultimately, the best accounting software for your business depends on your business needs and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wave work with QuickBooks?

No, Wave and QuickBooks are not compatible. You need to use apps like Zapier or OneSaas to connect them. There is also a Wave Quickbooks alternative available to choose from.

What is the best alternative for QuickBooks?
Do accountants use Wave?
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