Wave Accounting vs Quickbooks

Wave Accounting is a software system which makes it easy for SMBs to track expenses, send invoices, and manage their money wisely. It is designed to help any business of any size look professional, send estimates, and offer receipts to their customers in just seconds. Users can track their invoices and payments as well, allowing them to know when money should be available for use.

QuickBooks is one of the pioneers of the accounting software industry. Available through the browser or as a download, it is a low-cost solution that allows SMBs to internalize their accounting needs without the high costs of outsourcing. Inventory tracking, invoice creation, and other AR/AP needs can be quickly met. Self-employed workers can even track mileage.

Here are the key differences between Wave Accounting and QuickBooks to consider.

1. Cost

Wave Accounting is free. There are no set-up fees or hidden charges. There are no conditions or surprises to this plan. Additional services beyond expenses, estimates, invoices, and other documentation are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis. Monthly payroll is provided for a $15 base fee, plus $4 per employee. Discounts are available to businesses with 10+ employees.

SMBs in Texas, Florida, California, and New York add full payroll tax service for an additional $10 per month.

Credit card processing is available through Wave Accounting as well at a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee. All cards are processed at this rate.

QuickBooks does not offer a free plan, but the self-employed plan begins at $5 per month. Additional services unlock at higher tiers, ranging from $10-$35 per month. Payroll is an additional $12-$40 per month, plus $5 per employee.


QuickBooks offers a pay-as-you-go credit card processing feature as well, but at variable rates. Swiped cards are 2.4% + $0.25, while invoiced transactions are 2.9% + $0.25. Keyed credit cards are 3.4% + $0.25.

2. Tools

Both Wave Accounting and QuickBooks provide consumers with automatic reports, instant collaboration, and SSL security. Smart dashboards are provided to make it easier to report information or file taxes. Users can connect banks accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts.

Both platforms put everything that is needed in one simple dashboard. This includes built-in invoicing tools, payroll if it is desired, and receipt scanning. Individual accounts can be tracked and users can see how much is outstanding and how overdue it may be.

Multi-currency support is also available, along with regional sales tax or VAT requirements.

3. Automation

Both platforms allow users to automate invoices and bill payments. Just select the credit card and the client that needs to be paid monthly and you can even set the specific date when that client will get paid. For customers that require a monthly invoice, you can follow the same process on both platforms.
Wave Accounting has just recently introduced this feature onto their platform, whereas QuickBooks has provided a refined process for this service since 2014.

Time zone controls, flags for items that need attention, and search filters make it easy to organize this data on both platforms.

Both platforms allow users to see a preview of their invoice or a final review of their payment before authorizing the automation.

4. Apps

Wave Accounting does not offer an app store for user customization. The accounting software service is a one-size-fits-all solution that allows everyone from a sole proprietor or a large organization to internalize their accounting needs.

QuickBooks offers users access to a complete app store that allows you to use your data and metrics in multiple ways. Many of the apps are free or low-cost solutions that allow you to automatically import sales data, combine emails and invoicing, or help you to create a complete point-of sale solution from your accounting platform. Apps from Bill.com, American Express, Fundbox, and many others are available for use.

Wave Accounting vs QuickBooks: Which Is Better?

Wave Accounting is an excellent option for start-ups, freelancers, and sole proprietors who need a formalized accounting solution at a low cost. Unless payroll is required, this service can be completely free and provide data access that is like what QuickBooks is able to provide.

QuickBooks is a solution that helps to provide businesses with a complete accounting picture for a low price. Although the plans are not free, there are added benefits, such as the ability of a freelancer to easily track their mileage.
Wave Accounting is always free except for credit card processing and payroll, while QuickBooks offers a 30-day free trial and a 60-day money-back guarantee. Both are worthy solutions to help SMBs find their bottom line and better profits. Match up the package that best works for your needs.

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