Wave Accounting vs. QuickBooks

Torn between choosing which accounting software fits your business needs? Here’s a quick comparison of the two of the top accounting software in the USA right now, Wave Accounting and QuickBooks. In this Wave Accounting vs. QuickBooks guide, we’ll dissect the difference between the two software to know which one is the best match for your work or business.

Overview of the top two accounting software

The two of the best accounting software are on top-tier for both business use. Wave Accounting is free, making it a go-to for budget-restricted individuals and enterprises. On the other hand, QuickBooks is the paid software that offers what the former lacks.

Wave Accounting

Launched in 2010, Wave managed to rise at the top with over 3.5 million users worldwide. This cloud-based software is pretty impressive with its features without breaking the bank. It costs zero for life while extending some exceptional features that are absolute help to your accounting needs.

Wave lets you make unlimited invoicing, expense tracking, bill payments, bank reconciliation, and basic inventory list. It is also perfect for people with little to no experience with bookkeeping as the interface is user-friendly. The only downside for the software is the required fees to unlock some premium features on the advanced end of accounting.


You had probably heard of QuickBooks Online before you even had to look up for an accounting software. That is because this is considered to be the gold standard of accounting software. The desktop version might be a bit trickier for beginners to learn, but cloud-based QuickBooks is a much practical choice with its easier to use interface.

Although the software is paid, it offers many powerful features that will aid you in your accounting needs. It is a one-stop-shop that boasts customizable invoices, automated sales receipts, project management, inventory tracking, and integrations. Even more, it allows usage for single-use or up to 25 different users.

Who are they for?

Wave Accounting is best for micro-businesses and sole proprietors. Its zero cost will help you curve the expenses while getting the accounting assistance you need. It also works best for those who aspire to work solo in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, QuickBooks is the way to go for most businesses. The Online version is the perfect match for sole proprietors, small businesses, and growing businesses since it can cater to up to 25 users. So if you seek to expand your business in the coming years, QuickBooks is the far better choice here.

Features: Wave vs. Accounting

Here are the features of the two accounting software to know about.


  • Free
  • Customized invoice
  • Expense tracking
  • Inventory
  • Mobile apps
  • Up to 12 reports
  • Tax support
  • Lending
  • Sales orders
  • Featured articles
  • In-product help
  • User community
  • Searchable knowledge base

QuickBooks Online

  • Bill payment
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Inventory
  • Customized invoice
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Up to 80+ reports
  • Sales order
  • Tax supports
  • Lending
  • Live support
  • Mobile apps
  • Several plans available
  • Searchable knowledge base

Wave Accounting vs. QuickBooks: Which one to choose?

Still torn between the two accounting software? Here are the best selling points of the two software to help you choose which one best suits your needs.

Choose Wave when:

1. You want to reduce costs.

Wave takes pride in its free for life use of accounting software, making it a crucial point to consider. Who wouldn’t choose free software over a paid one, right? QuickBooks offers monthly plans of $25 to $150, which might be a bit costly for small businesses and sole proprietors. So if you are looking into reducing costs while getting the accounting aid you need, Wave is the one to get.

2. You work solo, freelance, or own a small business.

Wave has a set of features that help manage a small business that consists of up to nine employees. This is an ideal choice if you work solo, freelance, or deal with a small agency. It can accommodate you and your small team’s accounting needs at a hefty price—or zero at all.

3. You want a user-friendly interface.

Those with little to no experience using an accounting software will enjoy the simplicity of Wave’s learning curve. The interface is clean, easy to navigate, and highly organized. Whereas its paid competitor, QuickBooks, is said to have a steeper learning curve with its more advanced tools and interface organization. 

4. You want an easy setup.

With its breezy interface, there is no need for an overly complicated tutorial on how you can use Wave’s tools and features. It is very straightforward, making you set up quickly to get started with your accounting tasks.

Recommended courses for you

Choose QuickBooks when:

1. You have more complex accounting needs. 

QuickBooks Online offers an array of comprehensive tools and features that you might not find on Wave, considering its price limitation. QuickBooks offers more advanced features that deal with professional accounting, which makes up for its higher price tag. With it, you can get more advanced features like comprehensive reporting, inventory management, mileage tracking, etc.

2. You own or manage a bigger business.

While Wave allows up to nine users, you still get more with this paid tool since it can cater to more users. Since there are some tools that Wave cannot provide, you’ll need a bigger and better array of features to thrive with your growing business, which QuickBooks can guarantee you. It’s packed with powerful and advanced tools to aid your more comprehensive needs.

3. You expect to grow your business soon.

If you see your business scaling in the foreseeable future, it’s better to get on with QuickBooks as early as now. If you opt for Wave, you’ll find the limitations restricting to your more significant needs. Even more, switching tools can be as challenging as your business expands. So if you want to scale your business, go for the one that offers comprehensive features for more significant needs. 

4. You want tools and features that Wave doesn’t offer.

Wave is free, making it a go-to choice for most businesses. However, free means fewer features you can use. Thus, if you need a specific feature that Wave doesn’t, more likely, QuickBooks offers that. QuickBooks sets the standard for accounting software, featuring every possible tool for your accounting needs. 

So in this Wave Accounting vs. QuickBooks comparison guide, it all comes down to your nature of the business to pick the right one. QuickBooks offers it all, which makes it the best fit for every accounting need you have. But there is also Wave that provides a competitive set of features that costs zero, making it the best choice for budget-restricted businesses and proprietors.

So if you decided to pick on the two, here are our recommended online courses to nail the use of these accounting software at one go. 

Ready to learn to use Wave Accounting and QuickBooks? Click here to get started.

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