QuickBooks vs. Wave Review: Comparison of Two Leading Accounting Solutions


Software developers discovered a gold mine in go-to and tax empowered accounting applications, right because they worked around a concept that, as simple as that sounds, suits everyone. Regardless of the nature of your business and the industry you belong to, acquiring a no-pro-friendly finance tool is an easy way out of entrusting such services to expensive professionals. It is true that solutions of the kind did require some know-how’s in the past, but the leading among them are now adoptable even by those without 0 days of accounting experience. Soon enough, this dramatic flexibility spilled over digitized accountancy’s pricing schemes, which is why shoppers now pay little to nothing at all.

An ideal accounting system will help you retain full control over your cash flow and keep track of your transactions, automating at the same time all vital billing and invoicing operations. In an even better scenario, you will get a reliable asset that prepares and adjusts your taxes, manages the payroll for your employees, and keeps a close eye on your inventory and enterprise resources. And while it is challenging to find that one, do-it-all system, we picked two prominent accounting solutions that proved such compactness to be possible. In our QuickBooks vs Wave review we acknowledge that both are renowned in the finance management industry for being particularly friendly to small and non-experienced team, and for tackling even the thinnest accounting detail you can think of. The two solutions are also mobile-friendly, well-integrated with third-party tools, and most of all – affordable.

Let’s give them a closer look.

A short introduction to QuickBooks

QuickBooks is probably the world’s best known accounting & finance management solution that has, in a way, revolutionized the manner in which transactions are processed in small business environments. For the relatively few years it has been on the market, QuickBooks grew to be a role model of usability, and established several practices for future software developers to be looking at.

Within the expert community, QuickBooks is most appreciated for the vast array of financial management capabilities which help companies allocate cash smartly, including billing, accounts payable & receivable, overdue payments, and financial reporting. In a nutshell, QuickBooks has packed all accounting, sales and expense management features a business needs in order to manage its market presence from a single dashboard. With a small business to run and and direct, this means saving valuable time and money you’d otherwise invest on purchasing and combining different pieces of technology.

Why is QuickBooks a good accounting solution for any business? In short, this accounting & finance platform will:

  • Polish your accounting experience with efficient navigation, organization, and customization
  • Manage transactions, inventory, and expenses through the same accounting toolkit
  • Use a dedicated Bill Tracker to manage your invoices, and store them for reporting purposes
  • Automatically connect invoices to credit cards and accounts, and enable online payment
  • Introduce smart reporting filters for custom management, and schedule summaries in a dedicated, notification-sensitive calendar
  • Provide you with an end-to-end Shipping Manager with order control and packaging options
  • Automate verification even for former fixed/unfixed errors and non compliances and their KBs.
  • Rely on Personally Identifiable Information kit to secure accounting and credit card data, and backup your entire database.
  • Retain balance by importing information from external databases and Excel sheets
  • Integrate with a number of popular accounting, CRM, and sales management solutions
  • Let you choose your preferred deployment method and payment specifications

A short introduction to Wave

Wave is another rewarded name in the accounting industry that appears on almost any top finance management classification. Observed as a small-biz-first and friendly accounting systems, Wave is fairly easy to compare with QuickBooks, and it is often the preferred option from the two as you don’t have to pay in order to use it.

To pinpoint the exact advantages of Wave in parallel with QuickBooks and similar solutions, we’d start with its usability for self-employed professionals including sole accountants, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and financial consultant. Unlike QuickBooks that arranges functionality in compact, corporate-oriented modules and units, Wave offers users a single list of operations and functionalities they can choose from depending on their needs. These functions, nevertheless, will again come down to end-to-end accounting and invoicing, payment & transaction management, expense tracking, payroll, and taxes. A notable similarity is also the long list of integrated solutions, and full mobile optimization.

Here is what Wave has at stake to support the accountability of your business:

  • Work on a clean, friendly, and functional dashboard, from where you can also monitor all upcoming invoices and payments
  • Craft beautiful and professional invoices choosing a suitable template from the system’s extensive library
  • Accept direct payments via credit cards to streamline your clients’ experience
  • Offer special receipt scanning tools and bank connectors to take manual data out of equation
  • Prepare your financial data for the tax season
  • Automate billing and invoicing for an unlimited number of clients, and handle recurring bills
  • Introduce configurable notifications to remind you and your clients of pending payments or unpaid issues
  • Manage payroll with online payment stubs and enable direct deposits from mobile devices
  • Organize and record data in yearly summaries, and offer all standard reports
  • Deliver its cloud API information to help you connect it with numerous third-party applications.

Which accounting solution is better?

To detect ‘the better’ of these two solutions, it would take to be considerably nitpicky and focused on detail, as both were designed following pretty much the same usability logic, and offer plenty of coinciding features and operations. For many users, the decisive criterion will be price, as QuickBooks may be affordable, but Wave is nonetheless completely free.

Before you make your mind on one of these well-reputed and powerful platform, we invite you to read our detailed comparison of their main features and technicalities.

Comparison of accounting features

Looking at these system’s core accounting & finance management functionality, we’d give a definite advantage to QuickBooks, not only because it offers a larger list of enterprise-grade features, but also because those features are very diverse, and open for custom tweaking to work for everybody’s needs. In both cases, however, you won’t have to be an expert to optimize the potential of your system.

Why does QuickBooks get to lead? The detailed chart and neat organization of accounts is the same in both systems, and so are their bank reconciliation features. QuickBooks, however, outruns Wave by offering accrual rather than basic cash accounting, which is exactly how enterprises get to use it tool. When it comes to accounting intelligence and reporting, the standard type of finance summaries can be found in each of the two systems, but QuickBooks is once again the leader as it offers a way larger list of basic reports (100+ compared to Wave’s 12) and more complex than the ones of Wave, among them even taxation 1099s. If you’re interested in using pre-made templates or drafting custom ones, you won’t go wrong with any of these systems. Same goes for scheduling reports in advance, and enabling notifications.

Differences exist even when looking at other features, as despite of their seemingly identical list of available operations, the gaps in depth and quality are quite obvious. The breadth of QuickBooks’ feature suite is a competitive edge, having in mind also their tireless work on introducing innovations and making their tool work for different users. Wave has attempted to do the same, but its focus still remains on making sole accountants’ lives easier.

If you give a look to invoicing, you will notice that Wave has three available templates, while QuickBooks’ online version comes with five of those. QuickBooks’ reports also give you more tweaking capabilities, as well as the chance to autoschedule invoices, and make them more personal with contact data and images.

Let’s not forget that QuickBooks also has an array of features that are not to be seen in Wave, including end-to-end inventory management, detailed expense tracking & management, class tracking, shipping and packaging management, budgeting, dedicated tax support, and direct data imports from Excel sheets. QuickBooks is also the system where you can distinguish tracking categories, and organize contacts in a preferred manner.

Nevertheless, Wave still has some aces up the sleeve to convince users of being the better option from the two. Next to it being a practically free application, Wave is ideal for managing personal expenses (it allows you to separate those from your business expenses), and offers a kit for lending management that has still not been introduced in QuickBooks.

Comparison of connectivity options

Both apps are hosted in cloud, with an open API infrastructure and connectivity info offered to developers for custom connections. This means that they are easy to integrate within a complex software environment, and to work in synergy with pretty much any popular application. An advantage is often given to QuickBooks, due to its large list of premade and native integrations with CRMs, sales & retail, construction, manufacturing, and contact management systems. The product is also automatically related to all other QuickBooks products you’re using (Enterprise, POS, Accountant, Premier, and QuickBooks for Mac).

To extend QuickBooks’ functionality , you can visit Intuit’s Developer page and browse through their guides and references to learn how to use their cloud API. Wave also offers a page dedicated to custom integrations (Build with Wave), where you can find QuickStart tutorials, a full list of API docs and Zapier-enabled integrations, and information on their upcoming features and innovations.

Comparison of pricing packages

On-budget shoppers and sole financial experts may want to check Wave first, as all basic accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning functionalities are wrapped up and delivered for free. At absolutely no cost, you will get to manage all accounting operations, track expenses, and have all taxation obligations handled on site. Wave, however, does charge users interested in receiving direct payments, processing credit cards, and using its payroll services. In such cases, an additional fee is calculated by quote and attached to the free package, and depends primarily on the country where you’re coming from (not all countries have access to these features). For more information, visit their official website, or contact sales support.

QuickBooks’ flagship accounting system Pro is offered in three different packages (Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus), where prices vary approximately between $10 and $25 per month. The number of privileged users and customer support is not limited by the plan you’ve chosen, and the main difference is the combination of features you wish to obtain (basic accounting, for instance, is available in all plans, but inventory management and tax adjustment is reserved for Plus users). To compare the plans first hand, visit the company’s official pricing page, or reach out to their sales experts.

Comparison of mobile accessibility, technicalities, and targeted user profiles

For starters, both apps are fully mobile-optimized and cater to the needs of both Android and iOS users. As for traditional devices, you will be able to use them on all browsers, platforms, and operating system, and that this will keep your remote team connected regardless of your working hours.

Another thing that makes QuickBooks and Wave easy to compare is their dedication to small and developing businesses, with Wave being the one that focuses predominantly to works run by sole accountants, consultants, and freelance professionals. This may as well be the distinctive edge between the two, and the reason why one of them is free, and the other is not. In the case of enterprises, actually, we’d opt for QuickBooks as the more suitable option, and invite you to check their professional, high-tier suites such as QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks POS.

Finally, looking at their technical specs, we can once again give QuickBooks a slight advantage due to its flexibility – with this system, it is the user who can choose whether to deploy it locally and on premise, or use the cloud-hosted version for minimal maintenance. Wave, on the other hand, is hosted entirely in cloud, and is only delivered as a ready-to-use service.

The two systems are usable across all geographies and support multiple currencies, but are nevertheless offered only in English.

Comparison of customer support

QuickBooks and Wave are both well-known for offering in-time and reliable support to their clients, as well as dedicated assistance during setup and custom integrations. Access to the friendly and knowledgeable team is not limited by the package you’ve chosen, and won’t require you to pay additional fees and charges.

In the case of QuickBooks, you can reach their support agents 24/7, via phone, email, and live chat; fill in and deliver support tickets directly from their website, or make use of a large base of video tutorials and instruction guides. Wave, on the other hand, offers support via phone, email, and online tickets, and provides an equally exhaustive library of learning materials.

Another bonus is that you will be working with a worldwide-known and widely used accounting system: using any of these tools, you will automatically become a member of a huge user community, and be able to consult experienced buyers and exchange opinions with them.


About Author

Kate Stephens is a young and creative graphic designer as well as the mastermind behind AlternativesFinder.com her own startup company aimed at providing customers with reliable and often cheaper alternatives to various popular brands and products from all possible markets.

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