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Wave VS QuickBooks Online

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Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Managing Editor - Accounting
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for over three years and is a QuickBooks Certified User. She has a BA in English & Creative Writing from George Fox University and studied at the University of Oxford as well. She has been quoted in Forbes and her work appears in Startup Nation, Small Business Bonfire, and Women on Business.
Chelsea Krause

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35 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Alicia Adams

    I have QBO and I honestly hate it. I own a bridal store and I already have an amazing POS system that tracks my inventory and sales. All I really need is to track my P&L. My question is, does Wave make you reconcile your accounts every month?

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Alicia,
      Wave and QBO both offer a bank reconciliation feature, though neither require it monthly, or at all. Honestly, you could use any accounting program and completely ignore the bank reconciliation features, but it wouldn’t be wise. Reconciling helps ensure that all expenses and income that show up in bank statements each month match what’s in the accounting software — and it’ll help pinpoint any errors (like if the bank charged two fees instead of one, etc.).

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

        Ted Moreland

        I have a QBPro from 2008 on my Mac and was running QBP on Parallels. The laptop is getting a little old, so I was considering getting a new version of QBP. I am self employed and run a marketing business. I have about 35 clients, all who receive monthly invoices for my service. I print custom mini menus for restaurants and put them in displays in hotels. The restaurants pay the same price every month, unless we need to print menus.
        It’s not a ton of bookkeeping. With the 35 invoices every month, I have probably 30-40 expenses a month.
        I have an accountant prepare my taxes by looking at my quickbooks account. The reports he runs are on cash basis and it’s typically just P&L Detail and Balance Sheets.
        I like the idea of it always being backed up on the cloud in case my computer crashed and I hadn’t backed up in for a while.
        Do you think Wave could handle that?

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

          Chelsea Krause

          Hi Ted,

          Thanks for reaching out! Wave will definitely be able to handle your invoices and expenses. Wave also supports the reports you need; however, the company’s cash-basis accounting options are a bit limited (you can still run cash-basis reports, but that’s it). The other nice part about Wave is that you can pay for additional bookkeeping or accounting support form Wave experts if need be. I hope this helps. You can read our full Wave review for more information.

          Best wishes,

          -Chelsea Krause

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

            We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.

            Darin

            I was all set to use Wave for doing the accounting for my wife’s Etsy shop. When I started using it though, there were two things that are making me change my mind:
            1) there is no running balance when viewing transactions in a specific account. I cant see maintaining accurate records and be able to double-check accuracy without this.
            2) The integration with Etsy is not complete. When importing transactions, Wave only brings over some of the data, and leaves out listing fees, shipping charges, and a few other things. This would mean that I would be left entering in many many transactons by hand. No thanks.
            Now I’m trying to figure out how to integrate Etsy with an accounting program, probably QBO, without a bunch of manual spreadsheet gymnastics. I wonder if there is a service that will get all the transactions from the Etsy Payment Account and import them to Quickbooks Online?

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

              Emily Hale

              Hi, Darin

              We aren’t aware of any services that would transfer your information from Wave to QBO, but we suspect you’ll have to export everything first and then upload it all into QBO. If you happen to find a different solution to this issue, we’d be happy to hear what you come across. Best of luck on the growth of the Etsy shop, and finding an easier option!

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                Bob Merritt

                Chelsea; thanks for this article as I’m struggling to figure out what accounting system to use. I currently have a three year old service business and have been using Wave quite successfully. I was considering moving to QBO as my partner thinks they have better reporting and features and also it would integrate with other apps that we may start using for our home caretaking business. My question is, if we do change, I’m afraid that my Wave data is not perfectly accurate or proper and I don’t want to migrate any problems to QBO. Seems i have two choices…i could get Wave to help me fix my issues before the switch which they charge a fee for or, I could just start fresh with QBO on the first of a month and not migrate any data. Any thoughts are appreciated. Bob

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                  Chelsea Krause

                  Hi Bob,

                  Thanks for reaching out! QuickBooks Online definitely does have more integrations and better reporting if you’re looking to grow your business. In terms of your options for switching over, you’ll really have to weigh how important the existing data you have is for running your business. If you don’t need that data to run your business, you could start fresh in QBO, but if data like your invoices, expenses, and other transactions is essential for running your business (i.e. creating new budgets, maintaining customer records, comparing past periods, etc.) then I’d recommend using Wave’s bookkeeping service to help get your books in order before migrating. If you do choose to start fresh in QBO, I recommend still exporting all of your Wave data for your own personal records.

                  Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions and best of luck.

                  -Chelsea Krause

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                    Catherine Slade

                    hello – We are a Canadian upscale dog kennel business using a kennel mgmt software called “PROPET” which integrates with QB (only choice at this time but they hope to integrate with WAVE in future). Our customer database, bookings (sales) and invoicing are all done thru the kennel software. Our book keeping needs are simple: we have no retail so no inventory to track but we do have expenses and income to track and sort and approx 20 employees so want a payroll service. We are currently still using dinosaur shoe box paper receipt book keeping and manually doing payroll but looking to change immediately and go back to start of 2019 before it gets any later in the year. I have no background in this area – no idea where to start. Have cooked a crazy idea where I sign on with QB on-line and link up my kennel software. From there will dump in 2019 data and get those 3 months all done up properly. Could then use Zapier to take the QB data over to WAVE. Would mean having to run all 3 programs till PROPET gets integrated direct to WAVE. Not sure if this would work – any point trying?? Other option is just run QB for now and switch in future years to WAVE without worrying about bringing over the history… sorry I know this is a large topic – any advice would be appreciated.
                    thank you.

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                      Chelsea Krause

                      Hi Catherine,

                      Good question! Personally, I’d just use QBO until ProPet works with Wave to save yourself a lot of time and trouble. You can still bring over some of your history if you switch down the road. Here’s some information about how switching from QuickBooks Online to Wave would work. Hope this helps!

                      -Chelsea Krause

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                        eri

                        Hello,
                        I am a lawyer. I need my accounting software that can do the following:
                        -produce reconciliations between my general and trust bank accounts
                        -maintain separate files/accounts for clients who have multiple cases (eg clt 1 case1, clt 1 case2 etc)

                        I use old school spreadsheets (Numbers- on Mac). I cannot use legal accounting software because it is pc-based. I am nervous about using the Cloud — worried all my data will disappear. I also suck at arithmetic, so I’d like my accountant to be able to see where I made any errors, easily (PC Law is poor for this because it uses algorithms and hides errors in your raw data entry).

                        I am a sole practitioner, no employees, and also do HST

                        I am considering Wave or Clio. What do you recommend?

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                          Chelsea Krause

                          Hi there!

                          Thanks for reaching out! I am not incredibly familiar with Clio, but its features sound like they might be a better fit than Wave as the software is designed specifically for lawyers. That being said, Clio isn’t accounting software, so I’d recommend using Clio as well as one of its accounting integrations. Clio integrates with Xero and QuickBooks Online. Of the two, the only program I know of that includes HST support is QuickBooks Online Canada. The software will allow you to perform reconciliations, and you can use the class tracking feature to manage multiple cases.

                          To address your concern about using the cloud, here’s a post on explaining how the cloud works and another on how to keep your data safe in the cloud. Hope this helps!

                          Best wishes,

                          -Chelsea Krause

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                            Sandra L.

                            I use QuickBooks Online everyday on a computer with a Linux operating system. The only slight limitation for any user is that you must use the newest version of Chrome. The operating system doesn’t matter. Your browser matters for best functionality.

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                              Chelsea Krause

                              Hi Sandra,

                              Thank you for sharing this with me! I’ll be sure to update our reviews and posts accordingly to include Linux.

                              -Chelsea Krause

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.

                                MANUEL

                                Can I switch from wave to quikbooks?

                                What is the best accounting/invoicing software for flipping houses?

                                Thanks

                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                  Chelsea Krause

                                  Hi Manual,

                                  Thanks for reaching out! You can switch from Wave to QuickBooks Online by exporting your data from Wave and importing it into QuickBooks Online.

                                  In regards to your other question, I don’t know of any accounting software that is specific to flipping houses, but QuickBooks Online will have a lot of features that could benefit your house flipping business like classes and locations, progressive invoicing, project management, time tracking, and expense tracking.

                                  I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions!

                                  If any of our readers are also in the house flipping market, we’d love to hear how you handle your accounting.

                                  Best wishes,

                                  -Chelsea Krause

                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                    KATHY

                                    I don’t believe that you can simply export your data from Wave and import it to QuickBooks online. Transactions (aka “data”) as far as I have researched cannot be exported from Wave or imported to QuickBooks. At best, you might be able to export customer contact information or vendor information, but not the transactions that relate to them. The whole purpose that one would want to “switch” is to create better financial information from the transactions.

                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                      Chelsea Krause

                                      Hi Kathy,

                                      Wave does have pretty limited importing and exporting features compared to other programs in the accounting software scene. However, you can export your data which includes your transactions, journal entries, general ledger, and accounts. These transactions can be imported into QBO. There’s no way to export contacts or inventory in Wave, which is disappointing, so it will take some time to get your company information and data to look exactly how you’d like it in QuickBooks Online.

                                      I hope this helps clear things up!

                                      Best wishes,

                                      -Chelsea Krause

                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                        Linda

                                        Thanks for this article! I am a long time QB Desktop user on a MAC using Parallels. But I need to update both QB and Parallels, so have been looking around. I really like a lot about Wave. Wondering about inventory. I only do a physical count of inventory at the end of each year…so if I switch to WAVE what will happen? My tax preparer/accountant will want some kind of report to compare to previous year. Is there a work around with WAVE at all that you know of? Also does wave allow for making General Ledger entries like QB Desktop does. I only use it for inputting Inventory results. Hope you can shed some light to go forward. I still want to do my business even though now semi-retired. Thanks!

                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                          Chelsea Krause

                                          Hi Linda,

                                          Great question! Unfortunately, Wave does offer an inventory feature and doesn’t have the capabilities that your business needs. I’d recommend taking a look at QBO or Xero. Or if you want a more affordable software, Zoho Books may be a viable option depending on your business’s needs.

                                          Best wishes,

                                          -Chelsea Krause

                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                            Elizabeth Maglione

                                            I currently run a 2015 version of machine based Quickbooks. Recently the software crashed and Quickbooks no longer supports this version of their product. If I were to switch to WAVE is it possible to import my existing .QBB files into WAVE?

                                            Thanks

                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                              Chelsea Krause

                                              Hi Elizabeth,

                                              I’m so sorry to hear that QuickBooks crashed on you! While Wave is a great, affordable software, it doesn’t have the best importing capabilities. If you switched over to Wave, you can’t import your full QB company file, but you can import your contacts, past invoices, and bank statements (the contacts need to be in a .csv file while the bank statements can be a .ofs, .qbo, .qfx, .aso, and .csv). Here is an article with more details about how to switch from QuickBooks to Wave. If you have any further questions or end up wanting to look at a different QuickBooks alternative, feel free to reach out!

                                              Best of luck,

                                              -Chelsea Krause

                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                Bo j.

                                                Hello Chelsea,

                                                Thanks for the post!
                                                which one is integrates with touch bistro?

                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                  Chelsea Krause

                                                  Hi Bo,

                                                  I’m glad you liked the post! Currently, only QuickBooks Online integrates with Touch Bistro. Hope this helps!

                                                  Best wishes,

                                                  -Chelsea Krause

                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                    Leda Miller

                                                    Does Wave have a feature that tracks multiple jobs under one customer name? What about 1099’s?

                                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                      Chelsea Krause

                                                      Hi Leda,

                                                      Unfortunately, Wave does not have a project management feature and does not support 1099’s at this time. If these are important for your business, I’d consider QuickBooks Online or Zoho Books instead (Xero could also work depending on how large your business is). Please let me know if you have any other questions!

                                                      Best wishes,

                                                      -Chelsea Krause

                                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                        Lay S.

                                                        Hi Chelsea,
                                                        I stumble to your post. Are you talking about Canadian QB? I just start a construction company. I only have 2 employees and very little inventory ( mainly iron bar). I am wondering if I can use Wave. I need payroll and want to pay tax and GST online. I don’t care about invoice or POS.
                                                        Thank in advance for your help.
                                                        Lay

                                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                          Chelsea Krause

                                                          Hi Lay,

                                                          I’m happy to help! This post is focused on the US version of QuickBooks Online. With Wave, you will not be able to pay your taxes directly online. However, the software will track your taxes. You will just be responsible for filing and paying these taxes on your own. The only exception is that Wave does handle payroll taxes for Canadian users (except for those in Quebec) when you purchase Payroll by Wave.

                                                          I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

                                                          Best wishes,

                                                          -Chelsea Krause

                                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                            Jenifer

                                                            Hi Chelsea, I am a consulting teacher starting up my own business. I have no employees, no inventory and am only “selling” my services to schools. It seems like Wave might work for me, and be at the right price point for a new business. Do you feel that accountants will be familiar with it and able to work with it?? I’d hate to go for it only to find out down the line that it wouldn’t work for them.

                                                            Thanks!

                                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                              Chelsea Krause

                                                              Hi Jenifer,

                                                              Thanks for reaching out and congrats on starting your own business! To answer your question, it’s really going to depend on the accountant. In my experience, accountants are most often familiar with software like Xero and QuickBooks; however, Wave is incredibly easy to use and learn so if they aren’t familiar with it, I doubt it will take them long to learn. Some accountants may also just ask for your accounting reports, like the balance sheet and income statement, which Wave provides.

                                                              Other readers may be able to share their experience with this, but I imagine it won’t be an issue, although I’d verify with your accountant to be 100% certain.

                                                              I hope that helps!

                                                              Best wishes,

                                                              -Chelsea Krause

                                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                Jenna Hunter-Blore

                                                                Totally appreciate you writing this Chelsea, I have QB online and have been using it for a year, they keep hiking the pricing every quarter and I’ve already been annoyed with the online software (unlike the store bought software), so when I just got the letter ‘your price is going up again’…. I started hunting and stumbled on your site. Very informative! We have 2 businesses but zero employees, so WAVE might be the better route. 🙂

                                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                  Chelsea Krause

                                                                  Hi Jenna,

                                                                  You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found this post helpful. I highly recommend Wave, so long as you don’t need an inventory feature (though you could use an integration from Zapier to manage inventory). Here’s some information on how to switch from QuickBooks Online to Wave.

                                                                  Best of luck! As always, let us know if you have any questions along the way.

                                                                  -Chelsea Krause

                                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                    Deborah Tews

                                                                    Thanks for the info! Chelsea, I appreciate the reading choices listed in your bio!
                                                                    Questions:
                                                                    Does WAVE have a payroll feature?
                                                                    Does WAVE sync with SQUARE POS?

                                                                    I own a coffee shop and am in my first year, so $50 per month for QB plus another $50 for payroll when I don’t really need invoicing or the in-depth reports QB supports is a lot of money for me.

                                                                    Thanks!

                                                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                      Chelsea Krause

                                                                      Hi Deborah,

                                                                      Thanks for reaching out!

                                                                      Wave does offer a payroll feature, called Payroll by Wave, which costs an extra $15/mo + $4/mo per employee (if you have more than 10 employees, the price drops to $2/mo per employee). However, Wave does not integrate with Square POS.

                                                                      If the Square POS integration is a deal breaker, you could take a look at Xero. Xero offers built-in tax support and integrates directly with Square POS.

                                                                      I hope this helps!

                                                                      Best wishes,

                                                                      -Chelsea Krause

                                                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                        We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.

                                                                        Desiree Israel

                                                                        Thank you so much. This helped a lot!!!

                                                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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