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The Benefits of QuickBooks Vs. Free Accounting Software Alternatives

QuickBooks Online is the most widely used software program for online accounting or even simple bookkeeping, however, many small businesses consider using a free accounting software alternative, such as Wave.

Although some simple home business operations might find free accounting software satisfactory, a head-to-head comparison between Wave and QuickBooks reveals that QuickBooks offers a vast amount of extra features. These features combined with its fairly modest price makes QuickBooks a worthwhile investment for nearly all small to medium-sized business operations.

Comparing QuickBooks and Wave

QuickBooks Online and Wave both offer cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting services. QuickBooks’ cloud accounting is more easily accessible, since a single app supports both Android and IOS devices. In contrast, Wave requires separate apps for separate tasks.

As well, app support is a major difference between the two programs. While QuickBooks is supported by more than 600 software application partners, Wave has less than 20 connected apps.

An additional difference to note is that QuickBooks offers both cash basis accounting and accrual accounting, however, Wave offers only accrual accounting. Another major difference that affects many Canadian businesses is that QuickBooks is available in both French and English, while Wave is only available in English.

Support is another differentiating factor between the two programs. While both accounting software programs are easy to use, QuickBooks offers an advantage for users who require regular support.

QuickBooks Online offers free support via email, chat or phone, while Wave users must pay $19.99 a month to have access to support quickly via chat or phone.

Extra Features Offered by QuickBooks

One of the primary advantages of QuickBooks is the many extra features. These include crucial features such as project cost accounting, purchase order management and integrated tax management.

For example, many users consider Wave’s lack of ability to analyze the effectiveness of individual projects through project cost accounting to be a major weakness. Wave also has limited inventory analysis compared to QuickBooks, making it less useful for companies that market products, as opposed to service-oriented companies.

QuickBooks offers businesses significantly more in the way of add-ons and integrated programs. These include Method CRM, Intuit’s customer management software, as well as Agiliron, an integrated customer management, inventory management and point of sale program. All in all, there are nearly 300 add-on and integration software programs available for QuickBooks users, but less than 10 applications for Wave users.

One area where Wave does have an advantage is credit card payment processors. Wave’s payment processor rate is 2.9% + $.30 per transaction, while QuickBooks Payments charges 2.5% + $.25 per transaction.

The Bottom Line

While individual businesses have different needs in terms of bookkeeping and accounting, Wave is generally considered to be most appropriate for sole proprietors, independent contractors or businesses with less than 10 employees. For small to medium-sized businesses, QuickBooks offers more services and better functionality.

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