Wave vs Xero vs Quickbooks: Comprehensive Comparison

Knowing which accounting software works best for you can be tricky if you are new to the game. But don’t worry, we are here to make that decision easier.

We are going to break down and compare Wave vs Xero vs QuickBooks and hopefully help you choose one for your business.

A Comparison Of Wave vs Xero vs QuickBooks


Wherever you go, those who know of Wave will always recommend it for one specific reason. They will tell you that Wave is completely free and the perfect place to start for those needing good accounting software.


Wave accounting software is a free bookkeeping application that has no hidden fees.

It works on a cloud-based system meaning that there’s no installation onto your desktop. You will receive free updates over time and it can work on any device at any time and any place.

User Interface

You have a dashboard tracking everything from overdue invoices and bills to the average cash flow of your company being represented in a graphical or statistical format.

Wave ensures that those who aren’t too familiar with accounting software can easily understand the functions of the application.

There’s no technical jargon that’ll cause users to research words they aren’t familiar with. And there’s no need for youtube tutorials on how to get things up and running.

Each function is broken down into subcategories made available via the menu bar.

Your dashboard is a quick overview of your account and any transactions that have taken place over the past month.

The sales subcategory grants you access to specific features and functions. These include estimates, invoices, recurring payments, checkouts, and much more.

Opening up the other subcategories such as Purchases, Accounting, Banking, Payroll, Reports, and Wave Advisors will give you features and functions relating to the subcategory.


Wave is a feature-filled software that allows users to expand their business and make life much easier. Not all of these features are completely free, but they don’t cost an arm and a leg to use.

Wave Invoices

Wave makes use of a feature that allows you to send invoices to your customers when a transaction takes place on your Shopify market. You don’t need to pay any additional fees to use this feature.

Simply type the message you want to attach to the invoice and choose whether to send the invoice as a PDF or a link that redirects the viewer to the invoice.

This is free to use and there are no limits to how many invoices you want to send out.

Wave Receipts

This is a feature that many Wave customers can’t stop raving about, and there’s a very good reason for that.

Whenever someone purchases something small from your Shopify market, Wave doesn’t issue you a full invoice as that isn’t always necessary if you are purchasing a single item. Instead, Wave receipts create a simplified invoice that includes the necessary information for your customer.

These receipts are automatically generated by extracting information from your invoices. If you notice a few errors, you will need to manually edit these receipts.

It saves you time as these receipts are attached to the transaction as a supporting document. As such, you won’t need to manually record each and every accounting transaction.

Wave Payroll and Payments

Wave does have features that require payments but these features aren’t geared towards invoicing. An example of this is Wave’s payroll feature and Wave Payments.

This allows you to process payrolls all in one convenient place and is something that companies with many employees should look into.

However, if you are a smaller company that doesn’t have too many employees, you can do without this feature and save money.

Wave Payments is a convenient way to get paid for your products or services. It’s a method that allows customers to use various payment methods such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express - giving them a variety of ways to pay.

When you send invoices to your customers, they will have the option on the invoice to pay you directly. This is a very convenient and safe way to ensure that you get paid immediately.

Opening the Wave Payment dashboard will show you information such as the amount being paid into your account and the fee that is deducted when using Wave Payments.

You will be charged for these features and you can find more information regarding that in the Pricing section below. 

Wave Connect

Wave Connect integrates with Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel, which will be beneficial if your company is already using the software.

It allows you to download data from your Wave dashboard and place it on your Google Sheet. You can also upload the data from your Google Sheet to your Wave Dashboard.

If you have a lot of invoices or customers and you make use of Google Sheets to track transactions, you can also generate reports using Wave Connect.


Wave is free, giving you access to the accounting software, invoicing features, and generating receipts.

The only feature that will require additional fees is Wave Payments and Payroll.

Wave payments are charged per transaction and the fee depends on the payment method. For example, if your customer uses a Visa or MasterCard, then it would be 2.9% of the payment plus 30c, and if it's American Express then it's 3.4% plus 30c.

Wave Payroll works monthly, charging you $35 if you are in a Tax Service State and $20 if you are in a Self-service state.


The next contender in our Wave vs Xero vs QuickBooks comparison has been giving its competition a run for its money since its establishment in 2006. We are, of course, talking about Xero.


Xero is a cloud-based accounting solution that has a variety of features and has over 800 integrations with other software.

One of these integrations is Reconcilely, a helpful tool that sends Shopify payments and fees from a payment gateway to Xero

This will allow a Shopify merchant like yourself to see where the money is coming from and where it’s going. You can easily keep your books in order and take the frustration out of reconciliation.

User Interface

Xero has a customizable dashboard that features a beautiful and friendly user interface. It displays everything from your cash flow to all the transactions being made on your Shopify market.

You can rearrange and color-code all the different tabs and graphs to suit your liking.

Xero has a detailed sales overview that displays graphs and charts, breaking down your invoices and estimates into colorful and easy-to-read data.

Navigation is super simple with a menu at the top of the browser, allowing you to seamlessly alternate between different tabs and features. There’s also a search feature that allows you to search for the function you are looking for.


Xero has a variety of features, however, certain features are locked behind the different subscription tiers.

Invoicing Options

Invoicing is done on Xero’s browser. It allows you to create custom templates that offer extensive customization options. This includes everything from how the text is outputted in the invoice to the font and color being used.

They also offer incredible timesaving invoicing options such as recurring invoices, automatic invoice reminders, bulk invoicing, and setting up default payment settings.

You can create and send credit notes and customer statements when on the invoicing screen. These will be attached to the invoices sent to your customers after they complete a transaction.

Another neat invoice feature is Xero-to-Xero. This allows you to easily send and receive invoices to and from other people who use Xero.

Xero also allows you to create quotes with ease that can be converted into invoices or purchase orders with the click of a button.

Your clients or customers can access a portal where they can view, print, and pay their invoices online, and your potential customers can view, accept or decline quotes before proceeding with anything.

Management Made Easy

In terms of contact management features, Xero is filled to the brim. You can add everything from basic contact information to discount amounts that are easily viewable to your customers.

You can also add contact groups, making the process of sending documents and invoices out to your customers much easier.

You no longer need to scroll through individual customers and send hundreds of individual emails, simply group your customers into one collection and make life easier.

Expense tracking is simple using Xero as you can connect your bank and credit card details directly to Xero accounting software. Manually importing your bank statements is also an option.

Xero allows you to easily categorize your expenses and split transactions using the smart categorization feature. This remembers the past transaction categories you used in the past and will automatically categorize newer transactions accordingly.


Xero’s report functionality is broad, offering over 55 different report options and styles. This covers everything from your sales reports to budgeting and cash flow.

These reports are fully customizable and you can save templates to use for future transactions.

There is also a budget manager that allows you to create a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month budget and gives you access to a budget summary at the end of the period.


Xero isn’t free and its 3 different pricing options all depend on various factors such as the size of your business and what exactly you need from the software.

The starter version is around $22 per month, granting you access to a limited amount of invoice creations, and doesn’t grant access to the more advanced features such as using multiple currencies.

The standard version is around $35 per month, allowing for unlimited invoices and offering the essentials that your company needs to thrive.

Lastly, the premium version is around $47 per month, but this is focused on large businesses containing hundreds of employees, granting access to analytic and project management functions.


Next up in the Wave vs Xero vs QuickBooks comparison is QuickBooks. This is one of the more popular accounting software solutions and is best suited for small businesses and Shopify merchants. Like Xero, QuickBooks is a paid-for software and the features depend on which version you purchase.


QuickBooks is accounting software that keeps track of income and expenses.

It offers various solutions that make managing personal and business finances much easier. QuickBooks also offers both a desktop and browser-based version.

If you run a Shopify store, you’ll be happy to know that QuickBooks can also integrate with Reconcilely. This makes reconciling your sales, refunds, and fees into your QuickBooks accounting software an absolute breeze! 

User Interface

When opening up QuickBooks, you will see a dashboard similar to that of Wave’s. So, you will see various graphs and charts detailing data in a more graphical format. Such data includes your invoices, expenses, and much more. These graphs and the way they look are fully customizable and make for a friendly UI.

Another similarity to Wave’s UI is the subcategory feature that breaks down functions into different subcategories.


QuickBooks has a variety of features that allows them to retain a spot as one of the best accounting software solutions available.

QuickBooks Create

QuickBooks allows you to conveniently create and send out invoices all in one convenient location.

You simply select your customer, the date of the invoice, fill out information regarding the product being sold, type in a description, and select the quantity.

This will automatically calculate the fees and generate an invoice that you can preview before sending out.

The number of documents that you can create from just entering information into text boxes is incredible. Using the Create feature, you can generate expense transactions, bills, and cheques.

All invoices and documents are emailed from QuickBooks to your customers, allowing you to send them reminders if you find they have overdue payments.

Speaking of checks, if you have pre-printed cheques from your bank, QuickBooks allows you to print multiple cheques or one cheque at a time as you pay the bills.

Inventory and Report Tracker

QuickBooks allows you to create purchase orders that have specific products within them. However, this inventory feature is only available in the Plus version of QuickBooks.

Once you sell or receive the product from your vendor, the purchase order gets converted to a bill that gets paid when it's due.

Reports are then generated as transactions happen, allowing you to see the financial health of your organization over a period.

You can track individual reports and inventory items all from the tracking page.

Banking Connectivity

QuickBooks enables you to connect your bank account and credit cards to it and it downloads all your transactions that go through the bank daily.

This gives you the ability to select an expense category for each of the transactions, making it easier to categorize data into groups.

You can also set up an automatic categorizer by filling out information regarding your transactions, removing the need to manually sort the transactions.


Like Xero, QuickBooks has 3 payment options to look at, each offering its perks and features.

The Simple Start plan is around $12 per month and offers the basic features and functions of invoicing.

The Essentials plan is around $25 and allows 3 users to make use of the software and includes the time tracking feature.

The final plan and the most popular one is Plus, offering all of the essentials and the aforementioned inventory tracker.

Wave vs Xero vs QuickBooks: Which Is Best?

There’s no definitive answer as to which accounting software is the best out of Wave vs Xero vs Quickbooks. The choice all comes down to the user and their needs.

For Shopify merchants, you can’t go wrong with Xero or QuickBooks. They are both popular options that integrate seamlessly with Shopify. You can easily track and manage your business’s financials with either of these solutions. 

And, to make it easier, Reconcilely is here to help. With our nifty tool, you can sync all your Shopify transactions with Xero or QuickBooks as they happen. This makes reconciling your books a quick and easy task.  

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