Wave vs QuickBooks vs Bonsai

Accounting management software isn’t exactly cheap. Depending on which brand or service you work with, you’re looking at hundreds of dollars in annual expenses to automate your invoice templates and financial matters. However, there are also more affordable options for businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking to save up on cash, as well as free trials to get a taste of the many features available.

On this page, we’ll be comparing three services: Wave, a free accounting management solution, QuickBooks, a pricey yet extremely feature-packed service, and Bonsai, an all-in-one integrated software suite. Read on to find out which service is perfect for you and your business as we compare Wave vs QuickBooks vs Bonsai.

Logo Bonsai Logo Quickbooks Logo Wave Apps
Unlimited Projects/Clients
Unlimited Proposals
Upsell your clients with different package options
Get notified when your proposal is viewed
Client can approve your proposal in one click
Unlimited Freelance specific contracts
E-sign & store your contracts online
Unlimited Invoicing
Track your time using our web, iOS, or OS X app
Centralize your time sheets
Automated invoicing based on time sheets
Import transactions directly from your bank account
Attach expenses to invoices or bill them directly
Track your spending
Create special logins for your accountant
Automated invoice reminders
Recurring auto-paiements available
Receive your payments online using Stripe and/or PayPal
Possibility to add more users to an account
Work with subcontractors (create contracts, pay them online)
Create your W-9 forms online & save them to your account
Inventory management integrated to the solution
$ 19
$ 50
of Invoices

The Wave vs. QuickBooks vs. Bonsai comparison was made based on the information available at the time of publishing. QuickBooks Plus, Wave , and Bonsai Premium plans are the one being compared.

Bonsai is a great alternative to QuickBooks & Wave for self-employed and freelancers. By switching to Bonsai, you'll run your freelance business in peace.


At a glance, Wave looks like the clear winner here, but there’s a lot more to it than what’s shown on the table. Let’s take a deeper look at what exactly both Wave vs QuickBooks have to offer.

The Pros of Wave

A lot of accounting management software offers free 7-day or 30-day trials, but very few actually offer free services. Wave is genuinely free software that anyone can use almost immediately after signing up. Of course, they need to make money somehow, so there are some features you need to pay for, but many of the core features are free to access.

1. It’s free (sort of)

Yep, that’s $0 to use. Once you have your account, you instantly gain access to some of Wave’s most important features, all without even pulling out your wallet. There is a catch, though, as it is with any free solution - Wave charges you for certain features, though they do claim it’s at a competitive price.

Wave’s paid features include the payroll and online invoice payment services. You can check the details on their website, but it’s worth noting that these are optional features that you can opt-out of. You can always manually do these things (such as manually sending invoices or asking for payment) so that you can use Wave for free.

2. Incredibly simple layout

Taking the Wave vs QuickBooks comparison further, Wave is not only wallet-friendly but also beginner-friendly - the dashboard and features are very easy to understand and pick up. This makes the learning curve a lot less steep than other services, which can be great for those who aren’t very familiar with accounting management in general. Combined with its price model, Wave gives entrepreneurs and small businesses a gateway into the world of accounting management software.

Wave dashboard

3. Industry-standard features

You’d think that for a free service, Wave would only be able to provide bare-bones solutions, but that’s not the case at all. You can get comprehensive invoicing and accounting services all for free. When it comes to Wave vs QuickBooks, the features are of comparable quality.

Wave new invoice

The Cons of Wave

As mentioned earlier, Wave isn’t exactly completely free. There are costs associated with payroll services and automatic payments, which can add up to a lot if you have plenty of customers. Check out our top alternatives to Wave.

The Pros of QuickBooks

Compared to Wave’s “free” price model, QuickBooks is pretty expensive, especially if you want to gain access to all of the service’s features. However, even the cheapest of plans come with essentially zero-charge payment accepting, so if you have a lot of customers, then you may end up saving more than you would with Wave.

1. A plethora of tools and features

While Wave’s features are definitely powerful, there aren’t that many of them, and only a few are free to use. QuickBooks, on the other hand, has almost everything you could possibly imagine to semi-automate your business. Most notably, they also have features for specific types of businesses, such as inventory management for merchandising and/or manufacturing companies.

2. Mile tracking

If your business or freelance career involves a lot of traveling, you’ll definitely want to track your mileage. Mileage can be a great way to reduce your taxes, especially if you’re self-employed. In fact, QuickBooks mentions on its website that users can save an average of almost $7400 thanks to mileage deductions. 

The mile-tracking feature is just one of the many services that QuickBook has for its users, something that Wave lacks.

Quickbooks mile tracking

3. Time tracking

Need a better way to track your employees’ hours? QuickBooks can automate that for you, too. The service automatically adds billable hours to invoices so you don’t have to manually calculate them every month for each employee. What’s more, QuickBooks also supports integration with TSheets, to make time tracking even simpler.

The Cons of QuickBooks

QuickBooks has some relatively pricey fees per month, with up to $150 for all of the features, but they support up to 25 users at a time to compensate, along with other features. However, that does mean you won’t gain access to many of QuickBook’s handy tools unless you have money to spare.

The Verdict

Comparing Wave vs QuickBooks together, there just isn’t one clear winner. To begin with, both services have different target markets, with Wave catering to the more budget-conscious entrepreneur, whereas QuickBooks caters to larger-scale businesses that need more features and better automation.

If you’ve got some money to spare, QuickBooks is great for freelancers and small firms alike. But if you aren’t sure about spending at all, or are unfamiliar with how accounting management software works, then Wave is a great place to start. At the end of the day, the decision on Wave vs QuickBooks depends on your needs.

Why Bonsai Is Still The Better Choice

We can compare Wave vs QuickBooks all day, and while they are both wonderful services, Bonsai definitely takes the cake when it comes to accounting management. Bonsai does more than just handle your invoices and payments - it also helps you create professional reports and documents, and serves as the perfect solution for any freelancer. Here are just some of the features:

1. Create stunning proposals and reports

Not sure how to make professional-looking documents? Bonsai can do that for you with the help of its customized questionnaires, proposals, and more.

2. Contracts made simple

In just a few minutes, you can have a contract ready to be signed. You can either use the templates available or draft your own, too.

3. International invoices

Bonsai can send invoices that are relevant to the country your client is from, making things easier for both you and your client.

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You focus on the work you love and we handle the rest.


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