Xero vs Wave vs QuickBooks: Which Accounting Software Is Best for US Businesses?

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Accounting software can help make an otherwise onerous task a lot easier.

There are a few that stand out above the rest: Xero, Wave, and QuickBooks. Xero and Wave are relatively new compared to Quickbooks, but both have had a strong showing since their debut. 

Before you get a headache trying to decide which would work best for your business, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve outlined the features, pricing, and pros and cons of each contender so that you can make an informed decision about which accounting software to use for your business. 

Xero

Source: xero.com

Xero is cloud-based online accounting software that caters to small businesses as well as accountants and bookkeepers.

When you sign up with Xero you’ll be able to manage your finances on their platform, which you can access via any device that can go online.

If you need general help with bookkeeping and accounting with Xero, that’s what we’re here for. We’d love to help you out. 

Features

  • Pay your bills
  • Track your expenses
  • Connect to multiple bank accounts
  • Do payroll via integrated Gusto
  • Connect to several payment methods such as PayPal and Stripe
  • Track invoices
  • Financial reports
  • Multi-currency capabilities
  • Automatically calculate sales tax

Pricing

  • Early: $12 per month, best for solopreneurs and new businesses
  • Growing: $34 per month, best for small businesses that wish to scale
  • Established: $65 per month, best for established businesses

Pros 

  • A long list of features
  • Thousands of integrations available
  • Lots of customer support available through forums, online support, and more
  • Accepts all major credit cards as payment
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use

Cons

  • Only offers the most basic invoicing capabilities
  • Limited financial reports available
  • You’ll have to pay extra to do payroll through Gusto
  • Difficult to migrate from

Wave

Source: wave.com

Wave is an online bookkeeping and payment software for business owners who need help with their accounting.

Wave is mostly geared towards startups and small to medium-sized businesses, as well as solopreneurs and freelancers.

With Wave you’ll be able to track your invoices, track your expenses, and review financial reports.

The software also offers invoicing and payroll solutions, all of which are automated. 

Payments by Wave is the latest addition to their products. You’ll receive payments in less than 2 days and their fee is as little as 1% per transaction.

If you’re looking for a software that will take care of your accounting as well as accept payments, Wave is a good place to start.

Features

  • No limit on number of connected bank accounts
  • Income and expense tracking
  • Customizable invoices
  • Financial reports
  • Exchange rate calculated automatically
  • Use one account to run multiple businesses

Pricing

Wave’s accounting software is free. Their add-on services, like Payments by Wave and their payroll services have a range of prices:

  • Payments: 2.9-3.4% (depending on the type of credit card) + .30 per transaction. 1% per bank transaction
  • Payroll: $20 per month base fee for self service states, $30 per month base fee for tax service states.

Pros

  • Freemium plan
  • Recommended for subscription businesses
  • Inexpensive managed payroll service
  • Accepts all major credit cards
  • Lots of integrations available
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The 1% fee on all invoices can get expensive at scale, so not ideal for businesses dealing with a lot of transactions
  • Financial reports aren’t in-depth
  • Charges a credit card processing fee

QuickBooks

Source: quickbooks.com

QuickBooks is the veteran accounting software that your parents likely used. You can access this cloud-based software via your computer or their mobile app.

Like Xero and Wave, you’ll be able to create and send invoices, keep track of your expenses and payments, and you’ll also get financial reports. That includes balance sheets and P&L statements.

With QuickBooks, you can also share your credentials with your accountants so that they can collaborate with you on-the-go too.

If you currently use QuickBooks Desktop, you can easily migrate to the online version of the software. In a world where we work across multiple devices, desktop software simply isn’t sufficient anymore. 

Features

  • Ability to have multiple users on one plan
  • Track your income and expenses
  • Maximize tax reductions
  • Track your sales as well as sales tax
  • Create invoices and accept payments
  • Financial reports

Pricing

  • Simple Start: $12.50 per month, best for solopreneurs and freelancers
  • Plus: $40 per month, best for small businesses with accounting teams of up to 5 people
  • Advanced: $90 per month, best for larger businesses with teams of up to 25 people

Pros

  • Over 20 types of financial reports available
  • Advanced invoicing capabilities
  • Allows you to keep track of inventory
  • Can add-on payroll services
  • Accepts all major credit cards

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Figuring out sales tax data can be tricky for beginners
  • You’re required to set up and file your own W2 and payroll taxes
  • Confusing (and expensive) pricing model

Xero vs Wave vs QuickBooks: Comparison Table

XeroWaveQuickBooks
Who should use itSmall businesses, startups, e-commerceSolopreneurs, freelancers, self-employedMost businesses, especially those looking to grow
Pricing$12-$65 per monthFree$12.50-$90 per month
Maximum usersUnlimitedUnlimitedUp to 25 with Advanced plan
Bank reconciliation☑️☑️☑️
Invoicing☑️☑️☑️
Online payments☑️☑️☑️
Expense tracking☑️☑️☑️
Financial reports☑️☑️☑️
Inventory☑️☑️
Mobile app☑️☑️
Sales tax accounting☑️☑️☑️
Payroll☑️☑️Available as an add-on

The bottom line

Not all businesses are created equal, and neither are accounting software. Remember: you’re going to want to know your specific needs and budget before you can seriously consider which option works best for you. 

To summarize, solopreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed folks should consider Wave for an easy-to-use DIY approach to accounting software.

It’s free, so you don’t need to worry about making room for it in your budget. That said, if you’re running a business on your own that has an inventory, you may want to look into another software.

If you’re hoping to grow your business, you may opt for QuickBooks. It is the most expensive of these three options, but it makes scaling your operations easy. You can also do much with its affordable plan if you feel more comfortable starting out there.

For startups, small businesses, or e-commerce businesses: Xero is likely your best bet. And if you need to expand down the road, there’s always the option to upgrade to the Established plan—or migrate to QuickBooks.

Binery can also help you set up your Xero account if you’re feeling overwhelmed. We’ve found that Xero works well for most of our customers!

Don’t underestimate the importance of proper accounting, as it could literally make or break your business down the line.

Click here to learn more about Binery and to book a call so that we can help you get off to a clean start. 

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