5 Wave Alternatives for When Your Business Outgrows the Free Edition

When you first started your business, you needed a quick and easy accounting tool. Free software is often preferred at this point. But as you grow, investing in accounting software becomes critical.

One popular free option is Wave, a cloud-based accounting system designed to help smaller companies handle day-to-day tasks such as transactions and invoicing. But the free edition is limited in functionality and doesn’t offer auditing—a deal breaker for a business looking to grow.

The dashboard view showing a financial overview in Wave

Wave does offer more accounting functionality in its two paid editions, but simply choosing to upgrade your account just to take the path of least resistance could be a crippling mistake. You need to evaluate options and make an educated decision.

This report is designed to offer Wave accounting alternatives that may better fit your business needs, so we’ve listed five systems in two different categories:

Most Asked-About Wave Alternatives

The first two Wave accounting competitors are accounting systems that are most often searched for alongside Wave. For example, “Wave vs Quickbooks” is a commonly searched term in Google.

Note: You can learn more about our methodology here.


If you’re on the search for accounting software, you’ve probably come across information about Intuit QuickBooks.

With multiple versions, QuickBooks can handle core accounting, payroll, project accounting, tax reporting, online transactions, billing, invoicing and more for a range of business sizes, from small companies to enterprise organizations.

QuickBooks offers numerous paid user tiers:

  • Independent contractor version begins at $10 per month
  • Small business versions
    • Simple Start costs $15 per month
    • Essentials costs $30 per month
    • Plus costs $40 per month

Each version adds features as the price increases, and discounts are available for a six-month commitment.

For more details, check out our side-by-side comparison of Wave vs. QuickBooks.


New Zealand accounting software provider Xero hit the scene in 2006, and quickly grew, boasting more than 700,000 subscribers today. Like Wave, Xero’s system is designed for small businesses, but offers more functionality.

The system includes dashboards, inventory management, invoicing, billing, payroll, tax calculations, budgeting and reporting features. Users can also access the system from any iOS, Windows or Android mobile device.

Xero offers three versions:

  • Starter costs $9 per month
  • Standard costs $30 per month
  • Premium costs $70 per month

Each version is discounted with a six-month commitment. Check out our side-by-side comparison of Xero vs. Wave.


Freshbooks is another popular vendor focused on small businesses. It offers the core accounting features most companies need: expense tracking, invoicing, time tracking for billing purposes, project collaboration, transactions and reporting.

The system’s user interface is easy-to-use and navigate, can integrate with Google Apps for contact information and can be accessed via any iOS or Android device.

Freshbooks offers three versions as well, including:

  • Lite costs $15 per month (with up to 5 active clients)
  • Plus costs $25 per month (with up to 50 active clients)
  • Premium costs $50 per month (with up to 500 active clients)

Check out our side-by-side comparison of Freshbooks vs Xero.

Top User-Rated Wave Alternatives

The next two alternatives were selected based on their high user ratings on Software Advice.


BillQuick includes core time and expense, billing, invoicing and reporting in the Basic version, with expanded project management capabilities in the Pro and Enterprise versions, such as interactive Gantt charts, prioritized task reminders and revenue forecasting.

Many Software Advice reviewers mention ease-of-use as a key factor in their satisfaction with BillQuick:

“I have found that the online product provides nearly all of the functionality that we need, and it has certainly provides a more positive user experience than previous software we have used.” Diane, Northwest Information Services

BillQuick offers three on-premise versions:

  • Basic starts at $14.95 per user per month
  • Pro adds capability for more users and project management features
  • Enterprise includes all pro features and additional customization, project management and reporting features

Those interested in the Pro and Enterprise versions must call for pricing. The vendor also offers a cloud-based version at $19.95 per user per month for Pro and $24.95 per user per month for Enterprise.


Intacct, founded in 1999, is a popular choice for small to midsize companies with accounting and enterprise resource management needs. The system’s core financial features include a general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, purchasing and reporting. A dashboard offers real-time metrics for strategic decision-making.

Reviewers praise Intacct’s combined accounting and ERP features that give a more comprehensive overview of operations:

“With the dimensions built into the software, we can view the different parts of our business in multiple angles in order to make critical business choices! With custom dashboards our management can easily find what they need without scrolling through hundreds of accounts and charts!”
Tyler, Courthouse Athletic Club

Intacct doesn’t reveal pricing online; customers can contact the vendor to request a price quote.

Do you use any of these or other systems listed on our site? Visit our reviews page and tell us about your experience to help others seeking authentic user reviews.

Next Steps

Has this list of Wave accounting alternatives helped you determine which system can meet your needs? If not, here are some next steps to take:

  • Factor in your industry and business size in the accounting software search. Many accounting vendors cater to specific industries and business sizes; they can help you customize a system appropriate to your niche.
  • Keep a budget in mind as well as the core features you need. It’s not uncommon for organizations to buy a huge accounting suite only to overpay for functionality they don’t use. Start with the core functionality, and add modules over time as new business challenges occur.
  • Check out our more than 150 accounting system profiles and reviews, or read our Accounting Buyer’s Guide to learn more about the features, deployments and pricing.
  • Call our software advisors at (855) 998-8505 for a free phone consultation to narrow down a list of systems that deliver value for your company.