Wave vs QuickBooks Comparison 2024: Which Is Better for You?

Last Updated:Wednesday, January 10, 2024

If you are a self-employed accountant, or you need better bookkeeping and payroll for your small business, consider one of these two software solutions. 

In this article, we’ll compare Wave vs QuickBooks. Pricing, ease of use, customer service, integrations, and versions will be considered above all, as will some of the common payroll tools.


What is the difference between Wave and QuickBooks?

The main difference between QuickBooks and Wave is in their range of features and complexity. QuickBooks is an established player with an impressive suite of services, while Wave is a more modern platform with a simple and easy-to-use interface that does not require a big learning curve.

Wave is known for its clean and simple look that makes it easy to navigate. It makes it perfect for freelancers or self-employed service providers who want to spend more time growing their business instead of navigating complex platforms. 

But do not be fooled by this platform's simplicity! It offers a great set of features like expense tracking, bank, and credit card integration, invoicing, and reporting. What's more, many Wave tools have a $0 price tag. 

On the other hand, QuickBooks offers a wider set of features and customization that can cater to more advanced accounting needs. This software is especially praised for its scalability and the ability to serve businesses of any size, as well as for its extensive third-party integration options and focus on security and data protection.

For a more comprehensive dive into both applications, we recommend reading our detailed Wave review and QuickBooks review. These reviews explore pricing, features, key differences, as well as strengths and weaknesses of both platforms, which can be very helpful when deciding what's best for your business.


Wave vs QuickBooks comparison chart

Take a look at this simple Wave vs QuickBooks comparison chart. It summarizes side-by-side feature comparison of both tools for easier evaluation of the best accounting software for your business.






Free basic services. Pricing per additional feature.

Pricing starts at $17/month


Free version


No, only 30-day free


Customer support

Chat and email support

Phone and chat support


Knowledgebase & learning

Articles, webinars, guides, tutorials

Articles, trainings, certifications, community forum, tutorials


Ease of use

Easy to use, simple interface, low complexity

Easy to use, advanced features, steep learning curve


Online version




Desktop version





Payments, deposits, employee portal

Taxes, payments, time tracking, HR advice


Mobile app





Limited number



Overall winner





Wave vs QuickBooks pricing

When it comes to pricing, both solutions offer several different options ranging from affordable to more expensive, depending on your needs and the number of users. 

Great thing about Wave is that their accounting, invoicing and US-only banking software solution is completely free. Additional paid options, quoted in CAD, are payroll software (starting from $25 per month), online payment processing (starting at 2.9% + $0.6 per transaction, and personalized advising (starting at $199 per month). 

QuickBooks has three levels of subscription: Simple Start ($15 per month), Essentials ($30 per month), and Plus plan ($45 per month), but it often offers a special 50% discount for the first three months of subscription.

In case you want to explore both options before committing to one, we suggest taking a 30-day free trial that both platforms offer.

Winner: Wave

We will give this round to Wave since it offers basic software for free, and if you wish to go with add-ons, they also fall into the reasonably priced range. 

QuickBooks vs Wave free versions

As previously mentioned, QuickBooks does not offer free software. It does offer a limited 30-day free trial. Important to note is that if you decide to use the trial, you are no longer eligible for the 50% discount for your first three months.

Wave has a generous free version with access to invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, customer and vendor management, tax reports and mobile app. 

The core features mentioned are completely free to use, while additional paid services can be added on, such as payroll processing, credit card payments, and advanced support options. These services come with their respective fees, and you can choose to opt for them based on your business's needs.

Winner: Wave

Wave is a free set of tools, and then you have premium options for more advanced features like double-entry accounting and the ability to track mileage. QuickBooks does not have a free plan, so Wave's free features are why it's best to pick this platform as the winner. 

Wave accounting vs QuickBooks customer support

Wave offers many customer support options for all customers 24/7 by either Help Desk email support or via an automated chatbot called Mave. The support team is available Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4:45 PM Eastern time. 

QuickBooks does not offer email support, but they do have 24/7 live chat support available for all users. The chatbot offers quick answers to questions or will guide you to the right resources from the QuickBooks existing library. QuickBooks also comes with phone support for QuickBooks desktop users, available Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM Eastern time.

Winner: QuickBooks

We'll have to give this one to QuickBooks, largely due to its coverage of almost every support channel but especially phone support, which Wave does not offer.

QuickBooks vs waveapps.com Knowledgebase & learning

Let’s look at the self-help options like Wave apps and Intuit QuickBooks both offer in terms of their knowledge base and learning support for their existing and future customers. These apps are going toe-to-toe in this arena. 

QuickBooks is well-known for its vast library of internal resources such as training and certifications, tutorials, blogs, and templates. They also have an active community forum that can usually offer answers to many basic questions. 

Wave provides a knowledge base that includes a wide range of articles, tutorials, and guides to help users navigate the platform and perform various accounting tasks. In addition to the knowledge base, Wave offered webinars and video tutorials to assist users in learning how to use the software effectively. 

Winner: QuickBooks

In summary, both software have a solid knowledge base and learning resources that help users understand and utilize the product in the best way. 

Wave is focused on providing simple and understandable materials more suitable for beginners and small businesses. 

QuickBooks, as a more comprehensive solution, provides a broader range of resources, including in-depth tutorials and certification programs, which cater to a wider audience with varying levels of accounting expertise. That's why QuickBooks wins this category.


QuickBooks vs Wave accounting features & functionality

QuickBooks and Wave are both great accounting software products with an impressive lineup of features and functionalities for simplifying your accounting process. 

However, when compared, it's clear that both platforms have their strong sides. Let's dive in deep and look in depth at both products to decide which platform takes the cake when it comes to features and functionalities.

Wave or QuickBooks for ease of use

Ease of use is important to consider when choosing the best software for your business. One of Wave's key selling-points is its easy-to-use user interface with low complexity, making it ideal for small businesses and small to medium-sized teams with simple accounting needs. 

QuickBooks offers a robust platform with capabilities to cater to more advanced accounting needs and larger businesses. That makes the interface more complex to navigate and increases the learning curve for new users.

Winner: Wave

If we are talking about which platform is easier to use, we can confidently declare Wave makes the first cut.

Wave vs QuickBooks online versions

Both Wave and QuickBooks online are SaaS platforms that allow easy and convenient access through an internet browser without the need for desktop installation. This cloud-based approach provides a lot of flexibility for your business, especially since you can handle your accounting from any device, anywhere with an internet connection.

There are many advantages connected with the emergence of SaaS products. Being able to access a wide range of features and tools just a click away is only one of them. Luckily both of the platforms we're comparing today offer comprehensive online versions.

Winner: QuickBooks

Wave and QuickBooks Online browser-based apps offer tools for invoicing, expense tracking, and real-time reports. However, if we have to choose only one, QuickBooks Online's broader range of features and more advanced functionalities gives it a slight edge over its competitor.

QuickBooks vs Wave desktop versions

Wave does not offer a desktop version of its platform. Meanwhile, QuickBooks offers QuickBooks Desktop, which is a desktop version of the software. 

The desktop version offers the same features and functionalities as its online counterpart, with the main difference being that the former is installed on your computer and stores data locally, while the latter is cloud-based and accessible from any internet-connected device. The application is available for both Windows and Mac, and the subscription starts at $799 per year.

Winner: QuickBooks

Since Wave does not offer a desktop version, we have to give this one to QuickBooks.


The Wave payments and Wave payroll set of features is pretty comprehensive. You can use Wave for in-house payroll to pay your employees and contractors, do direct deposits, and get automatic tax remittances.

 Accountants can also set up automated payroll journal entries for more manual control. Wave also allows for an employee portal to access pay stubs, create and send documents like T4s, and get other banking information.  

Meanwhile, over at QuickBooks, there are also many great full-service payroll tools. QuickBooks helps automatically calculate taxes, as well as send and accept payments.

You got same-day direct deposit, time tracking, and the ability to track project profitability. QuickBooks Online lets its subscribers get assistance from an HR expert advisor to further help streamline your payroll needs.

Winner: QuickBooks

Even though Wave is free and you get some decent payroll functionality which might be fine for a small service-based business, in the end, a lot of users prefer QuickBooks Online. However, both of these tools rank as one of the best payroll software currently available.

Mobile apps

QuickBooks and Wave both offer mobile apps that let users manage their business finances on the go, using their iOS and Android mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. That way, you can keep track of your bookkeeping, even away from your computer, without losing any key functionalities. 

With the QuickBooks mobile app, you can access invoicing features, income and expense tracking with a convenient receipt photo and upload feature, handle bank reconciliation, track payments received from clients, mark invoices as paid, and record any payment details directly within the app and create limited reports. 

Another useful feature is a real-time sync between QuickBooks mobile and QuickBooks online, enabling data consistency across all devices.

Wave comes with a capable mobile app designed to provide users with flexibility on the go, while keeping all the key functionalities available. You can create, send, and manage invoices directly from the mobile app. 

You can also keep track of invoice payments from the clients. This is especially useful for freelancers and small business owners who need to send invoices to clients while on the move. The app often provides the ability to capture receipts by taking photos, which helps to track expenses accurately. 

Just like the QuickBooks app, changes made on the Wave mobile app should sync with your Wave account across all devices, ensuring consistent and up-to-date financial data.

Winner: Wave

Considering that both platforms offer truly well-rounded mobile applications, we'll take into account that Wave is the free solution, while QuickBooks online is the paid solution exclusively. Therefore, we will choose Wave as a winner in this category.

Wave QuickBooks integrations

Wave offers a limited number of integrations compared to some other accounting software platforms. However, it provides a few key integrations to enhance the software's functionality, such as Payments by Wave, a built-in payment processing feature that allows you to accept credit card payments directly from your invoices. 

Wave also integrates with PayPal, Etsy, and Shoeboxed, a receipt management and expense tracking tool, as well as Shopify and Google Sheets.

QuickBooks Online offers a wide range of integrations with third-party apps and services to extend its functionality and support various business needs such as Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Authorize.Net for payments; e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento; expense management tools like Expensify and Receipt Bank; as well as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM solutions. 

For businesses that need to track employee hours and manage payroll, QuickBooks Online integrates with time-tracking tools like TSheets and ClockShark and payroll services like Gusto and ADP. 

For reporting and analytics, there are tools like Tableau, Fathom, and Qvinci; inventory management solutions like TradeGecko and SOS Inventory; project management tools like Trello, Asana, and Monday.com to manage projects and track related expenses; and Expensify, Receipt Bank, and AutoEntry to simplify the process of tracking and categorizing expenses or to reconcile banking inconsistencies.

Winner: QuickBooks

QuickBooks online confidently takes up the first spot with over 600 supported integrations. If this criteria is something that is crucial when making a decision for your business, QuickBooks is a better choice.

A note on QuickBooks Wave integration

If you wish to integrate Wave and QuickBooks, the simplest solution is through a third-party integration platform called Zapier, which supports 5000+ applications, and QuickBooks and Wave are one of them. 

Zapier functions based on automated workflows that connect your apps and automate tasks. Switching from Wave to QuickBooks is possible manually by using Excel to export and import data. 


Is Wave better than QuickBooks? Our final takeaways

Ultimately, QuickBooks takes the top prize in this comparison article. These ratings are based on many factors and expert inputs. 

But the truth is, both platforms are pretty good if you are a small but scalable growing business, a CPA or accountant wanting to manage multiple payrolls, or even just a single user who wants more control over everything from sales tax to bookkeeping and beyond.

Of course, there are other great names when it comes to bookkeeping software for small business, like Xero and Freshbooks. In most cases, QuickBooks is still probably considered the best, but that is up to each and every individual to decide and depends on how many additional tools customers pay for on the Wave pricing plan.



Wave vs QuickBooks self employed use: which is a better choice?

Because Wave offers more free tools and features as part of its small business accounting software solution, it is probably the better choice when it comes to self-employed use than QuickBooks. However, those opting for QuickBooks find that it serves the needs of self-employed people fine.

Is switching from Wave to QuickBooks a good idea?

Before switching your small business accounting software from Wave to QuickBooks, or vice versa, it is always a good idea to compare their tools and their prices. Wave has some free tools, whereas QuickBooks does not, though it has superior features if you don’t mind paying.