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Wave accounting vs. Quickbooks bookkeeping 2024 Comparison

Posted on 30/04/2024

Both QuickBooks Online and Wave Accounting offer basic bookkeeping. Both accounting products default to double-entry. Wave via Zapier and Intuit QuickBooks through built-in integrations integrates with most business apps. They differ in scalability, accounting features, and customer support, as we’ll see below.

Pricing for QuickBooks Online and Wave Accounting

Pricing for QuickBooks:

Beginning at $30/mo.

Four QuickBooks Online accounting plans vary in price, features, and user limits:

  • QuickBooks Simple Start costs $30/month for one user + accountant access.
  • QuickBooks Essentials’ $60 monthly cost includes three users and accountant access.
  •  QuickBooks Plus costs $90/month for five users and accountant access.
  • QuickBooks Advanced costs $200/month for 25 users and accountant access.

Intuit’s QuickBooks Self-Employed freelance plan tracks expenses and taxes but does little else. While QuickBooks Self-Employed costs $15 per month, Wave Accounting offers more features for less.

Pricing on Wave accounting:

Starting at $20/mo.

  • Wave Accounting offers a free-for-life plan with limited features and a paid plan with more.
  • Wave Starter offers free unlimited invoicing, billing, payment acceptance, and bank connections.
  •  Wave Pro costs $16/month or $170/year. No limit on users, tracking of expenses, and receipt scanning via an app.

Wave Starter users pay industry-standard transaction fees for online payments, while Wave Pro users pay slightly less. Wave Pro includes receipt scanning, but Wave Starter users must pay $11 per month or $96 per year to add it.

Additional bookkeeping advisory services start at $149 per month, regardless of plan.

QuickBooks Online Payroll vs. Wave Payroll cost

QuickBooks and Wave offer payroll products that work with their accounting software. Add payroll software costs if you have employees when deciding whether QuickBooks Online or Wave is better for your bottom line:

QuickBooks Payroll costs $45/month + $6/payee/month. • Wave Payroll costs $20/month (self-service) or $40/month (full-service) + $6/payee/month.

Comparison of features: Wave Accounting vs. QuickBooks Online

Accounting features

Since they share many features, QuickBooks Online and Wave Accounting are good for bookkeeping basics:

  • Reconciliation and syncing of bank accounts.
  • Keep records in double-entry format.
  • Free accountant access.
  • Tracking income and expenses.
  • Accept online payments and unlimited invoicing.
  • Crucial accounting reports in profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow.
  • Automatic tax categorization.

But compared to Wave Accounting, QuickBooks Online offers more accounting functions.

QuickBooks Simple Start includes the above features and more:

  • Receipt capture for precise expense tracking.
  • Convertible project cost estimates to invoices.
  • Tracking cash flow.
  • Tracking mileage.
  • Managed 1099 contractors.

Upgraded QuickBooks accounting plans include time tracking, inventory management, bill management, profitability forecasting, and more.

QuickBooks Online is better than Wave if you need more than basic accounting features and can afford its higher starting price.

Mobile apps

QuickBooks Online and Wave Accounting have great mobile apps. Both accounting providers allow iOS and Android users to accept payments, access funds, send invoices, and check income and expenses on the go.

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QuickBooks has more features than Wave on mobile, just like in their browsers. Freelancers can only track mileage, and invoice estimates, and scan and upload receipts in QuickBooks Online.

Wave lacks an employee and employer mobile payroll app, which is crucial. Wave Payroll and Wave Accounting can integrate for general ledger updates, but only QuickBooks Payroll lets you check payroll amounts and pay employees on the go. Wave syncs with third-party time-tracking apps but has no employee time clock or self-service portal.


Wave Pro’s multi-business management and unlimited user access are better for midsize and large businesses than QuickBooks’. QuickBooks’ features and more comprehensive plans allow businesses to grow: Instead of switching accounting software providers, upgrade as your company grows.

Adding Wave Pro to its accounting lineup makes Wave more scalable, but it still has two plans compared to QuickBooks’ four. If growth is your priority, QuickBooks may be better than Wave.

Payroll integration

Small businesses can use Wave and QuickBooks’ full-service payroll software to pay employees on time. Neither provider offers free payroll, but Wave’s self-service plan costs $20 per month plus $6 per employee.

Wave is cheaper than the other payroll providers if you file payroll taxes yourself.

QuickBooks Online integrates with more payroll providers than its payroll software, unlike Wave Payroll, which syncs only with Wave Accounting. Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll are direct competitors, but you can integrate them. Zapier can integrate Wave with other products, but Wave Payroll is the only payroll software Wave seamlessly syncs with.

QuickBooks pros and cons

QuickBooks advantages:

  • Multiple scalability plans.
  • Detailed accounting features.
  • Feature-rich mobile app for freelancers, including mileage tracking and receipt capture. • Many native third-party app integrations.
  • Included time tracking, payroll, inventory tracking, and payment add-ons.

QuickBooks drawbacks:

  • High base price.
  • Poor customer service reviews on third-party websites.
  • Problems with recent mobile app updates.

Wave Accounting Pros and cons

Wave Advantages

  • Free accounting plan with unlimited users, businesses, invoices, and bank/credit card connections.
  • Affordable Wave Payroll plan accessories.
  • Automated payroll journal entries linking to Wave Accounting.
  • Two plans for moderate scalability.

Wave drawbacks

  • Limited features compared to paid accounting providers.
  • Phone-based customer service is unavailable; email and chat only.
  • Implemented third-party integration via Zapier only.
  • Only 14 states offer full-service payroll.

QuickBooks Online and Wave Accounting were compared in the following areas:

  • Conducted bookkeeping and accounting tasks such as journal entries, bank reconciliation, general ledger integration, reporting, and forecasting.
  • Simple setup, mobile app access, and cloud-based interface for ease of use.
  • Responsible for customer service, including reputation, support hours, contact types, and complaints.
  • Performed third-party integrations with small-business payroll, time-tracking, and workforce management software.

Our Bookkeeping Experts are here to help.

Topics: Bookkeeping Services




About the Author:

Pramod has over 11 years of experience relating to finance and accounts in diversified industries. He is an expert in resource and process optimization resulting in greater operational efficiencies.

Author can be reached at [email protected]

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