QuickBooks vs. Wave

Choosing the right accounting software is pivotal for your business's financial health. Let's delve into what sets Wave and QuickBooks apart in this comprehensive comparison.


In the world of small business accounting, QuickBooks and Wave are known for their comprehensive features and widespread use. QuickBooks, with its functionality and scalability, caters to a broad spectrum of business sizes and types. Wave, on the other hand, appeals to small business owners with its cost-effective (often free) solutions for basic accounting needs. Both platforms aim to simplify financial management, yet they approach it with different tools and services. As we explore these options, we'll also introduce Bench – a unique blend of technology and human expertise designed to elevate your accounting experience beyond just software.

Comparing QuickBooks and Wave


QuickBooks, developed by Intuit, offers a wide range of features designed to cater to the needs of small to medium-sized businesses. It's known for its functionality, including invoicing, payroll, expense tracking, and inventory management. With its scalable solutions, QuickBooks supports businesses as they grow, providing more advanced tools like time tracking, 1099 preparation, and detailed financial reporting. The platform also includes an ecosystem of integrations, making it a good choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive financial management system.


Wave positions itself as a cost-effective alternative for small businesses and freelancers. Its core accounting features, such as income and expense tracking, invoicing, and receipt scanning, are available for free, making it an attractive option for businesses just starting out or operating on a tight budget. Wave’s simplicity and user-friendly interface stand out, offering financial management without overwhelming users with complex features. However, while Wave provides essential accounting tools at no cost, certain advanced features, like automations, human support, and additional users, are available for an additional fee, which is something businesses need to consider as they scale.

Which is better? QuickBooks or Wave

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QuickBooks has developed a reputation for being a robust and comprehensive accounting solution, offering a wide array of features to accommodate the diverse needs of small to medium-sized businesses. Its interface, while detailed, can be overwhelming for new users, necessitating a learning curve to fully leverage its capabilities. QuickBooks aims to streamline operations with customizable dashboards and automated workflows, but achieving proficiency may require time and possibly training, especially for those new to accounting software.

Wave, with its emphasis on simplicity and ease of use, appeals to small business owners and freelancers looking for straightforward financial management tools. Its clean, intuitive interface enables users to quickly navigate through various functions like invoicing, expense tracking, and report generation without feeling overwhelmed. The platform’s core features are available for free, making it an accessible choice for businesses with limited accounting needs or those just starting out. However, the simplicity that makes Wave attractive may also limit functionality for growing businesses requiring more comprehensive features.

When comparing the usability of QuickBooks and Wave, it's clear that each serves different user needs and preferences. QuickBooks offers a depth of features and customization options that, while powerful, can introduce complexity and necessitate a learning curve. Wave’s strength lies in its simplicity and intuitive design, making it ideal for straightforward accounting tasks without the bells and whistles. However, both platforms might fall short in including the personalized support and guidance that small business owners often need.

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QuickBooks stands out for its advanced automation capabilities, designed to save business owners time and reduce manual errors. From automating invoice creation and sending to scheduling recurring payments, QuickBooks aims to streamline every aspect of financial management. It also offers features like bank reconciliation and expense categorization, which automatically match transactions to the appropriate accounts based on past behavior. This level of automation extends to payroll and tax calculations, ensuring accuracy and compliance with less effort. However, the complexity of setting up these automations can be daunting for some, requiring a solid understanding of both the software and accounting principles.

Wave's automation features focus on making essential accounting tasks as effortless as possible for small business owners and freelancers. Its automatic expense tracking, for example, allows users to link their bank accounts and credit cards to the platform, categorizing expenses without manual input. Wave also automates invoice reminders and can set up recurring billing for regular clients, helping maintain cash flow with minimal intervention. It’s important to note that the majority of these automated features are not available with the free plan and are only available for an additional fee. While Wave’s automation tools are generally less comprehensive than QuickBooks, they cover the basic needs of small businesses efficiently and without unnecessary complexity.

In comparing the automation capabilities of QuickBooks and Wave, it's evident that QuickBooks offers more features suitable for businesses with complex needs or those looking to scale. Wave, on the other hand, keeps automation simple, catering to the essential needs of smaller operations. However, both platforms may lack the personalized touch and guidance that can make a significant difference in managing a small business's finances effectively.

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QuickBooks offers a robust integration ecosystem, allowing businesses to connect with a wide range of third-party applications and services. This capability is designed to streamline operations by syncing data across platforms, from ecommerce and customer relationship management (CRM) to payroll and payment processing. The extensive library of QuickBooks integrations enables a certain level of customization with a seamless flow of information. However, navigating this vast ecosystem can be overwhelming, and not all integrations are created equal, with the quality and reliability varying significantly between different third-party applications.

Wave provides a more selective range of integrations with their paid offering, focusing on core functionalities that small businesses commonly require. This includes connections with payment gateways, ecommerce platforms, and payroll services, aiming to simplify the essential processes of invoicing, payment collection, and employee management. While the options are more limited compared to QuickBooks, this can be fine for small businesses looking for straightforward solutions without the need to sift through an extensive list of potential integrations.

The approach to integrations by QuickBooks and Wave reflects their overall positioning: QuickBooks as a comprehensive solution for businesses with diverse and complex needs, and Wave as a simplified, accessible option for small businesses and freelancers. QuickBooks’ vast integration ecosystem offers flexibility and customization but can introduce complexity and inconsistency in quality. Wave’s selective integrations ensure ease of use and focus, though at the expense of breadth and customization. Both approaches have their merits, yet neither platform may fully address the need for quality-assured, seamlessly integrated tools specifically chosen to enhance a small business's operations.

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Personal Support

QuickBooks provides a range of support options designed to help users navigate its comprehensive features. This includes access to an online knowledge base, community forums, and customer support via phone or chat. While these resources are valuable for solving common issues and technical problems, they may fall short when businesses require personalized advice tailored to their unique financial situations. QuickBooks' included support is primarily focused on technical assistance and troubleshooting software-related issues, rather than offering customized guidance on accounting, bookkeeping, or strategic financial planning.

Wave emphasizes accessible support through its online help center and community forums, where users can find answers to frequently asked questions and share insights with other small business owners. Like QuickBooks, Wave's included support structure is geared towards resolving technical issues and questions about using the platform. While helpful for addressing specific software functionalities, this model of support does not extend to personalized financial advice or in-depth assistance with accounting principles, tax strategies, or financial growth planning. The support offered is more reactive than proactive, with a focus on solving immediate problems rather than providing ongoing guidance.

Both QuickBooks and Wave offer valuable support resources to help users make the most of their software. However, the nature of the support that’s included in their plans tends to be limited to technical assistance, lacking the personalized touch that can make a significant difference for small business owners navigating the complexities of financial management. This gap highlights an essential need for more tailored support that extends beyond software troubleshooting to include strategic advice and dedicated assistance with financial planning and decision-making.

Is Wave or QuickBooks the best accounting software for business owners?

Try Bench Instead.

What is Bench?

Bench is more than just accounting software; it's a complete financial solution tailored for small businesses. Combining innovative technology with real human expertise, Bench takes the burden of financial management off your shoulders, giving you more time to focus on what you do best: running your business.

Try us for free—we’ll do one month of your bookkeeping and prepare a set of financial statements for you to keep

Wave and QuickBooks feature comparison

How does Wave and QuickBooks compare to Bench?





User-friendly, best for simple needs

Good, with a learning curve

Most user-friendly, with personalized support included


Basic, covering essential needs

Extensive, but can be complex

High, with added personal touch and guidance


Limited, but streamlined for simplicity

Wide range, varying quality

Selectively curated for quality

Personal Support



Unlimited personal support included

Dedicated Bookkeeping Team

Not standard


Yes, a team that knows your business inside and out

Pricing Flexibility

Free basic services, pay for extras

Fixed tiers, less flexible

Best value with customized plans

Tax Preparation & Filing

Not directly offered


Yes, comprehensive tax services with support from a dedicated Tax Advisor

Real-time Financial Insights



Focused with key insights

Financial Reporting

Basic, straightforward


Focused with key reports

Why Bench over Wave?

Choosing Bench over Wave is a decision to embrace a full-service financial management partner, rather than settling for basic accounting software. While Wave’s free tools attract startups and micro-businesses, Bench offers a dedicated team of bookkeeping professionals and a suite of services—including tax preparation, financial reporting, and actionable insights—that grow with your business. This personalized approach ensures accuracy, compliance, and tailored advice to drive your business forward. Bench isn’t just software; it’s a committed partner to your success, offering a depth of service and expertise that Wave simply can’t match.

Why Bench over QuickBooks?

Choosing Bench over QuickBooks is about valuing personalized support and streamlined financial management tailored to your business needs. Unlike QuickBooks, which can be complex and time-consuming to navigate, Bench offers a seamless blend of intuitive software and a dedicated team of bookkeeping professionals. This partnership not only simplifies your accounting tasks but also aligns your financial strategy with your business objectives. Bench transcends traditional software by providing comprehensive services, including tax filing and financial insights, with a level of personalization and support QuickBooks cannot match, making it the ideal choice for business owners seeking a true financial ally.

Why business owners love Bench

Business owners rave about Bench for its simplicity, effectiveness, and the peace of mind it offers. With Bench, you're not just getting software; you're getting a partner dedicated to your financial success. Our clients appreciate the blend of technology and human expertise, ensuring their finances are meticulously managed and always tax-ready. Our service is designed to allow you to  focus on your business, not the intricacies of accounting and bookkeeping. You simply provide us with your monthly financial information, and we handle the meticulous number-crunching, ensuring precision and reliability. It's the preferred choice for those looking for more than just accounting software but a comprehensive financial solution. It's no wonder that 95% of business owners feel peace of mind when Bench does their books.

“I am able to have conversations with them about how to categorize things for my unique business, but then, for the most part, they run with it. And I have to do very little work to have my books reconciled every month and have all the numbers ready for tax time.”





“They message me when they need things, and are quick to respond to my questions or concerns. They run a tight ship! Everything is so organized and user-friendly.”





Frequently Asked Questions

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Who will I be working with specifically? Will I work with the same people every month?

Your bookkeeping team consists of 3 professionally trained bookkeepers, including one senior bookkeeper who reviews all of your monthly statements and your Year End Financial package.

We try our best to keep you with the bookkeeping team you’re assigned when you come on board. If there’s any change in your bookkeeping team, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and make sure the transition is a smooth one.

Your Bench Tax team consists of a Bench Tax Coordinator and a Bench Tax Advisor. You can learn more here!

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Where are your bookkeepers located? What are their qualifications?

Each customer's main point of contact is a dedicated in-house, professionally-trained bookkeeper, based in North America. Part of what makes Bench unique is that we blend together the human touch with modern technology. Our in-house team is also supported by machine learning technology, which allows us to automatically process large amounts of financial data instantly, and close your books faster and accurately.

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What does my bookkeeper do?

Your bookkeeper reconciles your accounts, categorizes your transactions, and produces your financial statements. They also make adjustments to your books to ensure they’re tax-compliant. Occasionally your bookkeeper might need your input on things like categorizing a transaction properly, but we try our best to make bookkeeping as hands-off as possible for you.

You can also book a call with your bookkeeper (or send them a message) whenever you’d like. There’s no extra fee or hourly charges for support—we’re always happy to nerd out about bookkeeping and your financial statements.

Join thousands of small business owners who trust Bench with their books

With our personalized approach and dedicated support, we're here to ensure your financial success is always within reach. Discover the Bench difference today and focus on what truly matters - growing your business.