Wave vs. Zoho vs. QuickBooks

Which accounting and bookkeeping software is right for your small business?

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the business of your dreams probably didn’t involve all of the accounting and bookkeeping that goes into running a real-life small business. It may not be the most glamorous, but accountant is one of the many hats you’ll need to wear as an entrepreneur.

Lucky for you, there are tons of apps and software designed to make accounting less stressful for small business owners. Which one is right for you?

We’ve compared three of the most popular small business accounting options to help you choose:

  • Wave Accounting a totally free accounting software designed for small businesses. A mobile app, capable features, and supreme usability make it a great option.
  • Zoho Books: the no fuss, all in one plan accounting software. A free trial, robust feature set, and excellent customer support make it valuable.
  • Intuit QuickBooks: the accounting software that grows with you. Flexible packages, ease of use, and a mobile app make them a top contender.

Any of these solutions will help you save money without having to hire an accountant. The software can also help you save time and give you more flexibility by being able to check things straight from your phone. No matter what solution you choose, make sure it has the features and integration options your business needs.

Features and Integration

When comparing accounting software, it's important to have an idea of what features and requirements you want. For instance, do you want features beyond accounting and timekeeping, such as reporting and analytics? What type of integration options do you need?

Wave Accounting is an accounting software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. The solution aims to make the accounting function as easy and stress-free as possible with a valuable suite of features that take the legwork out of small business accounting. Wave’s features allow for automatic entry of data from banks, credit cards, Excel, and other sources, invoicing and payroll, and the ability to accept credit cards. The feature set also includes powerful reporting that offers valuable insights.

Zoho Books is the all-encompassing small business accounting solution. With added features – like real-time inventory tracking – and great customer support, it’s definitely a competitor for your small biz dollar.

Zoho is designed for smaller businesses including freelancers and one-man shops. It makes accounting as simple and straightforward as possible, without skimping on functionality. Everything from providing estimates and following up with invoices to tracking inventory and handling bill pay can be managed with Zoho Books. Integrations with other Zoho products (including CRM and project management) are also included in all paid plans.

QuickBooks has a full and inclusive feature suite that encompasses invoicing & estimates, downloadable transactions, and accepting credit card payments. Their 4 packages provide the most flexibility when it comes to which features you want to pay for and allow you to add features as you need them. The feature set of the higher-end packages is a contender among accounting solutions.

Wave Zoho Intuit
  • Automatic entry
  • Reporting
  • Invoicing & payroll
  • Receipt scanning
  • Pay your staff
  • Accept credit cards
  • Estimates
  • Invoices
  • Invoices
  • Reports
  • Inventory
  • Bills
  • Unlimited estimates & invoices
  • Download transactions from your bank or CC
  • Print checks
  • Accept online & mobile payments
  • PayPal
  • Etsy
  • Stripe
  • Google Drive
  • Shoeboxed
  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Square
  • Google Drive
  • Evernote
  • PayPal
  • Shopify
  • Expensify
  • Jobber
  • Shoeboxed
Mobile App Yes Yes Yes

Pricing and Support

Accounting software pricing varies depending on how robust your system is. For instance, the number of features, users, and integrations you require will raise the cost. A good support team is also essential in training you to use the software and being there for any unforeseen complications.

Wave has an extensive feature set that encompasses all of the everyday needs of a small business. The vast majority of features are included in the basic, free package with only 3 requiring a paid plan. Zoho Books offers the most comprehensive set of features. Many of them are included in the Standard and Professional packages, and this is a one-stop solution.

QuickBooks is a fully customizable, fully scalable accounting software solution. With 4 different pricing packages, you can stay with QuickBooks as your business grows and always have a capable accounting solution. Their packages range from the low-end to the higher end of the industry, so pricing is competitive, and the mobile app keeps it fully portable.

Wave Zoho Intuit
  • Free
  • Premium Tools available starting at $19 per month or 2.9% + 30¢
  • Basic $9 per month
  • Standard $19 per month
  • Professional $29 per month
  • Self-Employed $5 per month
  • Simple Start $10 per month
  • Essentials $21 per month
  • Plus $28 per month
  • Extensive FAQ
  • Forums
  • Online submission form
  • Priority support available for $19 per month
  • Email
  • Phone support
  • User guides
  • Forum
  • Live chat
  • Tutorials
  • FAQ
  • Online submission form


Overall, Wave is a great option for small businesses. You really can’t beat a free solution, and this one’s actually as capable and effective as most paid solutions. If you’re a small business owner with limited to no accounting experience, Wave will more than suit your needs. Particularly if your business is extra small, Wave is definitely a contender.

Zoho Books is great if you’re looking for an all-inclusive tool to handle everything from invoicing to bill pay. The price – while slightly higher than other solutions – is still affordable, and everything is included. They also offer awesome customer support to ensure you get the most out of your software. One thing to note is that third party data entry isn’t automated, so there is a time investment involved to enter the data.

If your business is growing or expecting to really take off, QuickBooks is the best option. Fully customizable packages will scale with your business as you grow allowing you to save time and effort with transitioning. The packages available are competitively priced, so QuickBooks is a great option for your business.

Wave Zoho Intuit
  • Free software
  • Valuable integrations
  • Great customer support
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Robust feature set
  • Free 14-day trial
  • Real-time inventory tracking
  • Powerful reporting
  • Great mobile accessibility
  • Valuable integrations
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable and flexible packages
  • Fully portable with a mobile app
  • Great customer support
  • Limited reporting
  • Some features are paid only
  • Limited integrations
  • Not super customizable
  • No check printing
  • No automated 3rd party data input
  • Doesn’t integrate with Zoho CRM or Project
  • You’ll likely have to pay for the standard plan
  • Limited features mean you may have to upgrade as your business grows
  • Limited reporting
  • Less valuable integrations
Best for Very small businesses and those who aren’t experienced with accounting Small businesses who want all the features and none of the fuss with 1 simple plan >Small businesses who want a solution that can scale with them as they grow

What are customers saying?

“Wave is a great accounting software especially for small [businesses] or start-ups… The invoicing and billing systems are easy to use and even better should you have any accounting knowledge.”

“We gave Zoho a test run and liked how it worked and connected to our bank account, and now we’re a paying user of the service.”

“I'm a first time user of any QuickBooks products. QuickBooks Online … has a very easy UI/UX and is accessible from anywhere… Data extraction into excel is terrific.”

More Options:


  • Cloud accounting solution designed with small businesses in mind
  • Easy to use and ultra mobile
  • Free 30-day trial, and 4 plans range from $9.95 - $39.95 per month


  • Accounting software providing cash flow, invoicing, payroll, and more
  • iOS and Google apps keep you connected on-the-go
  • Free 30-day trial, and 3 plans range from $9 - $70 per month


  • Software designed for business owners who don’t like bookkeeping
  • Fully customizable and scalable feature set
  • Free 14-day trial, and 3 plans range from $20 - $54 per month


  • Robust accounting solution that addresses all of your business’s needs
  • Ease of use and security are paramount
  • 2 plans range from $4.99 - $19.99 per month