Based on 122 reviews and ratings
QuickBooks Self-Employed and Wave Accounting are both accounting software designed for very small businesses. QuickBooks Self-Employed focuses on expense tracking, mileage tracking, and tax management for individuals who run their own business, particularly single-person businesses. In contrast, Wave offers a wider range of features necessary for small businesses with multiple employees.
Both QuickBooks Self-Employed and Wave offer accounting features and pricing structures tailored for very small businesses, but there are some key features that set them apart.
QuickBooks Self-Employed stands out for its extensive and robust tax management and preparation capabilities. Its native integrations with the rest of Intuit’s tax preparation services, such as TurboTax, as well as its support for quarterly tax filings, help simplify time-intensive tax processes. It also provides other mechanisms, such as mileage tracking, to help self-employed individuals maximize their tax savings.
Wave offers a wider range of accounting capabilities that multi-employee businesses in particular will utilize. For instance, Wave offers payment processing features, including credit card processing and bank payments. Wave also provides payroll capabilities, with accompanying tax services in a selection of U.S. states.
While both Wave and QuickBooks Self-Employed offer strong features for very small businesses, they also have some relevant limitations.
QuickBooks Self-Employed’s lack of features designed for multi-employee businesses can constrain businesses that attempt to expand. The lack of payment processing or payroll features requires purchasing additional add-on products in addition to QuickBooks, which adds extra costs for small businesses mid-growth.
Wave has limitations on the quantity and range of banks and external financial accounts that users can connect to the accounting system. Before committing to Wave, buyers should make sure that Wave can connect to any financial accounts or services they use. Reviewers also struggle with using Wave’s reporting capabilities, which can become a pain point for businesses that develop a need for routine accounting reports.
Both QuickBooks Self-Employed and Wave Accounting allow some free access to their services. QuickBooks gives users a 30-day free trial for the Self-Employed product, while Wave’s core accounting features are free to use, with optional paid add-ons.
QuickBooks Self-Employed has three tiers of pricing. The “Self-Employed” package, for $15/month, includes invoicing, expenses management, provides quarterly tax estimations, and helps you identify tax deductions through features like automatic mileage tracking. The Tax Bundle, for $25/month, includes TurboTax, lets you natively pay quarterly taxes online, and includes 1 state and 1 federal tax return filing. The Live Tax Bundle, for $35/month, includes all of the Self-Employed Tax Bundle and access to live CPAs year-round, and CPA review of your return.
Wave’s core accounting features, including invoicing and receipt management, are free to use. Its payment processing is pay-per-use: credit card payments cost30¢+2.9-3.4% per transaction depending on the card, and ank payments are charged 1% with a $1 minimum. Payroll costs $6 per active employee or contractor, plus a $35 monthly base fee for states with tax service or a $20 monthly base fee for non-serviced states.
Provided by the TrustRadius Research Team
Published on April 30, 2020
Likelihood to Recommend
Feature Rating Comparison
Benefit plan administration
Direct deposit files
Salary revision and increment management
API for custom integration
Single sign-on capability
Role-based user permissions
Fixed asset management
Electronic tax filing
Global Financial Support
Primary and Secondary Ledgers
Journals and Reconciliations
Centralized Rules Framework
Credit card processing
Cost of goods sold
End-to-end order visibility
Order exception Resolution
- Cross-platform compatibility (Browser, Android) makes it easy to see how my business is doing almost anywhere.
- Smart enough to recognize and automatically categorize most of my transactions, so I don't have to fuss with spreadsheets at the end of the year.
- Updates automatically and notifies me when it needs help, so I don't have to spend too much time babysitting it.
- Integrated with TurboTax and automatically exports year-end tax info for easy filing.
- The ease of use with Wave makes it a great tool. Someone without much accounting experience can jump in and use the software.
- The reports features in Wave make looking at financial statements a breeze. In addition you can quickly drill down into expense categories to see all transactions of a certain type.
- It is very easy to generate a sales invoice and see the average period for our company to get paid.
- I love the Wave Invoice app where we can track invoices on the go and verify payment history.
- Automatic mileage tracking used to work a lot better than it currently does. I got a new phone, and now I have to manually input call tracking, because it just doesn't work anymore.
- When creating invoices, there should be a way to import data into an invoices from Excel, which would make the invoicing a lot faster. Additionally, being able to press ENTER to save a line item on an invoice would be nice. Currently it doesn't work that way.
- Editing invoices shouldn't require sending a reminder.
- connection to bank sometimes lags - you can refresh the connection but it takes a minute or two to update
- sometimes invoices are categorized as sales versus consulting income - you really have to look and change it to the appropriate income account. once an invoice is recorded as paid, you can change the income account
- Wave has a tendency of not accepting a saved password, forcing users to reset a password that is knowingly valid. Using Single Sign On eliminates this but it's still annoying.
Likelihood to Renew
Reliability and Availability
Return on Investment
- A positive impact on my business is, of course, keeping track of income and expenses, and approximate quarterly taxes. QuickBooks is a little better at this than Quicken, I think.
- By using QuickBooks (and Quicken) it saves me having to spend money on an accountant. (At least up to this point.)
- However, the time I spend on daily or weekly entries takes billable time away from other things.
- Wave is free. As a small business owner, it's difficult for me to commit to using too many different software because costs add up. Wave is a very competitive application with many features. I don't think I can go elsewhere at this point. It's far too attractive.
- Wave does have paid features relating to payroll and bank account transfers. I prefer to handle incoming payments through checks manually so I don't worry about bank transfers. For some, this might be a concern, but you are likely paying for this no matter what you use.
- Wave has saved me a considerable amount of time going back and forth between my bank's website and excel sheets. This is immeasurable to me. Keeping invoices in one place is also a big deal. I really love this software.