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Score 8.2 out of 100
146 Ratings
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Score 6.6 out of 100

Highlights

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. 

Features

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. 

Limitations

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. 

Pricing

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. 

Likelihood to Recommend

QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks is a great tool for new SoleTraders that need basic accounting software and require digital invoicing for their clients to send via email and access key features via a mobile app on the go. QuickBooks is a straightforward tool to use with a simple design and learning curve for business owners that are not very tech-savvy.For businesses that operate on a larger scale and need to provide access to other users on their team, QuickBooks is limited. This type of business may also require more insights into the business outside of accounting, and QuickBooks won't be able to supply insights outside of that.
Ayo Bamgbose, Assoc CIPD, MSc | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting was used for a small practice without a lot of the accounting considerations a large company would have. For the price, you really can't beat what Wave offers out of the box. All of the basic tools for things like invoicing and expenses are all easy to use. End of year accounting is easy with exports of data.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Feature Rating Comparison

Payroll Management

QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.6
Wave Accounting
7.0
Pay calculation
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.2
Wave Accounting
7.5
Benefit plan administration
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.3
Wave Accounting
7.5
Direct deposit files
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.2
Wave Accounting
4.9
Salary revision and increment management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.7
Wave Accounting
7.7
Reimbursement management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.7
Wave Accounting
7.4

Customization

QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.7
Wave Accounting
8.0
API for custom integration
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.4
Wave Accounting
9.1
Plug-ins
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.0
Wave Accounting
7.0

Security

QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.5
Wave Accounting
7.7
Single sign-on capability
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.0
Wave Accounting
8.4
Role-based user permissions
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.1
Wave Accounting
7.1

Reporting & Analytics

QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.8
Wave Accounting
6.8
Dashboards
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.5
Wave Accounting
5.9
Standard reports
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.4
Wave Accounting
5.8
Custom reports
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.5
Wave Accounting
8.7

General Ledger and Configurable Accounting

QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.5
Wave Accounting
5.6
Accounts payable
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.9
Wave Accounting
5.7
Accounts receivable
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.6
Wave Accounting
5.8
Cash management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.6
Wave Accounting
5.6
Bank reconciliation
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.5
Wave Accounting
4.6
Expense management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.3
Wave Accounting
6.6
Time tracking
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.8
Wave Accounting
3.8
Fixed asset management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.8
Wave Accounting
1.7
Multi-currency support
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.0
Wave Accounting
6.9
Multi-division support
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.0
Wave Accounting
7.1
Regulations compliance
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.6
Wave Accounting
6.8
Electronic tax filing
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.5
Wave Accounting
5.9
Self-service portal
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.7
Wave Accounting
3.8
Global Financial Support
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.0
Wave Accounting
9.0
Primary and Secondary Ledgers
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.0
Wave Accounting
9.0
Intercompany Accounting
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.9
Wave Accounting
8.0
Localizations
QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.8
Wave Accounting
5.2
Journals and Reconciliations
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.8
Wave Accounting
5.4
Enterprise Accounting
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.0
Wave Accounting
4.7
Configurable Accounting
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.9
Wave Accounting
5.7
Centralized Rules Framework
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.0
Wave Accounting
1.2
Standardized Processes
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.9
Wave Accounting
4.7

Inventory Management

QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.7
Wave Accounting
8.1
Inventory tracking
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.4
Wave Accounting
5.6
Automatic reordering
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.3
Wave Accounting
9.9
Location management
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.0
Wave Accounting
8.1
Manufacturing module
QuickBooks Self-Employed
6.0
Wave Accounting
9.0

Order Management

QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.6
Wave Accounting
7.1
Pricing
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.3
Wave Accounting
8.3
Order entry
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.4
Wave Accounting
7.2
Credit card processing
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.8
Wave Accounting
5.3
Cost of goods sold
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.4
Wave Accounting
7.9
Order Orchestration
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.0
Wave Accounting
5.8
End-to-end order visibility
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.0
Wave Accounting
8.2
Order exception Resolution
QuickBooks Self-Employed
8.0
Wave Accounting
7.1

Pros

QuickBooks Self-Employed

  • QuickBooks Self-Employed does keep a running total of your income and estimated taxes. Of course, this requires that your entries are accurate.
  • The mileage feature is particularly helpful. One just needs to either use the phone app in conjunction with QuickBooks Self-Employed, or keep a log of all mileage.
  • When tax time comes around, it's easy to use TurboTax software and import your data from QuickBooks.
Tim Vahsholtz | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

  • Reconciliation is very difficult with multiple Wave transactions that need to be deleted or merged before it can be matched to a bank transaction.
  • Payroll worked fine for us but took several days to get it set up. We have switched to another bookkeeping system and another payroll system. Canceling with Wave took several days and they charge $6 for something even though the month was paid for in advance.
  • Credit card processing is nice and worked fine for us.
Harry Abell | TrustRadius Reviewer

Cons

QuickBooks Self-Employed

  • Doesn't integrate with Mint, which I use for my home expenses. I think this would be a nice addition to the program, so I could keep track of my whole financial situation.
  • A Windows 10 app would be a nice addition to the program, so I could access it securely from my desktop.
Benjamin E. Jerew | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

  • I know that credit card processing is a way for Wave to make money, but I really wish they offered ACH payment on Invoices.
  • I do cash-based accounting, which means I have to make little journal entries at the start and end of each year to get my books to balance because Wave wants to do everything differently. This should just be a setting to flip, whether you want cash-based or accrual-based.
  • They use Yodlee for bank connection, which doesn't play nice with 2FA. Pretty much every time I log in I have to re-enter credentials, get a code sent to me, reauthenticate, and know that I'm going to have to do it again next week. Not really on Wave, but wish they could get it together nonetheless.
J.P. VanderLinden | TrustRadius Reviewer

Likelihood to Renew

QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed 10.0
Based on 1 answer
No answer on this topic is available.

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 7.8
Based on 3 answers
Easy to use for clients with no accounting background and the price is right.
Jeanne Harris | TrustRadius Reviewer

Usability

QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed 9.5
Based on 2 answers
I have been using this software for several years now and it has always put out my data in beautiful generated reports that I can use for verification purposes with my financial institute and the IRS. It has all the tools I need to run my business without loosing track of anything
Shannon Allen | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 5.6
Based on 11 answers
I am a professional bookkeeper and I have no problems using Wave and all of it's features. I can see that certain individuals who have no accounting knowledge might struggle with a few different features and entries, but that is why Wave has an emphasis in connecting users to Wave Pro's who will walk them through things
Melissa Whaley | TrustRadius Reviewer

Reliability and Availability

QuickBooks Self-Employed

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 6.7
Based on 4 answers
WAVE is always available when we need it ! Peter
Peter Cullen | TrustRadius Reviewer

Performance

QuickBooks Self-Employed

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 2.9
Based on 2 answers
Wave does tend to slow down when filtering your transactions screen especially by date. This is more of an issue when trying to trouble shoot certain transactions or clean-up a set of books.
Melissa Whaley | TrustRadius Reviewer

Support Rating

QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed 10.0
Based on 2 answers
I have never faced any difficulties that required me to contact QuickBooks customer service. QuickBooks has plenty of online tutorials, blog posts, and helpful tips and advice for almost any issues you may face using the desktop or app version of the software. Even if you can not find the right answer on the QuickBooks webpages, there are loads of YouTube videos from experts.
Ayo Bamgbose, Assoc CIPD, MSc | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 4.9
Based on 9 answers
I've only had to reach out to support once and they were quick to respond and offered valuable insight to resolve my issue quickly. The team is knowledgeable and if the person you're dealing with doesn't have an answer for you, they get back to you quickly with an answer. It was clear that the support team is genuinely concerned about users making the most of the software.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Online Training

QuickBooks Self-Employed

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 4.7
Based on 3 answers
easy to use and east to train on ! Our WAVE clients enjoy the ease of use
Peter Cullen | TrustRadius Reviewer

Alternatives Considered

QuickBooks Self-Employed

FreshBooks limited my ability to categorize transactions, specifically removing duplicates or excluding them. I selected QuickBooks Self-Employed because it allowed me to be in control of items. Sometimes accounting is just making sure things are organized the way YOU think, and FreshBooks wasn't doing that for me.
Jonathan Palance | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

Wave is FREE for most functions. Payment processing costs no matter where you go (as does payroll or taxes). Wave rises above tools like QuickBooks Online because they know that for our small firm, being nimble is the name of the game. We don't need exhaustive reporting and management like QB offers and we certainly don't want to pay for it
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Scalability

QuickBooks Self-Employed

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting 3.0
Based on 2 answers
Once they out grow what is ability to move up to a more robust system?
Penny Breslin | TrustRadius Reviewer

Return on Investment

QuickBooks Self-Employed

  • Overall, tagging expenses and mileage has saved me thousands in taxes, for a relatively low cost of around $8/mo.
  • QuickBooks allows me to get invoices to clients quickly and accept online payments, which helps with cashflow.
  • The app has stopped tracking mileage automatically on my device, so I worry that sometimes I am not tracking business miles effectively, which could end up costing me at the EOY.
Aaron Metzger | TrustRadius Reviewer

Wave Accounting

  • Wave has been ROI positive for our company. With not having to pay for the service we can use our money for growing our business.
  • The fees on credit card transactions for invoices are reasonable especially as we don't pay a monthly subscription.
  • The invoicing feature has made our lives easier for us and our customers. The invoicing piece and AR tracking has been ROI positive as well.
Lukas Sundahl, MBA | TrustRadius Reviewer

Pricing Details

QuickBooks Self-Employed

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Wave Accounting

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Rating Summary

Likelihood to Recommend

QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.1
Wave Accounting
5.1

Likelihood to Renew

QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
Wave Accounting
7.8

Usability

QuickBooks Self-Employed
9.5
Wave Accounting
5.6

Reliability and Availability

QuickBooks Self-Employed
Wave Accounting
6.7

Performance

QuickBooks Self-Employed
Wave Accounting
2.9

Support Rating

QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
Wave Accounting
4.9

Online Training

QuickBooks Self-Employed
Wave Accounting
4.7

Scalability

QuickBooks Self-Employed
Wave Accounting
3.0

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