QuickBooks Self-Employed vs. Wave Accounting

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
QuickBooks Self-Employed
Score 9.2 out of 10
N/A
N/AN/A
Wave Accounting
Score 6.3 out of 10
N/A
Wave Accounting is a free, cloud-based accounting platform exclusively for small businesses. It supports double-entry bookkeeping and permits unlimited user access, invoicing, and expense management. Wave Accounting integrates with Wave's invoicing, receipt scanning, payment processing and payroll apps.N/A
Pricing
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Considered Both Products
QuickBooks Self-Employed
Chose QuickBooks Self-Employed
Wave is extremely easy to use. Quick Books has several features that Wave does not include, i.e. 1099 reporting.
Wave Accounting
Chose Wave Accounting
I was not impressed with Xero or ZipBooks simply because they were expensive and still as, if not more, confusing than QuickBooks. QuickBooks is, unfortunately, the standard. I dislike it, and I think it is just a huge corporation trying to steal small businesses money, but …
Top Pros
Top Cons
TrustRadius Insights
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Highlights

TrustRadius
Research Team Insight
Published

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. 

Features
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Payroll Management
Comparison of Payroll Management features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
7.8
3 Ratings
8% above category average
Wave Accounting
6.2
24 Ratings
15% below category average
Pay calculation10.02 Ratings7.123 Ratings
Benefit plan administration5.02 Ratings7.54 Ratings
Direct deposit files8.03 Ratings1.220 Ratings
Salary revision and increment management8.02 Ratings7.712 Ratings
Reimbursement management8.03 Ratings7.48 Ratings
Customization
Comparison of Customization features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
5 Ratings
38% above category average
Wave Accounting
8.5
13 Ratings
22% above category average
API for custom integration10.04 Ratings9.99 Ratings
Plug-ins10.04 Ratings7.011 Ratings
Security
Comparison of Security features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
8 Ratings
24% above category average
Wave Accounting
9.6
43 Ratings
20% above category average
Single sign-on capability10.08 Ratings9.730 Ratings
Role-based user permissions10.05 Ratings9.434 Ratings
Reporting & Analytics
Comparison of Reporting & Analytics features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
14 Ratings
30% above category average
Wave Accounting
8.2
70 Ratings
10% above category average
Dashboards10.012 Ratings9.568 Ratings
Standard reports10.014 Ratings9.567 Ratings
Custom reports10.08 Ratings5.734 Ratings
General Ledger and Configurable Accounting
Comparison of General Ledger and Configurable Accounting features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
15 Ratings
33% above category average
Wave Accounting
6.9
73 Ratings
4% below category average
Accounts payable10.09 Ratings9.556 Ratings
Accounts receivable10.010 Ratings9.667 Ratings
Cash management10.09 Ratings9.559 Ratings
Bank reconciliation10.010 Ratings9.663 Ratings
Expense management10.014 Ratings9.761 Ratings
Time tracking10.07 Ratings9.511 Ratings
Fixed asset management10.04 Ratings9.612 Ratings
Multi-currency support10.02 Ratings10.019 Ratings
Multi-division support10.02 Ratings7.19 Ratings
Regulations compliance10.03 Ratings6.815 Ratings
Electronic tax filing10.013 Ratings5.914 Ratings
Self-service portal10.08 Ratings1.739 Ratings
Global Financial Support10.02 Ratings9.02 Ratings
Primary and Secondary Ledgers10.02 Ratings7.04 Ratings
Intercompany Accounting10.03 Ratings4.05 Ratings
Localizations10.03 Ratings5.23 Ratings
Journals and Reconciliations10.06 Ratings6.228 Ratings
Enterprise Accounting10.02 Ratings4.07 Ratings
Configurable Accounting10.04 Ratings5.516 Ratings
Centralized Rules Framework10.03 Ratings1.03 Ratings
Standardized Processes10.05 Ratings4.317 Ratings
Inventory Management
Comparison of Inventory Management features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
3 Ratings
39% above category average
Wave Accounting
8.1
11 Ratings
19% above category average
Inventory tracking10.03 Ratings5.68 Ratings
Automatic reordering10.03 Ratings9.95 Ratings
Location management10.03 Ratings8.12 Ratings
Manufacturing module10.02 Ratings9.01 Ratings
Order Management
Comparison of Order Management features of Product A and Product B
QuickBooks Self-Employed
10.0
5 Ratings
34% above category average
Wave Accounting
7.6
52 Ratings
7% above category average
Pricing10.04 Ratings9.926 Ratings
Order entry10.04 Ratings10.018 Ratings
Credit card processing10.05 Ratings2.345 Ratings
Cost of goods sold10.03 Ratings10.033 Ratings
Order Orchestration10.02 Ratings5.85 Ratings
End-to-end order visibility10.03 Ratings8.24 Ratings
Order exception Resolution10.02 Ratings7.02 Ratings
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QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
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User Ratings
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Likelihood to Recommend
10.0
(15 ratings)
3.4
(79 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
10.0
(1 ratings)
7.8
(3 ratings)
Usability
9.4
(2 ratings)
6.2
(15 ratings)
Availability
-
(0 ratings)
6.7
(4 ratings)
Performance
-
(0 ratings)
2.9
(2 ratings)
Support Rating
10.0
(2 ratings)
2.4
(12 ratings)
Online Training
-
(0 ratings)
4.7
(3 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
3.0
(2 ratings)
User Testimonials
QuickBooks Self-EmployedWave Accounting
Likelihood to Recommend
Intuit
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.
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Wave
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.
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Pros
Intuit
  • 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.
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Wave
  • 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.
Read full review
Cons
Intuit
  • 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.
Read full review
Wave
  • 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.
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Likelihood to Renew
Intuit
No answers on this topic
Wave
Easy to use for clients with no accounting background and the price is right.
Read full review
Usability
Intuit
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
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Wave
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
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Reliability and Availability
Intuit
No answers on this topic
Wave
WAVE is always available when we need it ! Peter
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Performance
Intuit
No answers on this topic
Wave
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.
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Support Rating
Intuit
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.
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Wave
I never had to call Wave Support as we barely experienced any support-related problems on our side. However, I do know a few people that complained about Wave support. It would be nice as well, though if they could have more in your face tutorials for new users or how-to videos should we struggle to do something
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Online Training
Intuit
No answers on this topic
Wave
easy to use and east to train on ! Our WAVE clients enjoy the ease of use
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Alternatives Considered
Intuit
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.
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Wave
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
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Scalability
Intuit
No answers on this topic
Wave
Once they out grow what is ability to move up to a more robust system?
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Return on Investment
Intuit
  • 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.
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Wave
  • 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.
Read full review
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