When I first started my business, I tried to keep my costs as low as possible. In my mind, the lower my overhead, the less money I’d have to bring in to maintain my business. That meant that I could invest more in growing my business and keeping a roof over my head.
One of the ways I cut costs was using a spreadsheet and PayPal to invoice customers, track my hours, and track my pay. When I was starting my business, I didn’t know what Wave Accounting was, and if I had known, I may have used it.
It has quite a few features and is a robust, yet easy to use, accounting software.
If you want to know more about it, here’s my Wave Accounting review.
Wave Accounting is a great option for those who are ready to get their accounting and bookkeeping in order but don’t want to spend a small fortune to do so. Wave may not be the most robust system, but it does have many options that other accounting software programs charge for. Plus, if you need additional support or options, Wave has many features that you can pay for and use.
What Is Wave Accounting?
Wave Accounting is an online accounting software program that is free to use. It has features that many other accounting software programs have, but because it’s free, it’s a great software to use when you’re starting out and want to keep costs low.
Wave is great for solo entrepreneurs, businesses that are growing and scaling, and even side hustlers. Anyone can use the program, and the features it includes can fit an array of needs.
Pros of Wave Accounting
Wave Accounting has a lot going for it, especially for people who are looking for a low-cost solution to their accounting needs.
A few benefits include:
- Completely free (with paid plans available)
- The ability to add payroll
- Invoicing capabilities that include recurring invoices and estimates
- The option to have a checkout cart on your website (for product-based businesses)
- Client credit card storage (if you want to have credit cards on file for clients)
- Hire a bookkeeper through their site
- Hire an accounting professional that can help you get your Wave account set up
Wave offers both free and paid solutions for many of the needs that a typical entrepreneur or small business owner would have. From payroll to accounting help, you’ll be able to get it with Wave.
Cons of Wave Accounting
While Wave doesn’t have many cons, there are a few that you should be aware of.
Here are the few cons I’ve noticed:
- Their customer support doesn’t seem to be the greatest (although many people comment that it’s getting better)
- Their mobile app is outdated
- If you have multiple users, you can’t limit certain functions. So, if you have employees or your accountant logging into your account, they see what you see, no matter what it is.
Wave Accounting Features
Wave Accounting has some pretty cool features that I’d thought I’d mention. While you may not use all of these features, many will be great assets for your business.
Easy to Use
Wave was created with the average entrepreneur in mind. With that, the system isn’t complicated or hard to use. And, the website interface is beautiful.
It’s easy to find everything you need right with the click of a button. Plus, you won’t find yourself getting frustrated with all of the hidden or hard to find features that you may not really need anyway.
It’s simple, to the point, and easy to use.
Now, the mobile app leaves a lot to be desired looks-wise. But it’s still fairly easy to use and get the information you need or want while on the go. If you’re like me and don’t really check on bookkeeping needs while out and about, this may not even be a problem for you.
Wave offers multiple invoicing options on their free plan, where most other accounting systems charge for this service. Not only does it include three different invoice templates, but you can also customize your colors and add your logo.
Plus, the designs work for those who want aesthetically pleasing invoices but lack the skills to design their own.
You can also set up recurring invoices, create estimates to send to potential clients, and even send out customer statements.
The only con that I’ve seen as far as invoicing goes is that Wave doesn’t offer the option of private memos or notes. Whatever you add to your invoice can be seen by all parties involved.
So, if you need to make notes in an account or if you need to keep track of certain things that you don’t want clients to see, you may have to use another piece of software like Evernote or a Google Doc.
Wave offers two ways to track your expenses. The first is via the “Bills” section, where you can add your monthly business bills and regular expenses.
I really like this feature, especially for someone that may have quite a few monthly expenses that are taken out or for someone who uses a lot of software and tech options.
The second is the receipts section, where you can upload receipts and log expenses for your business. This is great if you find yourself losing receipts or needing an easier way to keep track of them.
While I would still recommend keeping paper copies (just in case), it’s nice to know that they’ll all be stored safely in one area.
If you want to see both personal and business transactions, or if you have a business banking account, you can also use the transactions section to see your daily transactions (both income and expenses).
Wave Accounting doesn’t offer many different reports, but it does offer a few:
- Profit and Loss
- Balance Sheet
- Aged Receivables & Payables
- Sales Tax
Payroll Wage & Tax Report – if you add this option
You can calculate these reports at any time, including monthly, quarterly, or for the year.
Wave Accounting Plans & Pricing
The biggest pro for Wave Accounting is that it is completely free to use. While there are some paid options (which I will get into), the main accounting software is free to use and get started with. And there are so many features on the free plan that many entrepreneurs won’t need to use any paid options.
If your business is growing, or if you need a few extra features, here are the options.
With Wave Payroll, you’re easily able to pay independent contractors and employees. Wave Payroll offers two options, and they depend on the state you live in.
For tax service states:
If you are in the states of California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Washington, you’ll need to use this option.
For self-service states:
If you are in the other 44 states that aren’t California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Washington, you’ll use the self-service option.
Both options include:
- The ability to run payroll
- An employee hub
- Policies and tax forms all in one place for employees and you
- Free direct deposit options
Need bookkeeping or accounting support? Wave+ is the newest option offered by Wave for small business owners to get support from certified professionals to help them with their accounting needs. There are two different options.
Starting at $149/month you’ll get a dedicated bookkeeper that will help you:
- Categorize transactions
- Reconcile accounts
- Organize income statements and balance sheets
- Collaborate with your tax accountant
- Catch up on previous months
- Deliver insights to you in review calls
For a one-time fee of $249, you’ll get access to a personalized accounting coach that will:
- Offer you 120 minutes of live coaching and 30 days of email access
- Teach you how to bookkeep the right way
- Set up your online account
- Migrate from another platform like QuickBooks or FreshBooks
- Review and fix your existing account
Wave Accounting Support
Wave Accounting doesn’t seem to have the best customer support, so if you need something, it may be best to choose live chat.
If not, you really only have two other choices:
- Community Forum: The forum doesn’t seem to be regularly updated or viewed, so this may not be the best option.
- Email: I’ve read that customer service can take days to respond, so be careful if choosing this option. However, if your question doesn’t need to be answered right away, or if you want something a little more in-depth, this may be a good option for you.
Alternatives to Wave Accounting
Wave Accounting is great if you’re needing free and robust software to help you with the accounting side of your business. However, if you need other options, or if you just want to know what else is out there, here are my recommendations:
FreshBooks is my favorite software and is pretty comparable to Wave.
Here are a few features of FreshBooks:
- Invoicing capabilities
- Has multiple tiers that can grow with you based on your client or workload
- Customizable invoices
- Easy to use client portal
- Ability to send estimates and proposals
- Isn’t free but it is affordable
- Doesn’t offer the option to sell products online
Hurdlr is a tool used to organize and track your business income, expenses, and taxes.
Here are a few of Hurdlr’s features:
- Monitors income
- Tracks mileage
- Estimates your taxes
- Offers a free plan, just like Wave
- Doesn’t offer invoicing options like Wave, and also can’t send estimates or proposals
HoneyBook helps you manage projects, book clients, send invoices, and get paid on time.
Here are a few features of HoneyBook:
- Beautiful dashboard
- Project and task management systems
- Offers client portal
- Expensive! Plans start at $40/month
QuickBooks Self Employed
QuickBooks is another great alternative to Wave.
Here are a few of the features:
- Offers you the option to pay taxes right through their site
- Generate profit/loss statements with just a few clicks
- Has a bill tracking feature for any bills that you owe
- Doesn’t have a free plan, but does have some affordable options
- You can easily track expenses
- Not as user-friendly and easy to use as Wave
Xero is a more robust bookkeeping software that helps you invoice clients, track the backend financials of your business, and is great for business owners who need more from bookkeeping software.
- Can be used across multiple devices
- The ability to add payroll via Gusto
- Inventory management with built-in software
- Integrates with project management software
- Can get expensive
- Poor customer support
- A learning curve for people not used to bookkeeping systems
These are just a few of the alternatives to Wave that I recommend, but you should choose the software that best fits your needs.
Bench is another great alternative to Wave Accounting.
- Offers bookkeeping support
- Offers tax support
- Is a great option if you don’t want to handle bookkeeping at all
- Offers catch up bookkeeping for a small fee
- Does not offer invoicing capabilities
- Doesn’t sync with other bookkeeping services (like Quickbooks or Freshbooks)
Wave Accounting Review: Do I Recommend It?
I would highly recommend Wave Accounting to any business owner or entrepreneur who is looking for free accounting software. I would also recommend Wave if you don’t need a lot out of one system, don’t mind doing things yourself, or if you need payroll but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it.
Wave may not be the most robust system, but it does have many options that other accounting software programs charge for. Plus, if you need additional support or options, Wave has many features that you can pay for and use.
Instead of trying to wing your accounting or misplacing papers and forms, Wave makes it easy for you to keep everything all in one place. Plus, it comes highly recommended by the thousands of entrepreneurs that use it and love it.
Besides, you can’t really beat free, especially when you’re first starting out or trying to keep costs low.
Why Wave Accounting Is A Great Option
Wave Accounting is a great option for those who are ready to get their accounting and bookkeeping in order but don’t want to spend a small fortune to do so. With so many options that you can pick and choose for your business, you can’t go wrong with the free option or the paid add-ons.
Still on the fence about Wave? Because it’s free, you can get started right away and see if it’s right for you, without the monthly fees and commitment!
Overall, Wave Accounting is a great accounting software option for anyone who wants to take advantage of it. Whether you’re an established small business or someone who is just getting started in the entrepreneurship hustle, Wave has options for you.
Have you thought about using Wave Accounting? What would make you switch?