Wave Accounting Review: Pros, Cons & Key Features

Panna Kemenes

If you’re looking for a small business accounting software with minimal fees, Wave Accounting may be worth considering. It supports 2 million small businesses, offering a suite of money management features beyond its simple accounting solution.¹

Let’s explore what Wave Accounting has to offer and compare it to other small business accounting solutions.

Sync Wise transactions with Wave
to save time on admin

Wave Accounting Review: Quick Overview

Here’s a quick overview of Wave Accounting.

Key features
  • Double entry accounting software
  • Unlimited expense and income tracking
  • Add an unlimited amount of users, from accountants to partners
  • Access a range of reports
  • Accept all major credit cards, bank transfers and payment through Apple Pay
  • Connect an unlimited amount of cards and bank accounts to your account
  • Subscribe to mobile receipts feature for automated bill capture and batch imports (up to 10 receipts per scan)
  • Send unlimited customizable invoices and automated payment reminders
  • Access to advisors and coaching sessions
  • All transactions and expenses are synced with your accounting software
  • Recurring billing
  • Payroll and automated tax reports and filing in supported states
Main fees
  • No fees for accounting and invoice services
  • 2.9% + $0.60 USD per credit card transaction
  • 3.4% + $0.60 USD per American Express credit card transaction
  • 1% ($1 USD minimum) per bank transfer transaction
Great for
  • Small businesses looking for a free accounting software that offers additional integrated services, such as payroll and tax filing
TrustRadius rating
  • 6.7 / 10 on TrustRadius³

Wave Accounting: Key Features

Wave offers a suite of features for money management. Its accounting software enables you to manage cash flow and makes your accountant’s life easier(see Wave Accounting alternatives).

You can track expenses and income, measure accounts receivable and accounts payable, generate reports, automate basic tasks, add multiple users, and much more.¹

You can connect bank accounts and have their transactions automatically appear in your bookkeeping, avoiding the need for manual receipt entry. Wave’s accounting software is double-entry, which your accountant will appreciate.¹

Wave includes an integrated invoicing tool, allowing you to send customizable, unlimited invoices to your customers. You can schedule recurring billing, as well as one-time invoices. You can also track payment flows and open invoices.⁴

If you subscribe to Wave Payments, you can accept all major credit cards, as well as bank transfers and payments through Apple Pay. Credit card payments take 1-2 business days to process, while bank transfers can take between 1-7 business days.⁵

All invoicing transactions will automatically sync with Wave Accounting, making bookkeeping a breeze.

You can subscribe to Wave’s mobile receipt capture service for expedited expense tracking. You’ll be able to scan up to 10 receipts at a time and an unlimited amount of receipts over any time period, having the relevant expense information extracted automatically. This data will sync with Wave Accounting, making expense management quicker and saving you time.⁶

Wave also offers a payroll solution, enabling you to file taxes and pay your employees or contractors via direct deposit.

Wave supports automated W2 and 1099 tax form generation and tax filing in 14 states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin⁷

For the other 36 remaining states, Wave offers you guidance and support for tax filings and payment.

All tax and payroll data will automatically sync with Wave Accounting, making bookkeeping more efficient.

Wave also offers bookkeeping, payroll and tax coaching and advisory services for an extra fee. Depending on your needs, you can get access to:

  • An in-house accountant
  • 30 day unlimited email access to a tax, accounting or payroll professional
  • 1:1 consultations
  • Live coaching sessions online⁸
🔍 Read on to find out more:

Ease of Use

Wave’s ability to sync all transactions to its core accounting software makes it simple and efficient to use. Whether it’s invoice payments or bill capture, every transaction will be synced, saving you the time and hassle of manual entry.

Wave account reviews on TrustRadius emphasize Wave’s easy to use and navigate system. Its user-friendliness stands out as its top feature.³

Customer Service

For customers subscribed to Wave Accounting and Invoicing only, customer service features are limited to an online help center and chatbot.

To connect with the customer support team, you’ll have to be subscribed to one of the following paid services:

  • Wave Payroll
  • Mobile receipts
  • Advisory services
  • Wave Payments

Alternatively, if you have a business bank account with Wave Money, you’ll also have access to the customer support team.⁹

Wave Accounting Fees

So is Wave Accounting still free?

Wave Accounting and Invoicing features are free of charge. There aren’t any setup fees, monthly fees or subscription fees.

But to access Wave’s suite of extra features, you’ll run into some fees.

For Wave Payments, these fees apply:

  • 2.9% + $0.60 USD per credit card transaction
  • 3.4% + $0.60 USD per American Express credit card transaction
  • 1% ($1 USD minimum) per bank transfer transaction

For Wave Payroll services, the fees you’ll pay depend on which state you’re paying taxes in:

  • For payroll processing and automated tax filing in the 14 supported tax service states, you’ll pay a base monthly subscription fee of $40 USD, plus $6 USD per employee or independent contractor paid
  • For payroll processing and automated tax filing in the 36 self-service states, you’ll pay a base monthly subscription fee of $20 USD, plus $6 USD per employee or independent contractor paid⁷

Wave Payroll also comes with a 30-day free trial before you need to subscribe to a paid plan.

If you want access to mobile receipt functionality, you can opt for either monthly or annual billing:

  • $8 USD per month ($96 USD per year)
  • $72 USD per year ($6 USD per month)¹⁰

For year-round support and coaching from advisors, you have two options depending on the support you need:

  • $149 USD per month for bookkeeping advisory services
  • $379 USD one-time fee for accounting and payroll coaching services¹⁰

Wave Accounting Key Features and Considerations

Key FeaturesKey Considerations
  • Life-long free version available
  • Unlimited expense and income tracking
  • Ability to add unlimited users, from partners to accountants
  • Access a range of reports from “Profit and Loss” to “Overdue Invoices and Bills”¹⁰
  • Connect an unlimited number of bank accounts and cards to your account
  • Double entry accounting software
  • Subscribe to mobile receipts feature for automated bill capture and batch imports (up to 10 receipts per scan)
  • Send unlimited customizable invoices and automated payment reminders
  • Accept all major cards, bank transfers and payment through Apple Pay
  • All transactions and expenses synced with your accounting software, eliminating manual entry
  • Ability to schedule recurring billing
  • Payroll and automated tax reports and filing in supported states
  • Access to advisors and coaching sessions
  • Access to customer support team is limited to customers who pay for a subscription service
  • Extra fee for accessing certain features, such as accepting payments, automating payroll and taxes, and advisory services

What are the Benefits of Wave?

The main benefit of Wave is that it’s free to use.

It includes unlimited invoices, expense management and tracking, as well as double-entry accounting software. Its automated reconciliation saves you a significant amount of time and makes the bookkeeping process more efficient.

For small businesses who want access to extra features and are willing to pay for them, Wave can support your needs. For example, if you’re looking for support with payroll processing and tax filing, Wave can provide it.

💡 You can also connect Wave with a Wise Business account to sync transactions in multiple currencies and save time on admin. This is a great feature for businesses dealing with international transactions.

What are the Considerations for Wave?

The main consideration when looking at Wave is its customer support service.

If you use the free accounting and invoicing software only, you won’t get access to Wave’s customer support team. Instead, you’ll be directed to the help center and automated chatbot. This may be enough for smaller businesses, however.

How Trustworthy is Wave?

When using Wave, your data is secured with up to 256-bit TLS encryption.¹¹

Wave is a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, protecting sensitive card information during transactions.

It also has strong anti-fraud measures, integrating with third-party service providers to create a layered anti-fraud system.

Wave Accounting Alternatives

Before committing yourself to Wave, here’s a summary of what some other accounting providers have to offer.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is another provider offering small businesses an invoicing solution. FreshBooks can grow with your business as it scales. It offers 4 tiers of subscription:

  • Lite—$8.50 USD per month or $132.60 USD per year
  • Plus—$15 USD per month or $234 USD per year
  • Premium—$27.50 USD per month or $429 USD per year
  • Select—Custom pricing¹²

Unlike Wave, there’s no free version—only a 30-day free trial.

It offers some extra features such as the tracking of billable hours, as well as financial health reports, partial payments and deposits.¹³

The number of users you can add and customers you can invoice is limited depending on which plan you select.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is one of the leading online accounting providers. It supports every size of business and offers 4 plans based on your needs, with a current 50% discount off of your first 3 months of membership at the time of writing:

  • Simple Start—$30
  • Essentials—$60
  • Plus—$90
  • Advanced—$200¹⁴

The number of users is restricted to a maximum of 25 on the Advanced plan, 5 with Plus, 3 with Essentials and only 1 with the Simple Start plan.

This stands in contrast to Wave, which offers unlimited users free of charge. That said, QuickBooks has a range of extra features, such as profitability projections, batch invoices, workflow automation and more.¹⁴

QuickBooks also integrates with a wide range of partner apps and software, making it very flexible to your specific needs.

Xero

For small businesses who plan to scale, Xero can scale with you. It offers 3 tiers of membership, with a current discount of 50% off of your first 3 months of membership at the time of writing:

  • Early—$15 USD per month
  • Growing—$40 USD per month
  • Established—$78 USD per month¹⁵

Like Wave, you can add an unlimited number of users on any plan using Xero. However, Xero comes with extra features such as multi currency support and analytics.

If you’re unsure, Xero offers a 30-day free trial before you have to commit to a paid plan.¹⁶

Conclusion: Is Wave Accounting the Best Choice for Your Business?

If you’re a small or micro business looking for a free to use accounting and invoicing provider, without limits on users, Wave could be a great solution.

If you want access to extra features such as payroll processing, automated tax filing, payment support and coaching services, Wave can assist you. This enables you to pay for the things you need only, rather than have an expensive suite of features you barely use.

Discover Wise Business: Receive International Invoice Payments Like a Local

If your business works regularly with international customers or vendors, a Wise Business account could save you time and money while doing so.

Wise is not a bank, but a Money Services Business (MSB) provider and a smart alternative to banks. The Wise Business account is designed with international business in mind, and makes it easy to send, hold, and manage business funds in 40+ currencies. You can also get 9 major currency account details for a one-off fee to receive overseas invoice payments like a local.

Your transactions can also be synced with Wave, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, or Xero easily, saving you time on manual entry.

Discover Wise Business

You can also use Wise’s free invoice generator to create and send unlimited invoices.


Sources:

  1. Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses - Wave
  2. Wave HQ Reviews | Read Customer Service Reviews of waveapps.com
  3. Wave Accounting Reviews & Ratings 2023
  4. Best Free Invoice Software for Small Businesses - Wave Financial
  5. Accept payments online - Payments by Wave
  6. Scan Receipts with Wave - iOS & Android
  7. Payroll software for small business - Free trial
  8. Personalized Bookkeeping Help with Wave Advisors
  9. Get support with Wave – Help Center
  10. Wave Pricing
  11. How Wave keeps your data secure
  12. FreshBooks Pricing, Lite, Plus and Premium Packages
  13. FreshBooks vs Wave - Choose the Best Accounting Software For You
  14. QuickBooks® Pricing & Free Trial
  15. Pricing Plans | Xero US
  16. Xero

All sources checked November 22, 2023.


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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