FreshBooks VS Wave: Which Accounting Software Is Best For Your Business?
Accounting software is never one-size-fits-all for small businesses. FreshBooks and Wave both bring a lot to the table, but one may be a better fit for you.
|Ease Of Use||Excellent||Excellent|
|Reviews & Complaints||Excellent||Good|
|Best For||Freelancers, microbusinesses, and small businesses that want easy accounting software with basic features||Budget-minded small business owners looking for easy-to-use accounting software|
|Next Steps||Start Trial
Stuck between choosing FreshBooks or Wave as your small business accounting software? It’s understandable. Both software options bring a lot to the table.
On one hand, you have FreshBooks, which boasts strong mobile apps, excellent customer service, and has a solid reputation among business owners. On the other hand, you have Wave, which stands out for its forever free pricing plan and a number of great accounting features.
In this post, we put these two leading accounting solutions head-to-head to help you make the right choice for your business. We’ll compare features, pricing, customer support, and more. We’ve done the research so you can spend more time in your business and less time mulling over accounting software. Keep reading to find out which software is better suited for your business.
Don’t have time to read the whole post? Or looking for a different accounting option? Check out our top-rated accounting solutions to see our favorite recommendations.
Table of Contents
FreshBooks VS Wave
If you own a small business and need simple, easy-to-use accounting software, both FreshBooks and Wave fit the bill. There are, however, a few distinct differences between the two. While Wave is the less expensive option, it also lacks the exceptional customer support and the features and integrations of FreshBooks. Let’s take a closer look at each so you can determine which software checks all of the boxes for your business.
FreshBooks is accounting software that’s best suited for small businesses, micro-businesses, and freelancers that want easy-to-use software with basic accounting features. While you won’t find advanced features such as tax support or budgeting, the software is still ideal for smaller businesses that don’t need all the bells and whistles (and steep learning curves!) you’d find with more advanced software.
FreshBooks is best for businesses that only need one user. Multiple users are supported but require an additional monthly cost. Multiple companies aren’t supported, so if you need to balance the books for multiple businesses, consider looking for other software that supports this option.
FreshBooks has pretty much everything you would expect from small business accounting software. The UI is well-designed and the software is easy to learn. And if you run into problems, there are a number of support resources at your disposal, including FreshBooks’ award-winning customer service team.
- Excellent customer support
- Easy to use
- Numerous integrations
- Can get expensive
- Doesn’t support multiple businesses
Wave’s biggest selling point for most businesses is that it’s free — truly free. You won’t be bombarded with ads, and you won’t be clicking around on a clunky, hard-to-use UI, either. Instead, you’ll be able to balance the books with an ad-free, easy-to-use design that’s even suited for users with no prior accounting experience.
Wave is best for small businesses that want basic, easy-to-use accounting software that’s affordable — and you can’t get any more affordable than free. Wave doesn’t support multiple users, but, unlike FreshBooks, it does offer support for multiple businesses.
Wave is equipped with basic accounting features suitable for small businesses, although it isn’t scalable, so larger companies and quickly-growing companies may find a better fit in other software. While the app is still lacking in some areas — namely, integrations and customer support — the company has listened to past customer complaints and has made updates in recent years that make this free software a viable contender in the business accounting software space.
- Easy to use
- Supports multiple businesses
- Phone and chat support are only available to paying customers
- Limited integrations
- Doesn’t support multiple users
FreshBooks VS Wave Features
|Chart Of Accounts||✔||✔|
Both FreshBooks and Wave offer everything most small businesses need to track finances and balance the books. Both programs offer invoicing, estimates, double-entry accounting, bank reconciliation, contact management, expense tracking, and charts of accounts. But there are a few notable differences among the features that may help you better narrow down your decision. Let’s take an in-depth look at these features.
Wave and FreshBooks both allow you to easily create and send estimates to your customers. However, FreshBooks has a slight advantage, as you can quickly duplicate estimates. Wave does not have the ability to create duplicate estimates at this time.
Both software programs have client portals, although Wave’s is extremely basic. Wave’s client portal is only for invoices, and customers can only view and pay their invoices. FreshBooks has a more developed client portal that lets you send invoices, estimates, and proposals, while also giving your customers more options, such as the ability to add comments or to save their payment information.
Wave’s contact management system is pretty standard. You can add vendors or clients and include basic contact information. FreshBooks allows you to add more information, including a default currency, language, and internal notes. Invoice reminders and statements can easily be sent, and you can even check out various graphs that show data, including outstanding and overdue amounts. On the downside, FreshBooks does not have a contact management option for your vendors.
You can keep your books balanced with a bank reconciliation feature that is available in Wave and FreshBooks. However, only subscribers to FreshBooks’ two most expensive plans will have access to this feature.
Wave and FreshBooks both have an accounts payable feature. However, only subscribers to FreshBooks’ top-tier plan can use this feature.
Chart Of Accounts
Wave and FreshBooks both have a chart of accounts. Wave’s version comes out on top, as you can customize your chart of accounts as needed. FreshBooks does not allow you to delete or edit existing accounts.
With FreshBooks, you can create hourly or flat-rate projects for employees or clients. An internal communication tool helps you easily keep your projects on track. Once finished, you can convert your project to an invoice. Unfortunately, Wave does not have a project management feature.
You, your employees, or your contractors can track and bill time using FreshBooks. You can add billed or unbilled time with this feature. Wave’s free plan does not include time tracking. This option is only available for payroll customers, and only the business owner can add time for employees and contractors.
Both Wave and FreshBooks support journal entries. However, only the two most expensive FreshBooks plans include this feature.
FreshBooks has a well-developed proposal feature that lets you input the scope of work, pricing, timeline, and other information. Proposals can be converted into invoices as well. This feature is only available on the two most expensive pricing plans. Wave does not have any type of proposal feature.
One of Wave’s most unique features is Checkouts, an easy way to bill multiple clients at once. This eCommerce tool lets you create checkout links and send them to customers or post them on your website. FreshBooks does not have a comparable feature.
Until recently, Wave was partnered with OnDeck to offer built-in lending for qualified borrowers but the company has now ended its lending program. FreshBooks also does not have a lending feature.
FreshBooks VS Wave Pricing
When it comes to pricing, you can’t beat Wave’s free plan. There are no setup charges, no monthly fees, or other costs for using Wave’s accounting software. However, if you need payment processing or payroll, you will be required to pay for these services. Credit card processing starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, while ACH processing is priced at 1% per transaction. Payroll services start at $20/month plus $6 per active employee or contractor paid.
FreshBooks has three main plans that range from $15/month to $50/month. Yearly discounts are available. A free trial is available that doesn’t require a credit card. Available add-ons include advanced payments for $20/month and team members for $10/month per person. While Wave doesn’t have built-in payroll, it integrates with Gusto for an additional monthly fee.
Ease Of Use
FreshBooks is extremely easy to use, even if you’re new to accounting. The company has listened to its users and has continuously rolled out improvements to make navigating the software even easier. If you do encounter any issues, FreshBooks’ customer support is some of the best in the industry, so you can easily overcome any challenges you encounter.
The well-designed dashboard is clean, organized, and gives you easy access to graphs, reports, and all the accounting features this software has to offer. Wave has changed over the last few years, improving its usability significantly. The dashboard makes it easy to navigate the software, even if you have no prior accounting experience. Users find that the software is easy to set up and learn. There are a number of support options available to help you get the most out of your software. Wave features a user dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance view of your business financials through various charts and graphs.
Customer Service & Support
When it comes to customer support, FreshBooks sets the bar high. FreshBooks offers great phone support with hardly any wait times. Representatives are generally friendly, helpful, and well-informed. In addition, FreshBooks offers a detailed help center, email support, and a comprehensive blog.
Wave only offers phone support for payroll and payment processing users, leaving regular users to rely on a well-developed help center and email support. Most emails are responded to within a day, but it’s harder to get a quick response than it is with FreshBooks.
FreshBooks Customer Support
- Online Support Form
- In-Software Help
- Help Center
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn
Wave Customer Support
- In-Software Support Form
- Phone: Only available to payroll and credit card processing customers
- Chat: Only available to payroll and credit card processing customers
- Help Center
- Wave Community
- Wave Advisors
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Reviews & Complaints
FreshBooks has generally positive reviews across the internet. Positive reviews mostly cite customer service, ease of use, and strong mobile apps as the elements that set FreshBooks apart from other accounting software. However, there are a few complaints about the software, mostly revolving around the price of the software and the limited number of features. Some users also state that they prefer the old version of FreshBooks — known as FreshBooks Classic — to the more updated version.
Wave also has a very positive public reputation. The free pricing plan, user-friendly interface, and strong invoicing are frequently cited in positive reviews. However, Wave has also received some negative reviews from users on a few recurring issues, including slow servers, the lack of integrations, and the lack of advanced features.
FreshBooks offers 100+ integrations as opposed to Wave’s four, so if add-ons are important to your business, FreshBooks is clearly the way to go.
The Key Differences Between FreshBooks & Wave
When deciding between FreshBooks and Wave, there’s a lot of information to absorb. While there are a number of similarities between the two, there are also a few key differences that can help you decide if one is better suited for your business…or if you need to continue your search altogether.
When choosing between FreshBooks and Wave, keep these main differences in mind before signing up.
- Pricing: Wave is completely free, so it’s ideal for budget-minded small business owners. However, if you need payment processing or payroll, you will have to pay for these services. FreshBooks has plans that start at $15/month. However, to access all features, you will need to upgrade to one of the company’s other two paid plans, as the lowest-priced plan can be quite limited. Additional users, payment processing, and payroll services are available for an additional monthly cost.
- Number Of Users: Wave doesn’t support additional users. You can add additional team members to your FreshBooks software at a price of $10/month per user.
- Number Of Businesses: FreshBooks does not support multiple businesses, so if you want to balance the books for more than one business, you’re out of luck. Wave does support multiple businesses.
- Features: While Wave and FreshBooks are pretty evenly matched, FreshBooks does have the edge here since it offers project management, time tracking, proposals, and other features you won’t find with Wave. It is important to note, though, that both programs lack advanced features, such as inventory management, that you might find with other software.
- Integrations: FreshBooks has over 100 integrations with apps and programs like Gusto and Asana. Wave only integrates with PayPal, Shoeboxed, and Etsy, although it does integrate with Zapier that lets you connect to over 1,000 apps.
- Customer Service & Support: Both FreshBooks and Wave offer numerous support resources to help you set up and learn the software. However, FreshBooks offers a better customer service experience. Also, Wave limits its phone and chat support options to payroll and payment processing subscribers, which could pose a problem for customers on the free plan.
- Mobile Apps: If tracking your finances on the go is a must, FreshBooks offers a better mobile experience. Many users have praised FreshBooks’ strong mobile apps. Wave has multiple apps, and none of them are full-featured. There are also a number of complaints about bugs within Wave’s mobile apps.
Which Is Better For My Business Needs: FreshBooks Or Wave?
Accounting software is never one-size-fits-all, and what works for one business may not be the best choice for yours. FreshBooks and Wave both bring a lot to the table, but one may be a better fit for your business. Still having trouble with your choice? Consider these scenarios to determine which software is the best option for your business.
Choose FreshBooks If…
- Your business needs accounting software with a solid set of features, such as project management and time tracking
- You want software that integrates with their existing software and apps
- You want software backed with exceptional customer service and support
- You want strong mobile apps
- Your business will have multiple users
Choose Wave If…
- You own multiple businesses
- You are budget-minded and want inexpensive accounting software
- Your business needs unique features, such as eCommerce tools
- You have an eCommerce business or sell on Etsy
FreshBooks VS Wave Comparison: The Final Verdict
Wave offers true accounting software and an incredible number of features for $0/month. In addition to the basic tools you’d expect from accounting software, features such as Checkouts set the software apart and allow Wave to give even QuickBooks Online a run for its money. Small businesses looking to save money can’t go wrong with Wave. The software is also ideal for Etsy users and eCommerce businesses.
That being said, businesses looking for excellent customer support and ample integrations may prefer FreshBooks. The software also has better mobile apps. However, FreshBooks is far more expensive than Wave and your money only goes a short way with the software.
Perhaps, after reading this, neither option seems like the right choice for you. Our comprehensive accounting reviews can help you explore all of your options so you can choose the perfect software for your business. You can also check out our picks for easy accounting software, which points you to other options including QuickBooks Online and Zoho Books.