Wave Review (Formerly Wave Accounting)
This free, easy-to-use accounting software is great for small businesses, especially for eCommerce, but lacks in project management, budgeting, and inventory tracking.
- Easy to use
- Numerous features
- Attractive invoice templates
- Help from expert accountants is available
- Limited mobile apps
- Unsuited for large businesses
- Poor customer support
Wave accounting software is making waves with millions of users, and it’s easy to see why. This cloud-based software boasts a solid set of accounting features suitable for most small businesses. These features are especially appealing when you consider that Wave is absolutely free. While you do have the option to pay for add-ons, such as payroll, payment processing, or professional bookkeeping services, all other features are available at no cost — with no artificial limits holding you back.
The company has also been rolling out update after update to make Wave a robust software with tons of features geared specifically toward small business owners. Wave also supports multiple businesses and personal finance tracking. There are also four permission levels for adding additional users to your account.
That said, there are still quite a few areas where Wave could stand improvement. There’s no project management feature, limited time tracking, limited inventory, and poor mobile apps. Despite these drawbacks, Wave is still the best free accounting software out there. Keep reading our in-depth Wave Accounting review to find out if it’s right for your business.
Table of Contents
|Wave Plan||Price||When To Use|
|Wave Accounting||$0/month||If you want basic accounting features at no cost|
Wave “has always been and always will be free,” a structure that the company plans to maintain following its acquisition by H&R Block. Unlike most free plans, Wave doesn’t limit you to a certain number of invoices, customers, or transactions, making it one of the best free options out there — plus, there are no pesky ads. The company generates revenue from its credit card processing, payroll, and bookkeeping services and uses this revenue to keep the software completely free. You can cancel your account at any time.
Wave’s accounting software is free and includes:
- Unlimited invoicing
- Unlimited estimates
- Contact management
- Expense tracking
- Accounts payable
- Basic inventory
Extra Wave Costs & Fees
|Extra Wave Costs||Price|
|Wave Payroll||$20+/month + $6/employee|
|Wave Payments||2.9%- 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction|
|Wave Bookkeeping & Payroll Support||$149+/month|
|Wave Tax Service||$1,500+/year|
|Wave Accounting & Payroll Coaching||$229|
There are several additional Wave products that you can purchase for your business. Wave Payroll has two options starting at $20/month plus $6/month per employee. Tax service payroll is available in 14 states, while self-service payroll is available to the remaining 36 states.
Wave Payments is an add-on payment processing service that allows your business to accept credit cards, debit cards, and ACH payments. This is a pay-per-use service with credit card processing rates starting at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and ACH rates set at 1% per transaction.
Finally, if you need extra help with your bookkeeping, accounting, or taxes, Wave Advisors is a service you can add to your account. This option is great for business owners who are new to accounting or want to outsource bookkeeping and/or tax filing.
Is Wave Easy To Use?
Wave’s UI is well organized and easy to use. The only downside is that there’s no back button, but navigating the software is still pretty simple. Wave’s software takes very little time to set up and get used to — and it doesn’t require a background in accounting (especially considering that you can now get extra help with your accounting and bookkeeping from Wave advisors). The company also offers good customer support options, including an accounting guide, to help you learn to balance the books and use the software.
|Chart of Accounts||✔|
|Time Tracking||Wave Payroll Only|
For a free software program, Wave boasts an impressive, robust feature set that rivals even some paid accounting software programs.
With Wave, you have access to expense tracking, bank reconciliation, and reporting to help you manage your finances. Wave also has some of the most appealing invoices on the market. Wave also offers time-saving automations, such as recurring invoices, automatic billing, and receipt scanning. However, some features are noticeably missing, such as project management and budgeting, that are found with paid software options such as QuickBooks Online.
Here are some of the features you can find in Wave:
Negative Wave Reviews & Complaints
Wave’s accounting reviews are generally positive across the board. While most reviews are still positive, the company has recently received a 1.68/5 star rating on the BBB. While positive reviews far surpass the negative reviews, here are a few of the recurring complaints:
- Slow servers and downtime
- Various bugs in Wave’s mobile apps
- Limited reporting
- No mileage tracking, budgeting, inventory tracking, and project management features
Positive Wave Reviews & Testimonials
For the most part, Wave receives high praise from its users. The software gets 4.43/5 stars on Software Advice, 4.4/5 stars on G2Crowd, and 7/10 stars on TrustRadius. Also, Wave is BBB accredited and boasts an A+ on the BBB website. Here are some of the aspects users appreciate in their Wave reviews:
- Free software with no limitations
- User-friendly software that’s easy to learn and navigate
- Numerous time-saving automations
- Ease of creating professional-looking invoices
- The ability to track personal and business finances
Wave Customer Service
|Phone Support||Wave Payments & Wave Payroll Users Only|
|Live Chat||Wave Payments & Wave Payroll Users Only|
|Dedicated Support Rep||Wave Advisors Subscribers Only|
|Videos & Tutorials||✔|
Wave offers a decent number of support resources to customers, but the response times are slow. Phone and chat support are only available for payroll or credit card processing customers. If you have a question that can’t be answered in the Wave Community or the comprehensive Help Center, your only option is email. Emails take a day for a response, so if you have a pressing issue, don’t expect a quick answer.
Wave offers a limited number of integrations, although it does support a much-needed Zapier integration, which connects Wave with 1,000+ add-ons. The integrations Wave directly connects with are PayPal, Etsy, and Shoeboxed. You can also use the new Checkouts feature to create buttons on websites, such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. API is available for developers.
Is Wave Secure?
Wave currently uses 256-bit data encryption as well as a read-only version of banking information to protect privacy. The company uses Amazon Web Services to store its data. Data is regularly backed up, and servers are monitored 24/7. Contact Wave directly for more security details.
The Final Verdict: Is Wave Worth It?
|Business Size||Ideal for small businesses, microbusinesses, and freelancers that don’t require advanced accounting features|
|Choose If You Need||Easy-to-use software with basic accounting features; free accounting software with no limitations; accounting software that supports multiple companies & personal accounting|
Wave is designed specifically for small business owners to use, no matter what kind of bookkeeping background they come from. The software supports multiple companies and offers personal accounting as well. Wave improved its software and has addressed many customer complaints in its latest redesign, including adding 1099 payroll support, duplicate transaction management, expense transaction automation, and cash-basis accounting. The checkouts feature is one-of-a-kind and a great addition for business owners who need to charge multiple customers quickly.
However, there are a few features the software is still lacking. There’s no project management and limited time tracking, which rules the software out for a lot of businesses. Hopefully, with Wave’s track record for updates, it will add these features soon and improve customer service response times. In the meantime, though, business owners can check out these Wave alternatives to fully explore their accounting software options.
Until then, the software is still a good solution for small business owners looking for simple, easy-to-use accounting software that won’t break the bank. Wave’s customer support resources and new Wave Advisor services make it easy for people with limited accounting experience to learn the software. It’s also great for Etsy shop owners and other eCommerce businesses using Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress. If Wave sounds like it might be a good fit for your business, give it a try! After all, it’s free.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.