Wave Review (Formerly Wave Accounting)

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Date Established
2010
Location
Canada

Highlights

  • Free
  • Personal and business account management
  • Beautiful invoicing
  • Etsy integration
  • Good customer service

Overview

“No jargon. No complicated software. No MBA required.”

Wave, a free, cloud-based program that supports 2.5 million users, has been making ‘waves’ in the accounting world since 2010. From humble beginnings, the company has now grown to 150 employees. It has earned the place of #9 in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 List, the title of Best Free Accounting Software for Businesses by Business News Daily, and here at Merchant Maverick, we’ve named Wave the Best Free Accounting Software as well. And almost even more impressive, Wave still uses their own software to balance their books.

So why do we like it? Well, for starters, the software is completely free. Yes, there are additional costs for payroll, however, all of the standard features in Wave are free forever (there are no artificial limits like you’ll find with other ‘free’ accounting options). Wave’s beautiful, easy-to-use interface provides tools for invoicing, estimates, expense tracking, billing, contact management, advanced sales tax settings and more. The company has also just launched new Android and iPhone apps, added the first-ever lending feature, and is constantly updating the software to better fit customers’ needs.

The most recent updates address nearly every issue I had with the software previously. By adding a contact management feature, a bank reconciliation feature, and more reports, Wave, more than ever, is a great accounting software solution for small businesses.

Check out the video overview of Wave and continue reading this article to learn more.

Pricing

Wave “has always been and always will be free.” Unlike most free plans, Wave does not limit you to a certain number of invoices, customers, or transactions, making it one of the best free options out there. The software used to remain free because of small, unobtrusive ads within the software. Now, those ads are no more. The company generates enough revenue from credit card processing, payroll, and lending to keep the software completely free and your screen ad-free as well.

Here are some of the features available. For a full list of free features, go here.

Free Plan

  • $0/mo
  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Personal accounting
  • Lending
  • Reports
  • Supports multiple businesses
  • Multiple users

You might be asking yourself: what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. You get all of the features listed above at zero cost to you. If you’re looking for further support or functionality, however, there are a few extra services you can purchase.

Extra Costs

  • PayrollWave Payroll begins at a base fee of $15/mo (each employee costs an additional $4/mo). If you have 10 or more employees, that number drops to $2/mo per employee. (New York, Texas, California and Florida only have to pay $10/mo).
  • Credit Card ProcessingWave Payments enables online payments of invoices. Wave uses a pay-as-you-go model and charges 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.

Web-Hosted or Locally-Installed

Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware and Software Requirements

As cloud-based software, Wave is available on any computer, including Mac, Windows, and Linux. Up-to-date versions of browsers are recommended, but not required. The company also features three iOS apps: Invoice by Wave (iOS 7+), Receipts by Wave (iOS 7.1+), and Payroll by Wave (iOS 5+), as wells as two Android apps: Receipts by Wave  (2.3.3+) and Invoice by Wave .

Specific Size of Business

Wave is designed with the small business owner in mind. Not the small business owner with an MBA; not the trained CPA; but the everyday freelancer, independent contractor, or micro-business entrepreneur who believes in their work and their dreams. Wave supports multiple companies and unlimited users. Basic user permissions are available. A direct Etsy integration also makes Wave a great chose for these online sellers.

Accounting Method

Accrual accounting.

Ease of Use

Wave is one of the easiest accounting software programs to set up. Navigation is simple, and overall organization is intuitive. The interface is pretty to look at too, which never hurts.

  • Set Up – To set up your account, you simply enter your business name and the type of business you run; Wave does the rest. The software sets up a chart of accounts for you. All you have to do is go into settings and set your preferences (default invoice template, default invoice due date, sales taxes, etc.). The first time you enter the dashboard, Wave will give three options: 1) Send Invoices and Estimates 2) Track Income and Expenses 3) Set Up Payroll. You can use these suggestions as a guide or jump right into the other features. I recommend adding contacts and items first.
  • Organization – Wave is simple and easy to learn – and the software has recently been redesigned to make navigation even more of a breeze. A dashboard of charts and graphs gives you a quick look at the financial state of your business. The menu on the left reads Dashboard, Sales, Purchases, Accounting, Banking, Payroll, and Reports. Each category drops down into sub-menus that show the key features in that section. There is a help button in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen and settings, integrations, and find an accountant buttons in the middle of the menu. There is also a new quick create button that serves as a shortcut to key functions.
  • Instructions and Guidance – You likely won’t need much instruction or guidance since the software is so simple to learn. But if you do need help in the beginning stages there is a getting started guide in Wave University and a very helpful video demonstration that overviews the software. There is also a Help Center and a support form for more specific questions.
  • Problems – While the user-experience is very nice overall, there are few minor hindrances to note.
    • Glitchy – The software glitched on me a few times. Nothing major, just a few minor issues.
    • No Cash-Basis Accounting – As it is a company that focuses on small businesses, I was surprised to find Wave does not support cash-basis accounting in addition to accrual accounting.
    • Features Missing – The company has done an incredible job at updating their software, but there are a few more features I would like to see. More tax support and the ability to calculate deductions are two features that small business owners need. A project management feature would also be a nice touch.

Features

For a free software, Wave offers a robust feature set that rivals even some paid accounting software programs – and the lack of limits on free features makes Wave even better. Below is a list of the basic features you can find in Wave. For further information, check out a full list of feature descriptions here.

  • Dashboard – The dashboard features neat charts for Overdue Invoices and Bills, Income and Expenses, Bank Accounts and Credit Cards, and Payable and Owing.
  • Invoicing – If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know I’m a little bit picky about invoicing templates (or a lot bit picky). But I have nothing to complain about with Wave. Wave provides three distinct, yet incredibly professional invoice templates with customizations like color and logo. You can create default notes, headings subheadings, and footers. The company has also added additional customizations called column editing. This allows you to control which columns are visible on your invoices. You have the unique ability to create product-based invoice columns or service-based invoice columns (and can add as many custom fields as you like). You can also create recurring invoices, send receipts, set reminders, and easily see if your customer has viewed an invoice or estimate already. The only annoying part is that sales tax has to be set for each item when creating an invoice (rather than calculated off the total amount at the bottom of the invoice).

Wave Review

  • Estimates – Estimates are also easy to create. There are three estimate templates as well, and you can send estimates using Wave, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Outlook. You can also export estimates as PDFs or print them to be sent by mail. There is no duplicate estimate feature yet (I’ve been told it’s coming soon). But in the meantime, after you convert and estimate into an invoice, you are left with a sent estimate; since the invoice is what matters, you can go in and edit the estimate and send it to a new client to save some time.

Wave Review

  • Contact Management – The addition of a complete contact management feature is a huge upgrade. I was very glad to see that this feature offers full contact management capabilities, making it easy to save customer information. Under Sales, you can find the Customer Statements tab, which is also a nice supplementary feature. It gives you a complete overview of the invoices and transactions linked to a customer.

Wave Review

  • Expense Tracking – You can either connect your account to bank live feeds or manually import bank statements. Note: Like almost all software using bank live feeds, Wave partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.
  • Receipts – Mobile apps make it easy to snap a picture of your receipt and organize it in Wave. You can also upload your receipts manually or email your receipts to Wave and they will take care of it for you.
  • Bank Reconciliation – Another happy addition to the Wave family is the new bank reconciliation feature. You can use the bulk categorization feature to organize multiple expenses at once. This saves a lot of time and stress. We’re still waiting on custom bank rules, but those should be coming soon.

Wave Review

  • Billing – Entering and paying bills is simple and easy to do. The only drawback is that you can’t set recurring bills.
  • Time Tracking (Payroll Only) – If you use Payroll, then you and your employees can track time and create timesheets.
  • Item Tracking – I can’t quite call this feature “inventory” as there is no item tracking and zero reports regarding items. There is, however, a basic item list, which includes an item description, amount, account, and default sales taxes. Wave has conveniently split the items list into two different locations: items you sell are found under Sales, and items you buy are found under Purchases.
  • Reports – In my last review, I only had access to three reports. Now Wave has restored their software to their original twelve reports. These reports include Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Sales Tax Report, Payroll Wage & Tax Report, Income by Customer, Aged Receivables, Expense by Vendor, Aged Payables, General Ledger, Account Transactions, Trial Balance, and Gain/Loss on Foreign Currency.
  • Lending – This is one of the most unique features Wave has to offer. Wave now partners with OnDeck to help business owners get small business loans and to manage them easily from within their software.Read our article Lending by Wave: Everything Small Businesses Need to Know for more information.
  • Sales Tax – The sales tax feature is pretty advanced for accounting software, especially a free one. You can set an indefinite amount of sales tax rates in Wave. You can also set compound taxes and differentiate between recoverable and non-recoverable sales tax.
  • MultiCurrency – Wave supports multiple currencies and exchange rates are updated daily.
  • Importing/Exporting – You can import contacts via .csv or google contacts and can import bank statements via .ofs, .qbo, .qfx, .aso, and .csv. You can export data via .xcel or .pdf and can print information as well.

Customer Service and Support

Wave offers customer service support from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST, and phone support from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST.

At the time of our last review, Wave had premium customer service plans that cost extra money. A few users took issue to this, so Wave enacted a new solution. They brought all of their customer services up to premium level, hired more employees, and did away with the paid system altogether. However, this does not mean that all users now have the once-premium phone support. Free phone support covers issues regarding Payroll, Credit Card Processing, and Lending; for everything else, there’s email. As nice as it would have been for everyone to get phone support, this isn’t a bad compromise. Payroll, Credit Card Processing, and Lending are all potential time sensitive issues and require an extra level of responsiveness, which Wave provides.

For a free software, I was honestly surprised by the number of support resources offered. There are many paid accounting software options, QuickBooks included, which don’t provide this kind of sampling. What’s more, support form response time has improved significantly since the last time we reviewed Wave. All of my questions were answered in less than a day.

In addition, Wave has a good sampling of other resources including:

  • Support Form – All customers receive free email support. An email form can be submitted here.
  • Email – You can contact info@waveapps.com for general questions about Wave (this might not be the best place for troubleshooting inquiries).
  • Phone & Chat – Phone and chat services are available for Payroll, Credit Card Processing, and Lending inquiries. Contact Wave for more details.
  • Help Center – Wave provides a comprehensive Help Center. It’s a bit hard to navigate at times, but it offers helpful how-to articles and guides. These articles and guides are well laid out with easy to follow steps and plenty of screenshots for us visual learners.
  • Wave UniversityWave University is similar to a help center but focuses more on training people to use features, rather than troubleshoot features.
  • YouTube – Wave offers over 85 YouTube videos and demonstrations that I found particularly helpful. There are short videos that explain each feature in detail or longer webinars that provide an overview of the entire software. The videos are a little outdated at this point, but not so much that they are obsolete.
  • Small Business Tips – This section of the Wave blog is geared specifically toward small business advice.
  • Blog – The entire blog can be found here.
  • Social Media – Wave has Facebook and Twitter accounts, both of which they maintain regularly and use to post helpful articles and business insights. Facebook is a better place to look for customer service help, while Twitter is a better place to find a cute video or two about Wave kids and the Wave dog. The company also has a LinkedIn account.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

With a few exceptions, Wave reviews are positive across the board. However, there are a couple recurring issues that users have with the software:

  • Slow Servers and Downtime – Wave has always had an issue with slow servers and downtime. While the company has been trying to address this issue by rewriting the software’s coding and by finalizing the switch to Amazon-hosted servers, recent complaints of this sort are still easy to find.
  • Mobile App Bugs – Many users complained about mobile app bugs, particularly with Receipts by Wave.
  • Limited Features – In addition to more reports, users request features like custom bank categories, billing subscriptions, API, and estimates functionality with the mobile apps. Quite a few of these customers were also frustrated because they felt that the company was not listening to their requests.
  • Lack of Integrations – Several people have complained about a lack of third-party integrations. However, with a new Zapier integration, this issue has definitely been resolved (more information below).

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

For the most part, Wave users seem genuinely pleased with the product. There are an ample number of reviews written about the software, and while many ratings have slightly dropped since our last review, comments are positive overall. Wave gets 4/5 stars on Software Advice, and 4.1/5 stars G2Crowd, and 7.9/10 stars on Trust Radius. Almost every app by Wave is rated at 4+ stars (out of five), with the new Android app coming in at 4.7/5 stars. In addition, Wave is BBB accredited and boasts an A+ on their site.

Some of the most common praise of Wave include:

  • Price – You can’t beat free, and Wave users agree.
  • User-Friendly – Users like the fact that it is easy to learn, easy to navigate, and easy to understand without all of the typical accounting jargon.
  • Saves Time – Users also appreciate that Wave saves time, not just because it is easy to learn, but also because it is cloud-based and has mobile apps.
  • Personal Accounting – The ability to manage personal and business accounts in a single place is a favorite with business owners, particularly freelancers, independent contractors, and eCommerce shop owners.
  • Good Feature Selection – One of Wave’s most well-liked aspects is its robust feature set. Users especially like the receipt scanner, payroll feature, and multiple company support.

Here is what a few people are saying:

“I like Wave because it’s free. For most small businesses you really don’t need a ton of complicated features (depending on what you do), and for me this software fits the bill perfectly. It syncs my bank accounts, lets me label stuff so my accountant can sort through it at the end of the year, and did I mention it’s free?” – Scott E.

“Great for business beginners and advanced users. Compared to all the other cloud accounting choices it holds it’s own. Why make your business accounting difficult, isn’t running a business difficult enough?” – Cathy Fanning | IT Consultant

“Was VERY simple to integrate into my woodworking business. Since most if not all my transactions are electronic, categorizing my expenses has never been simpler. Thanks for eliminating my shoe box :)” – Puddle Town Woodworking

Integrations and Add-Ons

While Wave has dropped several integrations since the last time the first time I reviewed this software, they have added one major integration—Zapier. Zapier connects Wave users with nearly 500 third-party add-ons, which addresses one common complaint about the lack of integrations. (Note: the Zapier integration doesn’t show up on the Wave side of things. To access it, you have to go through Zapier’s site and connect to the Wave API). In addition to Zapier, the integration list includes:

  • Paypal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. (Read our review here.)
  • Etsy – Connects your Etsy store sales to Wave and provides a testimonial and media platform to promote your items.
  • Shoeboxed – Replaces your receipt shoebox with a cloud-based expense tracking tool. Includes receipt scanning and expense reports.

Security

Wave currently uses 256-bit data encryption as well as a read-only version of banking information to protect private data. Data is automatically backed up, and servers are monitored 24/7 by physical security. The company is currently transferring to Amazon Web Hosting for added security and uptime (as slow servers and downtime are issues for Wave). Read more about Wave’s security measures here.

Final Verdict

Wave has improved by leaps and bounds since our last review of accounting software. The software was already great; now it’s nigh perfect. With a new contact management feature, bank reconciliation feature, restored reports, and a unique lending feature that isn’t seen anywhere else on the accounting software market, Wave is working hard to meet the needs of small business owners. The software is constantly updated and the company is growing exponentially. Hopefully, this growth will soon mean added tax support, deduction tracking, and maybe even project management.

The quality of the features the company does offer often rivals and exceeds that of paid software. With beautiful invoicing, easy expense tracking, strong customer service, and no artificial limits on the word ‘free,’ Wave is definitely worth a try.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
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176 Comments

    Andre Ramy

    Plain awful. Always downs. Always slow.Business killer. Won’t work with any browsers. Always down on weekends.

    1
    Matt Frederick

    The 1% Bank Payment (ACH) fee doesn’t seem to get mentioned here. This can add up quick on large invoices and this service is free on Quickbooks Self-Employed. Does anyone know a workaround to still use online ACH payments without the fees? I’d rather pay a $10 monthly fee than get 1% out of a 22K invoice.Thanks in advance.

    3
    Chelsea Krause

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for reaching out! It is true that Wave does charge a 1% fee for all ACH payments. As far as I know, there is no way of avoiding this fee except by switching to another program that does not charge ACH fees like QuickBooks Self-Employed.

    Best wishes,
    -Chelsea Krause

    Wendy

    Don’t believe their marketing about their new “easy” accepting of payments. They haven’t gotten their new payments system figured out and you have no way to get a hold of anyone there quickly. They don’t test the bank connection. Even though they pull transactions from my bank account, that doesn’t mean they are able to push payments to the same account. Wave says money should be in my bank account that isn’t there and I can’t get them to respond. It’s been a week and they keep asking me for the same information over and over. They were fine with just the accounting end, but I’ve spent hours on this problem and I get little response from them. I actually had to delete out all my invoices, communicate with my clients and resend via PayPal because I was afraid I wouldn’t get my money. My bank says that the information Wave requested to link to my bank account isn’t even what my bank would need to process the incoming payment. I have no idea where my money is…luckily it was only a test transaction. Very angry customer. Don’t make my mistake.

    1
    Sharon Ayersman

    If I could give it zero stars I would. I have tried for two days to get into one of my checking accounts. According to WAVE, I’m not answering the questions verifying my credentials correctly, but I AM! Keep contacting for WAVE for help on this, but like so many others, just going around in circles. On one of my bank accounts, I have received deposits (by WAVE) at least 30 erroneous transactions on EACH PAGE. The amount of the transactions is actually the last four digits of my checking account! I only wish I made these deposits in reality. Now, I’m so lucky! I get to delete each and every one of these transactions while WAVE s-l-o-w-l-y refreshes the page. The concept is great and I REALLY loved it when I could pay for support. Now, its just a waste of time not to mention FRUSTRATING!

    1
    Mike

    I have a question and would appreciate in advance some advice. Its probably a simple question, I’m new.Scenario as follows: I setup my business account ‘X’ on Wave and connect to my business account at a bank where I also hold a personal account. I also have a personal account/page on Wave which is connected to personal account at bank.When in Wave Receipts for ‘X’ I upload my first receipt. The receipt was from a client meeting for business X which I paid for using my personal account not business card from same bank.In Receipts, how do I correctly label which payment account this receipt came from when its not in the drop down menu? If I use personal and business bank accounts to pay for items connected to ‘X’ should I connect all relevant bank accounts in Wave to business X? Thanks

    3
    Jessica Dinsmore

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for reaching out. Here is a link to Wave Support; they are definitely better qualified to help you out. Good luck!

    William Schafer

    I have a question: is this software Double Entry?

    Chelsea Krause

    Hi William,

    To answer your question, yes! Wave does use double-entry accounting. If you have any other questions about Wave, please let us know!

    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Krause

    NOT HAPPY!

    If I could give this service ZERO stars I would!!! Not happy at all with the way they treated a recent, large credit card transaction. To put it plainly, this service treated me and my customer unfairly. Immediately assumed the transaction was fraudulent and was very evasive when asked “what’s the problem? Like we were common criminals..Asking for (and receiving) email threads to verify who my client was and what we were discussing. Very invasive and lacking in judgement. In the end, this company cost me that (high paying) customer and I will be taking my business elsewhere. Beware!!! FREE doesn’t always mean it’s the best!

    1
    Vijaya Oruganti

    I have been using Wave for more than a year, I am not sure how they got 4 star rating. Their customer service suck!. I am sick of following with them back and forth. No real expert works there. Call me if you need more information.

    1
    Monica

    Having used wave for years I thought they were brilliant and actually did accounts for self employed friends and a couple of non profits. Over the years I archived 5 businesses. To my total surprise when I restored one of these businesses no data whatsoever came back. Wave treated the account as if it was a new account asking me to set up everything from scratch. I have an obligation to keep records for 6 years and now all the data for 5 businesses is lost. I am not saying the live system isn’t useable but what ever you do. Don’t use the archive feature all your data gets deleted or lost in a black hole.Wave supports answer to the fact that data was lost from a restored business was to ask me to restore another one so that they could take a look. I restored one that only had some test data and guess what no data to be found for that one either!!I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience. Such a shame I’ve trusted Wave for years and now feel totally let down :0

    2
    Cliff Jacobson

    Tried it and didn’t like it! First, it hung up on the first try trying to connect to bank. It appears to not work at all using Chrome Browser. Opened it with Internet Explorer and it actually works, but then gets hung up and will not connect to bank. I get the red box telling me that my bank has a problem. All the while, I get emails from Wave asking me “how’s it going?” But, you of course can’t reply to emails. Let’s just imagine that I get it worked out and spend days transferring all accounting info and then have a problem. No thanks. I’ve tried a few of these online accounting programs. They mostly have problems. For example, most of them do not even have an easy way to reconcile bank account when accepting credit cards. What I’ve found is that you need to make a manual adjustment for the fee taken by the credit card company What?! Anyway, you get what you pay for. The problem is that QuickBooks is more than a lot of small businesses need, but at least works.

    1
    Chelsea Krause

    I’m sorry that you had such a bad first impression of Wave. I just wanted to direct you to a few Wave customer support options that might help make using the software easier. You can email Wave at info@waveapps.com or you can fill out the support form listed in the Customer Service and Support section above that will be sent directly to their customer service team. There is also a Help Center for more basic how-to questions. I hope this helps!
    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Krause

    Matt

    Been using it since years, and seen the gradual improvements. It’s a great tool for freelancers with the usual pricing. Finally also some chat support available. What annoys me is their lame transfer – only on business days! Means that you receive a payment on Thursday and it is being transferred to your account on Tuesday late evening.This is a point where they do not seem to be able to move their a$$.

    3
    TAMMY KALHORN

    Totally love this app,Leaving QB for wave was the easiest transition ever….Such a more comprehensible program for business ownersNot one single glitch so farThanks

    5
    Tracy Hoover

    I would leave zero stars for Wave also. I am the treasurer for a small non-profit. My predecessor researched the options and chose Wave. But I am considering a switch to QBO. Aside from the completely lame reconciliation ability, there is no string search capability. I import a lot of paypal transactions each month and need to categorize those correctly. Without a string search, it takes way longer than it should.

    I am not an accountant – just a detail-oriented person trying to do something a bit more professional than Quicken (in which I have a lot of experience). So I’m thinking of switching to QBO but it looks like the data import from Wave could be a lot of work. 🙁

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jessica

    Would leave zero stars if possible. The app was great, user friendly, intuitive, I was loving it.I opened a Wave account a few days ago.  I was very happy with the ease of inputting my company info as well as being able to verify/reconcile my information.  It took me several days to get everything perfect.  Once things were perfect, I went to send a pdf of my company income report – the system bumped me out.  No problem, I’ll just log back in…But I couldn’t log back in – it wouldn’t recognize my password.  When I asked for password reset- nothing came to my email.I tried logging in from my phone – it either completely lost all my data or opened a whole new account because the program was asking me to set up a new company.I contacted support- this was urgent, I had a meeting with my accountant and needed the report.I was encouraged when I heard back from support within a few hours.  They made some suggestions.  I responded telling them I had tried all of their suggestions and asking for additional help since I was still unable to get in to a working account.nothing…nothing…nothing… Every time I request help, I get an email confirming the request and saying that their “support heroes” will contact me…it’s been days and nothing. Why offer support when you have no intention of actually helping people?  Why respond one time and then ignore me for days after? Please stop calling yourselves “support heroes” – it is simply insulting at this point. I’ve contacted for additional info…received no response.I’ve asked for a phone number to call and get help…received no response. nothing…nothing…nothing…I understand this is free software, so I guess I got what I paid for.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Yannis Moati

    OK app. but such bad support! — my transactions have stopped being listed on the journal entry for 2 weeks now, and I still cannot get anyone to solve it. I get the same loopy email customer support. extremely frustrating.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Nadine

    Wave has it’s pros and cons, I agree with the last comment – it has it’s glitches but overall it’s great (especially for a free platform). I have been using for a few years and have generally been happy with the software. One thing that has changed recently is that the suppport offered for free has gone down in quality. The response I received on a recent questions was an automated based on my email question content, which possibly wouldn’t be so bad for free support if they were more forthright about it – it wasn’t obvious that it was an automated reponse and my question was never properly answered. I suppose if you pay the $9-18/month you get better support. Also, another concern: The third-party Integrations (like Paypal) – only one integration (of one type) is allowed per customer. In other words if you have more than one business on Wave, attached to the same email account, and need a Paypal integration for each business you are out of luck. Wave doesn’t currently allow for more than one Paypal integration at a time (per customer/email login). You can get arround this manually uploading Paypal statements or by having separate Wave accounts for each business but if you don’t know this when you get started you could end up having to move all your transactions to another account. A huge pain!!!

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Matt

    I own two companies, both are medium sized marketing and technology enablement firms, thus my comments may not be viable to those with other businesses. We have utilized Wave for over 3 years and made a conscious decision to stick with it and utilize it to the full potential. Currently, we utilize the software for accounting, invoicing, asset management, payroll and credit card processing. I took the time to read all the comments to this post as well, many are viable concerns and in some cases, seem to be based on comparing against other tools, vs looking at Wave for what it is, a free accounting platform that can grow with you.First of all, since we are paid users with Payroll and Merchant Services, we do get additional support. The team has been great at each step. That said, the technical support team can’t make software changes, so if you don’t like the way tool works or need an enhancement don’t blame them. As for the Merchant Services, I share the concern with the team about the process around setting up credit card collections. I will tell each of you, as a business owner, read, read, read. Before I clicked yes on these items we read the terms, policies, asked questions to support and only then went through the process to activate Wave’s credit card payment process. If you know what to expect before taking that step, you will be far better served and prepared for the initial setup hassle. This is true no matter what system you use. That said, as someone that collects large amounts of credit card payments, once integrated and fully enabled it is a great system. It works perfectly inside Wave and with the invoices, it also helps speed up payment by my customers. The fees are reasonable, I know you can get better rates from outside companies, but we decided the ease of integrations, reporting, tracking and similar is well worth the half a point we would save. I can also confirm, that unless a holiday occurs, we get payment in our checking account within 2-4 business days. I can confirm there is no scam here, just a poorly planned user experience and flow for setup, beyond setup it is fine.For those that need it… The Payroll service is great. The only limitation we have seen here is that there is only 1 direct deposit option per employee, so we can’t send to multiple destinations as some have requested, like a checking and savings. It offers hourly and salary, plus calculates and tracks time off, W2s, clock in and clock out for hourly and similar. The cost is fair and beats many of the banks or other tools.My team and I, plus our accountant, went through the tutorials, asked questions and eventually got to be pretty good at making sure all the books lined up, reports were accurate and we haven’t looked back since. It is a core tool of our companies and we aren’t moving to Qbooks or similar anytime soon.Reporting is an area of concern. If you need detailed reporting, graphical views of balance sheets or income statements or deep dives, a lot of that is manual. The team can improve the reporting section as a whole to be competitive with the other platforms. You can still get the information you need, it may just be more of a headache if you want more than a Balance Sheet, General Ledger and other high level reports. Overall, we like it. The price was right to start (free) and we just learned to work within Wave’s processes, rather than compare to how Qbooks did it. I would recommend it to anyone with a small to mid-sized company. Just take your time to learn the tool, ask questions and do a solid comparison to others before you centralize accounting around it – moving platforms is a pain – so think it through. Ok, that’s me 2 cents.

    4

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    Marilyn

    Thank you for your time and detailed, specific review.

    Questions :

    Does Wave allow
    importing customers?
    importing of sales items?
    importing sales (orders) from e-commerce stores?

    I haven’t seen any info about these things.

    Thanks again, Marilyn

    Chelsea Krause

    Hi Marilyn,

    You can import customers and vendors via .csv or Google contacts. Unfortunately, there’s no way to import sales items right now. If you use Etsy for e-commerce, then you’re in luck because Wave integrates directly with Etsy to import sales. If you’re using a different e-commerce platform, you can check and see if Zapier (a third party app that offers over 750 integrations) offers a different e-commerce integration that is compatible with Wave.

    I hope this helps! Please feel free to let us know if you have any other questions.

    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Krause

    Murugan

    HIGreat Software, We really loved it over all it works wonder full.Few suggestion to make it better and best.1. The server has to be little faster it take some time to refresh.2. It will be good if there is a option to disable to the collaborator the deleting and editing of the old bill. so that there will not be any correction done by the collaborator without owners permission.3. Report for product also should be given. so that it is easy to know which product has been purchased more and less.4. Pay roll for Indian but still without all this it is boon for small company, Great Wrok. Keep it UP.Thank youMurugan

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    Isaac kojo

    I invest in real estate both passive and active. How do I use wave app as accounting software for my real estate rentals and Flips?

    3

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    Chelsea Gritten

    Hi Isaac,
    Thanks for the question! Wave is not a software specifically designed for real estate, but depending on your accounting needs, it still may work well with your business. Could you give me a little more information about your business? What are the key features you are looking for in an accounting? Are you currently using any other accounting software or bookkeeping method? Looking forward to hearing from you so that I can help you better!
    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Gritten
    Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer

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    Alexander Herpst

    In the past you recommended Wave as being slightly superior to Zoho, now your rating for Zoho for is half a start higher than Wave. What has changed to make this the case?

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    John

    I have used Wave accounting for over a year. I like the functionality and reporting. It is perfect for my business. However, the ads lock up both of my computers (Macs). I feel I have no choice but to switch to QuickBooks.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    Thanks,
    John

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    John Rhea

    I have used Wave for about 2 years and my experience has been nothing less than fantastic. The recurring invoicing for my subscriber based business clients takes the worry out of my invoices going out on a timely & consistent manner. Paying my monthly sales tax is also a breeze, as I can easily tabulate the various tax rates for the counties throughout Florida and complete the tax process in minutes. Wave’s dashboard for invoicing provides an at a glance of the maturity of unpaid invoices. If Wave had a “donate now” feature, I’m sure the money would pour in!

    5

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    Luke

    BEWARE! – The website looks good and easy to make invoices but getting them paid. I made an invoice and the client paid it, then it held my money and wanted me to start a new account with a partner website like paypal were it is still holding my money, it says it will release in a week! Why! NOT HAPPY.

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    Colin White

    STAY AWAY,
    YOU CAN NOT CONTACT THESE GUYS!
    they take your money and don’t pay you can’t complain they don’t have a phone
    they take the money from your client then hold you to ransom!
    A SCAM!!!!
    THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO RUN A SMALL BUSINESS

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    Elba Maria

    Is there any plans by Wave to create (or let users) create custom templates for their invoices? I want to organize it a bit different.

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    John Rhea

    Wave does offer 3 invoice templates and provides a space for your company logo. My invoices look professional and are easy to read. It would be nice if they provided the ability to tweak the spacing. Hope you find Wave as useful as I have. Good luck.

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    Bruce R.

    Hi … I’m a volunteer in a small non-profit organization and just started using Wave. I have no accounting experience other than balancing my own checkbook. My question … we recently held a charity golf outing and I put all of our income and expenses in Wave under “2016 Golf Outing.” I want to run a report showing all the income, all the expenses and our net profit; however, the report in “Account Transactions,” while it shows me this information does not show a “bottom line” with profit or loss. Sure, I can easily subtract our expenses from our income and come up with the figure but isn’t there another report that does this automatically? Am I missing something? Thanks for any advice you can share with me!

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    Annette Elkins

    As a non cash based system, does this mean I cannot enter in cash payments from my customers?

    5

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Annette,

    You can definitely enter cash payments from your customers. “Cash basis” and “accrual” are different accounting methods; you can find a great description of the difference in Chelsea’s guide to accounting terms.

    Cheers,
    Katherine

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    Gene Davis

    I had a client make a payment and now my login details won’t work. I reset my password and instead of taking me to the account where the client made the payment and giving me my money, they made me create a new account and all the previous information is GONE , my client has paid, I’m out of the money and NOW have to do the work for FREE!

    I need answers! PLEASE GIVE ME MY MONEY!!

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    Amy

    I have liked using Wave up until recently when i’ve noticed that the payments from square integrate with my bank account twice. They won’t merge with the invoice payments. Is this making sense? Does anyone have an idea of how to make this stop?

    4

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    Lana

    what do you mean? I am new to wave and curious to your issue. If you integrate your business account and square I could see the possibility of having double transactions. How did you integrate square?

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Amy,

    My apologies for the late response. Do you mean that you’ve been importing info from both your bank account and Square? Can you give me a little more detail on what you’re been experiencing?

    Thanks!
    Katherine

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    Abu Jabeel

    I just signed up but i realized that there is NO Invoice Android app, is this correct? When is it coming? After reading reviews you’ve been saying that for a long time. The credit card payment seemed very good with a free account but I’ll have to move on if i can’t do this.

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    Katherine Miller

    That is correct. Wave does not currently offer an invoice app for Android. As for when it’s coming, Wave has only said that it is in development; the company has not provided a timeline or release date. Some features take six months to go from the “in development” stage to a final product; others take two years. If it’s a feature you absolutely need, I’d suggest taking a look at other software–possibly QBO, Xero, or Zoho Books, depending on your needs. Zoho Invoice would be a free alternative that might meet your needs if you don’t need full double-entry accounting capabilities and have fewer than 26 clients.

    Good luck!

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    Jesse Csincsak

    I have used Wave apps for a few years for 2 of my businesses its great for small businesses who don’t need any tech support. However DO NOT USE their Credit Card Processing Services. They take over 10 days to get you your money and charge 4 points. You can get way better merchant services for 2-3 points from just about any bank and get your money next day instead of waiting upwards of 2 weeks to receive YOUR MONEY from them… Also don’t pay the $19 a month pro member fee its a waste of money.

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    Schele

    Same issues as Zubin above. This was recommended to me because they would connect with my Stripe account. Despite reading all their apparently outdated help articles, I was unable to connect Stripe. So then I tried using the internal credit card processing, only to have that malfunction and not deposit the money in my account. How frustrating! This program is seriously disfunctional!!

    1

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Schele,

    Thanks for your post. According to his follow-up in October, Zubin was able to get his issues resolved, so I’m hoping the same will hold true for you. Wave hasn’t supported Stripe in the US for quite some time, but since they supported it for international users as they rolled out Wave Payments, there was a fair amount of confusion–and you certainly weren’t the only one to get caught up in it.

    Can you tell me (and our readers) more about the malfunction you experienced with Wave Payments? Has Wave made any effort to get it resolved?

    Thanks!
    Katherine

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    Martin

    Thanks for the thorough review, Katherine. I’ve been using Wave for a couple of months now and have been impressed so far. I wonder if you can help me with one problem or glitch that has come up just a few days ago. I am set up for accepting credit card payments but usually turn off this option for most of my invoices since I’d prefer not to pay the transaction fees. There used to be an on/off button near the top of the invoice layout which made this task quite simple. But for the last tow days, I can’t seem to find this button. Would you happen to know if Wave has removed this option or is there another way? The information they have in their FAQ section seems outdated and doesn’t apply to the current form of Wave invoices. I’d appreciate any suggestions to work around this without completely turning off the credit card payment option.Thanks,Martin

    5

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Martin,

    After you save the invoice (don’t select “save and send,” just “save”), you should be directed to a page where you’ll have the option to turn off credit card payments for that invoice at the top of the page.

    If you’re not seeing it, I’d suggest clearing cache and cookies and/or trying a different browser to see if the problem repeats. If it doesn’t, great! If it does, contact Wave support and see if they can figure it out.

    Good luck!
    Katherine

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    Guy Liesching

    Before I start using Wave, can you tell me if I can batch-input invoices for transactions that have already happened? I don’t have time to run each sale on Wave so need to input invoices afterwards.
    Just want to make sure that i can do this before getting underway; hope this makes sense.
    Thanks
    Guy

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Guy,

    Unfortunately, you can’t import previous invoices into Wave. You CAN import bank transactions, however, which should serve your purposes; that way, the only invoices you need to enter in Wave are the open ones.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Ryan Boldt

    For basic accounting is works great, seems like issues arise around, billing, payroll, costing, credit card pmts, etc.I agree if they offer such things they need to make them work better, I just use a bigger payroll company, have a separate billing system, and use square for credit cards. It works. And lets remember that Wave is free.

    4

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    Nancy

    I have been using Wave for about a month, and I like most of it. But now it’s time to reconcile, and for the life of me, I can’t find a button to start the reconciliation. I read Wave’s instructions, looked at their screenshots, and followed what it said to do, but my screen didn’t look like their screenshot.
    I don’t have a linked bank account, because I’m using Wave to manage a fiscally-sponsored non-profit, so we have a parent organization acting as our bank, essentially. But I still need to reconcile their numbers with my numbers. I don’t know if I can only reconcile if I’m linked?
    I would have given them 4.5 stars yesterday, but this reconcilliation challenge loses 1.5 stars.

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    Kim Wilson

    Hi,

    I have been using Wave for the last few weeks and have really liked the software as it is easy to use and does what is says. I have logged in today and all my data has gone missing. I am quite upset and angry as this has taken me time and effort to set this all up. I would appreciate some to get in touch with me asap.

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    Shauna Gordon

    I use Wave for personal accounting and have, overall, loved it. The new upgrades have greatly improved the user experience.

    I did find a bug, but found their email support to be rather responsive. It’s an issue for the engineering team, so I don’t expect it to be fixed immediately (I have a software development background, so I understand how that process works), but getting it to them was painless.

    I agree on the surprise for the lack of cash accounting and the categorization being “dumb,” and do wish they’d fix those. That’s a pretty big sticking point for me for using it for my business, but for my personal stuff, which is almost entirely digital, it does well, especially for a free option.

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    Tamsen Wassell

    I thought Wave was great for a small one woman operation. But, boy was I wrong. I noted that they allowed me to take credit cards but having never done that and now wanting to pay the fees, I turned off the credit card option on my first invoice and never signed up for a credit card account. I thought that had taken care of the situation. But then on my biggest sale of the year I receive a notice that the client had paid by credit card. There is no way to turn of the option to take credit cards permanently. When I was notified that the client had paid the system would not let me collect it without calling them Since I had a free account I can not call them only leave a message and it will take 2 business days for them to respond to an email. Meanwhile, they are making money on that cash. Then I find out they are going to charge me $725 to get it from them (if I can every talk to someone). So this turns out to be very expensive software for a very small business. I would suggest that really small businesses look elsewhere. Even if you have to buy something it will be cheaper than $725!!!! BEWARE.

    2

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Tamsen,

    Thank you for your review and for drawing our attention to this problem. I’ve done some investigation, and what I found is pretty disturbing:

    Wave Payments is an initial one-click sign-up, which is frustrating because you can sign up for it without ever providing linking bank account information or fully realizing what the T&C are. In fact, you cannot fully sign up for it (provide bank information and the like) until after you have received a credit card payment and are already waiting to receive your money.

    Once it’s on, it remains the default for new invoices until you turn it off – and as you noticed, the software provides no option to do that until after you complete the full signup (i.e. after one of your clients has paid by credit card, which is exactly what you didn’t want to happen in the first place). The only way to turn it off before that is to contact customer service. They can turn it off for you, but you can never enable it again. Or you can send a $1 invoice to an address they provide, at which point they’ll pay it, so you’ll be able to finish setting up credit card payments, so you can finally turn it off for yourself.

    It is by far the poorest design I have ever seen in an online payment processing option for accounting software.

    That said, is the $725 based on Wave Payment’s standard fee (2.9% of the transaction + $0.30)? If so, you will pay similar fees with many online payment processors (such as PayPal and Stripe) – in addition to any monthly fees you pay for accounting software. (With QuickBooks, the processing fees are even higher than that: 3.4% + $0.25.) That’s not to say you should go back to Wave – just that it’s something you’ll need to be aware of when accepting credit card payments with any service.

    If the $725 you were charged included additional fees, please feel free to let me (and our readers) know what those were.

    Thanks again for bringing this problem to our attention–hopefully your post will enable other readers to avoid this issue.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Aaron

    Katherine,You do great work! I have been using Wave since I started my company 3 years ago, and it was a great free program to get me started. Unfortunately the program has not grown with me. Yes they have added a few features, but they have also added bulk (it takes 3 or 4 clicks to do simple tasks), still no batch exporting of invoices, and how annoying is your financial summary on top of your invoice page, displaying it to the world. Those are annoying, but switching is even more annoying.The reason I am finally trying to switch is that when I go on vacation, I need my manager to be able to create invoices etc., but I do not want them to have access to all of my accounting, bank account data etc and there is no way to limit access. Either you are all in or you are out. You also cant have recurring invoices generate ahead of time (another challenge when trying to prepare things in the event of you not being on a computer the day you need invoices)My question is, I now have 1500 invoices since my Dec 31st year end, and I want to switch (likely to quickbooks online) but it does not seem like I can import my invoices to quickbooks. Do you know how to move this type of data from Wave to QBO? Otherwise it sounds like I should wait until another year end to not complicate my accounting records? Thanks so much!Aaron

    3

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Aaron,

    Glad to hear Wave’s worked for you as long as it has! QBO doesn’t have a good way to import invoices, unfortunately. There are some third-party apps that might be able to help you (you can find those here), but I haven’t used any of them and can’t vouch for how they work. Another option would be to simply import your account balances and track the due dates on remaining open invoices in Wave while logging the appropriate journal entries in QBO when you receive payments. Might be good to consult with an accountant on the most efficient way to handle the mid-year transition, but it ought to be doable. Granted, changing accounting systems is never easy, but it might be worth it to make the transition sooner rather than later. Wave isn’t really designed for the kind of volume you’re talking about, and the time-saving features of a more advanced program will likely pay for themselves pretty quickly.

    Alternatively, if you’re not yet set on QBO, you might take a look at Xero for your business. The programs are neck-and-neck in many respects, and in the U.S., I’d say Xero has pulled ahead a bit at this point. (I haven’t evaluated the Canadian versions of the programs, so that’s something to check into.) Xero would allow you to directly import your invoices (instructions here). You’d need to re-arrange your info to match Xero’s import template, but it’s pretty straightforward; took me a few minutes with a test file.

    Finally, depending on the needs of your business, Zoho Books might also be worth a look. It, too, allows you to import invoices from a csv file (again, you’ll need to match format for a successful import). I’ve also written an article on choosing the best accounting software for a specific business which you might want to check out as you examine your options.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Alisa

    I’m on the fence about Wave. I’ve been using it for about 5 months to record transactions, but have not linked my bank account. It sounds like most the complaints are with payment transactions and linked bank accounts. I currently will send a PayPal invoice if my customer wants to pay by CC, but mostly I take cash or local checks from selected, trusted customers. I also use the free version as my sales are not to the point that I can afford the paid version.My current issue with Wave is that when I click on Invoices, sometimes the invoices will show up and sometimes they won’t. They usually won’t when I have a customer standing there and need to make a change to the invoice and re-print it. This is more likely to happen on my wireless access laptop at work and less likely to happen on my ethernet access desktop at home. I became so frustrated on Friday that I did submit a support ticket, but don’t know if they will have any solution for me.Anyway, it sounds like I need to not link my bank account and keep using it only as a book keeping system.

    3

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    Kaylene DuVall

    Is there any way you can tell me how to use the reconcile feature you mentioned?

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    Catherine

    Hi Katherine,Thanks for your blog. I have successfully been using wave for the last 2 years and generally find it intuitive even more so since the recent changes (but I think you do need to be quite IT literate and willing to hunt to find the answers). It was annoyingly slow but since the big wave of improvements at the end of 2015 the speed is now impressive for me even on a mobile 3g connection in the countryside and overall the improvements far outweigh any annoyances, particularly as it is free. My accounting was relatively simple in that I send about 120 invoices per year and the majority of payments are by bacs rather than cash and cheques. It is easy to create and send invoices, see when they have been sent, viewed, overdue etc. With just a few clicks it is easy to verify the transactions. My accountant doesn’t use wave but at the end of the tax year it was easy to use the reconciliation button and do a screen dump for my accounts and email to my accountant so she could see the accounting software matched my 3 different bank account statements. I am not vat registered so have not had to use sales tax related functions.The thing I have noticed is that my RBS business credit card bank feed is unreliable but I have realised that is not due to Wave – it is how the bank does there credit card statements and even a csv download from the bank misses transactions that are required by wave to do the matching – arrgh! So I had to correct the bank csv file manually then upload it to be able to match payments and expenditure and charges using the wave ‘transfer’ button – that bit was quick and easy.Anyway, question for you. I am about to launch a new part of my business which will involve payments (generally between £100-500 each) via my website and have planned for it to redirect to paypal’s site initially for payment (due to ease, speed and not needing to setup a merchant account, no monthly payments – I have budgeted in the transaction fees and not needing to worry so much about security aspects etc). However, these customers are commercial and will want a ‘paid’ invoice promptly. Does paypal create a ‘paid invoice’ – I am aware that you can create a bank feed between paypal and wave, but how does it work? I obviously don’t want to want to waste time creating the transaction in wave to match every time. Will wave (or any other accounting software) create these invoices for you. I hope that makes sense. PP can create invoices but that is on PP and I would prefer not to have 2 invoice production systems running side by side for ease. Hoe doe sit work? Am I missing something obvious here?Your insight would be gratefully received! Although I don’t want to change accounting software and could use stripe if wave does this, my time is precious and expensive(!) and if there is a product that will do this more easily then I would rather pay for that as longer term it will still work out cheaper than my hourly admin rate and I can focus on developing my business. For ease I also would want to start a new system at the new UK tax year start in April.Many thanks in anticipation,Catherine

    4

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    K Tucker

    Worst payroll company EVER. Easy to use, but you get what you pay for…and then again, maybe not even that. I pay for a tax service that has been screwed up more times than they’ve gotten it right. Now I find out that I was promised W2’s would be generated by 1/31. Here it is 2/2/16 and they still have not been done. I call to speak to a manager who could basically care less. He told me they would get them processed after I had to kick and scream. Then they said they couldn’t mail them out and I would have to print them and mail or invite my employees to join WAVE to retrieve it themselves…even after it was WAVE’s fault they weren’t generated. I have also been promised over a year ago that they would be incorporating 1099 contractors this year. All of a sudden, the beta program for that has disappeared with no further communication. I am now told that is not even slated for THIS year. I’m done.

    1

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    Daniela Decary

    We take our customer feedback very seriously and as such, thought it was important to respond to this review.

    We’d like to acknowledge that we did encounter a temporary problem that caused us to not issue a small subset of W2 forms by January 31, 2016. Our suggestion to customers that they, or their employees, obtain their W2s was recommended in the interest of distributing W2s as quickly as possible. We apologize for the delay and understand that this would have been frustrating for our customers.

    With regards to new features and feature requests, we continually strive to improve our communication and transparency with our customers. We could have done a better job when we ended the 1099 Contractor Beta and will learn from this for the future.

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    tbelknap

    Incompetent at best, criminal at worst. After having used their service for a year or more without incident, one incident sticks with me like herpes and I’ll never, ever go back.In October of 2015, I was working for a client on an hourly basis, with them paying me directly through Payments by Wave on a weekly basis. One week, a payment mysteriously failed to arrive in my bank account. The payment had been made according to my Wave dashboard. My client showed me their statement showing the money was out of their bank account. But after the customary three days, no money. What was going on?Well, that would have been a good question to ask their support team if only I had a phone number for them. But they don’t have one of those. Or at least, it’s not published to the website. If you’d like to actually speak to someone ABOUT YOUR OWN MONEY, you need to pay for the Premium support service at $10 a month. Ah.So I put a support ticket in and heard nothing. Mind you: this was a $1200 paycheck at a moment when I’m living paycheck to paycheck, so the situation is getting pretty desperate. Nothing. No response.Discussing the situation with my client, they agreed to try to stop payment. But the trouble was: the money had already arrived at Wave’s system and according to banking rules, that means the money’s gone. You can’t dispute the charges anymore. Ten days after this, my payment finally arrived. No fanfare. No “sorry about withholding your only paycheck.” Just the money. Fine. It’s over and from now on, I’ll take live checks from my client. Done deal.Oh, but it’s not a done deal. For the past three months, I have periodically gotten emails from Wave telling me I owe them $1,200 for that payment. That payment was disputed, they say, and according to the terms of my contract I’m required to pay for chargebacks.Mind you: my client was not able to successfully dispute the charge and they don’t have their money back. But all of this took place while Wave’s systems were apparently on the blink. So who the hell knows what happened? Probably Wave, if they bothered to look. But after numerous emails, support tickets and even phone conversations (I know, right? NOW, they have a phone number.) in which I patiently explained the situation, they’re still after me.I put a stop-payment on Wave at my bank. They’ve actually bounced two checks in pursuit of their non-existent money. And now that I’ve threatened a lawsuit, suddenly they’re hugely responsive.. to a point: they call me while I’m working and can’t answer, and then when I do call, they don’t answer.Here’s the thing: if they’d had a working support system, none of this would have been an issue. If they’d at least had an outage board or some other method to inform their paying customers that there was a problem and yes they were aware and of course, they’ll get in resolved, none of this would be a problem. If their system had not screwed up in the first place, this would not have been a problem. And I wouldn’t have had to write this post. But I do.Everything about this situation lays at the feet of this company. And no matter how many times I try to explain the situation, they don’t seem to get it, even going so far as to tweet me:https://twitter.com/tksimpson/status/688075974429179905“Let’s get this resolved.” Three months, I’ve been trying to get them to resolve this and they refuse. Now that I threaten a lawsuit, they want to talk. And they want to talk in a way that is frankly patronizing and seems to ignore every last moment of this debacle.I cannot more strongly recommend that you do not use Payments by Wave or Wave at all.

    1

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    Ruth

    Hi Katherine, hoping you can help…I’m considering your s/w for my husband’s custom jewellery biz. (www.denisfairhead.com).

    We don’t create a piece unless we have an order of it. No inventory (except a few gold chains).

    Up until now, I’ve been doing single entry accounting using Excel; I need to make the move to double entry so that I can more easily see & understand the KPIs I’d like to track.

    As well, I’ve been keeping a separate spreadsheet to track the profitability of each project/piece he makes: the revenue from the customer minus the ‘cost of goods sold’ for that piece (gold, diamonds, CAD design, stone setting labour etc.).

    Does your s/w allow me to track the profitability of each project? The only s/w I’ve found that seems to do this is focused on the construction industry. Typically our pieces have only 3 or 4 ‘expense’ entries…not complicated!

    One thing I need to do though: when I receive a bill from a vendor (like the company that does our computer-aided design work) – I’d like to split out the various charges and apply them to the appropriate project/piece. Again…to track at the project level.

    Apologies if I’m not using the right lingo….my background is marketing (enough said!).

    Thanks, in advance, for your help!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Ruth,

    No worries about the unfamiliar lingo; your questions made sense to me! I should probably start off by correcting a possibly misapprehension: neither Wave nor any other software I review for Merchant Maverick is my software. Merchant Maverick is an independent review site, and I have no affiliation with any of the companies whose software I review. (Better yet, I have no stake in whether you choose one piece of software over another; if you want more info on how Merchant Maverick works, you can find the details here.)

    You mentioned that you don’t have inventory . . . but I’m guessing you keep some raw materials on hand: gold, silver, findings, etc.? Even if they haven’t been worked into a final, salable product, you’ll need to track such things and take them into account as an inventory asset in your tax filings. Similarly, tools will qualify as assets and you’ll need to track value (and possibly depreciation) when you acquire new ones. Something to keep in mind as you seek out accounting software.

    The project tracking you refer to is called “job costing.” Not all accounting software offers it, but several programs do, including Xero, FreeAgent, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online (Plus), and Saasu. Splitting bills is no problem; I believe any of those programs will allow you to do it (simply break down the service on the bill into multiple lines and assign them to different projects). All but QB Pro have free trials (and QB Pro usually has a money-back guarantee for the first 60 days), so you can check them out before buying.

    I’d also recommend checking out this article as a starting point in looking for accounting software (if you haven’t already seen it).

    Finally, Merchant Maverick also offers consulting services: an in-depth analysis of your needs and tailored recommendation of the best software for your business. If this is something that you’re interested in, shoot us a message for the details.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Ruth

    Thanks for the quick reply Katherine! Apologies for assuming you’re affiliated with Wave….you know so much about the software, I figured you were an ‘insider’. I’ll check out all these other programs you’ve suggested! Cheers, Ruth.

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    Katherine Miller

    No apology necessary – I’m flattered! Just wanted to make sure you got full disclosure. 😉

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Matt Alford

    I’ve been using Wave for the past year and while it’s been okay in some respects, I keep running into annoying problems and a tech support team that continually focuses on ridiculous workarounds instead of root causing and fixing the problems. Here are two examples:1) Wave invoices generated a site certificate security warning whenever they were opened on an Android mobile device. Wave’s tech support suggested turning off certificate warnings for all sites. Disabling certificate security is a terrible idea! Instead, they should have focused on getting the right credentials on their security certificate.2) When I go to their support site and click on the button that is supposed to show me the status of my support requests, the page just auto-refreshes over and over and I can never get to the status page. Wave tech support responded by asking what support ticket updates I would like to have and they would send them to me manually. How about figuring out why this strange behavior happens in the first place? Wave has a host of other annoying characteristics, such as invoice reconciliation. When I mark a Wave-generated invoice as paid, Wave creates a deposit entry for the paid amount. Then when I deposit the check at the bank, I get a duplicate entry, which causes my revenue to be overstated by 2x. Wave doesn’t have a way to reconcile this other than manually hunting around in the register and then deleting the bank deposit. There’s no way to link a wave invoice deposit to an imported bank deposit; the best you can do is delete the imported bank deposit.Another confusing area is the transaction category labels. Wave has pre-populated labels and adding new ones is a confusing exercise in wondering what labels already exist and under which pre-defined categories. You would think Wave would let you browse a category tree, but no such luck. Wave is free and I’ll say that as annoying as it is, it’s less hideous than Quickbooks. I’m test driving other solutions in hopes of a less aggravating 2016.

    2

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your review of Wave! Those customer-service-suggested workarounds do indeed sound terrible.

    Regarding invoice reconciliation, you can link a Wave invoice to an imported statement using Wave’s “Merge” feature. I’d recommend this over deleting the entry (for one thing, you’ll get to keep the description fields from both). Alternately, you can avoid the issue entirely if you import new transactions each time you receive a payment, then use the “Create Invoice Payment” function to link the deposits to the invoices.

    As for the transaction category labels, under the Accounting tab you can find your chart of accounts (the pre-populated entries you referred to) broken down by basic type: asset, liability, income, expense, and equity. It looks like a pretty standard organization to me, and you’ll find something similar in most accounting programs. Many of the categories correspond with expense categories you’ll need come tax time; if you find the system confusing (and if you don’t have an accounting background, it can be!), I’d suggest checking out Wave’s article on the chart of accounts. A list of common categories (and how they should be used) can be found in Tax Receipt’s guide – I’d highly recommend checking it out if you have any questions on how to categorize expenses.

    Best of luck in finding a solution that meets your needs! You might try taking a look at Zoho Books, FreeAgent, and Xero. Zoho Books might be the best in terms of ease-of-use right off the bat; FreeAgent will pull together a Schedule C worksheet for you (assuming that’s relevant to you); and Xero will give you the most in terms of features and scalability.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Matt Alford

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I tried to use the Merge feature in Wave, but it only works 1:1. So for example, if I go to the bank and deposit two checks, one for $200 and the other for $300, the imported transaction shows a deposit for $500. At that point, I need to match it to the $200 invoice and the $300 invoice, but Wave will only let me match it to a single invoice that totals $500 (and that doesn’t exist). I will try your suggestion regarding creating an invoice receipt following the deposit.

    And thanks for the tip on where to find the chart of accounts. While it’s helpful to be able to go into the Accounting tab and adjust the account names, I’d like to be able to do that on the fly while I’m categorizing transactions. Wave allows me to do that, but it doesn’t show the nested tree, so if I don’t remember the category where I put a particular entry, I have to leave the Transactions screen and then go over to the Accounting screen. I can work around it, but I wish it was better.

    –MATT

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Matt,

    You can get around that non-matching deposit issue by using “Split Transaction” (nearly all accounting programs have some variant of this – you’ll find Wave’s in the options when you click the downward-facing arrow to the right of any uncategorized income or expense). Granted, it adds an extra step to the process, but if the two sources of income need to be categorized differently (or if you want to add individual descriptions), it’s a handy feature. Plus, it will enable you to merge transactions even when the amounts don’t match initially.

    It is a little harder to get a handle on the accounts through Transactions than through Accounting. One thing that might help: when you want to refer to the Accounting screen, try opening it in a new browser tab. That way, you don’t lose what you’re doing in the Transactions screen.

    (The above tips are in no way intended to dissuade you from seeking out another accounting solution you like better – just to make your life a little easier until you find one. 😉 )

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Tom

    Wave does not seem to handle multi-currency transactions very well. It overwrites actual bank rates of the exchange transactions with its own rates. In result, your numbers will be off. If you reconcile your transactions in Transaction view, the report view may give you a different number. I had a zero balance in several accounts which were shown correctly in Transaction view. Surprisingly, report view (the one used to generate financial statements) shown totally different balances. Upon further inspection I realized that Wave was over writing all the currency exchange rates with it’s own rate. Tech support was painfully slow to respond and did not offer a solution. They basically told me to fudge the numbers until the Reports reflect actual accounts which is fundamentally wrong.Apart from that, the software is very slow and tedious to use. Customer service is not helpful at all. I was very disappointing with the software and regret switching from my previous non-cloud based software.

    2

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Tom,

    My apologies for the delay in response. This does sound like a problem, but I’m having trouble reproducing your issue. While Wave does insert a default rate from XE.com, I’ve tried overwriting that with my own rate (when initially issuing the invoice, and also when recording the payment), and the new rate is showing up properly in reports. Can you give me a little more detail on your problem so that I can check into it?

    Thanks!
    Katherine

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    OJ

    Hello Katherine,

    I also experience the same issue as Tom. This is happening also when I do currency exchange from USD to CAD. Wave offers this solution. https://support.waveapps.com/entries/21853749-How-to-complete-a-transfer-when-accounts-are-in-different-currencies

    But if to follow it, I will get extra transaction of $5.44cad in my Canadian account, that does not exists in real bank statement and as such account reconciliation will not work. And if you don’t put this $5.44cad, than balance sheet will show incorrect amount in Wave. In other words, either account reconciliation will not reconcile, or balance sheet egenrated by the Wave will show different amount than the actual.

    Thanks for your help.

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    Elaine

    Do you know if Wave will work for a sub-s corp? We are a small 2 person company – so it seems like a good fit. I’d love to get your feedback regarding Wave’s compatibility with sub-s corporations. I emailed them 3 or 4 days ago with this question, but haven’t received a reply. (which is a bit disconcerting…)Great review (5 stars). I’m looking forward to giving Wave a try!

    5

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Elaine,

    In terms of the accounting, I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t work–but I’m not terribly familiar with sub-s corporations. Do you have any special or unusual accounting needs?

    Re: support, that’s about par for the course. Unless you choose to pay for premium support, expect wait times of up to 7 days. (Occasionally even longer.) That would be inexcusable in a paid product, but since it’s free, I’m pretty pleased it includes support at all. Still, that’s definitely something worth keeping in mind.

    Cheers,
    Katherine

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    Johnny

    These guys cannot record proper receivables and payables my numbers have been wrong for the last 1 and a half years.Very disappointing and troublesome

    1

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    Zubin

    I originally commented and my major complaint was Wave’s terrible customer service. However, since then Wave has stepped up and really made right of the situation. One of their heads of customer success reached out to me and we’ve finally sorted out the entire ordeal. Although a frustrating experience, it is nice to see a large company that is willing to go the extra mile to make sure their customers are happy.Overall, I have minimal complaints about their product. Invoicing is great and a quick way to collect money from clients. We also use their software for reconciling our books and managing our projections and cashflows. Pretty intuitive product and pricing friendly for business owners.

    5

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Zubin,

    Thanks for following up! Glad to hear that Wave rectified the situation!

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    Tony

    Great review, Katherine, 5stars from me. One thing you may be able to help me with – I have imported a csv file of my home loan into Wave’s Liability Ac. However when I come to the Select Amounts step, only the balance column is active. I want to record debits and credits that are made to & from the Ac, but I have tried both Line of Credit and Mortgages types of Payment Acs and both of them dim the Credits & Debits columns, leaving only the Balance column as active and able to be confirmed. Not what I want. Help please?

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Tony,

    Wave can’t handle 3 columns of numbers, which may be why it’s ignoring the credit/debit columns and just pulling from the balance. Try deleting the balance column, and see if that solves your problem.

    If it doesn’t, I’d suggest contacting customer support. You can read more on Wave’s importing process here. Good luck!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tony

    Thanks Katherine, you’re the girl! Yes I deleted the balance and other columns from the CSV file and it worked. A tip for others – I did have to fiddle a bit and found out that my csv file had two entries with blank fields in both the Credit and Debit columns, (a line in the statement advising of a new interest rate from the lender) and consequently got an error msg ” Wave is having trouble reading the transaction amounts” – finally found the two errant lines, deleted them from the csv and it went fine. Thanks so much for your help. 🙂

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    You’re welcome. Glad it worked!

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    Zubin

    I used to be a huge advocate for WaveApps, but they really messed up handling a payment issue I had. They released a new payment processor (internal system instead of using Stripe) and it was the worst thing they could have possibly done.I client paid me, and the money was transferred to someone else’s account. Upon realizing this, I immediately contacted WaveApps stating this was urgent. I didn’t hear back for 2 weeks. I contacted again by phone, and then didn’t hear back for another week.Flash forward 3 months and they told me that they tried pulling back the funds twice (why on earth did it take 3 months to pull back the funds when my bank said they could do it the same day I requested???) and that they couldn’t help anymore. The final result: I’m out a huge sum of money and WaveApps said that his is case closed for them.

    1

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    Greg Tanner

    Wave is SO slow! sooo slow. Going back to 28.8 modem days, have never got so frustrated of refreshing and seeing the swirling mouse trying to load a page!It has great functionality, but if you are one to get it done in timely fashion, it is not acceptable! The slow speed will literally have you grabbing your hair and pulling it. Unsure whether this is a server issue or what, (I’m not complelete tech savvy, but I would say it’s overloaded and they need more server space for all the users?.. If someones neglectign that in the boardroom meetings…PROBLEMS!)I’ve tried troubleshooting with the customer service reps, but everything we’ve shot has passed the test twice at least. so the slow speed is something on Wave’s end.. I’ve also had a very tough and frustrating time integrating tangerine business banking even though it’s advertised, and it seems our tangerine business bank account is all good. Other banks work, but this one doesn’tIf Wave can get their speed ….up to speed. Then I’d certainly use it because the functionality is great, and it’s simple and pretty easy to use. but that speed. is unbearable and I’m looking at changing to another accounting program for that reason.

    2

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    Harry

    I agree completely. It’s practically unusable. I was able to switch TO wave; I guess I can switch FROM it. Now the question is what cloud-based system would be worth trying.

    2

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Harry,

    Sorry to hear about your experience with Wave. As for cloud-based accounting software, I’d recommend starting with this article on choosing accounting software, then checking out reviews of the top-rated software here on Merchant Maverick. Feel free to ask if you have any questions, and good luck!

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Mauricio

    Thank you for your review; it was very helpful.

    Question for you: I recently opened an LLC which I am using for investments. I invest in publicly traded securities and private real estate ventures. I also pay certain bills off of this entity. I have no employees and therefore no salaries.

    Does Wave, or any other platform, have a way to reconcile both investments (statements from a custodian or other deposits from real estate cash flows) and checking accounts (bank statements)?

    Which accounting platform do you recommend I look into?

    Thank you

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Mauricio,

    Wave might well be a good match for you. Assuming I’m understanding your needs correctly, you can simply create accounts for your investments and upload statements as you do for your bank accounts. If you want to check out the other options available, I’d recommend using this article as a starting point.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Shari

    I’m curious to know what you would suggest for the use of a high School Band Booster Assoc. I am looking for something that will accommodate us as we change hands every two years. We operate on a cash basis, are a 501(C)3 and are mainly funded by donations of various avenues mainly through the months of August and April. Of course using a free program and the idea of saving to the cloud is becoming increasingly intriguing to me given our need to change hands every year or two.
    I have read your review of Wave but wonder what your thoughts are and if you have any other suggestions for me to look into.
    Thank you so much
    Shari

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Shari,

    Wave is a good one to look at, and based on what you’ve told me, it’s the first one I’d recommend you check out. Bad news is the software doesn’t support cash basis accounting–so you’ll need to handle that part manually at year-end. If your finances are pretty simple, then that shouldn’t be too hard.

    I’d say give Wave a try, and see if there’s anywhere it’s not meeting your needs. If you find you need something more complex, your best option depends on a lot of specifics about your company: the maximum number of transactions you’ll need to process per month, and what features you require. I’d start with checking out Xero, QuickBooks Online, and Zoho Books.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lorie

    Hi Katherine,

    Does Wave or any other online accounting software that allows for local backup? Also, does Wave time out if not in use for a while? My client recently lost data in QBO online because he had been in the process of creating an invoice then walked away from the computer for a while and the program timed out on him. Therefore, all the time he had entered was lost because he hadn’t pressed save before he walked away. He had already expressed frustration that QBO did this and now of course he is very upset with it. This problem made me think about what would happen if other problems in the file occured and there was no back up to go to.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Lorie,

    Nearly all online accounting software (including Wave) allows you to export your data (i.e. make local backups). Most programs (not including Wave) automatically sign a user out after an extended period of inactivity, much like online banking sites, and for the same reason: security. However, most of the time, these auto-logouts shouldn’t result in a significant loss of data. Saving before walking away is a good precaution, but many programs will save (or remind you to save) every time you switch screens, so at most you’ll lose the data you’d entered on one half-finished invoice, estimate, or new client contact entry. Usually that’s not more than a minute or two of work.

    Any reputable cloud-based accounting software keeps their own backups, so if data loss or corruption occurs, they can restore their customers’ data. Many mirror and back up the data almost constantly; you’ll find details on such precautions under the Security section of any of our accounting software reviews. However, such backup data is usually not available on-demand to customers. In other words, if the server on which your data is stored fails, the company will restore all your data (usually instantly). But if a disgruntled employee (or curious 5-year-old) wipes out six months’ worth of invoices while you’re on a coffee break, the company may not be able to help you. So I recommend keeping your own monthly backups as well (usually as xls or csv files), just to be on the safe side.

    Hope that helps!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lorie

    Hi Katherine,

    Thank you for the response. Oddly, quickbooks doesn’t offer the local back up. I have sent them a feedback notice regarding this and it seems I’m not the only one so hopefully they will fix it soon. Otherwise it may be wise for me to suggest to my clients that use it to switch as I find that unacceptable.

    Thanks again and take care.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Lorie,

    Last I checked, QBO offered export to Excel of just about all information, as well as a file you can download for conversion into a desktop version of QB. I’m curious: what are you looking to back up that you haven’t been able to?

    Thanks!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lorie

    Hi Katherine,

    Are you looking at QBO US or Canada? We have Canadian and I’ve looked all over the thing for backup option and didn’t see it, plus when I called support they informed me they don’t have it. I will look again though.
    Thanks

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Lorie,

    Ah, that’s why! Yes, you’re correct: QBO Canada doesn’t allow you to export the whole QuickBooks file. However, I believe you can still download Excel files of your customer list, invoice records, etc., for backup on your own computer. Have you tried doing it that way? There are detailed instructions here.

    Good luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lorie

    Hi Katherine,

    I never thought of doing that so thank you. It’s still not ideal so hopefully QBO Canada will get with the program and allow local backup in the near future.
    In the meantime I will just have to remember to back up the trial balance and G/L through excel from time to time.
    Thanks again and take care. 🙂

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    You’re welcome–glad I could help!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Johnstone

    Hi Katherine,

    Thank you for your insightful and comprehensive review. I have been using Wave for the last few months with only a couple of glitches. Am generally happy with what it offers as it meets my small business needs. However, with Wave, I also received quite a few emails from Justcloud asking me to sign up for their $1 deal for data backup or risk having my data wiped out. I had no idea how this come about and if the data specifically refers to my business data with Wave. Last week, I suddenly found I could no longer issue invoices and receipts with Wave. I wrote to them, it has been 3 working days and no response. Today it worked again and coincidentally, I also received another email from Justcloud asking if they have permission to delete my data. I have emailed Justcloud asking for clarification.

    My question: Any idea your end how this whole thing is linked? Does Justcloud own Wave or have some business dealings with them that Wave users need to be mindful of? Appreciate if you have any information to offer. Thanks!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Johnstone,

    So far as I know, Wave Accounting is entirely unrelated to Justcloud.

    I’ve been on Wave’s mailing list for well over a year, and I’ve never seen anything from Justcloud, nor any indication that Wave shared that address with anyone else. My guess is Justcloud obtained your email address through an unrelated source. A quick Google search tells me several people have complained about spam from Justcloud. If you ever signed up for their mailing list, I’d suggest you unsubscribe. If you didn’t, just flag the messages as spam. Either way, nothing to do with Wave. =)

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Johnstone

    Hi Katherine,

    Thank you once again for the clarification. I will be mindful of Justcloud, yes, lots of spam from them and very threatening. Glad that they have nothing to do with Wave. The issue with invoicing and receipts seem to have been resolved. keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bruce

    Thank you for the in-depth review Katherine. I started using Peachtree 8 years ago because a friend used it. I never researched other options, until now. Peachtree changed to Sage 50 and my costs have soared from about $500/year to nearly $1000/year, as they changed the way they provide the base product. I used to be able to update the core program every 3 years and just purchase payroll updates for up to 3 years, but now you have to get the whole enchilada every year. So I’m considering an alternative, and both Wave and Zero caught my attention. I currently have 6 employees, and Zero’s cut off for their low cost option is 5 employees – so they’re out for now. My business is a self-serve laundromat, but I do some retail over-the-counter business and my machines have credit/debit card readers as an alternative to cash (which is really popular). So my needs are basic. Record deposits and expenses, payroll and associated tax liabilities, and P & L statements for my bank. Are those what are considered “basic accounting needs”? Can I simply stop with Sage 50 and pick up with Wave, or am I wise to run them concurrently until my Sage contract is up to see if Wave will do what I need? I hate to make a switch and be left out in the cold with problems! Are there ways to transfer basic data from one program to another mid-year, if I do switch? Thanks much!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Bruce,

    Due to the need for payroll, I’d put your business just a notch above “basic accounting needs”–but Wave might be able to serve the purpose for you even so. I would suggest running concurrently for at least two months before dropping Sage 50. Let’s put it this way: if Wave doesn’t work out, will it be worth the extra $200 or so not to have any hassles in switching back? For most businesses, this would be a hands-down yes.

    Unfortunately, in terms of data transfer, there’s not a nice, single-step import feature in Wave. You’ll have to import data in separate csv documents. If you need to import a contact list (vendors, for instance), that’s a bit of a pain, as Wave doesn’t have any quick way to do it. You’ll have to reenter the data one piece at a time. However, my guess is you don’t have a ton of venders, so that’s probably not a deal-breaker. Starting midyear is not a problem. If you haven’t already, check out Wave’s step-by-step guide to switching from other accounting software (they refer to QB, but the same principles will apply to Sage 50.)

    Good luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ted

    Katherine, this is an amazing review. Finally I found the author in the field of accounting for small business that knows the subject and knows and really cares about the needs of the customers. Your point about better tech support is taken and I will probably start with Xero even though it is not free. And finally, my question. Given that I don’t have a clue in accounting, what book you would recommend to master the basics? I am thinking about a solid, well-written and brief primer or a little bit more than primer. But “brief” is a key 🙂

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks! Glad this was helpful to you!

    I don’t have a go-to book for accounting; I learned it mostly through on-the-job(s) unofficial training over the years (e.g. “Oh, shoot! I need to do this now. What does that even mean? Guess I better figure it out!”)–a method which, while eventually effective, I do not recommend (as it tends to result in lots of early errors and needless tearing out of hair). I do, however, have some websites and articles which proved really helpful to me as I was figuring things out. I’ve also written some articles to help smooth the process for other people.

    Some starting points:
    The accounting section of MerchantMaverick’s blog. I would specifically recommend “What Is Double-Entry Bookkeeping?” which includes a basic rundown of how accounting works. It won’t get you to mastery of the basics, but it will get you to an understanding of the basics, and that’s a good place to start. There’s also “How To Choose Accounting Software” which I would highly recommend reading if you have any doubts at all about your software choice.

    After that, I’d recommend taking a look at some of the sites which offer free accounting lessons and info. AccountingCoach and AccountingTools are two I know of, and they both have a lot of helpful info, broken down into fairly digestible chunks. (Note: I’ve never done an exhaustive study of all the resources out there, so there may well be something better. Poke around, check out what’s available, and find a site that works for you.) Or if you prefer the feel of paper in your hands, check out the top sellers for beginners’ accounting books on Amazon, and you’ll likely find something useful. =)

    Best of luck to you!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ted

    Thank you, Katherine! I already completed several first chapters of Accounting Coach and looks like this is exactly what I needed. There is a lot of information there, it is well structured, illustrated by examples, supplemented by a dictionary of terms and is written in plain clear language. Perfect material for studying. I really appreciate your opinion and recommendation. Ted.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Audrey

    I would not recommend Wave. I tried to use it for payment processing and I have not been able to complete the transaction. My client paid by credit card and after not receiving a response from the “Wave Hero Support Team” and after sending countless emails I finally was provided a phone number. I obtained the phone number for payment processing after I had to buy into live chat. Live chat is something you have to pay for monthly and to be honest this is the only way you will get any help. Needless to say after calling and speaking to a person in Canada they still did not return the money to my client and I never received payment in my bank account. To add to the headache and embarrassment Wave did acknowledge an error in their system part but Wave has done NOTHING to fix this and it is now going on for weeks. I finally had my client file a dispute with her credit card company to try and retrieve her money for a large purchase that Wave has not processed and is holding captive. The question is would you recommend WAVE when large sums of money are floating out in space?

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    A lessio T rabelsi

    Im having the same issue right now. I have like 3k in suspended mode for some reason. After I had filled all required documents on their questionnaire. I urgently need my money and am thinking twice after reading about their slow customer service……..

    3

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    Robert M

    Be very careful before you fully commit your customer records and transactions. Wave allows you to create sub companies, you create a primary and then have the ability to create additional. We did this, then decided to remove one of the sub companies, we follow their posted protocols to the letter, removed a sub company and it removed our entire account.We lost everything, all our client payment histories, transactions, outstanding invoices could not be paid etc. Customer support was so frustrating, no phone avail. So here we are, our accounting completely wiped out and you cant call a single person for help, the email support was days behind. So your entire accounting system just got wiped out, and you have to wait 3 days for a returned email, then this email says “OK, how can we help you?”, you respond with the problem and then have to wait for 3 more days. Are you flippen kidding me? They swear I deleted it, but following their protocols it impossible to delete the primary account.OK, so we pull all nitghter looking for another tool, then another all nigher getting all our clients moved into the new system, then another all nighter recreating all our clients invoices, then another all nighter sending email and explaining to our clients why they cant pay their invoice on time.Epic Fail for reliable accounting system!We go round and round with them in email, of course waiting the 3 day window. Nothing! So after the all nighter and finding a better alternative. Then we get an email from support asking did we get all our questions answered. Holy flippen crap!!!So lesson learned, we went to Freshbooks. Much better system and yes you can make a phone call…

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Robert,

    So sorry to hear about your experience with Wave. Can you tell me what procedure you followed to remove the sub-company? I’ve tried to reproduce the problem without success (using the archive function)–but I’d like to look into it further, as the potential for that kind of data loss is (obviously) a serious issue.

    One note on Freshbooks (and I hate to be the bearer of bad news; sounds like you’ve had enough of that for awhile): It’s a great invoicing system, so if that’s all you need, you’re good to go. It is not, however, a full accounting system. I know–it’s often advertised as such, which is rather annoying. For an explanation of the difference (and for help figuring out whether it’s going to be an issue for your company), check out my blog article here.

    Best of luck! I hope FreshBooks works out for you!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Stephanie

    Katherine, Thank you for your honest and thorough review. I am attracted to Wave due to its price, however I am a bit hesitant towards the software being able to meet my company’s needs. I only have 2 employees (payroll is necessary) and provide services at a flat fee (per hour or per half hour), therefore I have no need for inventory. I also purchased the Clover POS system for transactions. Based on your experience and research, which accounting software would you recommend?Thank you, Stephanie

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Stephanie,

    Unfortunately, without knowing all the details of your situation, I can’t give you a definite recommendation; there are a lot of factors involved. If you want to integrate Clover POS with your accounting software, both Xero and Quickbooks Online offer that option; those are two of the programs I recommend most frequently. But so much depends on your exact situation and needs. I’d suggest you take a look at my article on how to choose accounting software to get a feel for some of the factors you might want to consider.

    If you’d like, I can do a more in-depth analysis of your needs and give you my best recommendation for your specific business. If this is something that you’re interested in, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll give you the details.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Beverley

    Thanks for the article. Does Wave integrate with Paypal, I’d like to use Paypal as an alternative to Stripe. Is that possible?

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Beverley,

    Unfortunately, Wave does not offer an integration with PayPal. It’s one of their most popular feature requests, though, and the more people who let Wave know they want it, the more likely it is to someday become a reality. Add your vote here.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kathy

    Thank you for the great information. My husband and I make halters and other Natural Horsemanship supplies. I have been doing my books manually and tend to wait until the week before taxes are due to even start so I am really in need of some help. We are very small and it is just the two of us and the revenue is small as we are just in the 3rd year of our operation. Almost all of our sales go through Etsy. Do you think this product would work for us?
    Thank you so much,
    Kathy

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Kathy,

    Yes, Wave might very well be a good choice for you. It’ll likely make things a lot easier than doing the books in spreadsheets (or in literal notebooks, for that matter), and while it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the paid programs, it’s really got a very nice feature set for a free product. It’ll likely have everything you need–there’s even an Etsy integration you can use, if you wish.

    If you want to track inventory, though, that’s one thing Wave won’t do for you–and something that will be important around tax time. If that’s the case, I’d recommend you take a look at FreeAgent or Zoho Books. Both are *excellent* programs for small businesses, and they’ll let you automatically track cost of goods sold/inventory supplies purchased/inventory valuation, etc.

    Good luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bonni

    Thanks for your great article Katherine!

    I know I’m posting this a little late but I’m pulling my hair out with trying to find very simple software to keep track of all my different freelance work. I’d like something that I can easily add expenses and indicate tax for write-offs within categories as well as freelance income because I tend to throw it all in a shoebox and leave everything to the last minute (like my post right now).

    Wave seems interesting but it feels a bit weird putting all that personal information on a free site (although the other “pay” options are too expensive and seem like over-kill for my needs). I’m on a Mac too so I’m sure I have even fewer options.

    Thank you for your time!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Bonni,

    Being on a Mac shouldn’t limit your options if you’re looking at cloud-based accounting software–since the software is online, you can access it through any major browser.

    I wouldn’t worry about Wave’s security–the site may be free, but it uses industry standard security practices. If you compare the “Security” section of Wave’s review with paid accounting programs, you’ll notice it’s quite similar.

    If you have other concerns about Wave or want a more robust program, check out FreeAgent, Xero, Zoho Books, and QuickBooks Online. If you send out an average of 5 invoices/month or less, Xero’s Starter plan might be a good fit for you–at only $9/month, it’s one of the cheapest options out there, and the software is some of the best I’ve seen.

    You can also check out my article on how to choose accounting software here.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JR

    Katherine,
    Great review. Thanks for the information. I’m still struggling with finding the right system for a small business that I run. I am a music evangelist and 100% of what I do is on a cash basis – checks from churches and venues I perform/minister as well as envelopes of cash from product sales, i.e. CD’s, Tshirts, etc. I also have a small concert promotion company that is also a cash-based business.

    What I’m needing is an online system that is not driven by invoices needing to be created – I don’t need to create MORE work for myself. I also need something that allows me to categorize expenses by either company or personal expense; something that allows me to track expenses via capturing receipt images, etc. Any suggestions?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi JR,

    Wave might actually be a great system for you. While they support sending invoices, etc., you wouldn’t need to use that feature. Instead, I’d recommend you link your bank account, and then categorize transactions accordingly. The one thing that will be important for you here is to keep track of specific deposits to your bank. So say you sell 10 t-shirts for $10 each (all cash), and deposit $100 cash to your bank. In Wave, you can look over your bank statement, find that $100 deposit, and categorize it as “Sales.” You can also split transactions, if you deposit money from different income sources at the same time. (Though I only recommend that if you keep excellent records–otherwise, you’re liable to find yourself staring at a $500 deposit trying to remember how the breakdown went. How much was sales? How much was personal? Etc.)

    You can easily move transactions from any bank account to a different business or to your personal account, thus giving you the company/personal financial tracking you need. And Wave has a free app allowing you to photograph receipt images (though it doesn’t always transcribe them accurately, so you will want to double check that the numbers are right before confirming the entry).

    Other accounting programs would likely meet your needs as well, but for what you’re describing, Wave is probably your best/cheapest option–especially since you have multiple businesses. (It’s also the only one that will let you handle your personal accounting in the same program.) If you’re not fond of it or if you figure out it’s lacking a feature you need, then check out FreeAgent, Zoho Books, Xero, and QuickBooks Online. For Receipt entry, you may want an app like Receipt Bank or something similar–check program integrations for details.

    Best of luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lisa Croff

    I really like Wave. It simplifies the way I organize my expenses. I have only one complaint. I really, really wish there was a way to export directly to TurboTax. I would be willing to pay $ in order to have that feature. I wonder if it is in the works.

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Lisa,

    I don’t believe it’s on Wave’s roadmap right now, but I’d advise adding your vote and comments to the TurboTax feature request here. While it doesn’t guarantee that the feature will be added, it is a way to let the developers know what you want to see–and they do pay attention to that input.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bill

    Protection of User names and Passwords to banking information are essential to security. “Never give these out to anyone,” is a mantra of IT pros. Wave uses bank information to import cash transactions into the accounting software. How safe & secure is Wave’s protection of banking information?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Bill,

    Wave Accounting itself uses the same level of encryption you’d expect to see from a bank’s website. I’m guessing you’re specifically referring to live feeds–Wave, like most accounting programs, uses Yodlee to obtain those feeds. Yodlee is a data-scraping service, and it seems to work well on the whole. The evidence indicates it’s well-secured; so far as I know, there’s never been a problem with people gaining unauthorized access. However, if they did, there’s not any sort of fraud protection safety net like there is with many credit cards–in other words, neither Yodlee nor your bank would reimburse you for the loss. (Depending on your bank’s terms of service, which is why I encourage you to check them. Some banks might cover losses under those circumstances.)

    However, this is going to be an issue with any accounting program that uses live feeds–not just with Wave. If you’re not comfortable giving your banking info out for the purpose of live feeds, the solution is easy: don’t use them. You can still use Wave or any other accounting software just fine–just manually import your bank statements.

    Hope that helps!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Paul W.

    Hi Katherine

    Which of these would be the most affordable option that will work with Turbo Tax?

    Paul W.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    James Walters

    Sorry but I went running to Quick Books Self-Employed. I loved Wave Apps until I sent my third invoice to a client. Somehow, the pay by credit card feature was “turned on”. I NEVER selected that option nor signed up for it. WAVE referred me to Stripe. Stripe referred me to WAVE. Stripe takes 7 days to get the money to you the first time you receive a credit card payment. I swear they must be routing the funds via every continent on this earth. Basically, no one wants to accept responsibility for this glitch in their system and now Stripe is charging me $11 fee on a $400 sale. Just crazy! No thank you. I’m closing my account with WAVE APPS. I cannot recommend.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi James,

    Thanks for posting about your experience–I’m sorry to hear it went so badly. I haven’t heard from anyone else yet about the pay by credit card feature being turned on automatically; generally, you need to click two buttons to make that happen (the second of which is on a screen explaining the 7-day-for-first-payment policy). I’ll keep an ear out for other people encountering the problem in case there’s a bug in the program, though.

    In any case, you would have had to provide Stripe with your banking info to facilitate the transfer–had you refused to do so, I can’t see how they could have charged a fee. Did you try that approach? Just curious as to exactly what happened here, so we can help others avoid the same issue in the future.

    So far as I’m aware, QuickBooks Self-Employed doesn’t give you the ability to send unlimited invoices. If you’re looking for an invoicing solution as well, feel free to check out our invoicing software reviews, and let me know if you run into any questions. I hope QBSE works out well for you!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Greg

    Katherine, I cannot find out from the material if this program allows the user to customize the items used for organizing costs and payments. Thanks…g

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Greg,

    I’m a little unclear as to what you’re asking. If you mean the expense and income categories, yes, you can customize them and create your own. Click the “Accounting” tab and you’ll see your chart of accounts. Each account (otherwise termed a “category” for our purposes) has an option to edit or delete on the right-hand side. There’s also a button at the upper right (“Add an Account”) which you can use to create new categories.

    Does that help?

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Walt Thiessen

    Nice review, Katherine. I’m wondering if Wave does any integrations with Ebay, Amazon Seller Central, or other online sites for sellers. What can you tell me about these?

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Walt,

    Unfortunately, the list of integrations and add-ons in the review is all-inclusive (unless they’ve added something since my last update). So while there is an Etsy integration, there isn’t yet one for eBay. If you sell on eBay or Amazon, your best option is to download your sales data in a supported format (for instance csv), then upload it to Wave. That way, you don’t have to enter all the transactions manually.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Wylie

    Hi Katherine!! I have a couple questions for you. What are the transaction limits if any? Is there a dollar amount per transaction or per month? Also when you say the service is free does that mean they don’t take a percentage of your transaction? I look forward to your response

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Wylie,

    Wave is free. There are no transaction limits and they won’t charge you any kind of monthly fee or fee per transaction. If you choose to use Stripe to accept payments from your customers online, then you will need to pay Stripe’s fees, but you won’t pay anything for Wave Accounting itself.

    I hope that is helpful; let me know if you have any more questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Blake

    I tried their “use a credit card” feature with a client . They sent me the communication that it had been paid for in full (almost $1000.00) , that was SIX days ago , and the funds still have not appeared in my bank account . I won’t be doing that again .

    3

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    Angela Funk

    Katherine,Your review is very helpful. We are just setting up our accounting for a new business. I have had a lot of trouble just trying to get our logo onto the invoice. I have reduced it in size so it meets the specifications indicated, but no luck. Any suggestions?Thanks,Angela

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Angela,

    My apologies for the delayed response! If you’re still having problems, let me know what file format you’re using and what exactly happens when you try to upload it, and I’ll tell you if I have any ideas for a fix.

    Thanks,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Abhishek

    Hi, Awesome review. For startups which are just beginning would you recommend to go with quick books or wave or any other?

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Abhishek,

    That’s a tough one, because which program I’d recommend depends a lot on the company. Wave will be great for some; QBO for others, Xero or Zoho Books for still others. The tricky thing with accounting software is that there’s no “one size fits all” solution that is best for all companies–even all small companies. Your best solution will vary depending on your organization’s size, planned expansion (if any), and what features you need.

    I’d suggest taking a look at this blog article for some help in narrowing down the field a bit. We also offer consultation services to help you find software which is a perfect fit for your specific needs–if that’s something you’re interested in, please contact us for the details!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    taneal bhandari

    Great review! I’m giving it a shot right now hoping that I don’t need to move up to QuickBooks (or something similar). I’m curious as to where I generate the info that I would then send to my accountant for tax purposes. I’m looking at their “Reports” section, but none of the reports seem to include “Category” (which I assumed the accountant would need). Under “Accounting settings”, the “Export” feature doesn’t seem to provide this information in any of its reports either. I assume that the “Category” field would be important to be included for tax purposes, right, or am I missing something?

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Taneal,

    Take a look at your general ledger. You’ll see all income and expenses broken down by account/category there. (At the top, you’ll see your bank accounts. Scroll down and you’ll see your other accounts, like for instance “Sales,” “Office Expenses,” “Vehicle-Repairs and Maintenance,” etc.) Wave should provide all the reports your accountant will need.

    Make sense? Feel free to ask if you have more questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kelly

    Am I able to track “Location” expenses?
    We have a small Family Business where we rent out Office Space to various businesses and I need to track the income and expenses incurred from each individual office.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Kelly,

    Sorry–that’s a fairly advanced feature and I don’t think Wave can track those separately for you (unless you tracked them all as separate businesses, but my guess would be you don’t want to do that). Xero and QBO Plus both offer location tracking which would meet your needs.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andrew Morris

    Thanks for the informative review – I am going to try Wave and hope to abandon Quickbooks.All I need from accounting software is the ability to generate invoices and track income and expenses. Everything I’ve done accounting wise over the past years has been on a cash basis and not on an accrual basis.Since Wave only offers Accrual basis accounting I am hoping you might have some advice on how best to compensate so I can continue on a cash basis. I am hoping that Accrual based accounting only will not be a show stopper for me with Wave.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Andrew,

    You can use a workaround to handle your year-end reporting for tax purposes. Here’s a link. Read through the whole thing, see if it makes sense to you, and of course, ask if you have any more questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kenn

    Hi Katherine, I was wondering if Wave allows for different invoices? My business as a videographer spans different business types so the name changes. Corporate is one, Non-Profit another, Wedding Industry the third. So for each invoice the company name changes though all write checks out to my name. Does that make sense? Can I have 3 different invoices each with a different logo?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Kenn,

    Depends how you handle your accounting. If you run each business type as a separate business, it’s easy. You’ll just need to set them up as separate businesses in Wave. Check out this article for the details.

    If you run them as a single business and don’t want to separate the accounts, that’s trickier. You can, of course, customize each invoice as you go, but that’s time-consuming. If you issue invoices all at once each month or so, it’s certainly doable; if you issue 10 a week, it’ll be a problem. If you need to have 3 different default invoice templates available for one business, I’d suggest you look into some of the paid accounting options. I can tell you offhand that Xero allows you to save up to 10 default invoices, and I’m pretty sure most of the other major programs offer a similar feature.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sebastian D'Souza

    How do you create a general ledger report in wave accounting which includes the opening and closing balances. When reports are created through the dashboard reports only the transactions for the period are included in the general ledger without the opening balances. Would appreciate your response.

    Thanks

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Sebastian,

    Did you try clicking “Show Detailed Report” when viewing the general ledger summary in Wave? I’m seeing Starting Balance entries there.

    Or are you looking for a number equaling the total value of accounts at the start and end of a given period? If that’s the case, check out the Balance Sheet and Trial Balance Reports–that’s where you’ll find what you need.

    Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ralph Santos

    Katherine,I read the article and all of the responses and I was able to get a lot of insight on Wave. We currently use Quickbooks and it has worked for us for the past 10 years. We are considering the on-line version of Quickbooks but we are on the fence based on price as well as the number of choices out there on the marketplace. We will be looking at XERO and Free Agency, thanks to your replies. Note: We only process 1-2 W-2s/Year and around 50-60 1099s/Year. My first question would be on on-line 1099 portals. We found one company, Track1099, but would you recommend them or others for this function.Next, would you happen to have any suggestions on credit card portals to include fair rates, being able to accept ACH and definitely having a HTML or other means of placing their service on our website? I have looked at Bank of America, with GoDaddy, Square, and a few others. My Five Stars are for the concise and so informative article!Thanks!Ralph

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Ralph,

    Sorry for the delayed response, and happy holidays! In answer to your questions:

    1) 1099 programs: Track1099 is one of the better-known ones, but as I haven’t tested separate 1099 programs (just the 1099 functions included in accounting software), I can’t give you a firsthand recommendation. I’d suggest you decide on the accounting program first, then check its 1099 integrations and choose your 1099 program accordingly. (Some programs play well together; others do not — look for an integration that works well with the accounting program you like.)

    2) Credit card portals: Check out the Merchant Account Reviews section of our site for in-depth reviews and suggestions. (You can see a comparison chart of our top picks here.)

    Finally, as you’re checking out accounting software, you might find this guide helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    TAOFIQ ABD-AZIZ

    Great review. 5 star rated. I need your review of data retrieval from backup/ archive in case i dump wave, xero etc for another more capable program. Thank u.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Toafiq,

    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. If you’re referring to downloading all your data out of Wave (or any other program), search the review of that program (Ctrl-F) for the word “export.” Usually you’ll find an “Import/Export” entry in the features section that tells you the details of getting your data out of a program. Both Wave and Xero make it very easy to download any data you want to get out, if you’re switching programs.

    If that answers your question, great! If by “backup/archive” you meant getting access to an old version of your data (say for instance, the 1/1/2014 version of your account, not including all the time since then), most cloud-based programs won’t allow you to do that. A few will do it for a fee. However, since you can download data from the programs at any time, you can keep your own backups for each quarter, if you wish. There’s no reason most people would need to do that, but if you’re worried about an employee accidentally messing up old entries in your cloud accounting system, it’s not a bad option.

    If you still have questions, let me know!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    olaf

    Hi Katherine. Thx for your excellent reviews. I’m trialling Wave now. Could you suggest any other software (free or paid) which also integrates personal and business accounting? Appreciate your advice 🙂

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Olaf,

    Most cloud-based programs only do one or the other, unfortunately. So far as I know, Wave is your only option on that score. Xero used to offer personal accounting, but they scrapped that recently (not enough demand to justify the cost of providing it).

    Cheers!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ana Orwel

    Very well-written article, Kath !! It took a lot of time to prepare detailed review. I have some of my clients from micro-business or freelancers so I am suggesting them to use Wave because it almost satisfy all their requirements except one or two but we can manage them on our own.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    martyn

    Hi,I am a freelancer who works with many clients in different areas (over 100). I’m paid by check/cash/paypal/chase quickpay. I work by myself but sometimes employ one or two other people on a project. Most of the clients are one off but many are also repeat.I use Ibank to keep track of my accounts, but would like a program to send invoices and keep track of them.Thanks!M.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Martyn,

    Your most efficient route is likely going to be either using the same program to manage invoices and accounting or using a program that will sync with your current application. So far as I know, iBank is for personal account management (rather than business), so you may have some trouble finding invoicing integrations for it.

    If you just want invoicing software, no integrations, no accounting, then check out our invoicing software reviews here.

    Why the one star review? Have you tried Wave? If so, what didn’t you like?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andrew Dykers

    Dear Katherine Miller,
    I stumbled across MerchantMaverick while looking for a replacement for Quicken. Your site has been very helpful. I have decided to try Wave Accounting based on your revue. And also based on your guidance on how to chose. Thank you.
    I have two current problems, both unusual, which you may find interesting. First, my computer with ten years of Quicken data on it, is being held hostage by a computer repairman who is demanding money for its return. Does Quicken or Intuit (I use TurboTax) have any records of mine that I can recover? Of course I have tried to ask them, but from ten years experience I do not expect a reply.
    Second question: I started signing up with Wave. First step entering my email address. At which point I was called away. Next day I started again, only to be told that my email address had been taken so I must use another. Checkmate! I have contacted Wave, but as you pointed out they are slow to answer and there is nothing in their FAQ’s about this. Any ideas, or should I choose another program?
    My apologies for imposing, but I am stumped.

    Andrew Dykers

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m glad the reviews and articles here have been helpful to you!

    Unfortunately, it sounds like you were using locally installed software, which means Intuit won’t have the data you need. It would have been stored directly on your computer, unless you used a cloud-based backup service. (I believe Quicken offers such a service, so if that sounds familiar, then check with them to find out for sure.) You can get past tax returns directly from the IRS.

    Your best bet is to try to get the records back from your own computer, if you can. If the computer repairman wants more than you’re willing to pay, you might want to see if he’d agree to give you just the hard drive. That’s where your data is. Not knowing the precise situation, of course, I don’t know what your odds are with that.

    In the future, I’d recommend keeping a backup copy of all your data on a separate, external hard drive. These days they’re pretty cheap, and all it takes is one incident like this for them to be worth every penny.

    As for Wave: Try going to the Wave Home Page, then click “Sign in.” Click “Forgot your password?” and enter your email address where instructed. See if that works.

    If it doesn’t, I’d recommend you either sign up using another email address. You can always later swap your account to your main email address by following the instructions here.

    Good luck! Feel free to ask if you run into any other questions!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Shirley

    Hi Katherine,
    Wonder what I should use. I hate hate hate doing accounting stuff. I don’t mind plugging in the numbers and pulling up charts and stuff. I want it done for me. I want to create things and sell things and enjoy my business. I have 0 employees and I’m trying to start a business. I tried using excel but, I feel like I need to be an accountant to do that. Even the directions are useless to me. Don’t get it. So as you can see book keeping stuff is so not my strong suit. Can u please advise.
    Thank You Shirl

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Shirl,

    I wish I could give you a simple answer, but the truth is, there’s not one across-the-board “best” program for all small businesses in the situation you describe. Depending on the type of business you’re starting and your needs/budget, Wave or FreeAgent might be a good choice for you. If you have needs which neither of those programs meets, check out Xero, Zoho Books, and/or QuickBooks Online.

    Just today I posted a step-by-step guide to choosing accounting software. Have a look and see if that helps. And if the article raises other questions, feel free to get in touch!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    matt

    Thanks for the review! What does a company do when they tip over the ten employee mark? Let’s say 20 employees. Is it time to switch to Quickbooks? If so, how is the migration?

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Matt,

    At 20 employees, you’ll probably be outgrowing Wave … though if you’re using it and happy with it, there’s certainly no rule that says you have to switch. Wave has an export function that should allow you to get all your data out pretty painlessly. Getting it into a new program will likely take a bit longer, but it shouldn’t be too onerous. Many programs have step-by-step walkthroughs available to help you with the transition.

    As for which program is best, it really depends on your business and your needs. If you plan to stay with cloud-based accounting, I’m slightly more likely to recommend Xero than QuickBooks Online (due to better customer service, a more intuitive interface, and the fact that Intuit still hasn’t got all the kinks out of their new edition). But it all depends what features you need. Both programs offer some features the other doesn’t. And depending on your situation, Zoho Books might be the best fit. All are good programs.

    If you want more functions than any of these options offer, then you’re probably looking at locally installed software, most likely either QuickBooks or Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree).

    If you’d like, I can do a more in-depth analysis of your needs and give you my best recommendation for your business. If this is something that you’re interested in, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll give you the details!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Rich

    See previous comment. Looks like I forgot to rate it. 5 Stars please.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Rich

    5 stars for the app and the review. I just switched from PC based Peachtree to Wave so I can run my business from my Chromebook. Wave does not have all of the features of Peachtree – but all I really need to do is invoice and related/simple bookkeeping. I don’t think you can ask for more given the 0$ price tag.I DO wish they had the option of Cash based instead of Accrual, but I can fake it with a couple of journal entries. I think I read somewhere they are looking at adding Cash based.Rich

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    shane

    Excellent review. As a photographer I’m looking for something that requires minimal time from me since I’m not an accountant but can show me the health of my business at a glance. I’ll be reading your other reviews. Thank you for putting these together.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Shane,

    So glad the Wave review was helpful to you! I noticed you left a 5-star rating: was that in reference to Wave itself, or the review? From your comment I wasn’t quite sure, since you mention that you’re currently looking for software.

    I wish you the best of luck with finding the best software for your business; if you run into questions along the way, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    David Markowski

    Katherine,I currently work at an accounting firm with the majority of our clients being small business owners. We are transitioning some of these clients from QuickBooks over to Wave for a few reasons, including the Invoicing feature, the automatic entry of transactions instead of manual entry, and the ease of use for those who haven’t taken an accounting course/struggle with the terms or concepts. Do you think it would be a good fit for these clients? Our initial thoughts were that it was a great program for them, but some issues we encountered so far have been the bank information not completely transferring over and it being titled incorrectly, the lack of support from Wave (phone number, mainly), and smaller issues such as balancing, closing periods and bank reconciliations. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi David,

    Good question! A lot depends on your clients’ sizes, needs, and budgets. There’s a lot I like about Wave, and you can’t beat its price tag, but I’ve noticed the issues with bank information transfer problems and lack of immediate support.

    Have you looked at Xero? It’s one of my favorite programs out there when it comes to blending ease of use with solid functionality. While Xero doesn’t offer phone support, the company offers extraordinarily prompt e-mail support, often within the hour. I’ve found I actually get faster response times from them than from Quickbooks – and I don’t need to spend the intervening interval listening to hold music.

    FreeAgent is another one worth looking at if your clients are very small businesses (that program is ideal for businesses with 1-10 employees).

    I hope that’s helpful! Good luck!

    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Greg Filak

    I hope none of the clients you are transitioning to Wave ever needs to send a customer statement or issue a customer a credit because they can’t. Wave has gaping holes in its usefulness as an accounting program and the fact that you can’t create customer statement or issue a customer credit are just an example of two. People in their forums have been requesting these features for years. This is not an exaggeration. There are several threads in their help section that have been running since 2011 or 2012 and are now closed to further comments because people are tired of hearing the “it’s on the roadmap” platitudes. Do your clients a favor and send them in the direction of software that they can grow with.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Update (9/13/2014): As of 9/9/2014, Wave has added a customer statements feature. Credit notes still have under 100 votes in the feature request forum, so it’s unlikely Wave will put time or resources into their development in the near future.

    Original response (8/21/2014): Greg is correct; Wave doesn’t provide either customer statements or a credit note feature. Statements are marked as in the planning stages; credit notes are not (probably because they are one of the less requested features, with under 100 votes in the feature request forum). And features on the roadmap can spend a very long time in development before they’re actually released. If your clients need these two features (or any of the others Wave doesn’t offer), naturally Wave won’t be a good choice for them. For some small companies and freelancers, the cost savings will be worth it; for others, they definitely won’t be.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    mark palace

    great review! would you recommend wave over quick books? thanks, mark

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Mark,

    It really depends what your company needs. Wave has far fewer features than Quickbooks Online – and both have fewer than locally installed versions of Quickbooks. That said, if Wave has all the features you need and you’re tight on funds, I’d advise giving it a try. For free software, it’s got a surprising number of capabilities, and it’s based on sound accounting principles. So the quick answer is that given the choice between the two, for some companies I’d select Wave, and for others I’d select Quickbooks. Quickbooks would win out most of the time for medium to large-size companies, but Wave would win out for many independent contractors and micro-businesses. (Of course, there are other good options which might be an even better fit for many companies: Xero and FreeAgent, for instance.) If you’d like, I can do a more in-depth analysis of your needs and give you my best recommendation for your business. If this is something that you’re interested in, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll give you the details.

    Cheers,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Mike Block CPA

    I was once a Wave user and consultant. Its limits were many, support was bad and credits card processing was often impossible. The Chelsea Krause 4.5 star rating is very misleading without an equally prominent user rating, which is around 2.0 stars. I will compile this rating exactly on request. This big difference, coupled with many excellent reasons, should make any reviewer correct their rating.

    1
    Chelsea Krause

    Hi Mike,

    In my experience, Wave’s customer support has always been prompt and incredibly helpful. Additionally, if you look at the Positive Reviews and Testimonials section of our review, you’ll see that Wave receives high average customer ratings and many positive customer reviews. Please read about how this site makes money to better understand how Merchant Maverick delivers real, unbiased reviews to our readers.

    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Krause

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