Accounting Software Reviews

Wave Accounting Review

Wave Accounting was created as a cloud-based accounting solution for small businesses and freelancers. They offered one of the most robust programs all for free - setting them quickly apart from the rest. #accounting #business #smallbusiness #businessfinance #review

There is nothing less expensive than free. Wave is a free accounting software for small businesses that offer a ...

Wave Accounting Introduction

Wave Accounting was created as a cloud-based accounting solution for small businesses and freelancers. They offered one of the most robust programs all for free – setting them quickly apart from the rest. While they are excellent, they are limited and are ideal only for companies with nine or less employees. But, if you are a small business looking for an accounting solution or want to try something without spending a fortune, Wave may be the solution you’ve been looking for.

A cloud-based accounting program for small businesses with 100 percent free, secure software.

  • Free small business accounting
  • Mobile app
  • Payments
  • Payroll options
  • User-friendly interface
  • Limited to small businesses
  • Extra cost for some services
  • Limited features with free version

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Scoring and Rating

Accounting and Business Tasks: (Rating: 9/10)

Wave’s basic accounting program, which is cloud-based, does offer what most small business owners are looking for. You can create invoices, track payments due, and even login to your bank accounts to download transactions and sync them with your expenses on Wave. You can also track expenses and add vendors as part of the free service.

Everything is stored online using their encryption. Wave does not offer tax preparation services – even for their upgrades. To make payments to others, you will also need to upgrade.

Report Options with Wave Accounting

The basic, free version is considered a “light” accounting program, but you will still have basic accounting reports (such as balance sheets, A/P and A/R, etc.). You can upgrade to add on payroll services, collect credit card payments, etc.

Connect Your Banks to Wave Accounting

You can sync your bank account online – including PayPal – to automatically download and categorize business expenses for faster inputting.

Invoicing: (Rating: 9/10)

Wave's Customized Invoices

Invoicing is rather simplified, but in a good way. You can create your own customized invoices on Wave – including uploading your logo. Invoices are sent via email, but you have the option to print and send them from your office as well.

Recurring Invoices with Wave Accounting

You can also schedule recurring invoices with Wave, which is a nice feature.

To accept payments, you will need to upgrade your account. The pricing is per transaction charged and averages 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. You can, however, have customers pay via PayPal, but not through Wave.

Convert Estimates to Invoices in Wave

Estimates can be converted into invoices and Wave does now feature recurring invoicing for clients you bill on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. You can input the tax rates for your invoices, but you will have to manually indicate which one you need when creating an invoice. Multi-currency payments are accepted on the site and if you opt to process payments through Wave, you will be charged the extra per transaction fee for collecting those payments and converting them into your own currency.

Management: (Rating: 5/10)

Adding Bills to Wave

Management is where Wave lacks, but for a free software, there has to be some areas that were left alone. Wave does allow you to add as many vendors as you wish and track payments to them, but you cannot manage their invoices, purchase orders or pay them via the service.

Also, you cannot manage projects or inventory via Wave.

If you have employees, there is no time-tracking app. They do offer payroll services, but these are offered at an increased price.

You can integrate Wave into your POS or ecommerce system, as long as it is supported. If you have a developer, you can use the API to create your own integration via Wave.

Ease of Use: (Rating: 7/10)

Wave is fairly easy to use – even for those not familiar with business accounting. They have tutorials and guides and when you first use the program, you are walked through a mini tutorial as well. The interface doesn’t require expert level experience, though you may find a few glitches and issues with bank transactions.

When having bank transactions automatically sync, they may double up and if you are synching transactions from third parties like PayPal, you may notice the PayPal fees don’t transfer over – which means you have to manually input. I found that most of my fees never transferred and then payments would show up twice – almost complicating things and making it less convenient and more of a hassle. In fact, the only way I could make Wave be productive for me was if I manually input everything – and what’s the point after that?

Access: (Rating: 10/10)

Because it is cloud-based, you can access Wave from just about any type of device and operating system. Also, they offer an app on the Apple Store as well as Google Play and the app features everything as the web as well as receipt capture and invoicing. The cloud-based aspect ensures that your data is always stored online – regardless if your computer is lost or stolen.

Taxes: (Rating: 5/10)

There is little help when it comes to taxes on Wave – unless keeping everything organized is what you need. You can organize and store receipts, which will help, but they don’t offer tax preparation services or filing.

If you upgrade to the payroll option, they will prepare 1099s and W2s as well as tax liabilities, but they will not file payroll taxes for your company.

You can have an accountant access, but not the same as other accounting software. Instead, you would have to create a login for them or download and email the file.

Pricing: (Rating: 9/10)

Wave’s basic accounting program is $0 and remains $0 long after you have started. There are no trial fees or introductory rates.

You can also upgrade to other services. For example, payroll services will cost a base fee of $15 per month and then each employee will cost $4. The more employees you add, the more the discount on each employee will be. For example, a company of 16 employees will pay $67 per month for payroll.

To process credit card payments through Wave, you will pay 2.9% plus $0.30 for each transaction as long as it is in USD. Other currencies will have higher processing rates.

Customer Service: (Rating: 8/10)

Support is a little difficult with Wave. While they have live chat and phone support, they don’t make it easy to find that information. You can submit a ticket request online, which is usually responded to within 24 to 48 hours.

They do have forums and guides online as well as commonly asked and answered questions. These may be helpful if you have a specific issue you need addressed.

Wave Accounting currently has a B+ rating with the BBB, which we found odd considering they are a free service. The reason for the lowered rating is that they have had multiple complaints regarding billing and/or their products and services. Specifically these issues tend to focus on the credit card processing, invoicing products, and transferring funds for credit card payments.

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Wave Accounting Specifications



Regular Pricing(after intro): Free

Introductory Pricing: Free

Free Trial: None

Score Based out of Total of 10

# of Users Per Account

Not Specified

# of Clients/Customers


# of Invoices



Basic Accounting Features

Customized Invoices

Expense Tracking

Estimates or Quotes

Converts Estimates to Invoices

Managing Bills and Paying Bills

Managing Vendors

Credit Card/Paypal Processing: Added Fee

# of Built in Reports: not specified




Prints Payroll Checks or Process Electronically

Can e-file or Manually File Payroll Taxes

Platforms Supported

All (Cloud Based)


Mobile Invoicing

Mobile Expense Tracking

Receipt Capture via Mobile Phone

iOS App

Android App

Help and Support



Live Chat

Online Tutorials


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What Type of Business Could Use This Software?

While Wave does offer services that can accommodate larger companies, they are really only ideal for small businesses with less than 10 employees. Their cost for payroll can be too much for some small businesses and their lack of robust accounting features may make it difficult for companies with retail backgrounds or inventory to effectively use the product. They do have some nice features, but overall, it’s more of a self-employed or very small business type of program.

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Wave Accounting Pricing

Base Wave Accounting: Free except for the cost of processing credit card transactions via their site – if you choose to do so.

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What We Like About Wave Accounting

Truly Free: Yes, some programs out there say they are “free”, but then they limit you on how many invoices you can send, users you can add, etc. Wave Accounting truly is free. You don’t pay unless you need something like payroll or credit card processing. This can be helpful for companies that aren’t quite sure what they need, but need to track expenses.

Business and Personal Separated: Wave is also ideal for those that need to separate their business from personal expenses – and you can even manage both personal and business finances in the same program if you want.

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What We Don't Like About Wave Accounting

High Price for Payroll: If you do choose to add payroll to your Wave Accounting you will pay steep prices for the service – and by then you might as well pay for a service that does payroll but also offers more robust accounting features.

Limited Tax Assistance: Wave Accounting is free; therefore, they have to make up for it somewhere. That being said, they have limited info when it comes to taxes and this could be a problem for some. There’s no Schedule C, no estimated tax payments or ability to file or prepare taxes.

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Review Summary

7.8 Total Score
Free, simple accounting

You don't have to pay a lot for accounting - and Wave proves that. With Wave Accounting you enjoy free lifetime accounting, invoicing and more.

Accounting and Business Tasks
Ease of Use
Customer Service
  • Free small business accounting
  • Mobile app
  • Payments
  • Payroll options
  • User-friendly interface
  • Limited to small businesses
  • Extra cost for some services
  • Limited features with free version

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Wave Accounting Offers

There is nothing less expensive than free. Wave is a free accounting software for small businesses that offer a ...

Shailynn is a word slinger, chef, Pinterest addict and adult coloring book collector. As our Operations Manager and Senior Researcher/Editor, you will find Shailynn busy finding new companies and topics to research, but also handling the crazy day-to-day on the backend – and by crazy…we mean all of us. She attended the International Culinary Institute, where she studied pastry arts and she worked as an executive pastry chef before hanging up her chef’s hat and decided to work from home as a writer. She is a fanatic for a great cup of coffee or wonderful glass of wine! Shailynn is a mother of three and married to a handsome firefighter.

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