Wave is free cloud-based accounting software that helps you track profit and expenses, create and send unlimited invoices, scan receipts, and more. Its features include unlimited income and expense tracking, recurring billing, and a mobile app. Its core features are free to use, and it’s best for service-based businesses that need free accounting software as well as freelancers who need to send invoices and manage their billing from anywhere.
Wave Pros and Cons
Core features are free to use
Retainer billing is cumbersome
Documentation fields are limited
Responsive and reliable customer service
Who Wave Is Best For
- Service-based businesses that need a free accounting software: Wave lets service providers create and send as many invoices as they want, keep their income and expenses organized, and scan unlimited receipts for free, helping them reduce overhead costs.
- Freelancers who need to send invoices and manage billing from anywhere: Its mobile app enables you to send invoices on the go and get instant access to your finances using your iOS and Android devices.
Wave’s accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning services are completely free to use. It only charges fees for the following transactions: credit card payments (2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for most cards), bank payments (1% per transaction), and payroll (starts at $20 per month).
Accounting, Invoicing, and Receipt Scanning
Credit Card Payments
2.9% + 30 cents per transaction (for most cards)
3.4% + 30 cents (for American Express)
$1 per transaction
Starts at $79 per month
Starts at $20/month (Self-Service States)
Starts at $35/month (Tax Service States)
Last updated on 05/20/2020
*Please note that bank payments have a minimum transaction fee of $1.
You may use Wave’s accounting, invoicing, and receipts scanning features for free. You are given access to functionalities, like unlimited income and expense tracking, sales tax tracking, unlimited invoicing, unlimited receipt scanning, and more.
Wave offers two state-based options: tax service states and self-service states.
Tax Service States
Users based in the tax service states—Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin—receive automation tax payment transfer and tax filing assistance from Wave. Add-ons include the following: +$6 per active employee and +$6 per independent contractor paid.
Meanwhile, if you are based in any of the other 36 self-service states, you will have to do the payment and tax filing by yourself. You may also purchase the add-ons available in the tax service states.
Wave offers three coaching products: Accounting Coaching (starts at $79 per month) and Bookkeeping and Tax Service (both start at $129 per month). You may also purchase its one-time accounting coaching package for $249, where you will receive 120 minutes of coaching.
There are two other fees involved for processing online payments: dispute free ($15) and return fee ($5 per item). One-time dispute fees are charged when the account holder disputes a payment transaction while users are billed with return fees if their bank payments are returned for certain reasons like having a closed account.
Wave Alternatives 2020
Freelancers who need to send quotes and invoices electronically
Startup businesses that don’t have complex bookkeeping needs
Manufacturing & distribution businesses that want to integrate accounting, operations, sales & inventory
Finance teams looking for the best open-source software for desktop platform
Small businesses that need the best online open-source accounting software
In addition to industry-specific software, your business might be well served by general-purpose small business accounting software.
Wave offers a wide range of free accounting, invoicing, and receipt scanning features that let you send unlimited invoices, accept online payments, manage income and expenses, and more. You may use its features immediately by creating a free account. Below is how its dashboard looks like.
Here are Wave’s most essential functionalities.
Wave lets you connect an unlimited number of bank accounts, sync income and expenses, balance books, customize sales taxes, and more. It also provides exportable accounting reports that include information on profit and loss and cash flow.
Wave provides customizable invoice templates that you can quickly edit and send to your customers using a desktop browser or mobile phone. You may also set recurring billing for repeat customers. All invoices and payment information are automatically synced with Wave’s accounting software.
Wave’s payroll features include payments to employees and contractors, W2 and 1099 form generation, and automatic filings and payroll journal entries. However, those under self-service states need to file and process payroll themselves. Wave also helps small businesses simplify annual audits with workers’ compensation.
Wave provides a mobile app that enables users to scan receipts anytime and anywhere through a smartphone’s camera. All scanned receipts through the app—either online or offline—are synced with a user’s Wave account. Receipts stored in the inbox may also be emailed to Wave for the information to be saved into a user’s account automatically.
Most Helpful Wave Reviews
Users who gave positive Wave reviews are happy that its core features are available for free. Some like how it is easy to use and set up while others appreciate its responsive and helpful customer support. Meanwhile, those who left negative reviews said that its retainer billing is tedious and that its documentation fields are incomplete.
Easy to use and helpful customer service
“Wave is a great product as it is easy to use. Customer service is excellent as well. I noticed a bug in the system, and its customer service was great at helping me work through it and fix it in a timely manner.”
Retainer billing is cumbersome, and documentation fields are limited
“It does not handle retainer clients well. We need to set it up as a workaround to show a negative balance invoice, and it’s a bit of a pain. I don’t like that it has a few documentation fields for entering payments—like there’s no field for check numbers.”
Wave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What credit cards does Wave accept for processing online payments?
Wave accepts online credit card payments through Discover, Visa, Visa Debit, American Express, Mastercard, and Mastercard Debit cards.
How does it ensure the security of my data?
Wave uses advanced 256-bit secure sockets layer (SSL) security encryption to protect all of your transactions and data from any threats.
Where can I download its mobile app?
You may download its mobile app on Google Play and the App Store.
Wave is an excellent choice for those who need free yet robust software that can simplify accounting and invoicing processes. It offers a free way to send invoices on the go and in any currency, connect unlimited bank and credit cards, manage paper receipts, and more. The only time you pay is when you use its payment processor or payroll system. It has a nice-looking interface and reportedly has decent customer support.
However, some may find it unattractive because it lacks features that are offered by most paid accounting software like project management, inventory management, and dedicated time tracker. You also can’t add multiple users, which means that it’s not an ideal choice for larger businesses that need a scalable accounting platform.
In case you still aren’t sure if Wave is right for you, then this article on the best free accounting software is a review of our top choices. In this guide, we looked at a variety of solutions and narrowed our recommendations down based on key features, such as the ability to track all income and expenses as well as produce basic financial reports, like profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statement reports.