Wave Accounting Review Review

Wave Accounting Review
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Summary

Just because Wave accounting is free does not mean it is the best solution for you, so I have provided an in-depth review to find out if it is.

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Pros

  • It is free software
  • Easy to use
  • Receipt scanning features
  • Great bid-to-invoice conversion
  • Custom invoicing solution

Cons

  • Limited integration options
  • It does not handle inventory well

ABOUT

Keeping track of your income and expenses is perhaps one of the most critical parts of a business. Obviously, without an accurate picture of the resources at hand, it is impossible to make essential business decisions. For small businesses and entrepreneurs, however, hiring an accountant may not be a feasible expenditure. Such companies will look towards software like Wave accounting solutions to ease their effort.

There are a host of solutions online that offer a varied set of features. The features offered are directly related to the type of businesses it caters to. Moreover, another vital thing to take into consideration is the cost of the solution. This situation is where Wave Apps comes in. They offer a trio of solutions that span the financial space. Wave Accounting is one of Wave Apps’ products. It is a cloud-based accounting software geared primarily to freelancers and small business owners. The best part? It is almost entirely free. Extra features like payroll processing will run you a few extra bucks.

In this article, I take a deeper dive into Wave Accounting and its features. This bid is an attempt to help small business owners make an informed purchase decision.

Who Is Wave Accounting For?

This question is notoriously common across all forms of reviews. It is hard to say who this suits best definitively. Hence, I have given a list of potential use case scenarios that Wave caters to the best; if your use case matches with any of these, voila!

Businesses with under ten employees

If you’re just getting started with a few employees in your organization, you probably do not have the resources for an accountant. Make use of free double-entry bookkeeping solutions like Wave, to help manage your expenses. You do not need to panic during tax-time as all your costs are neatly organized and recorded. Additionally, you can also link Wave Payroll to Wave Accounting for a small fee. This linking lets you have complete control over your operations from a single place.

Solo Proprietors, Solo Entrepreneurs, Freelancers etc.

Running a business by yourself is no small task. The last thing you want in such a situation is to worry about your accounts and taxes. For this purpose, Wave Apps is an absolute must-have. Everything you need to know is broken down into simple charts on your dashboard. Moreover, it automatically tracks and organizes your expenses. Lastly, it is free. It pretty much checks all the boxes that your venture might need.

Personal Finances

In this day and age, expenses can skyrocket if you do not keep an eye on them. This rule is valid for businesses and households alike. As such, it is not advisable (or required, as a matter of fact) to invest in expensive software solutions to keep track of your finances. This niche is where Wave Accounting can come of use. Even in a household setting, you can make use of its impressive array of features. As I have mentioned multiple times across this article, it is a free service. As a result, there is absolutely no reason for you not to give it a shot.

PRICING

Pricing is undoubtedly the best part of the software. Wave have advertised their pricing at $0 for all their solutions. Need I say more? For small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, this is nothing short of a godsend. On their website, Wave assures that there are no catches to this claim.

A logical question to ask would be: so how does Wave make money? Well, they do charge for their payroll services. Additionally, they take a processing fee for bank transfers and credit card payments. Aside from these, they do not throttle their services in any shape or form.

The accounting software is free in its entirety, right from its setup. There are no hidden or monthly fees whatsoever. Unlimited bank and credit card connections can be obtained at no cost whatsoever. Also, you can add unlimited guest collaborators to your account. It even comes with unlimited income and expense tracking features. Lastly, and perhaps, the feature that caught my eye the most is the ability to run multiple businesses from a single Wave account.

I feel it is worth mentioning a thing or two about their invoicing and receipt scanning service. Their invoicing lists at $0 for international customers (nothing said about US-based customers). Receipt scanning is also free for all customers around the globe. These services help expand the functionality of the accounting software in and of itself. By enabling receipt scanning, you can add your bills directly to your accounts.

Usually, there are a few lines dedicated to describing the economic viability of any SaaS option. Here, however, I see every reason for you to give it a shot. If you’re not satisfied, guess what? They do not charge you a penny!

FEATURES​

Free or not, a robust set of features is almost always an expectation. You should not expect cutting-edge technologies to come without a price premium. But, as a sole proprietor or a small business owner, your accounting needs have to be met. In this section, I take a look at some of Wave’s impressive features. These features, along with a few other minor additions, make this a compelling platform.

  1. Impressive User Interface
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Automated Data Entry
  4. Customized Invoices
  5. Payroll Options
  6. Multi-Currency and Multi-Country Support
  7. Wave Receipts

1) Impressive User Interface

The user interface is, naturally, what you interact with the most. An accessible user interface makes for an overall pleasant experience. This ease of use is more critical when the software aims to cater to small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, etc. The criticality here stems from their lack of experience with accounting in general.

Wave has a dashboard that is nothing short of impressive. All your financial details are presented to you neatly. You are greeted with a cash flow chart. This flowchart helps you understand your expenditure on a day-to-day basis. All your bank account and credit card details are available right from the dashboard itself. The profit/loss chart gives you further insight into how your business is performing.

I am a massive fan of the dashboard. It rivals some of the competitors’ offerings in this regard. For a free-to-use application, the level of detail is seriously stellar. It is safe to say that even newcomers will be at home when using this software.

2) Ease Of Use

This parameter is almost directly related to the user interface itself. But what I’m looking at here is the comfort with which one can understand the menus. The whole point of software like this is to reduce the time invested in accounting and expense tracking.

The left side of the screen houses almost all regularly used features. This dashboard, in turn, saves you the trouble of looking all over the place for a tool. Within each menu, too, there is a neat arrangement of the options. I rarely found myself lost within the software. There is a learning curve attached to this, as is the case with any software. Hence, the overall experience is pretty impressive.

When testing the platform, the only hiccup I had was something to do with my bank statements. Now, that could very well be an issue with the bank itself and not with Wave. Apart from that, the experience was nothing short of spectacular.

3) Automated Data Entry

At the heart of any accounting software lies the very process itself. This process is usually a manual ordeal involving hours of entering income and expenditure data. Furthermore, categorizing expenses is also paramount to see where your hard-earned money is being spent.

Wave lets you automate this process by linking your bank account (or multiple accounts) to the app. It then asks you a few questions regarding your business. After all this, it fetches transactions from the past few months. It also updates this daily as you go about your business.

Moreover, it categorizes all distinct expenditures. For example, transactions made in a restaurant automatically get categorized under ‘Meals and Entertainment.’ You can also add your categories to the list of built-in ones.

This neat feature is one that every business can use. You can forget about having to enter your income and expenses over time manually. When coupled with a comprehensive dashboard, the experience is smooth.

4) Customized Invoices

Everyone likes to have a touch of branding that follows their business. It is all the more critical for up-and-coming companies to put themselves out there. As a result, freelancers and business owners look for a variety of ways to differentiate them from the rest.

The Wave software lets you achieve this by offering customizable invoicing features. You can add a layer of personalization to your invoices. This personalization, in turn, helps brand retention in your customers. You have the flexibility to add your company’s logo and dictate an accent color for the invoice. This template can be used for all future invoices. Additionally, you can disable the emblem on a per-invoice basis, for even more customization.

These options do not compare to, say, what FreshBooks has in store, but for the price, it is pretty solid. Small business owners and solo entrepreneurs can put this feature to great use. Down the line, you can consider upgrading to a more full-fledged option if you so desire.

5) Payroll Options

After accounting, this is probably the next most important service a business needs. Payroll management is essential to ensure that your employees get paid on time. It is also necessary to remain compliant with your tax laws and the like.

In this regard, Wave offers to help your business with payroll services. This feature, however, does come at an extra cost. Also, this is only available to companies in the USA. The base price ranges from $20-$35 depending on which state you are operating. On top of that, you will have to shell out $4/user. So it is not cheap in any way, but it takes you one step closer to having an all-in-one solution.

Having your accounts and payroll in one place is super convenient for most businesses, especially for smaller ones who do not have many people on their payroll. This modularity can help you expand the functionality of Wave as and when your business needs it.

6) Multi-Currency And Multi-Country Support

There are many accounting services out there that operate in only a few regions. Quite obviously, companies working outside of those regions cannot avail of their services. For this reason, it always helps to have multi-country support for the platform.

This coverage is a welcome addition to Wave’s roster of stellar features. Entrepreneurs and small business owners residing in any part of the world can make use of Wave Apps. It also provides multi-currency support for your accounting needs. When you sign up, it detects your location and suggests the local currency. You can change it if you deem it to be necessary. Importing all your transactions, too, brings it up in your local currency, and that is a neat little feature.

I did not expect to see this feature in a free service. Its inclusion gains some extra points in my book. There is not much else to say concerning this. Regardless of where you operate from, Wave deserves consideration.

7) Wave Receipts

It is not uncommon to have hoarded past receipts in a bid to keep track of your spending. Shoeboxes filled with receipts are a common sight in households as well as businesses. And honestly, it is not a bad way to do it. Wave, however, gives you a better way to get it done.

Wave Receipts is Wave Apps’ receipt scanning software. It is a mobile application that lets you scan receipts and keep them available at the tip of your finger. Wave understands the value of time, and hence, it enables you to scan up to 10 receipts at once. The app also uses character recognition to digitize it and store relevant information automatically. The best part of this is that it integrates well with Wave Accounting. Automatic updating of your accounts takes place effortlessly.

The lack of an Android app is the only place where I dock some points. However, this does not diminish the service itself. It is a tool that can come in handy to small business owners.

INTEGRATIONS

It is imperative to have the ability to automate your business operations. Integrating with other business apps is of prime importance for any business software solution. Having more supported integrations means you can make do with lesser software. Here, I take a look at the integrations supported by Wave.

Native Integrations

Wave does not support a whole bunch of native integrations. The ones it supports, too, are not the best among the lot. In other words, there are better apps that Wave could have connected to.

The first app that it links to is Google Sheets. G-Suite offers to connect with Wave’s official add-on. This connectivity lets you import transaction data from Wave to Google Sheets and analyze data. Moreover, you can also generate insightful charts and graphs for enhanced reporting flexibility. The limited reporting tools in Wave makes this an attractive feature.

Next up, Wave connects with Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed is an innovative way to get rid of all the receipts collected in shoeboxes (I just mentioned this a while ago). It is a service dedicated to receipt scanning and organizing for both tax and accounting purposes. Wave automatically imports your Shoeboxed receipts and makes organizing your expenses even more effortless.

Etsy is a popular e-commerce platform that focuses on handmade goods and vintage articles. If you run a similar business, you would have probably used Etsy at some point. Also, the chances are that you also buy stuff from other sellers. Wave helps you track your sales and expenses by connecting through their app.

The last native integration is perhaps the most important one – PayPal. Without a doubt, getting paid for your services is one of the essential parts of your business. By connecting with PayPal, Wave imports all your transactions and keeps them organized in one place. This way, you do not need to go away from a single application to track your accounts.

Integrations With Zapier

Zapier is a powerful 3rd party connector app. It greatly expands the functionality of Wave Accounting. In some ways, I can call it the “ace up Wave’s sleeve.” What it gives up in native integrations, it more than makes for, by connecting with Zapier.

As a user, you can make your connections (called ‘Zaps’) or utilize the existing ones to your benefit. There are 1000+ connections available this way, and for the most part, you will find what you need. Some examples of apps that are available as ‘Zaps’ are Slack, Calendly, Shopify, Insightly, etc.

As you can see, there are a host of available solutions that cater to your business needs. Zapier does have a free pricing option, but you can unlock a whole lot more by subscribing to one of their pricing plans. All you need to do is spend some time and figure out what works for you!

More About Wave Accounting Review

Setup And Ease Of Use

Wave Accounting is straightforward to set up. Signing up is about as easy as it gets. It integrates with your Google account, and hence you can use your Gmail ID. After this, you’ll have to enter information about your company. Your business’ name, address, email, and tax details are essential information. Additionally, you can also add your company logo. This feature will help set up custom invoicing easily.

Next, you will have to link your bank account(s) and other payment gateways. This linking holds a twofold benefit. Firstly, you can get paid for your services. Secondly, you get a complete picture of your expenditure. Finally Wave accounting lets you add your transactions in bulk as a CSV file. This step is pivotal to ensure a smooth experience overall.

The interface in this software is nothing short of spectacular. It features an intuitive dashboard that gives you an overview of your business. Furthermore, you can access detailed reports that provide powerful insights into the functioning of your business; the vertical ribbon on the left houses all the commonly used menu options for unmatched ease.

Device Compatibility

Desktop Browser App

Android App

iOS App

Windows Phone App

Apple Watch App

X

X

X

The mobile app has a mellowed-down version of the desktop experience. It gives you all the essential features in the palm of your hand. At times, however, it does feel lacking. It is a tool that will come in handy to view your account statements. You can also use the Wave Receipts app to scan your receipts and add them to your expenses.

Customer Service

Customer service is rather impressive with Wave. Their website has information neatly sorted as per categories. The paid services of the software come with live chat support. The inclusion of email support is a welcome addition for a software that is virtually free. Given all this, it’s safe to say that the customer service aspect is pretty good.

Online Security

Wave Accounting uses 256-bit TSL encryption to secure your data. This encryption is the same level of security that you will get when using banking and e-commerce services. Besides, Wave has 24×7 monitoring of their data centers. Wave is also Level 1 PCI-DSS compliant. As a result, they have regular 3rd party audits and security check-ups.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  • It is free software
  • Easy to use
  • Receipt scanning features
  • Great bid-to-invoice conversion
  • Custom invoicing solution

CONS

  • Limited integration options
  • It does not handle inventory well

CONCLUSION

To sum things up, Wave Accounting is an exceptional accounting tool. By utilizing the features properly, you can even use it for your personal needs. In many cases, we wish money were no object, but here, it isn’t. Hence, I would strongly recommend you to take Wave Apps and its features for a thorough test drive, before looking elsewhere for your accounting needs.

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