Accounting, Bookkeeping, and QuickBooks Tips for Small Businesses

Wave Accounting Review

Wave Accounting

Continuing my quest to find reputable, online, cloud based bookkeeping solutions for small businesses, I came across Wave Accounting. Wave Accounting started about a year ago with a mission to help the small business owner be more successful. To accomplish this goal, they are creating bookkeeping tools that are easy to use, designed with the small business owner in mind, and offer support for their online bookkeeping software. Only being in business for a little over a year, I honestly have to say I’m impressed with their cloud based bookkeeping software. Wave Accounting is designed for the small business owner, typically under 9 employees. This is a great solution for mompreneurs, work at home mom’s (WHAMS), photographers, real estate agents, Mac users, independent contractors, the self employed, home offices, and freelancers.

Cost: Free!

What I Love:

  • When you set up your account for the first time, Wave has you choose your business type to help create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your specific business. This is a huge help to small business owners. Even more impressive is Wave’s extensive list of business types – from photographers, to creative types, to consultants, to hair/spa businesses, to medical and dental offices, to retailers, to web and tech companies, to just plain and simple general service businesses.
  • Offers the ability to set up and track sales taxes.
  • Connect your bank and credit card accounts to Wave, allowing Wave to automatically download and import your transactions. Huge time saver allowing small business owners to focus their time on important tasks, not data entry.
  • Wave offers an invoicing tool with four styles of professional looking invoices that allow you to customize the colors and add your company’s logo.
  • The expense feature allows small business owners the ability to enter bills, track account payable, easily add a payment, and write checks. When you enter expenses, Wave will attempt to automatically categorize expenses the software recognizes.
  • Reporting section that has a balance sheet, income statement (profit and/or loss statement), sales tax reports, aged receivables, aged payables, reports to calculate the gain/loss on foreign currency exchange, etc. Another cool feature is you can email, export to Excel, or save the financial reports as a PDF.
  • Dashboard with quick access to useful financial information and snapshots about your business.
  • As an accountant, I love this this tool. Wave Accounting has a guest collaborator tool, allowing small business owners to invite guests to view and/or edit your company’s financial information. Your guests could be your CPA, your accountant, a bookkeeper, board members, assistants, etc.
  • Cloud based, meaning you have access to your small business bookkeeping from any computer that has an internet connection.
  • Wave has a ProNetwork for accountants and bookkeepers. This is a great way for accountants and bookkeepers to learn the software to better assist their small business clients. This a also a great benefit to the small business owner who are looking for a CPA, accountant, and/or bookkeeper that is familiar with and that works with Wave Accounting.
  • Wave Accounting integrates with FreshBooks and Google Docs.
  • Separate tab for tracking the small business owner’s personal finances. As your CPA has told you time and time again, you should not mix business and personal funds. However, we are well aware that many small business owners comingle business and personal funds. This tool makes it easier to split and track debit card and credit card transactions between personal and business expenses.
  • What small business owner doesn’t love free bookkeeping software!

My Wish List:

  • The advertisements at the bottom of the screen are a bit annoying. But, it’s free software and they have to make their money from somewhere. I do have to give the folks at Wave Accounting credit, the ads I saw were for reputable companies that I would actually consider doing business with. They were well thought out and well planned ads, not random, junky ads you see on most free websites.
  • Wave is not set up with merchant processing companies yet. Meaning no online bill pay options for for your customers when you email them an invoice. Wave does play nice with FreshBooks, so if this is important feature for your business you can do your invoicing in FreshBooks, then import those transactions into Wave Accounting.
  • Currently, they do not offer time tracking or time sheets. However, rumor has it that Wave Payroll will be coming to the US later this year and I’m guessing that will take care of that issue.
  • I didn’t see an iPhone and/or Droid phone app. I love being able to check my account balances, send invoices, etc. from my mobile devices while on the go.

Overall, Wave Accounting is a basic online bookkeeping and accounting software. It beats keeping your books on a spreadsheet and is a great solution for the small business owner. I love that it offers the self employed an affordable bookkeeping option that handles most general bookkeeping functions. Keep in mind Wave has only been in business for a little over a year, and they are continually adding and creating more tools to save entrepreneurs time and money. I’m anxious and curious to see what the future holds for Wave Accounting..


Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


  1. February 27    


    I have a wish list as well. When exporting reports to PDF, I wish the numbers were right-justified. I’d also like to sort detailed reports by date.

    Still, the combination of being could-based, easy-to-use and free makes it an attractive option for today’s tech-savvy entrepreneurs. As an accountant, I am a big fan because of the guest collaborator tool and because Wave can do a balance sheet!

    • February 27    

      Hi Dustin,

      I agree, those would be really helpful features!

      I’m always surprised at how many small business accounting tools out there don’t offer a balance sheet. I know it’s intimidating to small business owners, but being able to track your receivables, payables, cash, etc is very important and can make a huge difference.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. February 27    

    Great post, and great suggestions! We’re working hard to make Wave better, so your suggestions are very helpful. And yes, Wave Payroll is coming to the US later this year!

  3. February 27    

    I’ve been a big fan of Wave ever since I started using it. I think I would have wanted to gouge my eyes out using the other accounting software. Now, I love to see how my business is doing since it’s so simple for me to enter all the info that’s required.

    I’ve debated using its invoicing system. I’ve been manually doing that myself. The online bill pay could change that if they could offer it for a reasonable price which could be hard since the credit card companies have to take there piece. It would be interesting to see the accounts payable in there as well. Will that matter from an accounting perspective? Obviously, I care about accounts payable from a cash flow perspective.

    • March 1    

      If you’re looking for an online billing option that integrates with Wave, check out FreshBooks. They’re reasonably priced and work with lots of merchants. You could also try I’m not sure if they integrate with Wave, but it’s another great online bill pay and online invoicing option.

      Tracking your accounts payable will show up on your balance sheet. It’s a great way for business owners to see how much they owe vendors in the future. It’s a great tool to managing cash flow.

  4. April 11    

    For someone like me that is not a number person and gets TOTALLY stressed out doing bookkeeping would Wave or Outright be a better choice (read easier) than QuickBooks Pro which to me seems so overwhelming? I don’t have any employees and almost all my income goes through PayPal from my web site. And of these two – Wave or Outright which one do you like better?

    • April 16    

      Hi Joni,

      I really like Outright for simple accounting. It connects well with PayPal, eliminating the manual data entry piece of accounting. You can also use it to track your expenses. As your business grows and you’re interested in keeping track of your accounts receivable (monies owed from customers) & accounts payable (bills due at a future date), then you might want to consider upgrading to Wave or QuickBooks.

  5. Teresita Gomez Teresita Gomez
    July 21    

    Dear Michelle,
    I am looking for a good accounting software for a medium size architectural consulting firm.
    Can you help me? I thank you in advance for your help.

    • August 16    

      Hi Teresita,

      Send me an email at and I would be more than happy to help you out. I’d love to learn more about your business, your accounting needs, etc so I can help you find the best accounting software to fit your specific needs.


  6. RH RH
    October 22    

    These comments are a little late to this discussion but thought they might be helpful for others doing research. I’ve been trying to get Wave started for a small but fast growing Etsy business. Wave does offer integration for Etsy and PayPal but there are major problems with the integration. And if the initial import doesn’t happen fully, there are no options to go back and import data. You would need to import a CSV file exported from Etsy or PayPal. This can be a problem since the CSV file is so different in terms of organizing the data than the Wave integration. I’ve been doing some more research since I’ve been having these problems and have discovered that there are many more issues. Such as duplicate or missing transactions, which appear to be quite common. Doublechecking imports might not be a problem for companies that make few, large value sales but not for most Etsy sellers. We have a very large amount of small value transactions and it would be extraordinarily time-consuming (and of course not worth using the software) if we had to check every transaction. And this appears to be happening with PayPal and other integrated bank accounts.

    • October 23    

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your comment! My biggest drawback with Wave is that it does not have a reconciliation process built in. Most other software lets you quickly check off transactions so you can match your accounting to your bank, credit card, and merchant accounts. For lots of transactions, it does take a little bit longer but reconciling is a great way to find duplicate & missing transactions. Sorry to hear you’re having troubles with that with Wave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *