Wave Accounting Review and Alternatives



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Wave accounting is an online accounting program that is really making a name for itself because of its price in particular.

Specifically designed for small businesses, freelancers, and consultants, Wave Accounting covers all of the bases you would expect them to offer: accounting, invoicing, billing, payment tracking, and much more.

They have been around since 2011 and have grown exponentially and now have millions of companies relying on their software for all their accounting needs.

In 2019 they were acquired by H&R Block, but have managed to keep their same business model intact.

Key Features

Wave’s features are extensive, which is all the more impressive for free software.  You get everything you could possibly want from expense tracking, bank reconciliation, as well as for analytics and reporting so you can quickly and easily understand your finances at a glance.

Their invoicing is great and actually looks nice too unlike many other accounting programs.

Here are some of our favorite features:

Accounting – you have access to everything you need including a customizable chart of accounts, profit and loss report, balance sheet, cashflow reports, bank reconciliation, journal entries.  You can run reports that are both cash-based or accrual-based too, depending on your business.

Invoicing – their custom invoicing is also great and gives you a lot of flexibility.  You can customize with our own branding and colors too, which is a nice touch.  You can create recurring invoices and invoice schedules.  Wave can also do automatic time zone calculations for the schedules and automatic reminders for late-paying customers.

Expense tracking – you can organize your accounts payable, entering bills, and recording payments.  You can also set up automatic reminders to make sure you never miss a bill payment.

Inventory – while their inventory feature isn’t the most sophisticated it’s certainly handy to have.  You can log items with names, descriptions, sale prices.  Annoyingly there’s no way to set stock levels or to set reminders if your stock is getting low.

Contact Management – keeping an organized list of vendors and contacts is important, not only for making your invoicing process quicker and easier but in general for good housekeeping.  Wave lets you store all the relevant contact details you need so your network list is always close at hand.

Reporting – There is a great range of reports that you can run from P&L, balance sheet, and cashflow to income by customer, sales tax, and payroll wage and tax report.  It is very easy to customize the reports, and you can also compare against previous periods which is great.

eCommerce checkouts – this is a great bonus feature that Wave provides allowing you to take payments through your online store, or you can generate a checkout link to send to customers instead of an invoice.  This is ideal if you want to bill multiple people at the same time.

Taxes – thanks to its acquisition by H&R Block, you can now file your taxes through Wave too.  It’s quick and easy, and all your data can be pulled in automatically too.

There are also addon services that Wave offers that come with a cost that includes Payroll, accepting payments, and accounting services.  We cover these in more detail below.


Wave prides itself as being a free all in one solution, and they certainly deliver on that!

What’s even better is, unlike other free accounting applications, Wave has no limits on its invoicing, receipt tracking, or accounting.  Which means you won’t get caught out and suddenly have a bill to pay.

They do have add-ons that they charge for, and we will explore these too.

Let’s have a look at the pricing:

Free Plan

Their primary plan is completely free and includes:

  • Full accounting
  • Unlimited Invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounts payable
  • Inventory
  • Reporting
  • Contact Management

Additional costs

There are a few other services that they can help with for a small cost:


They actually have two payroll options, Tax service payroll, and self-service payroll.

Tax Service Payroll – This is currently only available in fourteen states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin).

Wave will handle all of your payroll and taxes for $35 per month with an additional charge of $6 per month per employee.

Self-Service Payroll – This is available in all states and costs $20 per month plus an extra $6 per employee per month.

The difference being that they will calculate your payroll, but all the tax filing responsibilities lie with you.


Wave also offers payment processing for accepting payments directly from your customers. They charge 2.9% plus 30 cents per credit card transaction, 3.4% plus 30 cents per Amex card transaction, and 1% per ACH payment transaction.

Their general processing time for these payments is two days.

Professional Accountant Advisors

Previously called Wave Plus, this is a great extra service if you feel like you need some help and advice from a professional account.  It’s ideal for those new to accounting and are looking for some coaching or even just outsourcing the bookkeeping, payroll, and even your tax filing.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing:

  • Bookkeeping and payroll support – $79 per month
  • Accounting and payroll coaching – $229
  • Tax Service – $1500+ per year

Ease of use

Wave is particularly easy to use, which is why it is so good for newer small businesses.

It’s very quick to set up and doesn’t really require any previous knowledge in accounting to get started.  They have very thorough manuals and tutorials to get you going and, as mentioned above, you also have access to experts if you need a bit of help to start off with.

Wave Accounting Customer Service

Wave offers a lot of different support features to try and make sure you have the support you need to get going as quickly as possible.

They have a help center and community pages that have the answers to a lot of the most common questions.  You can contact them directly by form, phone, or chat, if you want someone to talk to. 

One drawback is that phone and chat are only for payroll or card processing, so if your issue is about something else then the form is your only method of contacting them (assuming you didn’t find your answer from the help center or community.)

They have their advisors that you can access.  They even have a blog and YouTube channel with tutorials and useful information.  

Add-Ons and Integration

Wave is pretty limited when it comes to add-ons and integrations, which lets them down a little, although they are saved by integrating with Zapier.

Zapier gives them access to over 1000 useful add-ons like dropbox and slack integration.

Wave itself lets you connect directly to PayPal, Etsy, and Shoebox, and the checkout function works with WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

They also have API available for developers.

Who is Wave suited to

Wave is the perfect software for small businesses.  It’s specifically designed for small businesses and is the ideal software to get you started.  The price is pretty ideal too!

If your business is larger, however, then you’ll probably be very frustrated with some of its limitations, like the lack of project management or additional users.

Our thoughts

Wave really have come in a stirred up the industry offering fantastic feature and an easy to use platform at no cost.  It’s no wonder that their popularity is continuing to grow.


  • Free
  • Wide range of features
  • Easy to use
  • Expert Accountants on hand if required


  • Only for small businesses
  • No project management
  • No additional users


It’s important to do your due diligence and have a look at a few different options to make sure you are starting with the accounting platform that will work best for you.

Here are some of our favorite alternative options for your accounting needs:

Sage Accounting – While it’s not free Sage is one of the oldest accountancy platform options on the market, and for good reason.  They are great for small businesses and can grow with you so you don’t need to have a massive overhaul of your accounting practices as your company gets larger.

Netsuite Accounting – Netsuite is another great cloud-based accounting solution that offers all the features you could ever want as a small or medium-sized business.  You can schedule a consultation with them so they can help you tailor your needs to what they can offer.

Quickbooks – Quickbooks is another favorite accounting platform.  Their pricing is very reasonable and their integrations with other apps are fantastic.  They are an all-in-one and great for all your accounting needs.  They also have some great automation functions to make life a little easier.

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.