Home Business Software Complete Wave Accounting Review for 2024 – Is it Safe?
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In this Wave accounting review, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to decide if Wave is the right accounting solution for your business.

Wave accounting is particularly popular among Canadian and US businesses with its comprehensive set of free bookkeeping features and affordable paid plan—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone.

To help you decide if this tool is worth trying, we’ve tested its essential features, compared it with other leading accounting tools, and more. In this detailed Wave app review, you’ll also learn its pros, cons, pricing, and how other users find the platform.

Wave Pros and Cons

Before we discuss our findings for this Wave accounting review in more detail, here are the platform’s top strengths and weaknesses:

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Offers built-in payroll
  • Generous free forever plan
  • Generate unlimited invoices and reports
  • Add unlimited employees and transactions
  • Has automated tax filing capabilities

Cons

  • Only available in the US and Canada
  • Customization options could be better

What is Wave Accounting?

Wave provides small businesses and solopreneurs with an all-in-one financial management solution that includes invoicing, payroll and tax management, account reconciliation, and more — many of which are offered for free.

This, paired with its ease of use, makes it immensely popular compared to more complex accounting and bookkeeping software, like Zoho Books and Xero, for example.

Needless to say, since its founding in 2009, Wave now has over 3.5 million users.

Is Wave Bookkeeping Safe?

Yes, Wave is safe. It stores your finance data and past transactions on its servers, which are physically monitored 24/7 to ensure that only authorized people can access them.

To protect your data, Wave also uses 256-bit TLS encryption, which is the same security method used by major online banks and shopping sites.

Wave also follows Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards to keep your credit card and payment information private. It doesn’t just claim to be safe, either.

It’s Level 1 PCI-DSS certified. This means that every year, a third-party committee audits its security practices and issues a certificate confirming that it securely handles client data.

Wave Accounting Features

During our Wave accounting software review, we tested it on our system to provide an objective opinion on its core features. Here are the key features we found most noteworthy:

Wave Invoicing

Timely client payment matters, especially for a small business with limited capital. We found that Wave makes invoicing straightforward and greatly streamlines payments.

Its invoice editor is drag-and-drop, and there’s no learning curve that comes with it. Literally, everything in it is self-explanatory.

Wave invoicing editor

After filling out the invoice form, you can preview it, make edits, and email it off to the client — all from within Wave. You’ll also get a sharable invoice link, so you aren’t limited to email.

Wave also offers automated recurring invoices. Suppose your client is on a monthly or annual subscription. You can set up recurring invoices for monthly, yearly, or a custom interval.

Payments

In addition to bank transfers, Wave allows you to receive payments from various providers, such as Visa cards, American Express, Apple Pay, and more, with minimal transaction fees.

Besides making it easier for your customers to pay you, the added benefit is that Wave transactions take just 24 to 48 hours to process.

With Wave’s Checkout, you can create a checkout button and accept payment directly from your website and add ‘Pay Now’ buttons to invoices, making it easier for customers to pay you.

Additionally, Wave accounting software automatically records all payments made through your payment links, so you’re all set at tax time.

Wave Accounting Reporting

Wave categorizes its reports into profits and revenue, taxes, payroll, vendors, customers, and overall financial transactions, providing necessary insights into your financial standing.

We did find that Wave offers fewer reports than QuickBooks and FreshBooks, for example, but we still found it more than sufficient for freelancers and small businesses.

Wave’s finance reports default to accrual (which covers all transactions), but you can switch to cash type anytime (cash-basis only counts completed bank transactions).

We were particularly impressed with Wave’s profit and loss report, which offers an overview of your finances—total income, operating expenses, cost of products/services sold, and net profits.

Wave sales tax report

Beyond this, the sales tax report shows tax collections, tax paid on purchases, and tax owings. You can use these insights to file accurate tax returns and ensure compliance with tax laws.

Generating an income report on each customer lets you gain insight into repeat customers and one-time buyers, too.

One key benefit is that you’ll gain the insights you need to offer personalized discounts or messaging to improve customer satisfaction.

Reconciliation

Wave has various features to maintain account reconciliation (where transactions recorded in your Wave account match the entries in other systems).

Ultimately, this validates the numbers/amounts in bank statements, invoices, and other finance trackers across your accounts.

Reconciliation feature in Wave accounting software

Under > Accounting > Reconciliation, you can enter an end date and your bank balance as of that date. If your bank balance matches your Wave balance, your accounting is reconciled.

Otherwise, Wave will generate a report detailing transactions for that period so you can examine them in detail and spot exact discrepancies.

Integrations

Wave offers integration with several different tools, such as Google Sheets and BlueCamroo. However, compared to tools like FreshBooks, the built-in integration options are limited.

That said, the Zapier integration gives you thousands of options, so this isn’t something you’d need to worry about.

Integrate Wave with other apps using Zapier

Wave’s integrations tab, named “Zap,” displays all the apps that can be connected using Zapier. Some examples include:

  • Shopify Zap for e-commerce businesses
  • HubSpot Zap for customer management
  • Slack Zap for easy communication

Payroll

Many accounting software providers don’t offer native payroll features. For instance, FreshBooks requires integration with external payroll software.

Wave, on the other hand, makes paying staff, freelancers, and contractors easy. Simply input employees’ details—currency, pay schedule, wage, payment method, and bank information.

Once you’ve completed the setup, you need to add your employees’ and contractors’ working hours to the tool’s timesheet. For example, here, we added 8 hours for our one employee:

Wave timesheets

Wages are automatically calculated, so from here, paying your employees is as simple as navigating to the ‘Run Payroll’ section, where you can review and approve.

Wave payroll section

Wave Pricing and Plans

Wave is well known for its completely free accounting and invoicing solution, but it also offers an affordable paid plan. Here are your options:

Wave accounting pricing

The starter plan is forever free for basic accounting, and the Pro plan has monthly and annual subscription options. You can start with the Starter plan and upgrade when necessary.

The Pro plan is per business. If you have three businesses and want to manage them all in one Wave account, you’ll have to do the sign-up for each company and pay the fee three times.

Starter Plan

Wave’s free Starter plan offers everything startups and small businesses need. For starters, there’s no limit on estimates, invoices, and bills you can create.

All the invoices you create in this plan are customizable, too. You can add your logo and brand colors to the invoice templates and send them to your clients on time.

You can connect your bank accounts with the Wave to automatically record all your transactions. The dashboard overview and Wave reports are also available on this plan.

However, it’s worth noting that Wave Receipt is an add-on that costs $11/month. With this, you can upload bills or use Wave’s OCR technology to automatically record receipts.

Pro Plan

Wave’s Pro plan includes everything the Starter plan offers, plus extra features to automate additional accounting tasks. It’s perfect for small and even mid-sized businesses.

For starters, you can set up automatic payment reminders for clients and automatically sync bank statements.

You can also access Wave Receipts without paying anything extra. You can upload unlimited receipts to automatically add those transactions to your Wave account.

Access controls are another feature of the Pro plan. You can grant various users in your organization different permission levels, such as viewer, editor, and admin.

One add-on worth noting that’s available in both plans is Wave Advisors ($149), professionals to whom you can outsource your accounting tasks or get personal bookkeeping assistance.

Wave Accounting Software Interface & Ease of Use

We found Wave’s cloud-hosted software easier to navigate than QuickBooks and Sage, and many third-party reviews echo this.

However, while it offers mobile apps for Android and iOS, we found the web app best. The toolbar on the left offers easy access to your Dashboard, Accounting, Receipts, Banking, and more.

Wave accounting software dashboard

Generating new invoices, payment setups, and recurring invoices is also straightforward. To find these features, expand the ‘Sales’ option on the toolbar.

Wave invoicing

Navigating and creating reports is likewise a breeze. You can apply various filters for dates, report types, and others. However, you cannot create a complete custom report using Wave.

Wave’s Receipts is also exclusively available for mobile devices. In addition, we discovered that a few users found it difficult to reach customer support when they experienced app glitches.

We highly recommend that you use its web version for invoice making, payments, and reporting whenever possible.

The mobile apps can be sluggish, and the edit buttons often get stuck. But overall, Wave’s web version is super simple, and all the features function as intended.

Wave vs Top Wave Alternatives

Our tests reveal that Wave is one of the best accounting software solutions for US and Canadian businesses — particularly for startups and freelancers.

If your business isn’t based in these countries or wants to explore other tools before making a decision, comparing it to leading Wave competitors is wise:

Best Accounting Software Best For Starting Price Free Trial Standout Features
Wave Startups and freelancers $16/month Free plan + 30-day free trial Recurring invoices, Receipts scanner, Bank reconciliation
FreshBooks Small to mid-sized businesses $5.7/month 30-day free trial Time-tracking,
Basic inventory tracking, Double-entry accounting
Zoho Accounting E-commerce businesses $15/month Free plan + 14-day free trial Inventory management,
GST filing and audits, Smart automations
Xero Small teams $15/month 30-day free trial Unlimited users, Project tracking tools, 100+ integrations

With Wave billing, invoicing, payroll, and other essential features, it’s best suited for small businesses and freelancers looking to streamline their finances.

If you’re after more advanced features, such as inventory management, we recommend looking at our guide to the best accounting software in 2024, where we’ve compared all the market’s leading options.

Wave Accounting Reviews — What Are Customers Saying?

For our Wave review, we went beyond our own experience and investigated the platform’s online reputation to see what other users had to say.

On G2, it’s rated 4.5/5, with many praising it for its practicality and ease of use. Users also love that they can send unlimited invoices and record unlimited transactions on the free plan. Wave accounting review on G2

On Capterra, Wave is also rated 4.5/5. Many users detail their positive experiences with the tool, including how it makes bank reconciliation, statement imports, and invoicing a breeze.

That said, although far and few in between, some who have been with Wave for years find the reporting templates a bit basic and would like added integration support.

Overall, we found the external reviews align with our Wave accounting review. In short, it’s an excellent accounting software solution that provides phenomenal value for money.

The generous free plan and near-nonexistent learning curve are huge pluses for startups and freelancers.

Why You Can Trust Our Wave Software Review?

At TechReport, our mission is to help you find the best and most reliable software solutions to streamline your business processes. We use a vigorous testing methodology for our reviews of the best accounting tools, HR software, and productivity apps.

Having tested numerous bookkeeping tools, we’re equipped to give accurate insight into what you can expect from the tools we review. For this particular Wave accounting review, we tested the free plan, generating invoices and reports, testing the payment options, and putting the mobile apps through their paces.

Beyond our own evaluation, we also considered third-party experiences with the software. This allows us to ensure we’re offering you a complete picture of where it shines and where it falls a bit short compared to leading Wave alternatives.

Need more? Here’s a full guide on how to choose the best accounting software.

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Use Wave for Accounting

While it may seem complicated at first glance, here’s a quick guide on how to get started with Wave:

1. Setting Up Your Wave Account

1. Setting Up Your Wave Account

Step 1: Visit Wave’s website and click “Sign up”.
Step 2: Enter your email and password or use Google’s sign-up to create a new account.
Step 3: Fill in the form with your details, and click “Next”.


Step 4: Answer the questions that follow, including how you manage accounting and what type of business you own.
Step 5: Finally, click “Continue to Accounting”.

2. Adding Transactions

2. Adding Transactions

Step 1: Click “Create new” in the top left corner and select “Transaction”.

Step 2: Select “Add manual transactions”.


Step 3: Fill in the transaction details like date, payment type, and category.

Step 4: Click “Save”. That’s it; your transaction is now recorded in Wave. Note that while this is a manual process, you can automatically sync your bank transactions if you opt for Wave’s Pro plan.

3. Adding Customers

3. Adding Customers

Step 1: Expand “Sales” in the left toolbar and select “Customers”.
Step 2: Click “Add a customer”.

Step 3: Fill in the customer contact details, currency, address, and bank account details and click “Save”.

4. Creating Invoices

4. Creating Invoices

Step 1: Expand “Sales” in the left toolbar and select “Invoices”.

Step 2: Click “Create an invoice” in the top right corner.

Step 3: Click “Add a customer.” You can either select an existing customer or create a new one.

Step 4: Fill in your invoice details and click “Save and continue”. You can also click “More actions” to explore the other invoicing options.

Step 5: Next, click “Approve draft”.


Step 6: Now click “Send invoice” to explore multiple sending options. You’ll also get a sharable invoice link here.

Send invoices via Wave

Step 7: Set reminders after the due date to notify your clients automatically about the outstanding payment.

Wave payment reminders

Verdict

The Wave accounting software product is easily the best bookkeeping solution for small businesses, thanks to its generous free plan and the platform’s all-in-one nature—letting you create recurring invoices, manage vendors, run payroll, and even reconcile bank accounts.

Besides this, scaling to the paid plan is also incredibly cheap, which is great, as must-have features like payroll are reserved for this plan.

Overall, we would’ve liked to have seen more plan options, additional native integrations, and handy features like inventory management.

That said, whether it’s the best choice for your needs really depends. We highly recommend trying the free plan before making a decision.

FAQs

What are the drawbacks of Wave Accounting?

Is Wave bookkeeping safe?

Is Wave Accounting really free?

References

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Srujana Maddula Tech Writer

Srujana Maddula Tech Writer

Srujana kicked off her tech writing journey back in college. It’s been several years since she began writing about software reviews, how-tos, and listicles. When she isn't inking the page, you'll find her coding or playing foosball.