Our Verdict…

We like Wave for its ease of use, free features, and low barrier to entry for non-accountants. We also found it cost-effective with unlimited income and expense transactions.

We don’t like that Wave provides online support but no phone number. Though it offers accounting functionality at no cost, Wave isn’t for businesses requiring budgeting, time tracking, job management, and more industry-specific features.

Our Rating
based on our expert editorial analysis
User Rating
based on 5 user reviews
Best for: Wave is best for small businesses, freelancers, and startups with less than 10 employees. Users will not need an accounting background to learn Wave, which features in-app contextual guidance to explain common financial processes.
  • Accounting features are free
  • Mobile app
  • Multi-currency invoicing
  • Unlimited bank accounts and credit cards
  • Unlimited income/expense transactions
  • Collecting online payments is "pay-per-use"
  • Payroll costs extra
  • Payroll is a monthly add-on
Price Range Learn More
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  • Developer Wave Accounting
  • Client OS iOS, Android, Web
  • Deployment Cloud Hosted

What Is Wave Bookkeeping?

Wave is a free cloud-hosted accounting software that allows you to track income and expenses, perform bank reconciliation, capture and organize receipts, and create professional-looking invoices. This cloud-hosted financial management platform also affords customers basic financial reporting and automated payment reminders.

Pros Cons
  • Unlimited transactions.
  • Multi-currency invoicing.
  • Multiple companies per subscription.
  • Limited report customization.
  • No support phone number.
  • Less scalability and integrations.

Our Ratings

Usability - 8 Offers a user-friendly design with point-and-click capabilities; can edit vendor and customer info directly in billing and invoicing screens; dashboards are less streamlined than Xero or FreshBooks.
Support - 7 Live chat and email support available Mon-Fri 9 am-4:45 pm EST; offers automated chatbot but no support phone number.
Scalability - 8.1 Includes mobile app for receipt scanning and invoice payment reminders; fewer integrations compared to QuickBooks; fewer options to expand your feature set as your company grows.
Security - 8.7 Currently does not offer multi-factor authentication; allows you to export financial reports in CSV and PDF formats; can export all transactions in Excel and CSV formats; provides basic user roles for Admin, Editor, Payroll Manager, Viewer, and H&R Block Advisor.
Value - 10 Unlimited income and expense tracking and bank and credit card connections; allows you to track multiple companies through one subscription, unlike QuickBooks Online.
Performance - 8.5 Typing in transaction dates rather than selecting them can result in unexpected behavior; some instances where invoices and bills do not load correctly; dashboards update with transactions in real-time.
Key Features - 8.4 Extensive invoice customization; easy to copy transactions and trigger recurring invoices; offers option to set up recurring payments during invoice creation; limited report customization.

Who Uses Wave Accounting?

We recommend Wave for small businesses, freelancers, and startups with less than ten employees. This light, user-friendly software is ideal for accounting and information technology services organizations. Users will not need an accounting background to learn Wave, which features in-app contextual guidance to explain common financial processes.

What Features Are Missing?

  • Report customization: Wave offers essential financial reports like the balance sheet, income statement, and general ledger. However, users can only change account type, date range, and accrual vs. cash basis.

  • Scalability: Wave offers fewer integrations than its competitors, typical for a free platform geared toward smaller businesses. Wave provides the option to add on payroll, customer relationship management (CRM), and eCommerce modules. However, users wishing to expand into inventory management or warehousing will likely need another solution.

Pricing Plans

Plan Pricing Features
Invoicing Free
  • Customized invoicing
  • Automated reminders
  • Enable credit card, bank payments, Apple Pay directly from invoices
  • Unlimited income and expense tracking
  • Unlimited partners, collaborators, or accountants
  • Make unlimited bank and credit card connections
Payments Credit Cards: 2.9% + $0.60 per transaction; 3.4% + $0.60 per AMEX transaction; Bank Transactions: 1% per transaction ($1 min fee)
  • Receive payments as fast as one business day (Canada) or two business days (US)
  • Recurring billing and payments for retainer clients
  • Auto-sync invoice payments to the accounting dashboard
Payroll Tax Service States: $40 monthly fee; Self Service States: $20 monthly fee
  • Plus $6 per active employee
  • Plus $6 per independent contractor paid
  • Employee portal access
  • Access tax forms and documents
Advisors Bookkeeping Support: $149 monthly fee; Accounting and Payroll Coaching: $379 one-time fee
  • Dedicated support from Wave's accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll experts
  • Support tailored to your organizational goals and workflows

Wave vs QuickBooks

Wave is a more cost-effective accounting solution than QuickBooks’ paid platform. Both programs feature invoicing, banking, and accounting capabilities, but Wave charges fees for accepting credit card and bank payments from customers. Wave allows you to track multiple businesses, while QuickBooks charges you for an additional subscription. In addition, QuickBooks offers a more robust feature set and report customization than Wave. Regarding running payroll, both solutions offer add-on modules that incur an additional monthly fee. Finally, Wave connects to H&R Block, while QuickBooks connects to TurboTax.

How Much Does Wave Charge Per Transaction?

Wave charges 2.9% + $0.60 per credit card transaction and 3.4% + $0.60 per AMEX transaction. Additionally, it charges 1% per transaction ($1 min fee) for bank transactions.

Does Wave Accounting Do Payroll?

Wave does not have a free, built-in payroll module. However, you can choose one of two payroll packages for an additional monthly fee. Payroll for Tax Service States is $40 per month, and payroll for Self Service States is $20. For both packages, there is an additional $6 fee per active employee or independent contractor paid.


FreshBooks Screenshot
Price Range
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Starting Price
Client OS
iOS, Android, Web
Cloud Hosted
What We Like
Customizable payment terms
Discounted intro pricing
No setup costs
What We Don’t Like
Client-based pricing
No bulk invoice creation
Limited report customization
Zoho Books
Zoho Books Screenshot
Price Range
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Starting Price
Client OS
Cloud Hosted
What We Like
Client portal with sales and purchase approvals
Easily integrate with dozens of Zoho products
What We Don’t Like
Difficult to modify invoices
Time tracking must be tied to projects
Maximum of 10 users
QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online Screenshot
Price Range
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   $     $     $     $     $   
Starting Price
Client OS
Cloud Hosted
What We Like
Widely used by most accountants
Tons of integrations available
Customizable invoicing
What We Don’t Like
Comparatively expensive
Few industry-specific features
Limited users per plan


We recommend Wave for startup and small business owners looking to take financial management from spreadsheets to a semi-automated solution. Wave is a top pick for the accounting and information technology industries, and it’s one of the lower-priced options for its capabilities.

We don’t think Wave is the best choice for growing or mid-market organizations. Because Wave is free software, it does not offer the intricate capabilities of a paid platform. Additionally, it’s limited in integrations, so it does not provide the scalability for more popular financial software like QuickBooks.

Overall, Wave is a smart, inexpensive choice for new companies that plan to stay relatively small. Should you need to upgrade to a more advanced solution, Wave makes it easy to migrate your data into another system.

The Wave app is a highly popular accounting solution among freelancers and small businesses. It’s a free cloud-hosted software that allows you to track income and expenses, perform bank reconciliation, capture and organize receipts, and create custom invoices.
Price Range
   $     $     $     $     $   
   $     $     $     $     $   
Client OS
iOS, Android, Web
Cloud Hosted

User Reviews of Wave

Submitted on October 16th, 2018 by Anonymous

Wierd that Wave couldn’t deal with inventory as QB does! It doesn’t allocate the purchased goods under the inventory! It allocated them as COGS directly which mean I need a JE every time I sell any of my goods. When I created a ‘Product’, It showed my only one price which is the selling price.

Submitted on September 26th, 2018 by Anonymous

Love your program, thanks for everything you do and making accounting easy - hoping one day you will ad a VAT number field and a Description field so when looking at a list of all your invoices you can actually find a specific job without having to open every invoice till u find it

Submitted on September 25th, 2018 by Anonymous

New design is …very good… As a accounting professional… Some features still missing… But new start is very good…

Submitted on September 23rd, 2018 by Anonymous

I am an ambassador of you guys - I always share your platform to my clients - be it business people or general people - I love your work and I am very very very glad that I came across Wave! Please keep up the great work and level of excellence, from South Africa with Love!

Submitted on April 13th, 2018 by Jesse Clark

I’ve been using Wave Apps for a couple years now. It’s free except for the fees that come along with the payment processing. I use it for quotes and invoices and receipts and accounting, the end of year reports for my taxes. I really love it.

If you need a payment processor or you need a software that will handle all of your financials, I recommend this one.

You can also get it as a mobile app to take pictures of receipts and upload them, send reminders for invoices you have out.