Finance & Accounting Articles

Wave Review – Free Accounting, Invoicing and Payroll for Small Business

by Stephanie Miles
Published on 28 August 2013

Small business accounting is not for the faint of heart. The challenges of understanding various tax codes, collecting on overdue invoices, and staying up-to-date on payroll can give even the savviest business owner reason to think twice about managing his or her own accounting. Thankfully, a technology platform called Wave has stepped in to provide a middle ground for business owners who need help managing their finances.

In this Wave review, I will check out the features available through the small business financial software. A few of the tools I plan on paying particular attention to include Wave's accounting, invoicing, payments, personal banking, budgeting, payroll, and receipt management tools. I will also take a look at Wave's mobile capabilities.

About Wave

Wave is an all-in-one financial tool built specifically for small business owners, including double-entry accounting, payroll, invoicing and more. By eliminating the confusing clutter and expensive pricing structures that typically trip people up when using accounting software, Wave has been able to create a service with virtually no limitations. Not only can business owners use Wave for invoicing, payroll, and accounting, but they can also track receipts for tax purposes. Personal finance tools are an added-on feature that makes it possible for business owners to track investments and set their own family budgets without switching between online platforms.

Main Functionality of Wave

Wave's primary functions can be separated into a few main categories: Invoices, Accounting, Payroll, Receipts, and Personal. Users have access to a 100% free and unlimited, professional-level invoicing system. Invoices can be customized with logos and other company branding. Recurring invoices can be set up to go out automatically at the beginning of the month, and companies have the option to accept credit card payments right on the invoices themselves.

By connecting Wave to their bank or PayPal accounts, small business owners can eliminate the need to manually enter transactions and decrease the chances of human accounting errors. Wave can be used to generate accurate, professional reports (including sales tax reports and balance sheets) for investors. The platform also provides an affordable solution for small business payroll that includes tax filings and payments for both Canada and the United States, and even features an iOS app for mobile payroll.

Because the personal and professional lives of small business owners are often so interconnected, Wave offers personal finance tools along with its business accounting software suite. Once users upload their electronic statements or connect Wave to their bank and credit card accounts, the platform will begin tracking investments and portfolio values in real-time.

Benefits of Using Wave

Wave core accounting and invoicing products are free and limitless. Small business owners who rely on Wave for basic invoicing and accounting services don't have to worry about going over their allotted number of transactions each month, which frequently happens with many competing accounting tools. Instead, they can quickly and easily send an unlimited number of invoices online.

Integrated receipt scanning, such as Shoeboxed gives business owners a way to track expenses and tax write-offs electronically. Receipts can be scanned and entered into Wave from mobile, email, or the web, making it possible for users to empty shoeboxes worth of receipts and easily find the necessary documentation come tax season.

Wave users who need professional support can turn to the Wave Pro Network to connect with accountants, bookkeepers, and advisors in their local areas. Accounting professionals can be sorted by location, service, or keyword. By working with an accountant in the Wave Pro Network, business owners can easily share data files and view payroll information inside the web-based platform. You can even add your accountant or bookkeeper as a collaborator so they can access your accounts directly.

The Basics: What Does the Interface Look Like?

Create your first invoice almost immediately after signing up for a Wave account. Enter the name of the customer, the date of the invoice, and prices for each product you're charging for. Wave provides you with ample room for adding extra information, includes P.O. numbers and memos to the customer.


Click on the "Accounts" tab to view a big picture overview of your current financial situation. Wave provides you with real-time information about your assets, income, expenses, and liabilities. The contents of this section can be exported as an Excel, CSV, or PDF file at any time.


A detailed view of your company's monthly transactions is available when you click on the "Transactions" tab. Add income and expenses manually, or import the information automatically by linking Wave to your business banking accounts. You also have the option to upload bank statements. Individual transactions can be easily categorized and filtered by category or account.


Support Information

Users are encouraged to stay updated on the latest announcements and upgrades by visiting Wave Support. In this section, users will find community forums and detailed articles intended to address some of the most frequently asked questions. Users who can't find the answer to their specific questions about using Wave are encouraged to reach out to the company directly by emailing

Pricing Information

Wave's primary invoicing and accounting features are always 100% free. Users can send an unlimited number of invoices to an unlimited number of clients without paying a dime. Their standard payroll package starts at only $5 per month. In the U.S., small business owners can have Wave to pay and file their payroll taxes to federal and state agencies for an additional $20 per month. In Canada, this feature is included in the standard monthly package fee.

The Bottom Line

There is a reason why Wave has become one of the most popular accounting, invoicing and payroll applications on the market. A seamless interface and ample integrations make the platform easy for small business owners to use. Just as importantly, small business owners can rely on Wave without worrying about monthly limits or caps on the number of invoices they can send and receive. Providing a completely free invoicing solution is one of the many features that helps Wave stand apart as the all-in-one tool for the financial side of your small business.

Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5


Apps mentioned in this article