Wave gets rave reviews from GetApp readers. They cite its intuitive dashboard, multi-currency support, invoicing options, and payroll receipts as strong selling points. And for small teams on tight budgets, Wave's status as a free app is an enormous plus.
But Wave was also designed for micro-businesses - specifically teams of nine or less. That makes it a strong tool to choose when your small business is starting out. But what happens when that small-but-mighty team doubles or triples in size?
Although Wave is a great double-entry accounting app for small businesses, it's also missing some key features. Timesheets, project management, and tracking of billable hours, time, and expenses are just a few examples. And those are enough to make some users switch.
Is your own small business on the cusp of needing a new accounting app? The following five alternatives to Wave are worth a look. To earn a spot on this list, each app had to have an average rating of four stars or higher on GetApp and be built for the full range of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), from freelancers to teams of hundreds.
Although none of these apps are free like Wave is, we chose apps that have several pricing plans. So, if your small business goes through a growth spurt, you won't have to migrate your data - you can upgrade to a plan that suits your bigger needs and budget.
Best for: UK small business owners who need a mobile-friendly app to manage VAT.
British small business owners, rejoice: FreeAgent is ideal for those who want a country-specific, mobile-friendly accounting app. One user shares that despite bookkeeping for four companies that use it, FreeAgent helps him limit bookkeeping to one day per quarter when VAT is due per company.
FreeAgent prides itself on easily helping small business owners work with their accountants. User permissions are firmly in your favor: you decide who gets access to your account and which permissions they have. All data is encrypted using 256-bit SSL - the same technology that banks use. And FreeAgent's team of "support accountants" will guide you through the app, from getting started to using new features.
FreeAgent's pricing depends on how you classify your business. The Sole Trader plan costs £9.50 per month + VAT for 6 months, then £19 per month + VAT after that.
Partnership/LLPs pay £12 per month + VAT for 6 months, then £24 per month + VAT. And its Limited Company plan costs £14.50 per month + VAT for 6 months, then £29 per month + VAT.
Best for: Freelancers who need online invoicing and time tracking.
FreshBooks gets strong reviews from GetApp readers from both the invoicer and payee perspectives. One reviewer shares that FreshBooks helps them spend less time sending invoices and receiving payments. This helps them meet tasks ahead of deadline.
You can use FreshBooks to send invoices, track billable time and expenses, collect online payments, and more. You can also track time by client and project alongside tracking due dates and deadlines. And you don't have to worry about remembering due dates, making tax calculations, or applying discounts to invoices - FreshBooks will take care of it for you.
FreshBooks' Lite plan lets you bill up to five active clients for $13.50 a month when paid annually. An upgrade to its Plus plan supports billing up to 50 active clients for $22.50 a month.
When your small business really starts to boom, you can bill up to 500 clients on FreshBooks' Premium plan for $45.00 a month. In each case, being billed annually will save you 10 percent.
Best for: SMB owners with a wide range of accounting needs.
Intuit-owned QuickBooks Online was the first kid on the cloud-based accounting block, and it remains a popular favorite. QuickBooks Online has a stellar interface that boasts some of the best visuals in any cloud-based accounting app.
Since Intuit is an accounting juggernaut, QuickBooks Online has more bank integrations (including regional banks) than any other platform. It's also an end-to-end accounting solution. Features include detailed invoicing, P&L reporting, and tax documentation. QuickBooks Online is also well supported, as Intuit has a wealth of free customer support resources.
QuickBooks Online offers four plans for everyone, from freelancers up to midsize business owners. Each of these plans can be bought for up to 50 percent off during your first six months. The Self-Employed plan costs $5 per month for the first six months on this discount. The Simple Start plan costs $10 per month before progressing up to $15 per month after six months.
Small businesses can use QuickBooks Online's Essentials plan for $24 per month for the first six months. And its Plus plan - the most popular - costs $35 per month, also for six months.
Best for: SMBs that need lots of integrations.
Banking reconciliation is often the most important - but tedious - part of your small business accounting. Xero makes this process much less painful. It automatically imports and codes your banking records against your company's accounting records. This helps you easily find discrepancies.
Xero's real-time dashboard gives you a quick, consistent overview of how your accounts performed in a month compared to previous months. And you're hard-pressed to beat Xero on the integrations front: it works with more than 400 other cloud-based apps. This helps you streamline your workflow and connect Xero to the tools that you already use.
Each of Xero's three pricing plans are currently discounted at 50 percent off for the first three months. Its Starter plan costs $10 per month before progressing up to $20 per month post-discount. Users can send five invoices and quotes, enter five bills, and reconcile 20 bank transactions on this plan.
Xero's Standard plan starts at $15 per month before moving up to $30 per month three months later. This plan has no listed limitations on invoices, quotes, bills, or reconciled bank transactions. Finally, its Premium plan starts at $20 per month before progressing up to $40 per month. It includes all features on the Standard plan along with multi-currency support.
Best for: SMB owners who use other Zoho products.
Zoho's range of cloud-based tools supports business needs from customer relationship management (CRM) to internal social networks. And when it comes to SMB accounting, Zoho Books also earns high marks from users. It offers U.S. and U.K. editions of a full accounting suite, from unlimited invoicing to financial reporting.
Zoho Books is designed for companies of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. You can automate recurring invoices, payment reminders, and more. Its multi-currency feature makes it ideal for users who have global clients. And Zoho Books is a no-brainer if you already use Zoho products. As one example, the tool's integration with Zoho Projects lets you create, edit, view, and share expenses between both tools.
Zoho Books' Basic plan costs $9 per organization per month. It supports 50 contacts, two users (one SMB owner plus one accountant), and unlimited workflows.
Its Standard plan costs $19 per organization per month with 500 contacts, three total users (two users plus one accountant), and 10 automated workflows per module. Finally, Zoho Books' Professional plan costs $29 per organization per month. This plan supports unlimited contacts, 10 users, and 10 automated workflows per module.
This post was first published on September 22nd, 2014. We've added new apps, screenshots, and pricing information to help you find the best alternatives to Wave. We've also added information about which user each type of app is best for.