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Wave Review

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PROS / It can support multiple businesses as well as your personal accounting.

CONS / You can't use this software to create purchase orders or manage inventory and fixed assets.

 VERDICT / Wave is a good choice for service-based businesses or new companies with limited inventory.

Wave is web-based accounting software designed for small businesses. Its pricing structure is different than most, as it offers a free version of its software and instead charges monthly for customer support, offering two service tiers to choose from. It offers payment processing that allows your customers to pay their invoices online. For this service, you pay a flat percentage rate plus a per-transaction fee for each paid invoice; no contract or additional monthly fees required. Wave also offers payroll at an additional cost.

Wave is easy to set up and requires minimal information about your business to create an account. You can upload your logo, choose between three invoice templates and add an accent color. You can further customize invoices from the invoice-creation screen, clicking the Edit Columns button to decide what to name columns and which columns to include or hide. You can also add footer text to your invoices. Invoice creation is more limited than many of the programs we reviewed but is extremely easy to do.

When you create an estimate, you can convert it to an invoice in just a few clicks. If you want to rearrange the line items on an invoice, you can drag and drop them into place. You can set up the system to automatically send out recurring invoices, which is a useful feature if your business sells subscription-based goods or services.

Another time-saving feature is the automatic payment reminder that allows you to schedule when a follow-up email is sent to your customer. You can send reminders manually at any time. Wave has a prewritten email that you can use as is or customize, and you can see a preview of the message before sending it.

Wave can track your expenses and allows you to upload receipt images using your computer or a mobile device using Wave's receipt app. You can also email receipt images to this bookkeeping software. Wave uses optical character recognition (OCR) to translate images into text for expense transactions, and estimates 70 percent accuracy. It attaches the receipt image to the expense transaction so you can view it later, if needed.

However, you can't convert the expense transaction to an invoice, so if there's a charge you need to pass on to a client, you have to manually add a line for the expense to an invoice. You cannot track billable hours using Wave, and would have to manually add that information to an invoice as well.

This online accounting software allows you to manage vendors and track bills. It doesn't manage inventory or fixed assets. The knowledgebase offers suggestions for workarounds for companies with limited inventory and assets, but these workarounds are not ideal for businesses needing real-time information about how many products they have in stock. Wave also lacks the ability to create purchase orders and print checks.

You can generate several different reports using Wave, including a general ledger and an aged receivables report. You can link bank and credit card accounts to the software. You can also link your PayPal account to sync transaction data but not to accept payments. Wave includes a reconciliation tool, but this bookkeeping software doesn't suggest matches between your bank transactions and those you've entered into the system.

Wave supports multiple businesses, which is a useful feature if you run more than one company. It can also support your personal accounting with budgeting and investment-tracking tools. Wave offers multiple mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, with separate apps for invoicing, receipts and payroll.

If you need customer support, the level of service you receive depends on the pricing tier you purchase. If you opt not to purchase support, you can email the company and receive a reply within three business days. Higher service tiers grant you access to live chat, phone support and expedited email replies.

Summary

Wave is a good online accounting application for small, service-based businesses or new companies that don't require inventory-management tools. It can create estimates and invoices, track expenses and be set up to automatically send payment reminders. It can track bills and manage vendors, but it lacks inventory ordering and tracking tools.