Wave is a collection of free and paid browser-based apps that give you nearly every tool you need to successfully manage a business. You’ll have free and unlimited access to accounting, invoicing, personal finance, and receipt saving. For a fee, you can also have payroll and payment processing.
Wave Apps Features
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11 Reports: You can generate all of your standard reports: balance sheet, account transactions, general ledger, income statement, sales tax report, trial balance (from a particular date), income by customer, expense by vendor, aged receivables, aged payables, and even gains & losses from exchanging foreign currencies.
Wave University: Wave University is offered as a self-service walkthrough of Wave’s programs and features.
Wave Apps Accounting (Free)
5 Kinds of Accounts: You should be able to cover all your bases with accounts for assets, equity, expenses, income, and liabilities. Wave is one of the few free accounting software programs that uses true double-entry bookkeeping.
Bank Feed Import: You can securely sync your bank account and use manual entries to keep on top of income and expenses. This simplified accounting program is designed strictly for “non-accountants,” so it purposefully skips some of the more complex and confusing features of other software.
Wave Apps Invoicing (Free)
Create & Send: You can directly share estimates, invoices and bills with your customers via e-mail.
Recurring Invoices: You can set up repeating invoices that are automatically sent every ‘X’ number of days, weeks, or months.
Invoice Format: Your customer has the option of viewing the invoice as a private URL or a savable PDF document.
Pay through Invoice: Customers can pay by clicking directly on the invoice if you use Wave’s Payment Processing for an extra fee. Otherwise you can include information for payment through PayPal or another payment processor.
Mobile App: Right now, the useful invoicing mobile app is only released for iOS devices.
Wave Apps Payment Processing
Stripe: Sign up for free to use the 3rd party processor Stripe. The fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Payments are supposed to be transferred within 2 days.
Mobile: Once again, this app is currently only available for iOS devices. It makes charging customers simple when you’re on the go. You can choose to purchase the Stripe hardware add-on to swipe credit cards or you can manually input the information.
Wave Apps Payroll
Direct Deposit: Skip the paper paychecks and have your employees get their money faster and more easily.
Time Sheet or Salary: You can choose how you pay your employees: by salary or hourly.
Mobile: The mobile app for iOS makes it possible to input hours and complete payroll from your iPhone.
Wave Apps Personal Finance (Free)
Set Budgets: You can use budgets to help locate problem areas and rein in spending.
Track Stocks: Use this feature to input stock and investment information. You’ll have access to simplified, real-time info on your net worth.
Integrate Business & Personal Finances: For small business owners who have a hard time separating their finances, Wave’s range of programs makes it easier to get a more accurate picture of your total standing.
Wave Apps Receipts
Save on Taxes: Track your deductible expenses and save receipts using the scanning service Shoeboxed.
Mobile App: Take pictures on the go with your cell phone’s camera using Wave’s iOS and Android apps.
Wave Apps Pricing
- Payment Processing (through Stripe) – 2.9% + $0.30/transaction
- Payroll – $15/mo + $4/employee
- Personal Finance
Plus Package – $9/mo
- Live chat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, M thru F
- “Expert insider tips”
Advanced Package – $19/mo
- Live phone and chat support 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, M thru F
- Unlimited support
The Good On Wave Apps
Great integration: FreshBooks has incredibly extensive integration with third party platforms. You can use this program with Gmail, MailChimp, Bidsketch, and QuickBooks, and that’s just for starters. Tax software, third party help desk services, project and team management apps, payroll, CRM, shopping carts, and other business services are all represented in FreshBooks’ add-ons.
“Get paid faster:” One of the main selling points of FreshBooks is the ease of invoicing and charging clients. The streamlined and automated process makes getting paid faster than dealing with lots of paperwork, following up on late payers, etc.
Easy Set-Up: Getting started is surprisingly easy. You fill out a simple form with basic information about your business. Next you have the option to watch a few short videos to familiarize yourself with the dashboard and features. Once you link your bank account and set up contact information for your clients, you’ll be in business.
Security: There are multiple layers of cyber-security employed considering the sensitive information used in this program. Beyond your typical 265-bit SSL encryption, FreshBooks has intrusion and hacking detection, server vulnerability scanning, and AES encryption for credit card and banking information. They also have off-location physical backup servers to keep your information safe in case of damage to or failure of the main server. This should reassure business owners who are skeptical of the “cloud-based” service.
Client read notification: Because FreshBooks sends links for invoices, it can also tell you if and when a client has opened the link, or “read,” the invoice. No more, “I never received it!” confusion.
Separate products and services: The standard invoice has one section for products and another for services. This makes breakdowns and total amounts easier to understand for both the client and the business owner.
Bank connection for expenses: If you connect your business checking account, you can import and convert expenses into a billable item.
May save in fees: If you choose to use FreshBooks Payments, which is run through WePay, you may save in fees over PayPal or Stripe. These fees are also auto-imported as an expense that is passed onto the client. Visa and MasterCard are charged at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. American Express processing, which is currently only available in the United States, is 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction.
The big bonus here is auto-billing, which does not charge fees. This can be a sell to your client, since they are charged the processing fees if you choose to use FreshBooks Payments. The auto-bill in turn helps you get paid on time and hassle-free.
Project Management: The interface is very simple, but depending on your business needs, the project management tool may work for you. You can also integrate it with a third party management service like Basecamp.
Invite accountant with their own log-in: One of the newest (and most useful) features is the Accountant Center, a private log-in for your accountant. He or she can have access to necessary information and journal entries to help you keep your accounting in order.
Customer service: FreshBooks has award-winning, quick and efficient customer service. They aim for “small town, small business values,” and they succeed. In fact, the company rotates phone support among all of its employees. If you call their 800 number, you may even have the CEO and co-founder Mike McDermott answering your questions.
The Bad On Wave Apps
Not truly accounting-oriented: Despite the “cloud accounting” tag, FreshBooks is not entirely accounting friendly. It does not allow for double-entry bookkeeping and has no general ledger, among other glaringly missing features. However, as an invoice and billing service, it holds its own among the competitors.
No accounts payable: While you can add expenses from your linked bank account (or add them manually), there is no solid accounts payable. This is especially a problem with bills, since you cannot track who you owe, how much you owe them, or when the due dates are. You will want to track these expenses in another program to get a more accurate measure of your finances with both debts and income balanced together.
No default tax rate: Each time you send an invoice, you will need to select the appropriate tax rate. You cannot save this rate to a client’s information file. This can be a bit tedious if you deal with a lot of invoices.
Buggy unbillable expenses: You are in a bit of a bind if you have an expense associated with a particular client or project but do not want to forward that expense as a cost on your invoice. There is nowhere to save or track these kinds of expenses. It’s either billed to the client or it’s a general expense calculated on your profits and losses.
Limited invoice customization: You are very limited in how you can customize the design of your invoices. You can change the color scheme and add your own logo, but that’s about it. You may have to get creative with how you enter or organize information on your invoices.
Only cloud-based: You must have an Internet connection to work on your FreshBooks invoices and billing. There is no offline downloadable program, although you can use your cell phone’s wireless data plan in a pinch.
Our Verdict On Wave Apps
Although it bills itself as a “cloud accounting” service, FreshBooks is really best suited for invoicing and client billing.
We also recommend taking advantage of FreshBooks’ add-ons. Use it in conjunction with QuickBooks, Xero or another full-fledged accounting software, and you should have all of your bases covered.
While you can use FreshBooks for retail or product-based businesses, it seems best suited for service-based industries like photographers, home repair, graphic designers, etc.
Since the accounting features are somewhat limited yet the program itself is also excellent for invoicing, it can be hard to recommend or discourage looking into FreshBooks. Luckily, there is a free trial. We advise signing up for the trial and seeing how well the features and tools suit your needs.