One on One: Wave

One on One is a series of reviews. Instead of a long-winded breakdown, I give you a quick summary along with one positive and one negative.

Name: Wave

Description: Wave is a bookkeeping service. It handles all aspects of small business bookkeeping. It handles invoicing, syncs and downloads transactions from your bank accounts, and even keeps track of your personal finances in a separate tab.

Cost: Wave is completely free for the core bookkeeping services. It also offers an optional payroll service for a (very) small fee based on number of employees, and they have paid premium training provided by accounting professionals.

One Positive: The transaction reconciliation screen has been improved dramatically over the years and just might be my favourite implementation across all the bookkeeping services I use. If you have a large list of transactions to categorize Wave does a great job of selecting, categorizing, and approving multiple transactions at once. If it was to implement a rules system like Xero uses it would be pretty close to perfect.

One Negative: The way Wave displays reports drive me bonkers. To be honest, no bookkeeping software does reports the way I'd prefer, but this one is particularly bad. The big thing I dislike is the way they're actually displayed. Income Statements will tend to default to either sorting the accounts by account number or name. I find it important to give the option to toggle between these two, but I can live with one or the other. For some reason Wave doesn't do either. The accounts seem to be displayed randomly, and the only way to display them properly is to download them to Excel and sort them there.

Final Thoughts: If you are running a small business on a budget and would like to keep all your bookkeeping in one app, I think you should take Wave for a test drive.

Tell Me About Your Bookkeeping System

Today I come to you, my readers, with a question.

I have spent the last 3+ years testing out different cloud-based bookkeeping options. Sometimes I just give them a few days "test run". Other times they have impressed me enough to be added to my official bookkeeping toolbox.

At present, I have 4 main services that get daily use. They are, in no particular order.

  1. Freshbooks
  2. Wave Accounting
  3. Kashoo
  4. Xero

There are others that I like, but just haven't had the free time to truly test out. I'm really interested, for example, to give the 2 big names a shot. QuickBooks Online hasn't been particularly powerful up here in Canada compared to its US counterpart. And, since it's not part of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program up here like it is in the US, it's not an extra expense I can justify given the fact that I don't have any clients using it. I also just found out that Sage has a cloud-based option too. Not sure how I missed that, but I guess I don't deal with Sage all that often.

If either of them have something worth talking about, I'll be sure to let you all know.

What I'd really love to know is what you use. Don't stop at cloud-based options. If you're using QuickBooks, Sage, Excel, or a good ol' ledger book, I'd love to hear about it. And, beyond that, let me know if you're happy with your current system.

You can leave a comment right here, or contact me directly instead. If I get enough responses, I'll write up a follow up post with a summary of what you've told me. Don't worry, no personal info will be shared...just a list of what seems to be popular out there.

Bookkeeping - Made in Canada


It's funny how the mind works. Driving around each day, I couldn't tell you how many red Honda Civics passed me. But if I were to buy a red Honda Civic tomorrow, suddenly I'd be seeing them at every intersection.

No, I'm not about to talk about cars, or give a Radiolab-style analysis on why the mind notices these things. I say this because I am noticing a lot more Canadian tech companies lately. More specifically, Canadian-based bookkeeping companies.

There are times when a desktop accounting application is the best choice. In those circumstances, QuickBooks has been my brand of choice ever since they discontinued MYOB in Canada.

When QB isn't required, or when a client is using something online as their front-end invoicing app, I've been working with 3 main ones.

  1. Freshbooks
  2. Wave Accounting
  3. Xero

2 of these 3 have something in common. Yes, you guessed it, Canadian companies. To make things even more interesting, I recently started testing out another app.

Kashoo is another online bookkeeping service. I'm just starting to learn more about it. I think it's going to be another favourite. Guess what? Canadian too.

I have no idea what makes Canada a hotbed of accounting innovation. Whatever the reason, it sure makes me proud to be a bookkeeper here.

I realize that I've done a few posts on Freshbooks in the past. I think it's about time I wrote about some of the other options too. Maybe even a side by side comparison. The nice thing is, each company is going to have different wants and needs when it comes to their bookkeeping system. Each option I listed above is well suited to a specific type of entrepreneur.

Need to invoice but hate accounting? Freshbooks

Like but wish it could also do your books? Wave

Anyway, I know I've been really slow on putting up posts this year, but I'll try to get to those soon. Stay tuned for sure. In the meantime, I've been getting a lot of great people sending me guest posts. I hope you have enjoyed them so far. You're always welcome to contact me if you have an opinion on the content I'm publishing, or if you have a post idea of your own.

5 Tips to Avoid an Audit

The great folks over at Wave Accounting are doing a massive series of blog posts called the Small Business 500. This is a collection of guest posts from people in various industries contributing their tips to help the small business owner. 

They recently approached me to write one of these posts, and it just went up on Friday. If you'd like to read it, and maybe a few others in the series, you can find it at the link below. 

If you're not familiar with it, Wave Accounting is free online bookkeeping app. I've been doing quite a bit of client work in it recently, so I think I need to write a review in the near future. Stay tuned for that. 

Wave Accounting - 5 tips to avoid an audit