Wave Accounting Review – Free Online Accounting Software

Wave Accounting Review – Free Online Accounting Software

CloudBook Online Accountants are Wave Accounting specialists. If you want to get the most out of free online accounting software, you need experts like us to assist you throughout the year. As well as this, we set you up on Wave Accounting and show you how to use it, all included in our low fixed accountancy fees.

This is our Wave Accounting Review. Wave provides free online accounting software, funded by some small adverts. As it is completely free online accounting software, you can just sign up and have a play with it here: Wave Accounting.

Wave Accounting Review

Our Wave Accounting Review

If you’re looking for the best free online accounting software, we recommend Wave Accounting. It’s ideal for small businesses with straightforward accounts who don’t want to pay a lot (or anything!) to make their bookkeeping easier, and potentially their accountants fees cheaper (like ours!). Wave Accounting or Wave Apps as they are now called are able to supply free online accounting software by showing small discreet advertising to the side of the screen. You probably won’t even notice it and if you do, it might even be useful!

Just because you don’t have to pay for Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software, it doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing quality. If anything, you may not have the quantity of features that other expensive, cheap or free online accounting software provides, but if you don’t need those additional features, why pay for them?!

What you get with Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software

That’s not to say Wave Accounting hasn’t got great features and we’re going to tell you about what you can get from the free online accounting software including the following:

  • Bank transaction feeds No longer provided in the UK/EU
  • Bank statement uploads
  • Automatic categorisation
  • Receipt & invoice reader
  • Document storage
  • Invoicing
  • Recurring invoices
  • Get paid by credit card
  • Reports
  • Handles VAT No longer complies with UK VAT (MTD)
  • Paypal integration

Banking & Paypal

Paypal and most bank accounts can be set up to feed transactions automatically (not in UK/EU) and securely into Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software. It saves you time entering anything or downloading and uploading statements. If your bank (or you) doesn’t support that, you should be able to download your bank statements from online banking in a common format (e.g. CSV), which can easily be uploaded into Wave Accounting in seconds. Saving you hours a year entering each transaction manually.

Wave Accounting doesn’t have a bank reconciliation facility as such. **See Update below** That’s because it’s designed to be led by your bank statement transactions, not by your cheque book or your income slips. Although it does allow you to verify each line, acting like a tick which could help you if you do still want to reconcile (i.e. tick off) the bank statements.

If you don’t have any of these facilities, you can always manually enter income and expenditure. It’s very easy, and still quicker than writing it in a cashbook, or on a spreadsheet.

**UPDATE** There is now a Wave Accounting bank reconciliation, and it works seamlessly in the transactions section. We think it’s a great addition to the software.

Receipt & Invoice Scanner and Storage

Another way Wave Accounting makes your life easier is with their free Receipts App. This is a really useful tool that you can download onto your mobile or tablet, so that you can take a photo of a receipt or invoice. It then reads the data on the document and uploads the data and the image into Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software. A great time saver!

However, following from above (regarding the lack of a bank reconciliation), this is probably best left for the transactions that don’t go through your main bank account. Instead we think this is great for recording cash income slips or expenses receipts, or costs and income that have gone through another bank account (e.g. personal).

We have found it to be inconsistent at times, for example picking up the change amount rather than the total amount. But it is getting better with regular updates. Also you get to review each one and if necessary correct any of the data before it hits your account. Overall we’re a big fan of the Receipts App provided by Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software!…

Invoicing & Bills

Ditch the wordprocesser and spreadsheet! Wave Accounting has a great invoicing module, producing professional looking invoices that can easily be downloaded as a PDF or emailed directly to your customer through the software. Using the second option you can register with Stripe to add a credit card payment option to you invoices (a small percentage fee is charged but only if your customer pays by credit card).

It’s so easy to use, you just enter everything or select options directly on the invoice, save, and then it’s in your accounts and ready to send. You can set an invoice to recur say every month. You can also copy a previously raised invoice and edit the details – another great time saver.

Each invoice has an option to raise a payment against it. Or this can be done from the bank transactions (recommended to avoid duplicating bank receipts). On the invoice summary page, at a glance you can see what is paid, due, overdue. Then you can resend the invoice if necessary to chase payment.

We have nothing negative to say about the invoicing provided by Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software. Although we recommend you check you’re happy with the look of the email that is sent to customers directly from the software before using it.

Bills (i.e. purchase invoices) are entered much the same way as sales invoices.


Wave Accounting handles VAT via its sales tax function, however, it does not comply with UK Making Tax Digital regulations. Set it up with the VAT rate and then remember to select VAT whenever you enter anything that affects your VAT return. It handles VAT on an invoice basis well, and you can use it for a cash basis, but it’s perhaps not as intuitive as other online accounting software. For the cash basis you will have to adjust for debtors and creditors on each VAT return. That’s where your accountant should be able to help, and we would include that in our quarterly reviews provided with our accounts packages.


Essential reports are provided with the free online accounting software, which are usually enough for most small businesses including:

  • Profit & loss account
  • Aged debtors (i.e. receivables)
  • Aged creditors (i.e. payables)
  • Balance sheet
  • Transactions by customer/supplier/category
  • VAT summary and detailed
  • Balance sheet

Other Useful Bits

There is an Accounting module which lets you enter journals (other adjustments not via bank, sales or purchases), and add or edit categories for your transactions.

You can add as many collaborators as you wish (e.g. your accountant, your bookkeeper) who will be able to log in and either view or also edit your accounts.

Each Wave Accounting account comes with Personal free online accounting software, which is a separate set of records for your personal finances. This is really useful if you often mix business with personal transactions because you can easily transfer to one or the other. It also comes with a budgeting tool.


They say you don’t get anything for nothing, well they were wrong in this case! Wave Accounting’s free online accounting software has all of the essentials in a really easy to use format. It is worth considering for all small businesses and even the not so small with straightforward accounts. We’re happy to support any business that uses Wave Accounting. You could potentially save hundreds on accounting software and even more with accountants fees. CloudBook Accountants are Wave Accounting specialists. Use our Fixed Fees Calculator on this page to see for yourself how much you could save. Or contact us with any questions you have.

Wave Accounting Review

This was our Wave Accounting Review of its Free Online Accounting Software. Also, because it is completely free online accounting software, you can just sign up and have a play with it here: Wave Accounting.

CloudBook Online Accountants are Wave Accounting specialists. We help our clients set up on Wave Accounting and show them how to use it. This, as well as ongoing help with Wave Accounting is included in our low fixed accountancy fees.