Monday, October 28, 2013

Why You Should Not Use Wave Accounting Software (and Comments) / Updated: I’ve Change My Mind About Using Wave Accounting Software

UPDATE January 2014 Wave Now Has a Bank Reconciliation Feature! I received communication from Scott Zandbergen, VP of the ProNetwork at Wave, and he’s informed me that wave now has a bank reconciliation feature. This is the busy season for bookkeepers, so I won’t be able to check out the feature until a month or so. But congratulations Wave!

Stephanie Travis for GainesvilleTech writes:   Just recently, a New York City (bragging) startup found me online and hired me to help with bookkeeping. The startup uses Wave Accounting, and I was open to working in this software. I was hoping to be able to officially recommend an alternative to QuickBooks.
But in our first session of working together, I found a major shortcoming of Wave Accounting: it does not have a bank reconciliation function. Wave Accounting provides an import function where it links to your bank and credit card accounts and then imports the transactions into your Wave company books. (QuickBooks offers this same function.) The founder was savvy enough to notice that the checking and credit card account balances on the Balance Sheet did not match what Wave said was currently in the bank account per its import module. How could this be?
If the bank and credit card accounts had been reconciled, then this issue would not exist. A basic bookkeeping function is to reconcile these accounts each month. A solid accounting software program will provide a reconciliation function. If you are not reconciling your bank and credit card accounts each month, your books are worthless. Reconciliation helps you find errors such as missing transactions, transactions entered twice or transactions entered with typos or wrong amounts. I hear you asking, “If Wave imports the transactions electronically, then how can any of these errors happen?” They can, and they did.
In order to find his error, the founder had to view his bank and credit card statements and compare every transaction on the statements to the transactions in Wave to find the errors.
Are you using an accounting software program other than QuickBooks? Shoot me a note at, and I’ll review it .   Comments To Date  BELOW, Visit the site to comment!

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  • Avatar

    Ian Vacin 

    Stephanie, my name is Ian Vacin and I am the VP of Marketing & Product at Xero. We are the alternative to QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. Xero is beautiful, easy to use (including bank rec) online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors with 150K+ paying customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Feel free to email me at or check out

      • Avatar

        petenixey  Ian Vacin 

        Xero is very good software but massively mispriced. $144/year for only 5 invoices/month and 20 reconciliation lines per month.
        The Xero pricing is aggressive and difficult to leave or to hibernate. The entry level pricing is almost useless as with 5 bills per month and 20 reconciliations it almost immediately becomes outgrown. Expect to be paying $240/year to have any real functionality. If your business slows down or you decide to keep it in the background then know that you'll have to keep paying that for as long as you want access to your accounts or manually export a lot of different data out. There is no tick-over pricing and no one-click data export.
        If you've got a business for which this is insignificant pricing for then it does its job very well. If however you've got something small on the side then be aware that you will almost immediately need the larger version of the software. Xero is not for hobbyists and if you find yourself locked in and north of $1,000 down the line while still unable to enter more than 5 invoices then you'll find it to be intensely irritating.

          • Avatar

            Mike Block  petenixey 

            The Xero Ledger has unlimited bank and credit card imports @ $12 a month (through Partners, no invoices or payments). Use it with FreshBooks for little or nothing. There has been no Xero package for more than $39 a month (less 20% through us), so I do not understand the $1,000 reference). There is no lock in, as several companies convert anything to or from Xero (QuickBooks to Xero is now free). After years as a top QuickBooks insider, I found Xero massively better. The gap got much bigger recently, partly due to our Xero automation program. Venture capital stars gave Xero $150 million, for U.S. expansion 10 days ago. Xero stock then rose 65%, up 3600% in 5 years, so the stock market already knows the winner of the Intuit Xero war.

              • Avatar

                Stephanie G Travis  petenixey 

                Ian .. Thanks for that review of Xero!

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                  Stephanie G Travis  Ian Vacin 

                  Ian .. Thanks for your comment. I have seen Xero briefly when I reviewed a company's books on your software. I have also seen other accountants recommend Xero as a solid accounting program.

                  • Avatar

                    James Lochrie 

                    I'm the co-founder and Chef Product Officer of Wave. I agree that Reconciliation is a very important part of the accounting process and currently in Wave you are only able to do that by comparing transactions on your statements to the data in Wave.
                    There are ways to achieve reconciliation but none that are built right into the product today. However, we are in the early stages of putting together a very unique reconciliation tool that accomplishes the task and at the same time stays true to our ease of use mentality.
                    If you wish to have a voice in this please let me know and I can connect you with the right person. Please send a note to james at
                    James Lochrie

                      • Avatar

                        Stephanie G Travis  James Lochrie 

                        James ...
                        Thanks for visiting and commenting. I'm glad Wave is working to add the reconciliation function it its software.
                        As an expert in the fields of bookkeeping and accounting, I bristle when anyone wants to simplify the accounting and bookkeeping process to the point where the message is, "You don't need an expert. Use our software, and you can keep good books without any specialized knowledge in the area of bookkeeping or accounting." All of the accounting software companies do this, including Intuit and Xero.
                        Software programs are not surrogate bookkeepers. They are tools for qualified bookkeepers. The sales technique of leading business owners to believe they can correctly use accounting software with no bookkeeping knowledge increases sales, but it sabotages the customer you are selling to. I have rarely seen a business owner keep good books on his/her own.
                        Accounting software companies are putting "ease of use" above "accuracy of data." Why? Because it drives sales.
                        The way accounting software makers can better serve the customer is to incorporate as many checks and balances as it can in the software so an untrained user can have a fighting chance at accurate data. A bank reconciliation is one of these checks and balances.
                        I love that Wave and Xero are are in the accounting software game. I believe we will all benefit from your expertise and insights.

                          • Avatar

                            James Lochrie  Stephanie G Travis 

                            Thanks so much for the feedback. I couldn't agree more with your perspective. At Wave, we build accounting software that's targeted at small business owners, and while we aim to make it as easy as possible, you'll never see marketing messaging from us that says we will replace your accountant. Case in point, we have an entire "Pro Network" community of accountants and bookkeepers that work closely with Wave on serving the needs of our customers. As you know, accountants will always have a role to play with small businesses - whether it's assisting with year-ends, filing taxes or just providing ongoing guidance.
                            We hope to replace the shoebox not the accounting professionals that help make businesses successful
                            I'd encourage you to check out our Pro Network:

                              • Avatar

                                Ben Ward  James Lochrie 

                                >We hope to replace the shoebox not the accounting professionals that help make businesses successful.
                                Great point James. We've found the same issue come up.

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                                    Guest  James Lochrie 

                                    James ... Thanks for the info. I admit, I've had my head buried over the last few years growing my business and working on establishing resource websites for startups and entrepreneurs. I did not know Wave had a Pro Network. I'll check that out and consider spending some dedicated time to learning more about other accounting software programs.

                                      • Avatar

                                        Stephanie G Travis  James Lochrie 

                                        James ... Thanks for the info. I admit, I've had my head buried over the last few years growing my business and working on establishing resource websites for startups and entrepreneurs. I did not know Wave had a Pro Network. I'll check that out and consider spending some dedicated time to learning more about other accounting software programs.

                                          • Avatar

                                            Brooke Aguanno  Stephanie G Travis 

                                            Hi Stephanie,
                                            My name is Brooke, I'm the Program Coordinator for Wave’s Pro Network. Thanks for starting this discussion. I hope you’ll join us in more conversations on our LinkedIn Group to learn how other professionals are successfully using Wave with their small business clients.
                                            Feel free to reach out to me via email for some more information about the network and how it can benefit your practice:
                                            Although we’re still in the early stages of development, I’ve noticed a significant increase in collaboration between Wave and the accounting professionals that we’re partnering with. This has helped our team to iterate and quickly push out more small business solutions (ex. Bank Rec.) that will really increase your capacity to bring on more clients.
                                            We would love to leverage your feedback to help us provide the tools you need.
                                            I look forward to getting in touch,

                                              • Avatar

                                                Stephanie G Travis  Brooke Aguanno 

                                                Brooke ... Thanks for the info. I've joined the LinkedIn group.

                                                  • Avatar

                                                    Susan Alai  Stephanie G Travis 

                                                    Tried using wave's pro network and after several calls to the CPAs who said they did not know why they were on there, since they only recommend quickbooks, I found the network not useful. The entrepreneurs I work with do not have time to go search until finally one accountant finally agrees to take on wave.
                                                    Looking at cheqbook at the moment. Looks promising but still concerned with accountants who can actually use the software since most won't take time to learn a new software when 'the old one is working just fine' for them.

                                            • Avatar

                                              Rolando Brown  James Lochrie 

                                              Hi James,
                                              I'm a new Wave user. Any updates on this very unique reconciliation tool? In beta, in the kanban? :-)

                                                • Avatar

                                                  Stephanie G Travis  Rolando Brown 

                                                  As far as I see, Wave Accounting has not yet implemented a bank reconciliation.
                                                  As much as I hate to include the following in my comment here because I believe Wave Accounting only wants to build the best product for its customers, I would not be a responsible bookkeeping resource for startups if I did not. Recently, the investor/partner of the startup I work with that uses Wave Accounting (they chose this software before hiring me), emailed me that we needed to move the books to another accounting software product. He said he talked to four CPAs, and they would not work with Wave Accounting. The investor/partner said they cannot raise another round of funding if the books are still in Wave. We are now working on recreating the 2012 and 2013 books in QuickBooks.
                                                  Back to the bank reconciliation function, here is the latest I can find on Wave's website about this:

                                              • Avatar

                                                Mark Roberts 

                                                Yes, but wave is new and best of all it's FREE as apposed to spending upto £30 a month on most cloud based services. There maybe one or two flaws in there service, but they are being addressed all the time. So for something that is free it is worth being patient. I know most small businesses operate on a small budget so anything that is free is a big help! If any of these monthly subscription based companies want to attract new businesses and keep them then they should offer a 6 month free to use service. This would allow most small just starting out companies enough time to establish a viable income to warrant a cloud based bookkeeping service.

                                                  • Avatar

                                                    Ben Ward 

                                                    Stephanie, I'm Ben Ward CTO at We built our software out of a CPA firm when we ran into problems like this. We built a robust bank reconciliation feature. We found that we needed one because in some cases the bank data can be inconsistent. While there is no silver bullet to erase the accounting process, we have streamlined it immensely.
                                                    Anyone can try us out free for 90 days using this promo link.
                                                    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

                                                    • Avatar

                                                      Brandon T. Luong 

                                                      Thanks for this tip! I was just thinking of using them for my startup down the road, but after reading this I think I might go to Xero instead. Thanks again for the save!

                                                        • Avatar

                                                          Adam Crawford 

                                                          Hi Stephanie,
                                                          I was looking at using Wave accounting for our business. We are an music artist agency, so we book out bands to promoters. There's often a few stages to each transaction with deposits, fees, travel and accommodation payments going in either direction. We would like to manage this, plus pay our artists, draw reports of income and so on.
                                                          What do you recommend?

                                                            • Avatar

                                                              Stephanie G Travis  Adam Crawford 

                                                              I recommend QuickBooks accounting software. I do believe there are other solid bookkeeping programs out there, but I can't recommend them because I don't have personal experience with them.
                                                              If you like the cloud, QuickBooks has a cloud product called QuickBooks Online. Here is their pricing page:
                                                              If you are set on using something other than QB, then continue your research and find a reputable bookkeeper or CPA who has demonstrated expertise on the Internet to recommend an alternative product.

                                                                • Avatar

                                                                  Mike Block  Stephanie G Travis 

                                                                  Hi Stephanie: Xero grew users around 3x as fast as QuickBooks Online. The QuickBooks desktop lost 17% of users and 70% of add-on links recently. QB Online only got about 75% of the lost users, while Xero again doubled add-ons. Top QB Advisors begged for a better QB Online and a workflow program in 2005, detailing changes needed. We got nothing much for years. Intuit's CEO then apologized for not following our advice. I would still rather go to the dentist than use QB Online.

                                                                    • Avatar

                                                                      Stephanie G Travis  Mike Block 

                                                                      Mike .. Thanks for the info. I am not a fan of QB online, that's for certain. I am interested to hear about users' experiences with Less Accounting as well.


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