FreshBooks vs. Wave – 100% Unbiased Comparison [2022]

Freshbooks vs Wave

Get the best cloud-based accounting software for your business. If you have no idea what to get, my FreshBooks vs. Wave comparison is the best guide to have.

Wave’s free accounting service and excellent invoice creation tool keep them on every professional’s top list. FreshBooks provides a great welcome by sending a welcome email where they introduce their incredible features with a 47-second video to help you get started.

In this comparison post, I’ve highlighted FreshBooks and Wave’s noteworthy features (unique and similar), advantages and disadvantages, and their respective pricing plans. I’ll also answer the popular questions asked for both accounting software.

Let’s jump right into it.

1. FreshBooks vs. Wave At A Glance

If you don’t have time to read through the entire article, here’s a quick run at both software platforms, their most unique features, pricing details, and my personal scoring on how these two match against each other.


Freshbooks

4.6

Wave

4.8
Best Overall. Accounting collaboration platform with team productivity and time trackers. Starts at $15/month.Best for versatility. Streamlining processes through automation features + responsive support teams. Available for free
Try FreshBooksTry Wave

2. Who Is FreshBooks Best For?

FreshBooks is initially intended for small-scale businesses, self-employed professionals, and independent contractors with complex accounting needs. Its comprehensive set of features provides you confidence and peace of mind that you will accomplish all tasks with great accuracy and deliver it on time.

Over years of developing its cloud-based solutions, FreshBooks successfully created an accessible and intuitive platform. It boasts a simple, well-laid design that even non-accounting individuals can easily use.

3. Who Is Wave Best For?

Wave is dedicated mostly to freelancers, eCommerce store owners, and entrepreneurs with less than 10 employees. All their accounting, sales, banking, tax, and payroll needs are easily accomplished in a few, simple clicks.

Wave’s team also created the software, cloud-based platform, and mobile app without using the traditional accounting jargon. This is a great help for everyone to understand every single process. Since it is free to use, it also makes it ideal to use as a personal account.

4. A Close Look At The Features Of FreshBooks and Wave

In this section of my FreshBooks vs. Wave comparison, I’ll give you a closer look at their similar and unique features:

FeaturesFreshbooksWave
Invoice and Expense Reports
Payroll Services
Project Management Tools
Time Tracking Services
eCommerce Checkout Tools
Data protection
Mobile Access
Training and Support
Get StartedTry FreshBooksTry Wave

5. Key Features Of FreshBooks

FreshBooks Features

In this section of my FreshBooks vs. Wave comparison, I’ll dig deeper into FreshBooks’ strongest features.

#1 FreshBooks Dashboard

FreshBooks Dashboard

Sign up for any FreshBooks plan and it will automatically create you a custom dashboard.

This dashboard will give you a quick overview of your business’ finances. Here are the elements you can expect to see on your dashboard:

  • Outstanding Revenue: All the overdue and outstanding invoices on your account will be displayed here using visually appealing and detailed graphs. You can sort out the details by currency (only if you manage invoices in multiple currencies).  
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (Select plan only): The graphs it displays represent all the recurring templates and retainers available, including their averages. The graphs include a data point where you can see its exact information by hovering over it.  
  • Total Profit: This color-coded graph will give you a visual presentation of your profit (green) and expenses (red) over a specific period.   
  • Revenue Streams: The graphs it shows will give you a clear picture of where your revenue comes from. If you wish to customize the data range and currencies, you can do this by clicking on the button beside the “Revenue Stream” title.  
  • Spending: Unlike the other elements, the spending is shown in a pie chart. You can also customize its data range and currencies.  
  • Unbilled Time: All the data shown here comes from the information gathered from your time tracking section.  

Another thing you can do on your dashboard is to invite team members and give each a specific role. The roles will determine what they can access and monitor on your dashboard. 

FreshBooks Dashboard - Invite Team

Lastly, the dashboard allows you to create new tasks – client, retainer, invoices, and so on. Each task comes with a customizable template for quick setup.

FreshBooks Dashboard - Sample Task Template

#2 Accounting Reports

FreshBooks Accounting Reports

Inside the accounting section, you can track all the finances your business transacted and processed, and generate custom reports. All these reports are highly organized to ensure it is ready for tax filing or to present to your accountant.

Aside from the report generation, you can also set up, manage, and generate a summary report for bank reconciliation. The report will show you all the unmatched FreshBooks entries and bank transactions from a specific bank account.

FreshBooks Guide: Bank Reconciliation

Visualize business transactions by creating journal entries. This will compile and organize all your finance activities such as creating credits and expenses, sending invoices, and more.

FreshBooks Guide: New Journal Entry


FreshBooks wants to ensure that all financial reports you’ve created in your account are accurate. For this reason, it only allows an invited accountant to create all journal entries.

Burkhard Berger

#3 FreshBooks Projects

FreshBooks Project

FreshBooks’ goal is to give every professional and business owner the ultimate peace of mind in running their business. FreshBooks delivers this by adding a project section on your dashboard.

This feature provides you with all the tools to manage your project seamlessly and keep your team in sync with the latest updates and development on your project.

FreshBooks Project - Create New Template

Start by creating a new project. Simply click the “Create New…” button and you will be given an option on how you want to bill the project – flat rate or hourly. FreshBooks includes a customizable template for a quick and hassle-free setup.

By default, each project created has a dedicated “review” tab for easy tracking and a “discuss” tab where your team members and clients can share files, links, and other supporting attachments.

FreshBooks Guide: Project Review Tab

In the “discuss” tab, your team members and client can also communicate with each other by commenting on their posts.

The best part of the discuss tab is that all posts created are permanently saved. You can also upload a maximum of 40 files (50 MB per file).

#4 Time Tracking Tool

FreshBooks Time Tracking

In business, time is always equivalent to money. FreshBooks provides an excellent time tracking tool to accurately measure and document your business and team’s productivity.

FreshBooks Time Tracking - New Entry

Using this tool is simple. You need to add a new entry where you need to indicate the client, the services, and the main task you are working on.

What if you accidentally click the “Start Timer” button without adding a new entry? No need to worry, FreshBooks allows you to fill the entry form even when the timer is running

FreshBooks Time Tracking - Start Timer

When using this feature, please note that all time logged under/above 30 seconds is rounded down/up into the nearest minutes.

FreshBooks’ time tracking tool also includes a review section with the option to display it in a list or calendar view style. This section allows you to view your and team members’ (individual or group) recorded time.


Generate and send invoices to clients fast. You can now do this without leaving the time tracking tool. Simply click the “Generate Invoice” button and choose any of the unbilled entries.

Burkhard Berger

#5 FreshBooks Integrations

FreshBooks Integrations

FreshBooks offers tons of basic and advanced accounting features. If you’re still looking for more functionalities, the smart solution is integrating your account with third-party apps.

FreshBooks offers over 100 available integrations and apps. Just click one and it will show you the functions it can add and a step-by-step guide on how to connect it with your account.

6. Key Features Of Wave

Wave Features

Let’s take a closer look at Wave features to understand how they can help in managing your business or personal finances. 

#1 Wave Dashboard

Wave Dashboard

Just like with FreshBooks, Wave provides you with an organized dashboard upon signing up.

It is recommended to specify what your business does, the total number of customers, and if you accept online payments on the registration to ensure you will receive all the tools and help guides you need to get started.

Inside the dashboard, you will get a general view of your business finances – cash flow, profit and loss, balances of all connected bank/credit card accounts, invoices payable, bills you owe, net income, and expense breakdown.

Other features you can access on your dashboard are the following:

  • The Sales tab is where you can create/automate/send invoices, estimates, set up payments, and add customers, products, and services.
  • The Purchases tab is where you can manage all the accounts payable.
  • The Accounting tab organizes your transactions, monitors your Chart of Accounts, and performs bank reconciliation. Now, you can also hire a bookkeeper with one simple click of a button.
  • The Banking tab saves you time in connecting your bank and credit card accounts by automating all transactions.
  • The Payroll tab is where you can run smoothly the payroll and tax payments.
  • The Reports tab is where you can get all the financial insights and overall business performance.
  • The integration section contains all the available apps that you can connect to your Wave account.
  • Customize all these features by accessing your settings.

#2 Launchpad

Wave Launchpad

Wave eliminates the tedious process of managing your finances by creating a one-stop launchpad.

Simply choose a starting point (the task you want to create) and Wave will give you the best steps you can take to quickly and accurately accomplish that task. The tasks you can create are divided into three categories: professional invoices, bookkeeping, and payroll.

#3 Tax Filing with Block Advisors

Wave Tax Filing with Block Advisors

Wave wants you to become more confident in filing your taxes. That’s the reason they introduce their new integration with Block Advisor (only for U.S. businesses).

This tax-filing integration allows you to automatically import all your Wave records (income and expenses) upon filing with H&R Block. All you need to do is get your records tax ready.

To get started, you need to identify your business structure. If you’re a sole proprietor or your business is a single-member LLC’s, you have two options:

  • File it by yourself ($175 + $45 per state filed): This option allows you to import all your data (income and expenses) and Block Advisor will give you an easy, guided process to walk you through every step – start to the filing. 
  • File with a tax advisor ($400 + $65 per state filed): Get this option and Block Advisor will assign a small business certified tax pro who will do the filing for you. You can contact the tax pro via messaging or schedule a phone appointment. 

If your business is a corporation, partnership, or multi-member LLC, Block Advisor offers the file with a tax advisor option for you. This usually costs $500 + $150 per state filed.

Additional perks you can get under this offer are communicating with your tax pro via phone, video, and chat; and year-round professional tax support for your business.

#4 Sales New Customer Statements

Wave New Customer Statements

Under the sales tab, Wave added their newest feature called customer statements.

This new feature allows you to better streamline your customers’ information and activities. You can also easily remind them about their outstanding invoices or simply send them a comprehensive report of all their account activities.

Thanks to its clean and straightforward interface, you can create a new statement in just a few clicks.

What types of statements can you create and send to your customer? Wave offers two statement options – the outstanding invoices and account activity.

Wave Customer Statements Options

The outstanding invoices statement gives you an organized overview of all partially paid, unpaid, and invoices that are past their due date for a specific customer and within a selected date range.

While the account activity will show you all invoices, payments, and refunds for a specific customer.

#5 Payroll Services

Wave Payroll Services

Bid goodbye to delays with Wave payroll services. It creates a simple workflow to save time in setting up.

The payroll services come with standard functions such as the following:

  • Adding employees and completing their profile  
  • Enter timesheets  
  • Include payroll history  
  • Review and generate employee and tax forms  
  • File direct deposit application  

Provide all the information correctly and ease your mind that all your employees will receive their accurate salary on time.

With the recent events the world is facing, Wave added a COVID-19 resources section. Here, you will find if you are eligible for all the economic relief offered by the government.

Wave COVID-19 Resources

7. FreshBooks vs. Wave – Pros And Cons

One effective method to speed up decision-making is to weigh the pros and cons. So, in this section of my FreshBooks vs. Wave comparison, I’ll highlight each accounting platform’s pros and cons.

Let’s start with FreshBook’s share of pros and cons:

FreshBooks:

ProsCons
Clean and easy-to-navigate user interfaceLimited invoice customization
Lots of setup help providedPricing plans don’t include a free plan
Supports mileage tracking on iOS AppA few of its features don’t work well in mobile app
Fully equipped with time tracking, collaboration, and project management tools 
Hundreds of available apps and integrations to connect to your FreshBooks account

Let’s now consider Wave’s share of pros and cons:

Wave:

ProsCons
Great user interface and navigation toolsNo available 24/7 customer phone or live support
Includes assistance from certified accountants and tax proLimited apps and integrations
Instant syncing of data to your Wave accountNot suitable for large-sized businesses
Updated guide and information in the help center
Instant payouts are available in the US and Canada

8. Where Do I Get The Most For My Money?

Freshbooks and Wave indeed come with great features. But just like in any other accounting software, all good features come with a price.

In this section of my Freshbooks vs. Wave comparison, I’ll break down each pricing plan they offer and the features it includes to help you determine which one is worth investing in.

FreshBooks Pricing Plans

FreshBooks Pricing Plans

Freshbooks offers four pricing plans which you can pay monthly or annually. The first three pricing plans come with a 30-day free trial, while the Select plan requires you to contact the sales team to request a demo.

  • Lite ($15/mo.): Lite plan is ideal for any entrepreneurs or professionals with basic needs and only caters to 5 billable clients. It consists of 5 tools to easily track and organize client information, 6 business solutions, 3 client payment options, and 7 tools to help you manage your business itself. 
  • Plus ($25/mo.): If you want to add automation, more insight features, and send invoices to 50 clients then the Plus plan is undoubtedly the option to get. On top of the Lite features, expect to get 2 more billing solutions and 3 tools for managing your business. 
  • Premium ($50/mo.): For growing businesses, the Premium plan is smart to invest in. You can transact and send invoices to unlimited numbers of clients, get Plus features, 2 additional tools for tracking and organizing client info, and another 2 for managing your business.
  • Select (Custom Pricing): Select is the ultimate plan to get for businesses with complex needs. It also can cater to unlimited billable clients but its features are specialized for a series of functions.

Get to know all the features included and a custom quote by calling the sales team. 

They also offer add-ons if you wish to add more teammates to your account ($10/mo.), advanced payments ($20/mo. for Plus and Premium plan), or use Gusto payroll

Wave Pricing Plans 

Wave Pricing Plans

You see it right… Wave is completely free to use. Simply sign up and start getting to work.

What can you expect to get in Wave’s accounting software? A few of the key features you can enjoy are the following:

  • Run multiple businesses in one account  
  • Add unlimited accountants, collaborators, or partners  
  • Includes a fully functional double-entry system  
  • Unlimited bank and credit card connections  
  • View your business’ performance on your dashboard  

In terms of invoice receipts, you can finally bid goodbye to manually managing paper receipts and spreadsheets. Wave’s accounting software simplifies this process by providing the following features:

  • Scan unlimited receipts using their free mobile app (Android and iOS)  
  • Instantly incorporating the receipts into your accounting reports  
  • Scan multiple receipts simultaneously  
  • Take a photo of the receipt and Wave will fill in the information automatically   
  • Capture receipts even when you’re offline  

You probably wonder where Wave is getting its profit. The answer is simple – add-on services.

Two of Wave’s popular services offered are payroll services and wave advisors.

Wave Payroll Plan

The payroll services can provide you full-service ($35/mo.) or self-service tax payments ($20/mo.). Selecting which service to get is easy because they are both based on the States your business is located.

Wave Coaching Plan

The Wave Advisor, on the other hand, helps you by giving you a full hour of live coaching to fully understand your books and how to manage them right.

Wave Bookkeeping Plan

Don’t want to handle your books or manually file your taxes? The Wave Advisor can do it for you at a competitive price of $149 per month.

To know the complete services a Wave Advisor can provide, book a free consultation today. You must be logged in to your account to do this.

9. Conclusion – Which Is Better: FreshBooks or Wave?

Which cloud-based accounting software is best for your personal needs or business – FreshBooks vs. Wave? Even though Wave’s free-to-use platform is tempting, I still chose FreshBooks as the best cloud-based accounting software for small businesses, including self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors.

My primary reason is the convenience it provides in managing all your business finances and projects in one secure platform. It also promotes stronger teamwork as the dashboard is fully equipped with excellent collaboration and team communication tools.

Another feature that I found appealing about FreshBooks is its superb and responsive customer support. Not to mention that their help center is intuitive and you can easily find what you’re looking for no matter what search word/phrase you use.

One of Wave’s advantages is its eCommerce checkout tool. Good news for online store owners, FreshBooks is currently offering a beta checkout link feature (under the payment tab) that allows you to collect online payments on your eCommerce store even without creating an invoice.

10. FreshBooks vs. Wave – FAQ

Do you still have questions that are heavy on your noggin? Here I’ll answer four more popular questions frequently asked for FreshBooks and Wave:

How much does Wave charge for processing online payments?

Wave processing fees vary on the credit card – for American Express, they charge 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction and 2.9% + $0.30 for most credit cards. They also charge 1% for processing electronic bank-to-bank payments.

Does FreshBooks accept online payments?

Yes, FreshBooks accepts payment from credit cards (via WePay), PayPal, Stripe, and ACH. Expect a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for all credit cards (except American Express as it cost 3.5% + $0.30), 2.9% + $0.30 for USD-based PayPal and Stripe accounts, and 1% for ACH.

Is your information secure in Wave?

Yes, Wave uses three types of protection – 256-bit SSL encryption to protect your communication with your bank/credit card company, password and account protection, and read-only security. The latter is applied to all the connections Wave makes with different financial institutions.

Can you export your FreshBooks’ accounting reports?

Yes, you can export all the reports available in your FreshBooks account by printing or downloading a CSV file on your computer. Simply click on your chosen report and click “More Actions”.

In This Article

Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger

Follow me on my journey from $0 to $100,000 per month. I'm sharing everything I've learned in my income reports here on Novum™ so you can pick up on my mistakes and wins.

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