Wave Payroll Review: Your One Stop Shop For Bookkeeping Needs 2021 – Five Hundred Stories

Do you always stress over your business accounting, payroll, and invoicing? Wave may be exactly what you need to get things in order. Almost every Wave Payroll review you’ll come across has something good to say about this software.

According to the developers, Wave is everything you need to run your business confidently. So, does it live up to this claim?

Let’s find out.

It’s almost impossible to give a Wave Payroll review without looking at the software as a whole.

Wave is a financial services software that was launched in 2010. The developers of the software created it with small business owners in mind. Their goal was to provide a solution that would enable entrepreneurs to manage their finances with ease.

So, what are some of the tasks you can complete with Wave?


Wave allows you to manage all your accounts in one place. With this software, you can connect all your bank accounts, sync your expenses, and balance your books as you await tax payments.

All your transactions are automatically added to your bookkeeping to eliminate any manual inputs. How cool is that?

Wave also allows you to manage all your invoices professionally. The platform features various templates you can use to create your invoices. What’s more, you can sync to the accounting software so that everything is up to date.

And guess what? You don’t have to keep updating paid invoices or following up clients when payments are due. With Wave, all payments are added automatically, and it features an automatic notification that reminds customers when payments are due. How’s that for hassle-free!


With the Wave software, you can also manage and track your business expenses. All you have to do is to download the Wave app that’s available for both iOS and Android and use it to take pictures of your receipts.

When you save the receipts, they’ll be automatically added to your account to give you a clear picture of your expenses.


If managing your payroll seems like a nightmare, Wave Payroll will make things so much easier. Not only does it connect to the rest of your Wave account but also allows you to make direct deposits to all your employees’ accounts.

Besides, you can easily switch to a different payroll service provider if you need to. And again, you won’t have to do anything manually because everything is updated automatically.

Source: blog.waveapps.com

One thing almost every Wave Payroll review seems to agree on is that this software has incredible features. Here are some of the features you should expect to get on Wave:


One of our favorite Wave features is the dashboard. Initially, the software didn’t have one, but they added it after customers requested it for a while.

The Wave dashboard features graphs and charts that give you an insight into your business. You get an overview of your bank accounts, overdue invoices, profit and losses, payable and owing, and expenses breakdown among other things.

With this information at your fingertips, you’ll find it easier to make business decisions. For instance, the breakdown of the expenses gives you an idea of what you can cut back on to minimize your costs. The profit and loss information also gives you an idea of where your business stands.

Source: blog.waveapps.com

Another Wave feature we love is the client portal. This portal is specifically meant for your clients. Here, they can view their invoices and make payments online. It is an incredible feature because it eradicates the need to keep following up your clients to make payments.

Contact management

With Wave, you can also add your vendors’ contact information to make your transactions easier.

Banks reconciliation

Wave also allows you to ensure all your books are balanced thanks to their bank reconciliation feature.

Chart of Accounts

Wave offers a customizable chart of accounts that’s meant to make accounting as easy as possible for you. Besides, it provides fixed asset management.

Accounts payable

With Wave, you can also record bill payments and add bills. The only downside to this feature is the fact that you can’t reset recurring bills.


The Wave inventory feature allows you to add item names, descriptions, and sale price. You also get to choose whether you are selling or buying the item.

Although it’s a great feature, it still needs a lot of work. One of the things that need improvement is the buy option. If you select it, there is no way to add a purchase price which means you’ll have to do it manually every time you create a bill. Also, there’s no way to add stock levels or set inventory reminders on the software.

Currently, the inventory feature is more of an item list that doesn’t do much for you.

Time tracking

Time Tracking is available on Wave Payroll. The feature allows you to track and input employees time. However, Wave doesn’t give employees access to the software which means they can’t track their own time. Almost every Wave Payroll review we’ve come across agrees that this is a significant oversight.


Wave supports over 160 currencies and updates the exchange rates daily. That is an excellent feature for business owners who transact with customers in different parts of the world.


Wave also gives you access to 12 reports including a cash flow report. It’s also possible to create customer statements on the software.

What we love about the reports is that they are customizable and they make it easy for you to compare your current standing with previous reports.

Missing features

While we agree that Wave offers incredible features, we believe it lacks functionality in certain areas which makes it less suitable for large businesses.

As aforementioned, the inventory feature could use some improvement. Currently, Wave doesn’t give you the option of managing your inventory.

Furthermore, you can’t integrate with inventory from another vendor.

Also, although you can add the sales tax rates to your invoice without any problem, the site doesn’t allow integration with third party sites which may be very useful.

The importing and exporting feature could also benefit from improvement. Currently, Wave only allows you to import and export contacts and bank statements via basic importing capabilities like .csv .qbo, and Google. However, there’s no way to import services and items which is a great miss for the software.

So, what do customers have to say about Wave Payroll? From every Wave Payroll review we’ve come across, it’s clear that different people love different things about Wave. However, there are certain things people agree on when it comes to this software.

One of the things people love about Wave is its price. Wave is free of charge, and there’s no way to beat this. Users also appreciate that they don’t have to download the software since everything is cloud-based and they can also access it through the mobile app.

Wave is also very user-friendly. Users love that this software doesn’t include any accounting jargon and it’s effortless to navigate and understand.

To add to this, the software has robust features and excellent invoicing templates.

Although Wave reviews are generally positive, you won’t miss a negative Wave Payroll review here and there.

One of the user complaints is slow servers and downtime. Some users have complained that Wave loads very slow which makes completing tasks quite challenging.

Most users are also not pleased with the mobile apps. They don’t like that the software has multiple apps. Besides, some have complained that the apps have bugs.

Some customers have also raised concerns about how difficult it is to find a bookkeeper. According to them, bookkeepers are unfamiliar with Wave’s accounting processes.

Wave customers would also like to have access to more features like mileage tracking and better bank transactions. Also, several users have complained about the lack of integrations on Wave.

Some people have also experience problems with duplicate transactions more often than not that require them to reconnect to their bank to solve the issue.

PC Mag gave Wave a rating of 4 out of 5.

As you already know by now, Wave is absolutely free. And the reason it stands out from other free alternatives in almost every Wave Payroll review is that it doesn’t limit your number of invoices, transactions, or customers.

You may be wondering how the company makes money if everything is accessible for free. Wave makes money from payroll, bookkeeping services, and credit card processing. With this income, they manage to provide a free service that’s also ad-free.

Let’s have a look at some of the paid options you can access:


Here, you have two options to choose from: tax service payroll and self-service payroll.

With tax service, Wave not only handles your payroll but also your payroll taxes. The service goes for $35 per month plus $4 per month per employee. Tax service payroll is available in New York, California, Florida, Washington, Texas, and Illinois.

Self-service payroll, on the other hand, involves Wave managing your payroll but you have to do the taxes yourself. It’s available in the other 44 states and goes for $20 per month plus $4 per month per employee.

Payments By Wave

Another service you’ll have to pay for is the payments service. This allows you to accept payments directly from your customers. For credit card transactions, Wave charges 2.9 percent plus 30¢ per transaction with a processing time of 2 days. They charge 1 percent for ACH payments with a processing time of 2 to 7 days.


You’ll also be required to pay for bookkeeping services if you need Wave for this. Wave introduced a service known as Wave+ that’s meant to assist you in all your bookkeeping needs.

You have two options depending on the level of support you need. First, you can purchase the Accounting Coach service for a one time fee of $249. With this service, you get access to a personalized accounting coach who will teach you everything you need to know about Wave and how to go about successful bookkeeping.

The other option is a bookkeeping service that starts at $199 per month. With this service, you get a designated bookkeeper who’s responsible for handling all your accounts.

If you’re still unsure if Wave Payroll is the best option for you, we’ve compared it to some of the top options on the market to help you decide.

Patriot Software

One of the best alternatives to Wave Payroll is Patriot Software. It’s excellent for payroll related services like wage and salary computation, tax computation, and filing.

Patriot Payroll offers two payment plans:

  • Basic ($10 per month)
  • Full Service ($25 a month).

You’ll also be required to pay $2 or $4 for each additional employee.

Source: patriotsoftware.com

The difference in packages is the manual filing fees charged by the Patriot Payroll staff when they file your taxes for you.

Although Patriot Payroll is an affordable alternative to Wave Payroll, customers have complained about the third party direct deposit service. It may also not be the best option if you are looking for an all-rounded finance accounting software for your business.

PC Mag believes Patriot Payrolls deserves a rating of 3.5 out of 5.


Gusto is one of the leading payroll processing software that allows you to streamline your payroll, manage employee benefits, track work hours, and calculate payroll taxes.

One of the things that give Gusto an upper hand when compared to Wave Payroll is that you can track worked hours.

However, Wave Payroll has the upper hand when it comes to price. Gusto offers three options:

  • Core ($6/user/month + $39 base fee)
  • Complete ($12/user/month + $39 base fee)
  • Concierge ($12/user/month + $149 base fee)

The difference between these three options is the additional features they come with. Some of them include employee onboarding, access to certified HR, paid time-off requests, and more.

If you all you want is a reliable payroll management software and you’re willing to spend a bit more, Gusto may be the better option since it has so many useful features you won’t find on Wave Payroll.

However, it may not be the best if you are looking for an all-rounded finance management software since it primarily deals with payroll management.

PC Mag gave Gusto a rating of 4.5 out of 5.


Another great Wave Payroll alternative is Zenefits.

Zenefits is an all-encompassing HR Suite that helps you manage critical tasks related to payroll such as benefits, compliance, performance, and more.

The main reason we love Zenefits is the fact that it features employee self-service. Through this feature, your employees can view their current and previous paychecks, track their vacation and sick days and request changes on W4 withholding status. You won’t get this feature on Wave Payroll.

Zenefits offers three plans:

  • Lite HR: free
  • Standard: $6 per employee per month ($5 for yearly billing) plus $40 base fee per month
  • Advanced: $12 per employee per month ($9 for yearly billing) plus $40 base fee per month.

PC Mag rated Zenefits 4.5 out of 5.

Wave’s incredible user-experience and smart choice of features make it an excellent choice for sole proprietors and freelancers who need reliable accounting software and also room for growth. We also love that you can do so much more apart from managing your payroll on this software. You can track your expenses, monitor your accounts, create invoices, and so much more. These are features that lack in most payroll software on the market today.

Furthermore, Wave offers two excellent apps (Receipts by Wave and Invoices by Wave) which make things even easier — what else could you ask for?

Do you believe Wave Payroll is the best option for you? Was this Wave Payroll review informative? Please share your views in the comments section below.