FreshBooks and Wave are both great choices for small business accounting software, depending on your needs. If you need to schedule bills and perform cash forecasting, Wave is the better choice for you. However, if you need project costing, FreshBooks is the best option.
While Wave is free and includes accounts payable (A/P) features, which FreshBooks does not, it has limited integration capabilities. Meanwhile, FreshBooks has hundreds of integrations and add-ons to choose from that can enhance the functionality of FreshBooks.
FreshBooks vs Wave: Pricing & Features
Cost Per Month
$15 to $50
(Custom pricing also available)
Number of Users Included
(Additional users are $10 per user, per month)
Number of Customers Included
5 to 500
Bank Transaction Importing
Time Tracking for Billable Hours
(Requires Gusto subscription)
Payroll by Wave
(Additional fees apply)
Category tracking and reporting
Category tracking, customizable sales tax, and reporting
Email and phone support
Email support only (Phone support for payroll and payment processing)
FreshBooks vs Wave: Pros & Cons
FreshBooks and Wave both work best for service-based small businesses that do not need to keep track of inventory. These two software solutions have a few pros and cons in common, but each has enough unique features to set it apart from its competitor.
FreshBooks: Pros & Cons
FreshBooks is a cloud-based application, so you can access it from anywhere that has a browser and an internet connection. Both FreshBooks and Wave include basic bookkeeping capabilities, but they also have many things that set them apart from each other.
Accessible from anywhere
No accounts payable features
Mobile app for Android and iOS
Payroll is only available as an add-on from a third party
Inventory is only available as an add-on from a third party
Limited users and clients included
Time tracking for billable hours
The biggest drawback to FreshBooks is the lack of A/P features, which Wave provides in its accounting software package. You cannot enter unpaid bills and run an A/P aging report to see what bills are due, past due, or coming due. An A/P aging report is crucial to cash forecasting for your business. If you don’t need to use cash forecasting—or don’t have many bills that you need to keep track of—FreshBooks may work perfectly for your small business.
If you need to track expenses and income by job or project, FreshBooks has built-in tools for job costing while Wave does not offer this functionality. If your business bills clients for hours worked, FreshBooks also has a time tracking feature that allows you to transfer hours worked by you or your employees easily to a client invoice.
Wave: Pros & Cons
Like FreshBooks, Wave offers basic accounting and bookkeeping features. It is also a cloud-based application so that you can access it from almost anywhere. Wave users love that it is a free application but doesn’t lack any of the basic features needed to manage your business’s financials.
Accessible from anywhere
Email support only for basic features like (invoicing, accounting, and receipts
Receipt scanning and organizing
Limited integrations available
Manage multiple businesses with one account
No inventory capabilities
Unlimited payments, clients, and bank accounts
Payroll and payment processing are offered by Wave, not a third party
With more than 3 million small businesses using the platform to manage their books every day, Wave is one of the best free accounting software options on the market. Unlike FreshBooks, Wave does have A/P functionality. You can enter unpaid bills and record the payments as well as pull an A/P aging report to see how much money you need to pay any current and upcoming bills. Wave also offers support for transactions in multiple currencies, which FreshBooks does not.
FreshBooks vs Wave: Key Differences
Probably the most noticeable difference between FreshBooks and Wave is that FreshBooks is not free. Once you look beyond the pricing structure, however, Wave and FreshBooks have very different offerings for small businesses.
Number of Users
A FreshBooks subscription allows one user to access the software, but you can add additional users for $10 per user, per month. Wave, however, is free and includes unlimited users. For example, if you have three staff members who need to access the accounting software, pricing for each option is listed below.
FreshBooks: Subscribing to the Lite plan costs $15 per month and includes one user. You would need to pay an additional $20 per month ($10 per user, per month) for two additional users, bringing your monthly subscription cost to $35.
Wave: There is only one subscription level with Wave, which is free and includes unlimited users. So, a monthly subscription for three staff members would be free.
Number of Customers
While Wave has no limitation on the number of customers, you can have in your accounting system while FreshBooks does. We found the number of customers you can have is the only necessary reason to upgrade your subscription with FreshBooks.
FreshBooks: Subscribing to the cheapest tier, Lite, you are limited to five billable clients in the system at a time. So, five clients will cost you $15 per month with FreshBooks.
Wave: With Wave, the number of clients is not limited, so that you can have unlimited customers for free.
FreshBooks does not have an A/P module, and Wave does. However, you can still track expenses in FreshBooks after they’ve been paid through your linked bank account or credit card, so all is not lost. On the downside for these accounting software packages is that neither solution allows you to pay bills directly from the software.
FreshBooks: Using FreshBooks, you can only track your expenses after they happen. Once a bill payment clears your bank account, you can track the expense and categorize it the way it needs to appear on your financial reporting.
Wave: Wave allows you to enter unpaid bills and pull reports that show what needs to be paid when. This is very useful when managing your business’s cash flow so you won’t be surprised when a large bill comes due. You can then pay the bills and enter your payment into Wave for an accurate, up-to-date check register and A/P register.
FreshBooks has built-in time tracking tools so you can track your hours worked for clients on projects and automatically bill those hours to the client on their next invoice. Wave does not have time-tracking tools and does not have any add-ons or integrations that enable time-tracking.
FreshBooks: You can enter time manually and assign it to a client, but the cool part is you can also use the platform’s built-in timer. You can also add a project name or service to the tracker and include a note as to what tasks you’re working on within the project.
Wave: Wave does not have any built-in time-tracking tools. Instead, you have to use an independent time tracker and transfer the data to invoices in Wave when billing your customers.
FreshBooks vs Wave: Ease of Use
FreshBooks and Wave both have very user-friendly dashboards and navigation. As you can see from the images below, both software solutions offer a left navigation bar and a “Create New” drop-down menu in the upper right of the screen, making it easy to find the features and functions you need to use.
Each software solution also offers a dashboard that can be customized to show the information you want to see. By changing the elements on your dashboard and the timeframe displayed, you can get a snapshot of your business’s financial health to help you make decisions at a glance.
FreshBooks vs Wave: Customer Service
FreshBooks and Wave both offer online help and customer support. However, it’s easier to speak to an actual person with FreshBooks.
FreshBooks: There are a few ways to get help from FreshBooks. The platform’s regular support hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. Choose from:
- Online support articles: Search through FreshBooks’ hundreds of articles on various topics from getting set up to customizing your invoices.
- Email support: FreshBooks offers support via email during its regular support hours.
- Phone support: The platform also offers phone support during regular support hours.
Wave: While Wave does not offer phone support for all users, it does have options for getting the help you need:
- Online help center: Search through Wave’s hundreds of articles for help on various topics.
- Submit a request: You can submit a help request using Wave’s online support center and get a response back via email.
- Blog community: Wave also has an online community through its blog where you can connect with other users and ask for assistance.
- Phone support: If you are using Wave’s payment processing service or payroll services, you will have access to phone support.
FreshBooks vs Wave: Customer Reviews
FreshBooks and Wave have both been around a while, so customers have extensive experience with these well-known accounting software solutions. For that reason, there are quite a few reviews and helpful feedback to consider.
FreshBooks: Customers love the user-friendly interface, billable time tracking tools, and friendly customer support. However, users have reported that FreshBooks is not a good solution for large businesses and that their subscription levels are limited in options. For more detailed information on FreshBooks pricing plans and features, visit our FreshBooks review.
Wave: Users of Wave love how easy it is to set up and use the software, the free price tag, and that it includes A/P functionality. According to reviews, some of Wave’s less desirable features include its slow customer support response time and the fact that Wave accounting integrations are lacking in options. For details on paid Wave services like payroll and payment processing, visit our Wave review.
FreshBooks is best for small businesses that need to track billable hours and manage project budgets. If you have a small team and don’t need more than a few users to access the accounting software, FreshBooks is for you.
Wave is best for people who need to track their unpaid bills and run cash projections. If your small business needs to track more than a few clients and have several users access the accounting system, Wave is your best choice.