One of the major advantages of Wave's intuitive and feature-rich cloud accounting software, is that it's free. Designed for small businesses, there is no trial period and it’s very easy to set up an account. There are a few missing features, however, (most notably relating to VAT) which larger companies and those wanting a single package to rely upon may find frustrating.

Sales and purchase invoices are simple to create, and these act as the raw data which the software uses to display financial information. Products can be set up prior to creating the invoice, meaning that you can easily issue a new invoice for the same product next time you get an order. Invoices can also be ‘tagged’ or ‘coded’ at the point of entry meaning that you can keep track of where your expenditure lies, and which products are selling best. Credit notes can also be created in the form of a negative invoice, but these can’t be allocated to an existing order or purchase. Once entered, sales invoices can be deleted, edited, copied or used as a template for automatically repeating but purchase invoices can only be edited or deleted.

Using information gathered from entered invoices, the first screen, the Dashboard, shows an easy to understand financial snapshot including amounts payable/owing and how many expenses are yet to be categorised (coded). As a whole, the interface is very intuitive and there are links to information on how to use the software at every step. As previously mentioned, however, Wave is currently available only as a global version and as such there is nothing set up for VAT. You can create sales tax rates but you will need to do further work to extract the figures for a VAT return.

Wave supports bank feeds, meaning that you can keep minute-to-minute track of the amount of money in your account as well as being able to upload a bank statement file in various formats including .csv. The statements lines can then be categorised (coded) or allocated to an invoice as payment and verified or reconciled. Lines for the same account code can be selected and coded in bulk. This is all intuitive and easy to do.

Digital copies of receipts can be uploaded into Wave, via a smartphone app or emailed and then processed as a transaction. Journals can be easily created, edited and deleted. The Profit and Loss (Income Statement) is clear to read and the figures can be accessed directly to find out more information. There is also no purchase order module.

Overall we found this software very enjoyable to use, and it was very easy to learn. Considering the price tag (free), it is very feature rich and ideal for a non VAT registered small business with simple accounting needs. For VAT registered businesses and business with accounts that are not straightforward, it may not work well. If you currently do your bookkeeping on spreadsheets, however, this software is well worth a look.


Software Interface

Cloud Accounting


Although one of the more expensive solutions on the market, we're inclined to think that Xero might be worth the money. It's feature rich, easy to use and VAT ready.


Free Agent

FreeAgent is a feature-rich cloud accounting application which nevertheless has a few annoying omissions and interface issues. Its most unique feature, perhaps, is a customised account which recognises your status as a sole trader, partner or limited company.


Sage One

Sage One is an intuitive, easy to use piece of cloud accounting software which nevertheless lacks many of the features of its competitors.



QuickBooks is a piece of cloud accounting software full of useful features and reasonably easy to use, with a few hidden annoyances.



When it comes to features that you might expect from a subscription cloud accounting service, Kashflow ticks all the boxes, but we found it awkward and complicated to use.