Best Wave Alternative: The Three Financial Management Platforms You Need To Use Today

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Updated on:
December 11, 2022
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Wave is a growing cult favorite, with over 3 million small businesses using the platform every day to manage their books. And it’s easy to see why.

For one, Wave is completely free -- you don’t even have to give your credit card details to set it up. And unlike other platforms, it doesn’t have any artificial limits on features such as invoicing, items, or contacts. You’ll only have to shell a few bucks to add payroll or receive professional bookkeeping.

It’s also approachable, functional, and easy to use. Even if you don’t have any prior bookkeeping experience, you can easily use the platform for your small business accounting needs.

That said, even though the app offers some impressive features at no cost, it does have its drawbacks.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the top wave alternatives that you can use for invoicing, payroll, accounting, and freelancer tax software.

Note: Freelancers are raving about Bonsai Tax, a top-rated expense tracker. Our tax accounting software help you organize receipts, send deadline reminders, and estimate your taxes. Users save on average of $5,600 from their taxes by using our software. Try a 14-day free trial today.

Why You Should Use Wave Accounting

In the sea of financial management platforms, Wave stands out because of its $0 monthly fee. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of premium software, but it gets the job done for small businesses.

So, the platform is an excellent choice for you if:

  • You’re a freelancer or independent contractor
  • You prioritize simplified finances
  • You’re working with a limited budget
  • You prefer ease-of-use over complicated features
  • You want software that offers the most bang for your buck

Why You Should Consider An Alternative To Wave...

At the start of your business or solopreneur career, Wave can seem like a lifesaver. It provides all you need in one place, and saves you money in the long run.

But as your business grows from an army of one to about 10 to 20 employees, the platform may not be able to meet all your growing demands. That’s why it may be time to consider a Wave alternative.

Wave may be unsuitable if:

  • You need to add multiple users
  • You’re looking for a responsive customer support
  • You want complex and comprehensive accounting features
  • You want improved time tracking
  • You want software that provides project management
  • You need a platform that offers many integrations
  • You have a business that’s scaling rapidly

Best Wave Alternatives

Choosing a financial management software can be difficult, considering the myriad of platforms in the market today. There’s a lot of things you need to consider: functionalities, pricing, ease-of-use, suitability, among others.

Fortunately, we’ve done all the hard work for you, so you don’t have to. We’ve considered Wave’s main shortcomings and narrowed down our list to three platforms:

  1. Bonsai: Best Wave alternative for freelancers and independent contractors
  2. Freshbooks: Wave alternative
  3. Quickbooks: Best Wave alternative for accounting

Let’s get started...

Bonsai: Best Tax Accounting Software for Freelancers and Independent Contractors

Bonsai Tax is the top tax software for professionals. Our software can help you estimate taxes,

There’s a lot more to freelancing than completing jobs and satisfying clients. Writing proposals, invoicing clients, drafting contracts, and pitching are just some of the tasks you have to complete daily as a solopreneur. The sad truth is, these tasks are often too mundane.

Most freelancers prefer to automate these tasks, often juggling multiple apps to tick off their to-do lists. This approach, however, can be confusing. For instance, if you’re using an app to pitch your clients and another one to send contracts, it’s easy to lose track of your progress. Ideally, you’d like everything in one place, so that you can stick to doing what you do best.  

Bonsai makes this possible. It’s an all-in-one freelancer platform that helps you manage all aspects of your freelancing. It frees you from your numerous, tedious tasks such as managing projects, tracking time, crafting proposals, among others.

It provides a CRM (Client Relationship Management) that helps you keep track of all your clients. Bonsai’s dashboard has a section where you can store information such as client contacts, social media handles, and even how much money you’re owed.

Managing time as a freelancer is crucial. More often than not, if you're wasting time, you’re losing money. That’s why the platform's built-in time tracker can really come in handy for freelancers on tight deadlines and procrastination sprees.

On Bonsai’s dashboard, there’s a “Start Timer” button. When you click it, you can start timing yourself on a specific project. You can also add some notes such as ‘editing”, so you know the time you spent editing rather than researching or writing.

Writing proposals is often a headache for most freelancers. Bonsai offers some ready-to-go proposal templates that you can start using. It provides 6 different templates -- it doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, web developer, or freelance writer, there’s a template for you.

That said, the most impressive feature that the app offers for freelancers is invoicing. According to Bonsai, using the independent contractor app can help you receive payments 13 times faster, on average.

One way Bonsai helps you get paid faster is by automatically setting up your invoice. For invoice, once a potential client accepts your proposal, the platform automatically creates an invoice for you and sends it to your client.

You don’t have to start from scratch when creating your invoices; you can use one of the many templates offered and customize it. You can also link your invoice to the built-in timer, and Bonsai will display the amount of time you spend on a project in your invoice. If you charge hourly, you’ll save a lot of time that you’d have otherwise spent calculating your hours and keying in the numbers.  

But Bonsai isn’t limited to freelancing work only. With its Bonsai Tax plan, it can also help you remain compliant with the IRS, allowing you to have peace of mind at tax time.  

You can use the app to track 1099 expenses, identify possible tax deductions, and estimate your quarterly taxes. When you input your information on the app, it automatically imports all your expenses from your bank and credit cards, then organizes your tax receipts.

Not only will it help you save time, but it’ll also identify some tax-saving opportunities for you, so you can save more bucks come tax season.

Bonsai Pricing

The app offers you a 14-day free trial when you register for an account. You can use this free trial to understand its key features, get a feel of the app, and see if it’s worth a shot.

When the trial ends, you can choose either of two plans:

Plus Plan

At $19 a month, you’ll get all the main features we’ve outlined above, such as invoicing, project management, time tracking, among others.

Premium Plan

At $29 a month, you’ll get the “Plus” features, white-labeling, and subcontracting. White-labelling allows you to replace Bonsai’s logo with your own. And the sub-contracting feature allows you to efficiently manage a small team.

For the Bonsai Tax plan, you’ll pay $10 monthly.

FreshBooks: Wave Alternative   

A cloud-based accounting platform, FreshBooks is designed for freelancers, independent contractors, and small businesses. It boasts a host of features that include payment processing, time tracking, project management, among others.

What makes FreshBooks a desirable option for small businesses, though, is it's invoicing feature. Since its inception, it has arguably been the leading accounting invoicing platform in the market.

The app can send reminders to clients and customers for unpaid invoices, saving you a lot of time and encouraging faster payments. You can also request deposits from your customers using FreshBooks. This feature allows you to take on projects without the fear of being ripped off. And if you have several repeat clients, the app can help create recurring invoices for them.

It also lets you monitor your expenses to avoid ruining your monthly budget; log time to ensure you meet your project deadlines; and send invoices from anywhere you are, at any time, to ensure you stay on top of your business cash flow.  

If your business relies on invoicing and varied client payment workflows, then FreshBooks can be a strong tool in your accounting arsenal.

Compared to Wave, FreshBooks provides better customer support. FreshBooks offers email support and toll-free telephone customer care even past business hours. Additionally, the accounting solution also offers the following options to a user:

  • In-product help
  • In-product messaging
  • Searchable knowledge base
  • FAQs

On the other hand, Wave provides limited options. If you’re looking for help, you can mainly contact Wave’s customer care through email, as the platform doesn’t provide any phone support.

And if you want a quick reply, you may have to wait a little longer, as the team can take up to 10 business days to reply to your query.

To top it off, you can only get access to live agents by registering for the paid services that include Wave Payroll and Payments.

FreshBooks also beats Wave with its mobile app and integrations. It has a more intuitive app and provides over 200 integrations. You can also add more users to the platform -- an ideal alternative to Wave. Check out our full list of Freshbooks alternatives.

Note: if you want expense tracking feature as well as being able to send invoices, try Bonsai. With our all-in-one freelancer platform, you'll be able to record receipts for taxes, send invoices, receive payments and much more. Claim a 14-day test drive here.

FreshBooks Pricing

The software offers 3 paid packages to its users:

FreshBooks Lite

The most basic option, it’s priced at $7.50 per month. It’s ideal for self-employed workers who only want to get simple invoicing functionalities without breaking the bank. Here’s what the FreshBooks Lite package offers:

  • Unlimited invoicing to 5 clients
  • Sales tax tracking
  • Unlimited expense tracking
  • Unlimited estimates  
  • Payments via credit cards and bank transfers

FreshBooks Plus

The software’s most popular package, it packs a lot of features for just $12.50 a month. Here’s what you get:

  • Unlimited invoicing to up to 50 clients
  • Automatic expense tracking
  • Mobile mileage tracking
  • Double-entry accounting
  • Invitations to accountants
  • Recurring invoices
  • Business health reports

FreshBooks Premium

Ideal for larger businesses, FreshBooks Premium is priced at $25 a month. You get all the features from Lite and Plus packages, with the addition of:

  • Unlimited invoicing to an unlimited number of clients
  • Payment reminders
  • Late fees for invoices
  • Customized emails
  • Click-to-pay invoicing
  • Extensive FreshBooks accounting reports
  • Project profitability tracking
  • Accounts payable

QuickBooks Online: Best Wave Alternative For Accounting

QuickBooks is easily one of the most recognizable names in the online accounting industry. Its parent company, Intuit, has been developing accounting software for small businesses for over 30 years.

Their latest product, QuickBooks Online, is a cloud-based accounting platform that handles almost any accounting task for small-to-medium-sized businesses. It offers a wide variety of features that helps you gain control over your finances.

Its app, in particular, is easily one of the best in the market, having lots of rave reviews from users. It allows you to view transactions on the fly, offering an all-in-one platform for all your accounting needs. You can use it to scan your receipts, keep track of your expenses, monitor mileage, keep records for at least three years, and contact customers from any device that has an internet connection.

After setting it up, you’ll find extensive reporting. With the Plus and Advanced plans, you gain access to over 60 reports that give you an overview of your business's financial health. Of course, the more you pay, the more reports you receive.

The pricier plans also offer inventory management and job costing. With job costing, you can see how much you spend to complete certain projects. You can monitor your stock, and if your inventory is too low, the app sends you alerts.

You can also manage your suppliers, create purchase orders, and connect your stock to third-party apps like Amazon and Shopify. This is in huge contrast to Wave which offers a very lightweight inventory management feature.

Another thing that makes QuickBooks Online a worthwhile Wave alternative is the sheer number of integrations the platform offers. It gives you access to over 600 apps that include third-party platforms and QuickBooks add-ons -- a far cry from only 4 available Wave integrations. These integrations can help minimize the possibility of duplicated work across different platforms.

For all its impressive functionalities, though, QuickBooks online does have its shortcomings as an accounting solution. For one, its pricing can be out of reach for most small businesses or freelancers who are strapped for cash.

If your business is in its infancy, then you may be better off with a free platform like Wave, instead of allocating a huge chunk of your budget to QuickBooks.

Secondly, new users often take some time to get a hang of the app. While setting it up may be a breeze, you may need some basic bookkeeping knowledge to use the platform to its full potential.

Check out some other Quickbooks Self-Employed alternatives.

QuickBooks Online Pricing

The accounting software offers four packages:

QuickBooks Online Simple Start

It’s the cheapest package and is available at $25 monthly. For solopreneurs and small business owners, this may seem steep, but it provides some worthwhile features that include:

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Income and expense management
  • Receipt scanning
  • 1099 contractor management
  • Sales management
  • Customizable reports
  • Payment acceptance

QuickBooks Online Essentials

It’s priced at $50 a month, and includes the following features:

  • All Simple Start functionalities
  • Enhanced reporting (it offers sales reports, accounts receivable reports, and account payable reports)
  • Bills tracking
  • Time tracking
  • QuickBooks Online Plus
  • It’s priced at $80 a month and comes with the following features
  • All the functionalities of the Essentials package
  • Templates for customizing reports
  • Inventory management
  • Job costing
  • Extensive reporting (inventory, profitability, budgeting reports, among others)
  • Project profitability tracking

QuickBooks Online Advanced

It’s the platform's most expensive plan at $150 a month. Designed for larger businesses with several employees, its features include:

  • All the functionalities of the packages mentioned above
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Online training
  • Allows for 25 users

Final Thoughts

The accounting software industry is a competitive one, and there are multiple solutions to choose from. To help you make the best choice for your needs, we've reviewed three of our favorite alternatives to Wave Accounting alternatives that offer different levels of complexity as well as price points.

Bonsai offers freelancers a simple way to keep track of finances without all the fuss, FreshBooks lets you create invoices seamlessly, while QuickBooks Online allows small businesses to stay on top of their accounting.