May 07, 2021

Sunrise or Wave: Which Bookkeeping Service Is Best For You?

Making the switch to bookkeeping software is a big step in your business. With these tools, your business can become more organized and operate at a smoother pace. If you don’t have a financial background—or hate dealing with the invoicing side of your business—then a bookkeeping application can be a lifesaver. 

But which tools are right for you? What apps will save you time and reduce confusion about your expenses and income? Let’s review 2 of the more popular small business bookkeeping solutions on the market—Sunrise and Wave. 

Get to Know Wave

Wave is a financial software made for entrepreneurs. It is an accounting tool that tracks your cash flow and makes it easier to manage your invoices. With Wave, you can create personalized invoices (even adjusting the colors to match your brand) and receive payments from your customers. These payments clear within 2 days. 

Wave also offers payroll services and promises speed and accuracy—which are essential for both your bookkeeping and the morale of your employees. For other expenses, you can manually upload them or scan your paper receipts to keep digital records. These features save you space and mental energy associated with holding onto every slip of paper you receive. 

If you would like assistance or advice in your bookkeeping processes, consider reaching out to the Wave Advisors—a team of experts who can offer help and guidance as needed. You can sign up for managed bookkeeping and payroll services or pay a 1-time fee for tax services. There are also payroll coaching options so you can learn how to manage these aspects on your own. 

If you are a visual person, Wave uses color-coding and clear labels so you can fully understand the scope of your income and expenses. Their goal is to simplify financial management so you can focus on your business. 

Get to Know Sunrise

Sunrise is a free accounting solution for small businesses offered by Lendio. This software is meant to help small business owners move away from spreadsheets and internal bookkeeping services. With our tools, you can easily track expenses and income—and review reports to make sure you stay on budget. 

Start by creating business invoices for your customers. You can customize the layout and add your logo for a more professional feel. You can set up a recurring payment schedule and allow customers to pay their invoices by credit card. Along with invoices, you can send quotes to potential clients so they can get a feel for the cost (and value) of your work. 

You can even set up payroll services to compensate your employees and contractors. Sunrise can also help you better understand the tax requirements that come with owning a business. 

Once your bookkeeping is managed, you can move on to reporting. With Sunrise, we can create effortless P&L reports and balance sheets related to your business financials. We also have tax assist forms to pull the numbers you need to for your accountant.

Don’t get overwhelmed with the financial side of running a business. Get organized and get Sunrise.  

Both Services Are Free–to Start

Both Sunrise and Wave cater to small business owners. They know entrepreneurs and startup owners won’t have large budgets to invest in software systems. This is why we proudly offer Sunrise’s bookkeeping services for free, and Wave does the same. 

However, there are upgrades you can invest in as your company grows—allowing you to scale your business without needing to switch software tools. At Sunrise, we offer dedicated bookkeeping services starting at $149/month for businesses with up to 120 transactions. This expands up to $500/month for businesses with up to 500 transactions. 

While you can accomplish most bookkeeping tasks with our self-service software, it often helps to have a financial expert on hand when you have a question. 

Wave also has a baseline free system. However, they charge for payroll services, including payroll taxes. With Wave, you can expect to pay a $35 base fee for tax services plus $6 per employee or contractor. These costs can add up as you hire more employees. For payroll services, Sunrise has partnered with Gusto, so you can sync your services with both of our systems. 

Additionally, Wave charges processing fees if you accept payments through the app. These vary based on whether you use bank payments or the types of credit cards you take out. Plus, without a dedicated team, you may need to budget for the cost of bookkeeping services as your business grows.  

Both Services Offer Learning Materials and Resources

At Sunrise, we believe anyone can be an entrepreneur—not just people with business degrees and financial backgrounds. Therefore, we try to make our software as intuitive as possible. 

We also offer a variety of educational resources to learn about the basics of bookkeeping. Check out our Bookkeeping 101 guides that cover concepts like various types of income and double-entry recording. We also have a blog that publishes content related to business finances and management frequently.

Wave also has a blog that provides resources and insight to small business owners. Even if you don’t use their services, it’s worth bookmarking their page to return to later. They create guides for account reconciliation and tax preparation. There are in-depth discussions and short pieces of advice.

Successful entrepreneurs are always learning and trying to grow. Both the Sunrise and Wave blogs can break down complicated concepts and make your financial management easier. 

Choose the Service That Is Right for You

Both Sunrise and Wave offer competitive products to manage your bookkeeping. They allow paid options and personal expertise from certified accountants and experienced bookkeepers. You can use the apps on their own to manage your small business or tap into their professionals to take over your financial management for you. 

While we are certainly biased toward Sunrise, our recommendation is to try out both tools to see which one feels best for you. In reality, the best bookkeeping solution is the one that you feel most comfortable using.

About the author

Derek Miller
Derek Miller
Derek Miller is a writer specializing in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing. His work has featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy,, and StartupCamp. He’s currently the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at, and a marketing consultant for small businesses.


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