Behind the scenes at Wave headquarters: Accounting tool for solopreneurs

behind-the-scenes-wave-accounting-bookkeeping

Confession: I used to create PDF invoices in Word and email them to clients.

We all have those first pancakes in business. Those things that make us cringe when we look back, but we know the experience makes us who we are today. Invoices were definitely a first pancake for me. 

Wave was the answer for that. 

I found Wave about 3 years ago, and I started using the bookkeeping side of things right away.

It took me a while to come around to using their invoicing feature, but I’m so glad I did. (It was mostly a mindset thing around credit card fees. I’ll talk about that some other time.) 

If you haven't heard of them yet, Wave is an all-in-one accounting Tool for small businesses.

I’ve talked a bit on social media, and on this blog, about why I love Wave. But here are the basics: 

  • No monthly fee to use (free!)
  • Full bookkeeping and accounting capabilities
  • Invoices are beautiful (Clients tell me all the time how impressed they are) 
  • Mobile apps for invoicing and receipts are super handy!
  • My accountant (who prepares my quarterly and year-end taxes) is happy with the reports we can kick out

All of those things kept me a happy Wave user for years. But after a recent visit to their headquarters, I have to say, I’m now a loyal user, too.

How did I end up visiting the Wave headquarters in person?

A few years ago, I was talking up Wave on Twitter and they DM'd me to ask if they could use what I said as a testimonial. I agreed, and ended up chatting a bit with the social media team. When I mentioned I'm not far away from their office in Toronto, they told me to come for a visit sometime! 

It just so happened that I was pregnant at the time, and I just never made the trip up. So earlier this year, I decided to ask again! And they were on board. 

The organizer of the visit was Rob. He’s actually from the original group of employees the co-founders hired. (And the only one from that group still at Wave.) He was so helpful during the whole process, and you can tell he’s really passionate about what Wave is doing!

On my trip, I realized Wave is a little misunderstood. Even by me.

How cool is the building where the @wave_hq offices are?! It's in an old chewing gum factory!

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As I walked around, I realized that even as much as I loved Wave, I didn't really know what they were all about.

My perception of Wave was totally off. After seeing their space, and listening to Rob, I realized how wrong I was. 

I was surprised to see that was is really a full-blown tech startup. 

I say this in love. (Ha!) In hindsight, I realized I had always perceived Wave as this small group of tech nerds who were working for this little, free invoicing tool. I thought maybe they had 10 employees total. 

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Wrong. Try 150 team members! They recently had to expand to the floor above them, because they were running out of room! (That upper floor even has this gorgeous roof-top deck, too!)

(And that number is quickly increasing. Just 4 months prior to the visit, they were at 90 employees.)

Rob addressed this idea on the tour. Because they are free to use, and they use to show banner ads, he said some people have the perception that Wave is "the free option" for solopreneur bookkeeping.

Instead of thinking of it as the "free option" for solopreneur bookkeeping, Wave wants you to think of them as a passionate team building a solid all-in-one finance tool. 

And I can totally say: that’s exactly what they are.

They are so interested in getting feedback from their users, that I actually sat down with about 10 Wave employees for a roundtable discussion while I was there. 

They wanted to know my experiences with the tool. How I'm using it. What's working. What isn't. And they even gave us some sneak peeks on what features are coming for Wave. (I've been sworn to secrecy, but I promise you - they're amazing!)

What was the Wave headquarters like?

It had all the things you'd suspect to see in a tech startup. 

An old building with a ton of character. (It used to be a Wrigley’s gum factory!) 

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There was a large kitchen with snacks and vending machines. A Ping Pong table (of course), and a TV with a few couches. 

They also work in an open space concept.

Even the CEO is out on the floor, Zuckerberg-style. And the bullpen is surrounded by these small office rooms. You can hold meetings, or just get a change of space. 

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And in quirky, startup fashion - all the meeting rooms are named after movies...with a finance spin. (Funding Nemo was my favorite!) 


I absolutely loved my visit to Wave. This visit is definitely going down as a highlight of my biz year for 2017. I'm so thankful to the team for giving us this opportunity!

I want to hear from you. Are you a Wave user? What do you love about it? What do you wish it had?