Turn off auto categorization

xvnxvn Member Posts: 4

the auto categorization feature is creating more work for me than it is eliminating. How do I disable this feature?


  • xvnxvn Member Posts: 4

    the auto categorization "feature" is creating many incorrectly categorized line items. In fact, it places every single ingested line item with an assigned category as suspect and I've had to field calls from my accounting assistant to handle incorrectly assigned items.
    I've spent a lot of time cleaning up AI mistakes preparing for the 2020 tax return and would prefer to have ingested line items left as un-categorized so that I have confidence in the category assignments. That you can't see category assignments in the reconciliation process makes dealing with the plentiful mistakes much more time consuming and frustrating.

    I would like to completely disable the feature. How is this done?

  • JulianPJulianP Administrator Posts: 1,002 admin

    Hey @xvn !

    I'm sorry to hear that. I'm afraid that this feature cannot be disabled. For a bit more information and context around this feature, I suggest checking out this Community discussion.

  • xvnxvn Member Posts: 4

    Hi - thanks for getting back to me!

    The discussion thread that you referred me to drives home the point that the feature doesn't work well for many people and hasn't for a couple of years. An on/off switch seems a reasonable ask. The "context" is that a lot of people don't like it and it complicates their work.

    Accounting apps shouldn't "inject" random noise and advising users to just do a better job of training the algorithm as the only work around after more than 2 years of issues isn't aging well.

    • Wave has a good thing going so why is this something that seems like such an outlier in terms of your approach?
    • Why is this feature being forced on users?
    • Does Wave even have control over it or is it a Plaid thing?

    I'd rather walk the transaction log and do the categorizing using the bulk edit feature when I can. That would be just a fast as what I have to do now. If an entry is assigned a category, I know that I did it or someone on my behalf. That confidence is worth whatever possible time the feature might save and at this time, it is costing time and is just an aggravation.

    I'm volunteering to help test a no categorization on transaction data ingest beta feature.

  • JulianPJulianP Administrator Posts: 1,002 admin

    Hey @xvn !

    I understand your frustration and concern here, and I agree with you. With that being said, I'm happy to let you know that our Books and Machine Learning team have reviewed the feedback and customer expectations around this feature and are scoping out improvements for later this year. For the time being, though, there is no option to disable our auto-categorization feature. Sorry about this.

    edited March 29, 2021
  • xvnxvn Member Posts: 4

    Thanks for the reply and the good news that this is being looked at in consideration of customer feedback. I hope that the only improvement isn't "better AI" as it's just never going to be good enough. As an example, there's no way that it can divine what an Amazon Prime purchase is for; i.e.: office supplies, research equipment, tools, items that go on a BOM, etc... from the information that winds up on the credit data import line description. It was even randomly mis-categorizing account interest income which was one of the more consistent patterns. Opting out must be an option.

    Feature Request:

    Having category assignments visible in the reconciliation dialog would be a nice way to provide a quick check of proper categorization at that step in account maintenance whether one uses the AI feature or not. You can make display of that column optional if users don't want to use up screen real estate for it.

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13
    I concur.

    I’d rather all my transactions start as uncategorized. I see the draw for others; therefore the ability to turn it off and on would be wonderful.

    Not just because I don’t want it to be wrong but because categorizing is part of my confirming and reconciling flow.

    On the wrong category note, I’m trying to deep dive into my spending habits around smoking and dining out. Not all my purchases at gas stations are tobacco related and not all my food related purchases are groceries.

    According to the automated categorization I smoke like a freight train and never eat out - despite neither of those being the case.

    As a developer myself (sorry for being that person), I can’t imagine an architecture wherein the on/off capability would be difficult/expensive to implement. There should always be a way to turn automated things off - like how I don’t need to have all my accounts sync or a Tesla owner can turn off autopilot (because that could get awkward). :)

    ps. Not sure if this is the most recent thread and it still appears I can’t trust that my list of uncategorized transactions contains all of the ones I didn’t categorize.
    edited July 25, 2021
  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    pps. I want to be able to trust the dashboard. If the pie chart says I spent 25% on food, I don't want to have to spend more time making sure the transactions were properly categorized. Further, if it says 10% of my transactions are uncategorized I want to be confident I should spend some time there - auto categorizing effectively removes this feedback from the dashboard.

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    Hello! Me again.

    Sorry, just adding another up vote request and use case.

    I noticed I had over ~111 USD in office supplies. I checked the transactions; there were three. Most of the transactions were food and clothing. One of them was split and marked as office supplies. That transaction was for 5.98 USD.

    Almost a 96 USD mis-categorization across three or four transactions, which includes the split transactions.

    As a developer I appreciate what Wave is trying to do here. As a user it is really disrupting my flow and making me not trust the categorization of my transactions.

    If we can't turn it off, it would be nice if the transactions were marked in some way as being categorized automatically by Wave not by me. With that said, having both would be ideal.

  • CarlvzCarlvz Member Posts: 4

    Yes, the auto-categorization is completely messing up the way I do bookkeeping. Items are uncategorized until I review and categorize them. AND Wave often categorizes by merchant. That does not work, especially since Wave does not offer classes or tags or sub-categories. I need to categorize by expense and I have numerous similar expense categorize that help me identify the job or property or class or sub-category.

    I need to be able to DEACTIVATE this feature. If not, we will be moving to different software at. the end of the year.

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    Me again.

    My automatic payment for my cellphone service came in. I have historically categorized this under a more generic category “Electronics” (6 transactions, not including this most recent one) - the auto-categorization put it under “Telephone - Landline.”

    I’ve never used that category. I haven’t had a landline since circa 2005.

    The UX side of me compels me to continue giving examples and use cases for being able to disable this auto-categorization functionality.

    I recognize uncategorized items as needing review. I categorize them. When they clear, I mark them as reviewed. When I reconcile that’s my third confirmation (the auto-reconciliation feature is awesome btw).

    I’m sure some folks appreciate this feature. Unfortunately, it adds more work and causes me mild stress and anxiety as I have to second guess whether a transaction was categorized correctly by me, incorrectly by Wave, or something else.


    ps. Even a token of some kind indicating that the transaction was auto-categorized so I can confirm if it was right or wrong and better train/personalize the ML model would be beneficial. (Right now, I’m pretty sure it’s wrong for most of my transactions that have it applied - wrong for me, specifically.)
    edited September 28, 2021
  • jtobler7jtobler7 Member Posts: 1

    I have to pile on here.

    The auto-categorization feature provides a terrible user experience! Even if it were competent at picking the right categories, which it isn't, many or most users would probably turn it off if you gave us the option.

    We NEED the ability to manually review and categorize transactions without the interdiction of some AI. I don't think this should be regarded as optional.

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    Ordered food from a delivery service. I’ve ordered through them before and always categorize this as “Food - Dining.”

    This time it came through and stayed uncategorized (what I’d prefer for everything).

    Bought some clothes. Came through and was categorized as “Clothing.” I’ve never used this category and have previously categorized purchases from this store as “Misc.”

    ps. I would like to be able to give the AI a compliment when possible, but I can’t always tell when I did the categorization or when it did. (Think one of my credit cards as some purchases that were properly categorized - but I might just not remember doing it. See token request in previous comment.)

    pps. Absolutely love Wave and, as of today, this is my only complaint or hope for the future.
    edited October 8, 2021
  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    All purchases from convenience stores still being flagged as tobacco purchases…despite the snacks.

    The Amazon purchase coming in as “equipment purchase” is interesting. Especially given I recategorized the previous few purchases from them as “misc”.

    Another request to turn this off, have the ui reflect a transaction was auto categorized, or both.
    edited October 22, 2021
  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13
    Another request to turn this off, have the ui reflect a transaction was auto categorized, or both.

    Made a transfer between accounts manually (transaction one). Transaction synced (transaction two) and was categorized as bank fees. Deleted transaction two. ( Multiply that by 8. Thought I had I’ve $1,000 in fees, come to find out I had over $1,000 in duplicates auto categorized as fees.)

    Not sure how honest the support docs feel when they say, “On the off chance this happens…” re incorrectly categorizing transactions: https://support.waveapps.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001301666-All-about-automatically-categorizing-transactions

    Part of that’s because I’m not able to discern when it gets it right. Seems like with food dining it’s all right…in a non-trivial number of cases it’s incorrect though…not sure it’s actually saving me time in comparison to transactions starting as uncategorized. I still need to look at each category to determine if it’s categorized appropriately.

    I suppose I could turn off syncing accounts entirely, which I do for many of my accounts that aren’t related to paying bills (savings and investments). And Apple Card and Cash aren’t available for syncing anyway.

  • pcsavantspcsavants Member Posts: 1

    Please disable or allow us to disable this feature ASAP

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    Believe it or not I was coming to say that it seems to be getting better; then this happened.

    I went to check my last credit card and noticed an 80 USD purchase at Walgreens. It had the green check mark saying I had reviewed it. Then I saw the category was “tobacco.”

    Again, I don’t smoke that much and remember what I bought that day.

    Now I’m second-guessing all the other check marks I have and will be going through the transactions and reports to make sure things are in the right place.

    I’m pretty sure the time lost from second-guessing and correcting the automation equals or outweighs the time saved by the automation. (I never have an error for my Apple Card, which I have to enter manually. Or my transfer accounts that aren’t synced with by institutions.)

    I’m thinking about turning of syncing for all my accounts as without syncing, I wouldn’t have the automatic categorizing or duplicate transactions when I use the Wave receipts app to post to my account (or make transfer payment entries).


    ps. As a developer myself there’d be a certain amount of irony given that syncing accounts is often viewed as *the* required feature for modern finance apps.

    pps. Would attach a screenshot but it appears I can’t.

    ppps. On the note about duplicate transactions, the account that received my paycheck from which I transfer money to other accounts had all of its transactions duplicated since my last paycheck - all of them came through as “bank fees”…I had to laugh - the dashboard shows 8% of my revenue went to banks fees.
    edited November 19, 2021
  • ESRoweESRowe Member Posts: 1

    In addition to making extra review necessary, this messes with the accrual basis accounting I am trying to do. I've already coded the check as Outstanding Checks - I need this to come in as Uncategorized, so I can transfer it to Outstanding Checks and keep the expense in the proper month. This feature is doubling up my expenses.

    I understand that you invest so much in AI that your company feels "married to it". But this marriage is not working for everyone you've forced into it. So please give us an on/off button.

  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13

    The auto merge (for duplicates) experience would actually be pretty perfect for this. (I work in software development and know there's possibility for overlapping priorities and feature builds, so, pardon the presumptions.)

    screenshot showing auto merge bot

    The row where the automated merge is suggested is highlighted a different color and includes two non-color indicators; a left border and the image of a bot where the review check is.

    (This could make it easier for research as well. How often did the bot flag something and how often will it need to be changed by the user? For the one I'm showing at the moment I want the processing date, not the transaction date. The first record has the receipt and the transaction date, while the second has the processing date; so, I'll need to edit the merged record, but at least I know it's there and my account balances aren't thrown off, which is what used to happen in these cases.)

    I was quite excited about this feature and the possibility of it helping more toward a solution for this concern related to automatic categorization. I went ahead and categorized my transactions and it appears transactions normally automatically marked as habit-tobacco were marked as uncategorized. Thank you.

    Will keep you posted.

    edited January 10, 2022
  • joshbrucejoshbruce Member Posts: 13
    ps. Paycheck came in. Planned all my transfers using Wave (per usual). Executed the plan in my accounts. Auto-sync caught up and:

    1. duplicated the entries (wasn’t caught by auto merge feature) and
    2. Categorized them as banks fees (per usual).

    I deleted the duplicates, which corrected both problems.
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