How to Use Wave in Multiple Currencies as a Freelancer

Claire_HClaire_H Member Posts: 2

Hi all, I'm new to Wave and accounting in general, so please forgive any 'duh!' mistakes or questions!

I work online and travel constantly. For the first time, I've decided to get my accounting ducks in a row and sort out invoicing ect. My main bank account used to be in South Africa (ZAR), but now I've switched to Revolut so I can work in a more stable currency (GBP) as well as receive money from clients in other countries (for example, AUD in Australia). The bank account gives me a base account and various separate accounts in a few currencies. When I'm in a country that uses the right currency, my card will pay with that, else I transfer the money over into GBP as an interbank exchange rate. I also receive money from Paypal (in USD) that I generally send to my ZAR account for various reasons.

I get paid in multiple ways. The most common is via Upwork which works in USD. I send a bank transfer from Upwork to my GBP account on Revolut. When I get paid via Paypal in USD, I send it to my South African account (ZAR) as my Revolut card sometimes has issues withdrawing money. Recently, clients have started depositing directly into my Revolut account via direct payment (for GBP customers) and swift transfers (for all other currencies). When I bill clients like this, I usually bill in USD and convert it to their currency using the current exchange rate.

I often withdraw cash in whatever country I'm in as many shops don't accept cards in Asia. I also use my ZAR and GBP cards to pay for general living expenses. I use my accounts like an employee would, rather than a business. To add to the madness, I also have a savings account which I occasionally dip into to cover cash flow issues.

Whew, so now you know the back story, here's a few things that I'm having a little trouble with. If you could shed some light on them, I'd be very appreciative.
1. What base currency should I use? USD because I've been historically billing in that? GBP because my new account is in that?
2. I'd like to set up automatic payments, but I do not have a credit card. If I do get a credit card, it'll probably have to be in ZAR, which is a volatile currency, to say the least. Not sure if I qualify for a credit card elsewhere as I have no credit history (although I do have a British passport).
3. When I spend money on my accounts, it's in a different currency, is that a problem?
4. How do I separate my personal and business spendings if I am a freelancer and they are the same thing (at this time). I'd like to switch to paying myself a salary, but it doesn't make sense when I don't have a regular income (or a month's buffer cash).
5. How do I categorize my personal savings account to not show up on my business account?

Wow, mammoth post. If you think I could benefit from any help documentation or something, feel free to send it my way. Thank you!


  • SamdSamd Administrator Posts: 560 admin

    Hey @Claire_H, great questions, and thank you for the background! It really helps when troubleshooting issues or coming up with solutions that best fit your situation. So,

    1. I'll say from the outset, Wave was not originally designed for accounting for multiple currencies, so there are instances in which workarounds are required while we work on improving this aspect of our services. So, in terms of which currency you'll be going with, I'd recommend selecting the one you'll be working in the most. By this I mean both the number of transactions you'll be processing in that currency, as well as how you intend to account for that currency. So if you intend to leave the majority of your money in GBP as a kind of 'final state'. As you're also spending GBP as well, I'd lean towards GBP.

    2. In terms of automatic payments (in this case you'd be using our integration with Stripe), this unfortunately is not available with a South African business address right now. If you also had a British address, you could integrate Stripe, but it would limit you (directly in Wave) to GBP payments. So, because you'll be travelling and billing in a number of currencies, there is a third option that may work. You could integrate a third-party payments processor (like PayPal), which can handle multiple currencies, via our integration with Zapier. You can find out more about that here:

    3. This shouldn't be a problem - Wave will automatically calculate the exchange. Accounting can get a little complicated however. We have a guide here:

    4. This is a little easier if you have a separate business account which you are connecting to Wave. If not and you are adding transactions manually, are importing from a CSV statement, or have connected your one account, you'll need to go through and delete your personal transactions so they don't throw off your business profile.

    5. You should be able to do this via Banking > Bank Connections. You should be able to edit your connected bank account so as not to import transactions from your personal savings account.

    I hope this helps!

  • JulkaJulka Member Posts: 2

    I'm kind of in the same situation as Claire, meaning that I'm based in The Netherlands but currently, all of my clients are in Canada. I just setted up everything in euros and invoicing in $CAD. Now I realize it's kind of hard to follow with the exchange. Would it be a good idea to set up 2 businesses in Wave, one in $CAD and one in euro, and log transfers in between them (the same way you can enter an expense that was paid from a personal account)? Please note that I will only pay income taxes in The Netherlands.
    Thank you!

    edited December 14, 2018
  • ErikErik Administrator Posts: 193 admin

    Hi @Julka! As a disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the tax and audit procedures in The Netherlands.

    This can technically work, but I won't be able to say if that conforms with any compliance standards applicable to you. However, it's probably best to keep things in one business because that's how it actually flows in real life.

  • Claire_HClaire_H Member Posts: 2

    @Samd Thank you so much for all that advice, I really appreciate it! I'm going to go ahead and implement Stripe to see if its going to for me :)

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