How Wave decides what features to build & how you can participate

CharlotteCharlotte Administrator Posts: 644 admin

Welcome to our Wave Features discussion! Wave exists to help small and growing business owners be more successful, and we appreciate your suggestions and input on how we can continue to improve.

That doesn’t mean we can build everything that everyone asks for, however, so we’ve created this reference to explain what Wave is here to do, and how we decide what features to build. We’ll also share the best way to let us know how you’d like to see Wave better serve your needs in the future.

Wave develops software for Business Owners first

Since the beginning, our mission has been to demystify and simplify small business finance and accounting and put tools in business owners’ hands that allow you to be successful in growing your thriving business. We do our best to create processes that will make sense even without a deep understanding of accounting.

Business Owner First means that given the choice between developing a feature that makes Wave easier for the majority of our customers, or adding an advanced accounting report that would be most useful to accounting professionals accustomed to enterprise software, we prioritize simplicity and ease of use for the business owner.

We focus on the needs of businesses that predominantly provide Services

The majority of Wave customers run Service type businesses. You are - for the most part - consultants, designers, photographers, developers, coaches, repairers, restorers, therapists, and every other kind of business-to-business and business-to-consumer service provider.

As we weigh competing demands to add new tools and features to Wave, we naturally lean towards enhancements that will bring the greatest benefit to the largest number of our customers. As an example, we are keen to develop or integrate a Time Tracking tool, which customer feedback has told us would be valuable for many, many Wave business owners. At the other end of the spectrum, comprehensive Purchasing and Inventory features, sophisticated enough for a wholesaler or manufacturer that tracks thousands of SKUs, would be valued by very few existing Wave businesses, and risks making the system more complicated. This would not be likely to make it onto our short-term roadmap right now.

We are committed to providing comprehensive, free accounting software

Wave’s heritage is around providing genuinely free accounting software to help small business owners be successful. You won’t find arbitrary limits like ‘Maximum 1 customer’, or ‘Maximum 10 invoices per month’. Wave has always provided a truly free accounting solution to meet the needs of small business owners, and we are committed to continuing to do so.

Another central pillar of how we develop Wave is to strive for simplicity so that most of our customers can use it successfully without needing any deep understanding of Accounting. We think very carefully before adding any ‘power user’ features that might be helpful for a small number of customers, but make Wave more complex for everyone.

Like you, we’re running a business

Ultimately, our mission to provide awesome tools to help small business owners be successful in managing their business finances is only achievable if we also make money.

Currently, Wave’s main income stream is from processing your customers’ credit card and bank payments using Wave’s invoicing platform - particularly in North America, where we have built our own payment processing platform: Payments by Wave. We also offer Payroll services in North America, paid for on a monthly basis.

So when we prioritize where to spend our development resources, we need to strike a balance between investing in free features that make Wave ever more useful, and features that directly make it easier for more of our customers to take advantage of our Payments and Payroll services - as well as developing new value-added services alongside our core accounting platform.

So what does our current development roadmap look like?

Given the priorities discussed above, we are constantly reviewing and updating our development roadmap to deliver as many great improvements to Wave as we are able.

As of the first quarter of 2018, here are some of our top priorities for this year:

  • Migrating all our existing customers to the new version of Wave’s accounting software during 2018

  • Bringing together all the different places in Wave where we ask you for banking information, so all this information can be entered only once, and maintained in one place.

  • Extending accounting reports in the new version of our accounting software, including month-by-month Income Statement and Balance Sheet.

  • Extending Payroll Tax Service to new US States, and improving the Payroll Direct Deposit experience.

  • Increasing the ways that customers in North America can process card payments with Payments by Wave, including an open beta release of Wave Checkouts, and making Bank Payments faster.

  • Reviewing our Mobile apps, and exploring opportunities to make Wave increasingly useful and accessible when you're away from your desk.

  • Enabling additional integrations to Wave via an updated API.

Some of these go deep to the core of how Wave works and will take many months to deliver. Some are relatively easier to develop and will be along sooner. For any of you who may be involved in developing software, you’ll know the wisdom of not attempting to set explicit dates and deadlines, however - priorities have to be constantly balanced, and external forces frequently require development resources to be assigned to address unforeseen requirements that may affect planned delivery dates. Just know that we want to bring all these updates to you as fast as we can!

How can you help with feedback and suggestions?

You are the experts in your individual businesses - we are not. So we really value your feedback and suggestions, that help us make Wave better and more useful to you.

But not all feedback is created equal: feedback that tells us about the problems you face and solutions you desire is hugely helpful; requests that we copy a feature you are familiar with using in a different accounting software - which maybe targets a different kind of customer - perhaps less so.

So if you’d like to join in this Wave Features discussion, and bring suggestions and insight that can be truly valuable and help steer Wave in a direction that better helps you in your business, here’s our recipe for the perfect feature suggestion:

  • Briefly describe your business. What do you do? Who are your customers?
  • What is the business, financing, or operational problem that you are facing, that your suggestion is intended to address?
  • What outcome do you see your suggestion creating - i.e. what would your suggestion enable in your business; not what would it look like in Wave?
  • OK, now how do you picture this outcome being achieved in Wave?
  • Who else do you think would find this outcome useful?

Let’s talk!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Our Product Managers regularly read and engage in this forum, so if you have something to contribute to the discussion, please dive in and create your own discussion in this category. We look forward to chatting with you!

edited August 29, 2018 in Wave Features
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