All about automatically categorizing transactions



  • ktlktl Member Posts: 11
  • surfingthewavesurfingthewave Member Posts: 5

    Please please please allow us to disable these pop-ups!

  • ZoeCZoeC Administrator Posts: 388 admin

    Hey @ktl, thanks for following up with that screenshot! Would you mind submitting a support request here so we can dig in a bit deeper? If you could also include the name if your business you are noticing this on in the ticket, that would be great! Thanks :smile:

  • ktlktl Member Posts: 11

    From what I understand based on many of the comments here this is happening to people regardless of whether the bank account is liked or not.

    I'm not sure what purpose it would swerve to open an individual case if this is a general system issue.

    Read through more of the comments and you will see that this is the case

  • Ryan_WRyan_W Administrator Posts: 462 admin

    @ktl I agree that this is likely a wider, possibly systemic issue; the thing is, if we're going to investigate further and find the root cause, we need to filter useful data and use cases to our developers. This requires the collection of individual instances so we can have the best shot of putting the puzzle together, and we have a lot of tooling built into our ticketing system which allows us to share information and ticket up bugs en masse (which we can't really link from the Community directly). I encourage you to submit a request as Zoe recommended.

    edited March 19, 2019
  • JRE07JRE07 Member Posts: 1

    Oh goodness, I just saw this thread. My bank account is not linked and I honestly thought it was just an issue I'm having, but now that I see that there are others...yes, PLEASE disable this feature. Categorizing is now a daunting task!! If it works for some, great! Can we please just have the option to disable it??

  • ktlktl Member Posts: 11

    Here's another thread on the issue. Users have been asking for the ability to disable this for several months now. At one point we were told that a disable function would be added and then later that decision was overturned. The investigation was already done and recognized to be a system wide issue .

  • Ian_BIan_B Member Posts: 14

    Ouch!! Love to you guys - there's a bit of heat in these comments. Im actually trying to find where to turn automatic catagorizing on... it doesn't seem to be available on my transactions

  • AlexLAlexL Administrator Posts: 1,759 admin

    Hi @Ian_B . Auto-categorizing only functions with an active Bank Connection. There's no "on" button in your Transactions page, but you'll be prompted to have your transactions auto-cat when manually categorizing as Wave learns from the choices that you make. If you have an active bank connection and you categorize your transactions regularly, Wave will learn from this.

  • Andy_Perchard1Andy_Perchard1 Member Posts: 3

    Can you automate the posting of bills eg through AutoEntry or Receipt Bank?

  • James_HudsonJames_Hudson Administrator Posts: 128 admin

    Hey @Andy_Perchard1 , we don't have a built-in feature that will automate the posting of bills, but we have recently released a small change to help cut down on manual bill entry.

    You can duplicate previous bills in the Bills page by clicking the downwards facing arrow to the right of any bill, and clicking "Duplicate." It's not as automatic as what you've suggested (which is a great suggestion, btw), but hopefully it saves you a bit of time!

  • TrevorATrevorA Member Posts: 2

    I use another online accounting app for my business and there I am able to create rules to categorize transactions based on the transaction description (or part thereof). These rules run whenever I import or use bank feeds.
    Is it possible to rather implement this type of rule system so that it is totally in the control of the user?

  • bethany1510bethany1510 Member Posts: 1

    Hey @alexlewiszarkos, "but you'll be prompted to have your transactions auto-cat when manually categorizing". Mine doesn't promt for this. My bank connection is definitely active as I have multiple transactions that I can view from yesterday. I would really like to be able to use this auto-categorising function but it is simply not working at all. I can see there are approximately 5% of my transactions automatically categorised but all are incorrect. Most of the transactions through this account are extremely repetitive and have the same words in them but this function does not seem to work at all for those repetitive transactions.

  • Ryan_WRyan_W Administrator Posts: 462 admin

    @TrevorA it's not something that can be managed at the user level, primarily because the machine learning part of the automation will--over time--adjust to the manual overrides to your categorization behaviour. That said, I totally get that being able to set your own rules for it would be helpful with expediting this learning process. Have you identified specific transaction types/descriptions that the auto-cat tool isn't picking up on? Just curious for use cases here.

    @bethany1510 I'm afraid the auto-cat feature is only available to Canadian and US Wavers right now; apologies for the confusion. Hopefully we're able to open it up more widely in the near future!

  • sifersifer Member Posts: 6

    I'd like to echo the concerns/complaints of many earlier users - and, in particular, @springdalerocks - regarding the automatic categorization feature. I'm happy with the feature for the most part as it mostly gets things right, so it's a net time saver. But it's definitely generating false positives and, as @springdalerocks points out, it takes a lot of effort to find incorrectly classified transactions; far more than it would be to manually classify the same number of uncategorized transactions. Some observations:

    The classification algorithm is using data across different businesses. I buy stuff from Home Depot for both personal and business use. When I buy it for personal use I generally want it to be classified as Home Maintenance and Repairs. But when I buy for business use I mostly want these classified as a Reimbursable Client Supplies. Wave classifies every Home Depot transaction I make, whether personal or business, as a Home Maintenance and Repairs transaction - which I'm continuously having to manually override. @Ryan_W suggests the algorithm will adjust to my manual overrides over time; it's been several months and there's no sign of that happening.

    Some suggested fixes:

    A single manual override should be enough for the classification algorithm to stop automatically categorizing transactions with that given pattern (Merchant, Payment Account, etc.) I've written many a machine learning algorithm (PhD in AI) so I know what I'm talking about here: any classification algorithm can be modified to immediately rule out certain data. This doesn't have to be left to the classification algorithm to be learned. When a user manually overrides a mis-categorized transaction that data is gold. At present it seems like it's being ignored or heavily discounted at least. Put another way: Your algorithm seems to learn a categorization after one exemplar but months of effort of a user manually overriding mis-categorizations seems to have no effect on the categorization algorithm. That's just bad coding.

    Other considerations: Don't aggregate the learning data across multiple businesses or across multiple accounts. My personal and business Home Depot purchases sit in different businesses and are purchased with different credit cards (accounts). There's no good reason to assume that these various transactions should all be classified the same way. It seems to me you're giving way too much weight to the Merchant (Home Depot). If you separate data by business and by account the algorithm may take longer to learn to categorize but I assure you you'll have way less false positives popping up. And less complaints ;)

    edited May 23, 2019
  • JamieDJamieD Administrator Posts: 1,145 admin

    @sifer Appreciate the very detailed response and suggestions that you've given us here. I just wanted to let you know that we see your post, and will definitely take your ideas into consideration when we plan on improving this particular future (still no ETA as to when that would be). Thanks again for taking the time/effort to give us as much feedback as you can here.

  • sifersifer Member Posts: 6

    Thanks for your response @JamieD . I've got two more bits of feedback on the categorization feature based on weird behaviours I observed this morning... (1) Yesterday I spotted three transactions that had been incorrectly classified (those Home Depot ones I referred to in my earlier posting) so I set them all to "Uncategorized Expense" in order to deal with them later. This morning, after refreshing my bank connection, I noticed those same three transactions had been re-categorized with the same incorrect value. In other words, my manual action to set these to Uncategorized had been overridden! That, surely, is not a desirable behaviour. Automatic categorization should be helpful; right now it appears to overreaching and getting it wrong while it overreaches. (2) Also this morning I noticed a new transaction was given a strange looking categorization (i.e. a value I didn't immediately recognize). I checked the chart of accounts and it turns out the categorization value given to this expense transaction was that of an expense account I'd Archived months ago. So the categorization algorithm has effectively "unarchived" this old account in order to categorize an expense! That, surely, is a bug. When I archive an account I don't want Wave to start using it randomly. This contradicts the very notion of Archived.

    So... I'd say the categorization algorithm has a fair few problems with it at present. Ever considered turning it off until it has been better tested?

    edited May 23, 2019
  • elaformeelaforme Member Posts: 2
    How can I stop automatic categorizing?
  • JamieDJamieD Administrator Posts: 1,145 admin

    @sifer Thanks again for providing more detailed information here -- We still don't have plans to turn off the feature, but are looking closely at feedback that our users have provide so that we can make the improvements where necessary in the future. Appreciate all the detail that you've given us and will let our users know when we have any more updates regarding this.

    @elaforme There still currently isn't a way to turn off the auto-categorization feature in Wave, we may include this in a future update to this particular feature, but we don't have any immediate plans in doing so just yet.

  • sifersifer Member Posts: 6

    Cheers @JamieD - thanks for the feedback.

  • AiyuAiyu Member Posts: 1

    Hi. I am just starting to use this program... comparing it to Quickbooks self-employed, actually. Your categories are MUCH better for me.
    1. I may be a bit dense here, but how can I create new, specific categories for my account. ... such as..... Medical (not medical supplies); or Ferries - Vehicle. (a big expense for me and not fuel, etc)
    2. I am a sole proprietor so do not have a sea parade business account. Like one person said, some of my (for example) Home Depot purchases would be personal and some for business. As I see it, that is still up to me to classify one at a time, correct?
    3. Also... I have a regular apartment rent that is paid from this account that is NOT business. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to make that a “personal” category. I press on that button but then have no idea what is meant by the next option(s).
    Sandra.... I appreciate the “feeling and tone” of your webpage and product!

  • ChelseaKChelseaK Administrator Posts: 262 admin

    @Aiyu Thanks for the kind words! To answer your questions,
    1) You can head to Accounting > Chart of Accounts > select the type of account you'd like to create and then 'Add a New Account'.
    2) Although it's not recommended to mix your personal finances with your business finances, you can categorize personal transactions as Owner Investment/Drawings. And yes, you would need to do this yourself! You can read more about categorize personal transactions here:
    3) It sounds like the above article will address this question!

    edited June 25, 2019
  • ManiMani Administrator Posts: 82 admin

    Notwithstanding the feedback from @sifer, have others on this thread seen improvements to our auto categorization in Q2? We made changes early in April that substantially improved matching and poor categorization choices. There is definitely more work to be done, but I'd be curious how your experiences have shifted or perhaps improved in the past 3 months.

    edited June 26, 2019
  • nadworksnadworks Member Posts: 31 ✭✭

    @mani Sorry, but I have not seen any improvement, nor have I ever seen a popup / message / note telling me that future such transactions will now be categorised in the same, nor have I been asked via a message if I'd like to apply this categorisation for similar transactions etc.
    My account has recently switched to the new WAVE layout and functionality. There's little help to see how previously obvious tasks have now been moved to different mechanics or workflows.
    The auto-categorisation is rather stupid. Taking your very American example: Gas in my country is quite literally that. Gas. It's what you pay for as a utility, not what you put into your tank. That's called "petrol" or "fuel". My monthly home gas bill keeps coming up as "Vehicle - Fuel"... regardless of how many times I manually set it to "Utilities". Painful.

    edited July 2, 2019
  • nadworksnadworks Member Posts: 31 ✭✭

    @bethany1510 I'm afraid the auto-cat feature is only available to Canadian and US Wavers right now; apologies for the confusion. Hopefully we're able to open it up more widely in the near future!

    And this was not made clear in your initial announcement about it because....?

  • GreggInKC123GreggInKC123 Member Posts: 1

    So I'm with the majority here. The auto-cat is screwing up the accounting. It does not allow me to go in and change what needs to be changed. It is demanding that the amount transferred be the same as the amounts deposited between different accounts. It is not accounting for the transaction fees which are applied at the time of the transaction. I also figured out this function is putting both transactions into the same account. So this created several instances where all the activity is posted in one account. Thats partly why so many comments say they are not able to balance when they reconcile. This has been all the comment section seems filled with since June. Your video talks about the importance of reconciling each month but you've gone the whole summer without fixing this wonderful feature to allow us to do just that. To much of a headache. It's a great idea and the website looks great when all the icons stay in place, which is every other change of page. This is even worse on an iPad or iPhone. I think I will stick with my homemade spreadsheets a while longer. I'll check back in a few months and see if things are better.

  • Another_User_2928Another_User_2928 Member Posts: 1

    Wave is not "remembering" the category for several transactions for the "next time". I make the changes month after month & Wave continues to use the original category (which was never the correct category, was never used for that transaction and has nothing to do with those transactions). It takes me longer to search them out to fix them. And now Wave has decided to auto-categorize another transaction with the wrong category. I need to simply turn this feature off! Even when the pop-up window says "all future transaction will be categorized ___", there is no option to tell it "NO". If you want to provide this kind of feature, it needs to allow users some options. And FAST!!!!

  • christopherdaweschristopherdawes Member Posts: 5

    The way I usually know if I need to look at a transaction's category is if it is uncategorized; however, if a transaction has been auto-categorized, I've now lost that visibility, and have to literally eyeball each and every transaction to find the ones that were incorrectly categorized by auto-categorize. This month alone, I thought I was all done until I noticed a large number of transactions that had been dumped into "Utilities" that weren't utilities (because we are a virtual organization, we don't have any utilities).

    I'll add to the voices requesting that the auto-categorize feature be capable of being turned off and/or have those transactions that have been auto-categorized either have a visual indicator of that, or make "auto-categorized" be a selectable filter in the view.

    Thank you

  • DavieWavyDavieWavy Member Posts: 2

    Me Too!! I'll add to the voices requesting that the auto-categorize feature be capable of being turned off. This is incredibly important. With my process, I categorize items differently depending upon many specialized factors such as whether that transaction is part of a special sample requiring my attention. This auto-crappy-category feature prevents me from having control over my sample selection. Thats one of many diverse reasons I have; too many to explain here.

  • JamieDJamieD Administrator Posts: 1,145 admin

    Appreciate the insight everyone has given us here. We will be taken everything into consideration when we create the next iteration of auto-categorization. For now, our focus is migrating those users who are still on our legacy software to the most recently updated version. Thanks for your understanding.

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