It turns out that if you run a business, you have to keep track of where the money comes from, and where it goes. In any business larger than a kids’ lemonade stand, this is strictly necessary in order to know what is happening with the business. And in the U.S. and most countries, you have to pay taxes to the government based on those numbers. This is bookkeeping, and if you do it right, it serves as management accounting.

I’ve been using Intuit QuickBooks for my business bookkeeping for about ten years now. It’s good software, with excellent support, and I’ve been able to make it work for me. But the price has been going up steadily, almost 50% higher in just a few years — and there are now some pretty good alternatives.

The alternative I’m currently exploring is Wave Accounting. It has very similar functionality to QuickBooks, but with a much friendlier interface and a more accessible, non-nerdy feel to it — and a completely different business model. Using the accounting software itself is literally completely free; the company’s revenue comes from selling various financial products, like the fees for processing credit card payments.

QuickBooks also offers those for-a-fee services, and I’ve been paying them — but also paying $20/month just for the software.

So I’m giving Wave a serious try. If it works out, I may be switching everything from QuickBooks to Wave. I’ll follow up on this in future blog posts.