We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Wave Accounting is free. Real free. Honest-to-goodness free.

Free is a funny thing, though. For each person who sends us a virtual high-five for making it easier to run their small business, there’s someone else who feels uncomfortable about the fact that we’re not asking them for money.

“How can you possibly offer accounting software for free?” they ask. “What’s the catch?” they ask. “If it was any good, you’d charge for it,” they say. And many who don’t question our price point simply assume that when we say “free,” we really just mean “sorta-kinda-just-for-now free.”

So please allow me, officially and formally, to address these questions and, I hope, convince you that free really is better than paying, oh, $200 a year* for your accounting tools.

“How can you possibly offer accounting software for free?”

Here’s the short version: Our product is small business accounting, but we earn our paycheck by cutting your costs.

The long version: Wave makes money by improving the buying power of small businesses. By representing Wave customers in big numbers, we can connect you with vendors of products and services that have a discount for small businesses: lower-cost wireless, for example, or maybe discounted insurance.

Very soon, when you’re logged into Wave you’ll see unobtrusive yet clearly marked Savings Opportunities on pages like your Dashboard. If you see a savings opportunity you like, you can choose to pursue it. Wave gets paid by the vendor that provides the opportunity.

So you save money, Wave makes money, and we continue to provide the best small business accounting application, for free.

“What’s the catch?”

No catch. We promise not to spam you with annoying offers. You’ll never be under any kind of pressure to buy. And we promise to always protect your data, and never share individual information with any vendors or other parties, period.

“If it was any good, you’d charge for it”

We could charge for Wave. In fact, since Wave is better for small businesses than any other accounting tool around, we’ve been challenged by investors, friends and advisors to do exactly that.

But at Wave we like doing things differently. We built a different kind of accounting application for small businesses, and along with that we built a different business model for ourselves.

“Sorta-kinda-just-for-now free.”

There are hundreds of “free” apps online that either limit the functionality, or put a cap on your usage, or apply some other constraint, and effectively turn something free into a teaser or a trial. You want the whole product? You’re gonna have to pay for it.

“Enough with that!” we said to ourselves. When we say free, we mean it. We’ve put together an awesome tool, and with our innovative business model we’ve found a way to offer it at no charge, now and forever.

Having said that: Very soon you'll be able to use Wave in conjunction with some third-party business tools (like payroll and time tracking) for which you may need to pay. Or heck, who knows, maybe we’ll develop a complementary tool later on ourselves that will require a fee. But the full, robust core Wave Accounting application will stay free. And with that we're talking about a free application that more than covers the needs of most small businesses.

So what do you think of free now? If you haven’t tried Wave yet, don’t answer that. Have a look around. We’re sure you’ll like what you see.

* Most online accounting applications cost in the range of $19.95 per month/$200 per year. Some are $30 or $40 per month if you're actually using what you need. No joke.