How to Move Your Data Between Wave Accounts or From Another Accounting System

There are many reasons you may need to move your accounting data into a new system, or close one set of books and open another. For example, you might want to change software, or just start over with a clean slate. Regardless of the reason, although it’s usually rare, it’s nothing to be scared of.

This guide will give you detailed steps to follow that will recreate the beginning balances of your accounts so you can pick up your bookkeeping in a new Wave account right where you left off.

It’s easiest to move your data as of a natural stopping point, like the end of the year. These instructions will use December 31. If you’re on a different fiscal year end, you’ll want to use a date that makes sense for your business.

Once you create a new Wave account, you’ll need to repeat the steps outlined in this guide for each individual business that you own to ensure everything is moved over to the new account.

Part 1: Open a new account

To get started, you’ll need to create a new Wave account. 

If you're moving from one Wave account to another, we recommend re-naming the business in your existing account so you can easily distinguish it as the “old” business. For example, “My Business - OLD.” You can do this under Manage Your Profile > Businesses.

  1. Create your new account

    Log out of your existing Wave account, and go to https://my.waveapps.com/register/.

    To create a new account, you must use a different email than the one you use for your existing account.

  2. Set up your new business

    Go through the steps to add the details about your business including the correct Country and Currency. Wave will automatically select these based on the location we detect. If you’re travelling or using a VPN, make sure to edit this since the currency cannot be changed.

  3. Set up Administrator permissions for your old account

    To move information between two Wave accounts, you can use a tool called Wave Connect. To make this possible, you can set up your old account as an administrator of the new Wave account you just set up.

    1. In the new account, go to Settings > User Management. Click the top option for Admin and enter the user email for your old account, then click Invite User. You can read more about the Admin role here.
    2. Next, log out of Wave. This step is important!
    3. You should receive an email with an invitation to collaborate to the primary email address on your old account. Make sure that you’re logged out of Wave, then click the link to accept the invitation. You’ll be taken to a page where you can sign back into Wave.
    4. Be careful to Sign In rather than Sign Up. You can verify that your access to the new account is set up by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You should see both accounts listed in the drop-down navigation menu.

Part 2: Set up your business in the new account

Before you start moving information over to your new Wave account, you'll need to do some set-up. This will make importing your data much easier, and doing all of your set-up at once means you’re less likely to miss something along the way.

  1. Add sales taxes

    Click Settings in the left-hand navigation menu and choose Sales Taxes under the Accounting section. On this page, set up any sales taxes that you pay or collect. Make sure you indicate if the tax is recoverable.
  2. Customize your Chart of Accounts

    You probably have a set of accounts that you want to continue using. In the left-hand navigation menu of your new account, select Accounting > Chart of Accounts. You'll see your chart of accounts, a list of asset, liability, income, expense and equity accounts.

    Based on the business type you select when setting up your new account, Wave pre-populates some accounts. You can remove any pre-populated accounts you don’t need by clicking on the garbage bin icon. Add new accounts by clicking Add a New Account in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

    1. Make sure to add any Cash and Bank accounts, and any custom Income and Expense accounts you need.
    2. Add a revaluation account for foreign currency bank accounts
      If you have Cash and Bank accounts that are in a foreign currency, you'll need to add a special additional account for every foreign currency bank account called a revaluation account. Create this account under the Cash and Bank sub group in your home currency, and name it something like "X Bank Account Revaluation." (Don't have any foreign currency accounts? You can skip this step!)
    3. Add a Clearing Account for the balances from the old business
      To ensure that your business value is carried over to the new set of books, you'll need to add an Equity account to your Chart of Accounts. You can add this to the Business Owner Contribution and Drawing subcategory in the Chart of Accounts, and call it something like "Old Company Balances."
    4. You don't need to add any of the accounts that were previously created by Wave as System Accounts. These include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Gain on Foreign Exchange, and Loss on Foreign Exchange. The following sections of this guide will cover the necessary steps to enter the correct information for these accounts.

    Note: If you're moving over from our legacy accounting system, you'll have the option to download your chart of accounts. Go to Accounting > Chart of Accounts and click one of the download options at the top of the page.

  3. Set your fiscal year-end

    Click Settings in the left-hand navigation menu and choose Dates & Currency under the Accounting section. Wave automatically defaults to a fiscal year-end of December 31. If your fiscal year ends on this date, there’s no need to update this setting.

  4. Manage other users

    If others collaborate on your current account, and you’d like them to continue collaborating on the new account, go to Settings > User Management to invite them to your new Wave account.

  5. Set your invoice customization preferences and upload a logo

    Go to Settings > Invoice Customization. Choose your template, accent color, and upload a logo. You can set any other invoice preferences here as well.

Part 3: Get your existing data

When you're moving data between two accounting systems, it's important that you export your information from your old books. In this step we'll walk you through how to get your data out of a Wave account so that you can move it to a new Wave account.

The most important report that you'll need is your Trial Balance report as of the date that you'll be moving systems. For this example, we've said our Fiscal Year End is December 31, so we'd get the Trial Balance report for that date.

Save this report, or print a copy. You'll use it later when you enter starting balances into your new account.

Whether you're coming from an existing Wave account or from another system, we'd recommend exporting the rest of your data in CSV format, since you'll be able to use this file format to upload transactions to Wave.

If you're moving transactions from an existing Wave account, you can set up Wave Connect to move the information between your two accounts.

  1. Set up Wave Connect (recommended)

    We’ve built a Google Sheets add-on that allows you to easily export and import data with Wave. To take advantage of this tool, follow the instructions here to get set up. (If you prefer not to use Wave connect, skip to step 3).

  2. Download your customers and products

    Once you’ve set up Wave Connect, click the Add-ons menu in Google Sheets, select Wave Connect > Download, and choose data you want to download. For the purposes of setting up your new account, you’ll need to download Customers and Products. Do this in two different sheets in the workbook you’ve set up.

  3. Export your transactions and receipts

    Wave Connect can’t export transactions or receipts. To export this information, go to Settings > Data Export in your account. You can request a data export here that will arrive by email so that you can keep these details for your records. This export contains the following: accounts, bill items, invoice items, customers, vendors, payments, transactions, journal entries, and your detailed general ledger.

Please Note: Bills and vendors cannot be imported back to Wave. Don't worry! We'll add Accounts Payable in Part 6.

Part 4: Import your customers and products

Importing your customers and products into your new account makes it easy to ensure that you can quickly get back to running your business and seamlessly invoicing your clients.

We recommend using Wave Connect to upload your customers and products into your new account. You don’t even need to leave the sheet you’ve already created!

If you prefer not to use Wave Connect, skip ahead to the sub-section titled Importing customers and products manually.

Importing customers and products using Wave Connect

  1. Import your customers

    In the same sheet where you downloaded your customers or products, choose Upload from the Wave Connect menu rather than Download. You’ll see the options for customers and products in this menu.

  2. Select the Import Fields, and Confirm

    If you downloaded your Customers using Wave Connect: Click Skip on Step 1: Prepare Input Sheet. You can then Validate the data, and then upload.

    If you did not download your Customers using Wave Connect: Open the Customers CSV from your Wave data export. From the upload menu, select your new business as the destination, and the input fields you want to use for your customer upload. Click Prepare Input Sheet. This will set up columns that Wave Connect can use to upload your data. Next, paste your customer data into this sheet and click Upload.

    If you skipped the step to rename either your old or new business, we recommend going back to Part 1, Step 1 to ensure that you have re-named at least one of the businesses so you can distinguish between them.

  3. Import your Products

    Repeat steps 1–2 of this section, re-importing the sheet with the products that you downloaded from your original account.

Importing Customers Manually

If you prefer not to use Wave Connect, you can import customers to your Wave Account using a CSV. You can follow the instructions in the article here to do that.

Products will need to be added individually. You can only bulk upload products using Wave Connect.

Part 5: Manage your Wave Payments account (Stripe integration only)

If you use Wave Payments (Stripe integration), you’ll need to disconnect your Stripe account from your old account, and reconnect to your new Wave account to ensure that your customers can pay their invoices moving forward.

  1. Disconnect your Stripe account from your old Wave account

    Go to Settings > Payments > Manage Your Connections. You should see a button that says Disconnect your Stripe Account.

  2. Reconnect your Stripe account to your new Wave account

    In your new Wave account, go to Settings > Credit Card Payments. You should see a page prompting you to set up Credit Card Payments. Make sure to click the link to set up the connection to an existing Stripe account, rather than creating a new account.

If severing the connection from the Manage Your Connections page doesn’t work, you can sever the connection from the Stripe side. To do this, go to Developers > API Keys in your Stripe account and click the 3-dot menu next to Publishable and Secret Keys.

Please note that taking this action from Stripe will disconnect the account from all connected services, not just Wave.

Part 6: Enter all outstanding Invoices and Bills

Entering outstanding invoices and bills will input your Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable balances into your new Wave account. This will also ensure that you're able to keep track of outstanding payments that you owe or that are owed to you, without needing to go back to an old account. When you’re done, you should have a copy of each outstanding Invoice and Bill in your new Wave account.

  1. For outstanding invoices that have already been sent, choose skip sending when creating the new copy.
  2. If you have any Recurring Invoice schedules in your old Wave account, be sure to end them and create a new schedule in your new account. You'll want to pick up at the next billing date to ensure that you don't send an invoice to a customer twice.
  3. If you have bills and invoices that are in foreign currencies, you'll need to record these converted into your home currency when you enter them in the new account. It's important that you record any payments you make on these bills or receive on these invoices converted to the home currency to ensure that the amounts are recorded accurately.

Unless you made manually entries to either your Accounts Receivable or your Accounts Payable account, the balances for these accounts should now match between your old Wave account and new Wave account.

Part 7: Enter your Sales Tax Balances

In order to get your sales tax report correctly entered, it will take several steps. Hang in there and follow along:

If you don't remit Sales Tax, skip to the next step in this Guide! 

Note: If you’re moving from the legacy version of Wave Accounting, sales taxes work a bit differently. Read this article to learn more.

Make sure that you’ve already added the sales taxes that you collect under Settings > Accounting > Sales Taxes. We covered this in Step 2 of this guide. This will create the accounts for bookkeeping, so if you didn't do this yet, go back and make sure that you do.

  1. Find in your original books, as of December 31, the balance due for each sales tax you collect.
    Note: If you’re looking at your Trial Balance Report, in your sales tax accounts, a credit is a balance payable and a debit is a balance receivable.
  2. If any of these taxes are recoverable, determine of the total balance due, how much is due because of being collected on sales, and how much is due to you for being paid on purchases.
  3. In your new business account, go to Reports > Sales Tax Report, and select a date range which will include the dates on all the invoices and bills you entered in the previous step. Select “Accrual” in the dropdown.
  4. For each sales tax that you collect:
    1. Compare the amounts in the “Tax amount on Sales” column to the amount of sales tax payable according to your old records (step #1 and 2). On a separate sheet of paper, make a note of how much you need to increase or decrease the amount of tax on the Sales Tax Report in order to make it match the amount you owe according to your old records.
    2. Compare the amounts in the “Tax Amount on Purchases” column to the amount of sales tax receivable according to your old reports. On a separate sheet of paper, make a note of how much you need to increase or decrease the amount of tax on the Sales Tax Report in order to make it match the amount you’re due as a refund according to your old records.
  5. Go to Accounting > Transactions > More, and select “Add journal transaction.” The description can be “Enter existing sales tax balance” or something similar that makes sense to you. Change the date to December 31 (or the date that matches the trial balance report from your old accounting records).
  6. Make adjustment entries for sales taxes you collect:
    1. If you need to increase the amount of the tax on the Sales Tax Report: In the debit column, select the “Old company balances” account you added earlier to your Chart of Accounts, and enter the amount you calculated in step 4a. In the credit column, select the “(Sales Tax Name) Tax collected (Liability)” account, and enter the same amount.
    2. If you need to decrease the amount of the tax on the Sales Tax Report: In the debit column, select the “(Sales tax name) Tax collected (Liability)” account, and enter the amount you calculated in step 4a. In the credit column, select the “Old company balances” account you added earlier, and enter the same amount.
  7. Make adjustment entries for sales taxes you pay on purchases, and can claim as a credit on your return (recoverable sales taxes only):
    1. If you need to increase the amount of the tax on the Sales Tax Report: In the debit column, select the “(Sales tax name) Tax paid (Asset)” account, and enter the amount you calculated in step 4b. In the credit column, select the “Old company balances” account you added earlier, and enter the same amount.
    2. If you need to decrease the amount of the tax on the Sales Tax Report: In the debit column, select the “Old company balances” account, and enter the amount you calculated in step 4b. In the credit column, select the “(Sales tax name) Tax paid (Asset)” account, and enter the same amount.
  8. Once you’ve entered balance adjustments for all of the accounts you need, check to make sure the debits equal the credits (there’s a warning in Wave if they don’t), and click Save.
  9. Go back to Reports > Sales Tax Report, and select the date range which includes the dates on all the invoices and bills you entered in Step 6, and the journal transaction you just entered. Select “Accrual” in the dropdown.
  10. Compare the amounts of sales taxes on Sales and Purchases in the report to the ending balance on your old Trial Balance Report. If they match, you’re done! If they don’t, go back to the journal transaction you made, and adjust the numbers for the sales tax(es) that don’t match.

Repeat steps 6 through 9 on the list until the amounts match your old Trial Balance Report.

Part 8: Enter starting balances for your new Wave account

Entering the starting balances for your company's accounts is the critical part of this process where you're moving your business' information from one set of books to the other. We'll go through this step by step, and at the end you will be ready to start fresh with your new Wave account.

If you have bank accounts in a foreign currency, enter these first.

  1. Find the balance of the foreign currency bank account, in the foreign currency, as of December 31. For example: you are a USD business with a EUR bank account. The balance of the account is EUR100. (According to your bank, this is valued at USD130.)
  2. Go to Accounting > Transactions, and click Add income
    1. In the details pane that opens, choose the foreign currency bank account in the Account dropdown.
    2. Enter the balance of the Account in the Total amount field (EUR100)
    3. Under Category, search for the “Old company balances” account and select it from the drop-down.
    4. Click Save and close the pane.
    5. Repeat these steps to add a starting balance transaction for all of the foreign currency bank accounts your business has, in the currency of the bank account.

Next, enter the balance of your home currency bank accounts.

  1. Find the balance of your bank accounts, loans, and lines of credit as of December 31.
  2. For any Bank Accounts or Asset Accounts:
    1. Go to Accounting > Transactions, and click Add income.
    2. In the details pane that opens, choose the bank account in the Account dropdown.
    3. Enter the balance of the Account in the Total amount field.
    4. Under Category, search for the “Old company balances” account and select it from the drop-down.
    5. Click Save and close the pane.
    6. Repeat these steps to add a starting balance transaction for all of the bank accounts your business has.
  3. For any Credit Card, Loans, or other Liability Accounts:
    1. Go to Accounting > Transactions, and click Add expense.
    2. In the details pane that opens, choose the credit card or loan account in the Account dropdown.
    3. Enter the balance of the Account in the Total amount field.
    4. Under Category, search for the “Old company balances” account and select it from the drop-down.
    5. Click Save and close the pane.
    6. Repeat these steps to add a starting balance transaction for all of the credit cards, loans, and liability accounts your business has.

Next, go to Reports and print a new trial balance report for December 31 for your new Wave account and compare it to the trial balance report for your old account.

  1. Compare the balances of all accounts between these two reports and make a note of the differences. For now, if you have foreign currency accounts you can ignore any discrepancies and Gain/Loss, since we'll cover these in an additional step.
  2. Go to Transactions > More > Add journal transaction to open a the details window.
  3. Make an entry for the rest of your account balances, and use the "Old company balances" clearing account to balance the transaction.
  4. When you've entered all of the balances, Save the journal entry. If it's easier for you, work in smaller groups of accounts. Use the Notes field to keep track of any relevant details of the entry. Make sure you select the correct date.
  5. Print the trial balance again, and review the "Old company balances" account. If you don't have any foreign currency accounts, this should clear out to zero. 

Wave Connect makes it easy to upload a starting balance journal entry! Check out how here.

If you have foreign currency bank accounts, there is one step left to complete before comparing your trial balance reports. Wave will approximate the home currency balance of this account on your Balance Sheet using the mid-market rate from XE.com. For this reason, you'll need to pay special attention when you move these balances to a new Wave account. From time to time, like when you're switching from one set of books to another, you can use a revaluation account to ensure that the balance sheet value of the account matches the real-world value on any given date.

A revaluation account is an account in your home currency, which will account for the difference between the estimated value of the foreign currency balance that Wave calculates, and the stated home currency balance at your bank on a certain date. This is often the most important when you've been moving money through an account, and there is still an estimated gain/loss balance reflected on your Wave balance sheet that needs to be cleared.

  1. Look at the stated value in Wave of your bank account on December 31, or the date that you're moving accounts, as well as the value on the old Trial Balance, and note the difference between that value, and the value that Wave reflects on the balance sheet. Make sure to note the difference for each of your foreign currency bank accounts.
  2. If the amount that Wave is estimating is less than the amount on the old Trial Balance, choose Add Income and enter the difference between the estimated account balance and the December 31 balance (in your home currency), select the  “xx bank account revaluation” account that you created in Part 2, and categorize the transaction to the "Old company balances" account.
  3. If the amount that Wave is estimating is more than the amount on the old Trial Balance, choose Add expense and enter the difference between the estimated account balance and the December 31 balance (in your home currency), select the  “xx bank account revaluation” account that you created in Part 2, and categorize the transaction to the "Old company balances" account.

Optional: you can get your transactions back into Wave as of the date you're moving over to the new account.

If you are in the United States or Canada you can connect your bank and start importing transactions as of the day that you'd like to re-start your accounting. If your business is outside of this region, or your bank isn't supported by our automatic bank connection tool, you can upload transactions using Wave Connect or by uploading a statement.

If you connect your bank, Wave will automatically create a starting balance transaction. You'll need to delete the automatically created Starting Balance, since you've already created your new starting balances.

Part 9: Using Your New Wave Account

Now that you're set up on your new Wave Account, you can keep working just like you did in your old account. Make sure that you're reconciling your accounts and categorizing transactions on a consistent basis.

There are a few things to remember when wrapping up between your old and new accounts:

  1. If you have set up a new payments account, you'll need to have your clients enter their credit cards for payment again, or enter credit card details to save them again in your new account.
  2. Outstanding foreign currency bills and invoices that you entered from the old system were converted to your home currency in Part 6. When you collect the payment for these invoices, or send a payment for these bills, make sure to convert the payment to your home currency when marking the payment complete in Wave.

If you're starting on a new account from the old version of Wave Accounting, we'd recommend checking out how the features in the upgraded system will make day-to-day tasks even quicker than before.

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