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When it comes to free accounting software, there are limited options. We’ve already covered Wave accounting software in detail, but today we’re diving into a cleaner, mobile-friendly, free accounting software option: ZipBooks.

What is ZipBooks?

ZipBooks is a beautifully designed accounting platform for budget-conscious small businesses and entrepreneurs. ZipBooks prides itself on being intuitive and “click-minimizing,” which is perfect for business owners who want a time-saving option for smart financial records. 

ZipBooks pros and cons

Pros Cons
Great user experience
Free starter version
Project and time tracking
Tagging elements for better organization
Strong mobile interface
Limited reporting
Few integrations
Limited customer support
Weak contact records

ZipBooks features

Accounting

ZipBooks accounting software provides the basic accounting functions every small business owner needs. Accountant access and one user comes with the free version, and upgrades allow for more users. Connect your bank account to import expenses and manage bank reconciliation quickly. Expenses can be auto-categorized and paid versions allow for tagging so you can always zero in on the data you need. 

Like most accounting software solutions, ZipBooks creates financial reports with your data. While the free version offers limited reports, the basic ones you need are available (balance sheets, general ledger, income statements, and tax reports). 

Billing

ZipBooks help you improve your cash flow with smart billing features. You can customize your invoice, track invoice opens, set up recurring invoices, take payments via credit card payment gateway or ACH through Square and PayPal, and even set reminders for unpaid invoices. 

Before you get to invoices, you can create and send estimates to customers, and track time for projects that will turn into billable expenses and invoices. Mobile accounting allows invoicing on the go, and this is one software platform that allows multiple currencies to facilitate international business.

One unique offering from ZipBooks is the ability for customers to review your business after paying their invoice—then share those reviews to Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

Intelligence

It’s more than just keeping accurate books—ZipBooks wants to help you make smarter business decisions. The intelligence factor of ZipBooks is impressive and edges out comparable products if data analysis and business insight is important to your accounting. ZipBooks generates a few key data points that will help you make strategic moves, including:

  • Business Health Score
    • Hygiene: ability to follow best practices for business operations
    • Success: growing and sustaining your business
  • Invoice Quality Score: ability to send and complete effective invoices
  • Auto-categorization & confidence score
  • Guided recommendations
  • High-functioning search

These intelligence features set ZipBooks apart, especially for small business owners who want their software to work harder and do more with less effort on their part.

Expenses

Whether you’re paying vendors, employees, contractors, consultants, or subscription services, you need to manage your funds and accurately record them. ZipBooks allows businesses to create receipts in the mobile app with photo capture and a few clicks. Another great feature ZipBooks provides is the ability to split categories. A trip to a store might include items that belong to different budgets, but with ZipBooks you can easily split and assign those categories.

ZipBooks saves contacts and identifies vendors when you pay a bill or add an expense. It will also keep track of outstanding payments so your accounts payable process stays current. You can also bill your clients directly through the mobile app so that your expenses are added directly to their existing invoice.

ZipBooks products & plans

Plan Price Features
Starter Free Unlimited contacts & invoicing
1 bank connection
Expense management
1 user
Smarter $15/month Time tracking
Recurring invoices
Collaboration
Bill pay
Unlimited bank connections
5 users
Sophisticated $35/month Tags & custom categories
Account reconciliation
Reports
Document sharing
Unlimited users
Accountant Custom Built for running a bookkeeping business
Monthly reports and tax support
In-app client communication
Bulk editing

*All plans include a 30 day free trial. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your plan at any point. 

Starter

The most popular option is the Starter plan, which is completely free. With the ZipBooks Starter plan you have access to the basic features for your business. This includes

  • Unlimited invoices, custom quotes, and estimates
  • Unlimited vendor management
  • Unlimited customer management
  • Digital payments via Square or PayPal
  • Run basic reports like profit-and-loss 
  • Connect one bank account
  • Multiple currency functionality
  • 1099 payment & expense tracking
  • Receipt capture
  • Chart of accounts, cash & accrual reporting
  • Integrations with Slack, Gusto, and more. 

For many small business owners, freelancers, and 1099 contractors, the Starter plan for ZipBooks accounting software provides all of the basic functions you’ll need. It’s highly functional and provides a good introduction to small business financial accounting that can help you determine what additional features you’ll need. 

Smarter

At $15/month, you can upgrade to the Smarter plan. You’ll have access to all of the Starter plan features, with some important additions. This plan offers a higher level of customization and expanded permissions for growing companies. The Smarter plan includes:

  • Recurring invoices
  • Automated invoice reminders
  • Greater invoice & estimate customization
  • Multiple bank accounts
  • 5 users with permissions and team collaboration
  • Time tracking
  • Auto-import bill details
  • Saving invoice items and tasks
  • Automated 1099 tracking
  • Auto-categorization of expenses
  • PDF & CSV exported reports
  • Project management
  • Chat customer support

This tier is designed for slightly larger businesses who need more team access and collaboration within their accounting software. You’ll get a higher level of customization and more professional communications. 

Sophisticated

The top prescribed plan for ZipBooks is the Sophisticated Plan at $35/month. This plan includes everything outlined in the Starter and Smarter tiers, as well as some serious upgrades. With the Sophisticated plan you get: 

  • Smart tagging by location, project, and custom parameters
  • Customized categories for your chart of accounts
  • Multiple account reconciliation
  • Lock books once closed
  • Secure document sharing & storage
  • More sophisticated reporting
  • Unlimited users
  • Custom footers
  • Comparison of company data to industry benchmarks

The Sophisticated plan is definitely more expensive, but might be worth it if you place a premium on smart functions and intuitive software. (Plus, it’s still significantly cheaper than QuickBooks Online). 

Accountant

If you’re running your own bookkeeping company and looking for an affordable solution to offer your clients, consider the ZipBooks Accountant plan. This plan offers custom pricing based on the size of your firm and allows you to manage all your clients from one platform. Client messaging is built into the app, making reconciliation way faster. 

Some features include:

  • Message clients from within ZipBooks
  • Cobranding on client accounts
  • Bulk transaction editing
  • Unified client dashboard
  • Account migration from existing accounting software

Premium add-ons

ZipBooks Growth ($49/month): ZipBooks will prompt customers to review their service after invoicing and immediately sync those reviews to Google, Facebook, and Yelp. It helps manage your online image, attract new customers, and cultivate a strong reputation for customer satisfaction. You can also import positive reviews directly onto a website widget or to display in your header or footer. There are also industry-related reports regarding keywords and growth tracking. 

ZipBooks Bookkeeping ($125/month): A dedicated bookkeeper to manage your books and help you with tax preparation by providing detailed monthly reports. You can also work with ZipBooks to file taxes.

FAQ

Is ZipBooks safe? 

ZipBooks uses 256-bit encryption for data transit, and PCI-DSS compliance for credit card payment processing. Reach out to ZipBooks for additional security information

Is ZipBooks free? 

The starter tier of ZipBooks is free to use, and the paid versions offer a free 30 day trial. 

Is ZipBooks better than QuickBooks? 

ZipBooks features a 5 star rating on G2, beating out QuickBooks online in every single category. Capterra users rank ZipBooks better for ease of use, customer service, and price, though QuickBooks better for features. ZipBooks edges out QuickBooks Online on TrustRadius, too, though it concedes that QuickBooks is superior in payroll management and inventory. 

General consensus is that ZipBooks is better for small businesses, especially those who value mobile access and intuitive insights. The Starter and Smarter tiers are the best value for ZipBooks users. QuickBooks is a better option for businesses that are growing, or those wanting strong inventory management in their accounting platform. 

What apps integrate with ZipBooks?

ZipBooks integrates with various online banks, Gusto Payroll, Square, Paypal, Stripe, Google Drive, Zapier, Slack, Pepperi, and more. 

Does ZipBooks work on mobile?

While ZipBooks does have a mobile app in the Apple Store, according to their Help Center, the ZipBooks app has been discontinued while they build out new features. However, they have worked to make the browser version of ZipBooks mobile friendly so that you can use it on the go.

The verdict

ZipBooks is a clean and intuitive cloud accounting software platform that is designed to give small business owners more tools to grow their business. The free plan is the most popular and useful option, but if you’re looking for machine learning to help streamline your books and analysis then the paid plans and upgrades might set ZipBooks apart from QuickBooks Online.

Divvy provides smart financial software that gives you total visibility and control. And, like ZipBooks’ most popular plan, we’re free. Get started today.

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