For small business owners seeking an accounting solution, ZipBooks offers several tools that can help you manage your books more effectively. Its free accounting software allows small businesses to send invoices, manage vendors & customers, and accept digital payments.
Upgrading to one of its paid accounting software plans opens the door to additional features. Read this ZipBooks review to learn more about what it offers and if it’s the right accounting software to use for your small business.
What is ZipBooks
ZipBooks offers accounting software for small businesses that are geared toward keeping things simple and affordable. ZipBooks accounting software automates bookkeeping tasks, manages vendors and customers, generates useful reports, and more.
It’s a newer accounting solution and has added several new, useful features over the past year. The accounting software has a free version and three paid plans.
Who is ZipBooks Accounting Software Best for?
ZipBooks is best for small business owners that need easy-to-use and affordable accounting software. Its small business accounting tools are suitable for sole proprietorships, freelancers, and consultants.
For small businesses with employees, its new payroll integration features can also work well.
The accounting software is most suited for service-related businesses. It has great time tracking capabilities to enable you to bill customers for your services and time.
Retail business types should steer away as the software currently lacks inventory management tools.
What does ZipBooks Offer?
ZipBooks has comparable features to software like Quickbooks Online, to make it a viable option for a small business owner.
Below is a rundown of the features ZipBooks offers:
The dashboard will provide ZipBooks users with a clean-looking display that’s clean. You have charts such as Financial Performance, Accounts Receivable, Transactions, and Business Health Score that provide an informative view of your small business.
The invoicing feature on ZipBooks allows you to easily set up defaults like notes, terms, and email messages. If you upgrade to one of the paid plans, you also get the ability to set recurring invoices and reminders.
ZipBooks gives you an invoice health score which is essentially an invoice quality score that shows you what ways you can improve your invoices. There’s only one invoice template, however, which doesn’t have many customization options.
Additionally, you can also create purchase orders in ZipBooks. If you get the Smarter or Sophisticated plan, you also get the ability to automatically send a receipt when payment is made.
The accounting capabilities are solid on ZipBooks. It includes double-entry accounting. With the free Starter plan, you can link a single bank account to the software.
The chart of accounts in ZipBooks should work for any small business. You can add more accounts too. Categories include Assets, Liabilities, Owner’s Equity, Revenue, and Expenses.
These categories are color-coded. On the paid plans, you can customize your chart of accounts.
ZipBooks uses auto-categorization and remembers how you have categorized previous transactions. This feature reduces the time you spend having to classify transactions.
For expense management, you can create bills using the software. You can enter an amount for each line item.
The accounts receivable feature is limited, however. There is no way to adjust the quantity.
You can create estimates in the same way you create invoices on ZipBooks. The default notes, terms, and email messages can all be set.
When a customer accepts an estimate, it only takes another click of a button to convert it into an invoice.
Your customers have their own client portal where they can receive estimates and quotes. Estimates can be accepted or declined too. The portal can also be used to view and pay invoices.
A client can leave a review in the client portal if you upgrade to the Growth Plan.
If you’re a consultant, independent contractor, or work in a field where you need to keep track of time, you’ll like ZipBook’s time tracking features.
The timer is located on the top of the dashboard, making it easy to access. By clicking the green arrow, you can start tracking your time, after selecting the project or customer and making any notes.
You can stop and restart the timer as many times as you want. For billing purposes, you can add notes each time you restart the timer.
Time tracking is not available on the Starter plan.
You won’t find just basic reports with ZipBooks. Financial statements, accounting & tax reports, sales, expenses, and tracking reports are all the various types of reports ZipBooks offers. Advanced reporting options like exporting choices and customizations are limited.
ZipBooks does offer its Intelligence reporting including a Business Health Score, Invoice Quality Score, and a Smart Search function.
The Business Health Score shows how your business is financially performing. The Smart Search function makes it easy to find customers, invoices, vendors, or bills that are in the system.
Vendor and Customer Management
Both customers and vendors can be tracked on ZipBooks. After entering a contact into ZipBooks’ system, they’re considered vendors if you pay them and classified as customers if you receive payments from them.
There’s a 1099 contractor box option that you can mark if your contact is a vendor. All payments and vendor details are tracked so 1099 can be sent at the end of the year.
You can track your expenses in three ways: Individually adding transactions, importing a bank statement, or connecting your bank account.
ZipBooks lacks a feature that allows for auto-categorization of transactions. There are also no custom bank rules. Attachments can be added to each transaction, and as needed, you can split transactions.
There is a lack of inventory management tools with ZipBooks because there is no inventory tracking feature. ZipBooks offers the ability to add items, their description, price, SKU, default category, and whether it’s an invoice or bill.
Items on these lists can’t be used for both bills and invoices. That means you’d have to create separate items.
The Smarter or Sophisticated plans will add project management and basic job costing capabilities. Contacts, billing methods, budget, and description can all be added to a project.
The budget can be broken down into tasks with attached expenses and the time that each task will take. You can add an invoice to a project and assign a project to an employee.
If your business has an online presence or otherwise operates in multiple counties or states, you can add as many sales tax rates as necessary. At the end of the year, you can run a tax report to view how much tax you’ve collected.
ZipBooks supports VAT and the sales tax standards of a variety of other countries like Canada.
Over 160 different currencies are supported by ZipBooks. The exchange rates are automatically updated.
How much does ZipBooks Cost?
You can start using Zipbooks with the free plan or upgrade to three paid versions. Here is a look at what each plan offers below:
The free plan with ZipBooks allows you to do the following:
- Send unlimited invoices
- Management unlimited vendors & customers
- Accept digital payments (Square or PayPal)
- View basic reports
- Connect one bank account
If you’re just starting your small business or considering ZipBooks, the free plan option will give provide a way to test it out. However, it may lack some advanced features that are only available on the other plans.
The Smarter plan includes everything that comes with the Starter plan and adds:
- Schedule recurring invoices with auto-bill
- Automate reminders
- Save invoice line items
- Connect multiple bank accounts
- Receive account notifications
- Time Tracking
- Add up to five users
There is a free 30-day trial that you can try out the ZipBooks Starter plan. After that, it costs $15 a month.
The Sophisticated plan has everything found in the Starter and Smarter plans and adds ZipBooks features like:
- Organize books with smart tagging (by location, project, and custom)
- Customize categories (chart of accounts)
- Reconcile every account quickly
- Lock completed books
- Share documents securely
- Generate insightful reports
- Invited unlimited users
You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the Sophisticated plan. After that, it’s $35 a month.
The ZipBooks Accountant plan includes all the tools in the three other plans and adds these advanced features:
- Text clients directly from ZipBooks
- Track time across client accounts
- Export financial packages
- Cobrand your firm on client accounts
- Edit transactions in bulk
- Management clients from one dashboard
- Migrate existing accounting data
This plan is designed for accounting professionals. It’s best for those who handle bookkeeping or accounting tasks for many clients. The price varies by how many licenses and messaging (SMS and email) that you need per month.
If the general ledger, balance sheet, and accrual accounting are words that make you cringe, ZipBooks can help. You’ll be connected with a ZipBooks Pro who will work as your personal bookkeeper. The service is $125 per month.
ZipBooks Pros and Cons
Pro: Free accounting software
ZipBooks offers a free version of its accounting software. You have one user access to handle your small business accounting. This is ideal for businesses that are starting out.
Pro: Easy to use
No accounting or bookkeeping experience is necessary to use ZipBooks. The software has a low learning curve which allows you to start creating invoices in no time.
Pro: Has many features
ZipBooks features are numerous and useful as you upgrade from the basic plan. Even with the free plan, you get valuable features like unlimited invoicing and digital payment support.
Pro: Strong Customer Support
ZipBooks has numerous learning and support resources available to users. Their customer support is noted as being fast and helpful. ZipBook support is available through in-software chat and email.
Pro: Assistance for small business owners
If you prefer handing over the accounting to someone else, ZipBooks can connect you with an expert.
ability to switch between cash and accrual accounting
Move from accrual reporting to cash in a flash if necessary.
Con: Best features are only available at a cost
The unlimited invoicing is a great capability that’s available for free. But the more important features like time tracking are only available at a cost.
Con: No support for multi-entity accounting
ZipBooks doesn’t synch with each entity’s account payable system to enable payments and approvals to be handled from one central location.
Con: No inventory tracking
For retail businesses or ones that sell a variety of products, you’ll need another solution to manage inventory.
Con: No mobile app
To date, ZipBooks does not offer an iOS or Android app for its software. Other competitors like Zoho Books offer a mobile app that allows you to do everything from sending invoices, entering bill payments, recording time, and receiving payments.
Con: Lacks tiered user permissions
There is no ability to give users a different level of permissions within the software.
Bottom Line: ZipBooks Review
The affordable price of ZipBooks allows you to do a lot. The user interface is friendly and easy to pick up. Upgrading to one of the paid versions provides access to more useful features. Many small business owners will benefit from using ZipBooks accounting software. Larger businesses, ones that need inventory management, or more customizations might not find ZipBooks to be the right solution for them. The company has made many updates over the past year and could be well on the way to filling those gaps in the future.