In-Depth ZipBooks Accounting Review 2024

Our Verdict

An established player in the small business accounting software industry

In our view, ZipBooks is a standout accounting solution designed for startups, solopreneurs, freelancers, and independent accounting professionals. The recent integration with Gusto for payroll also makes it a solid option for small businesses with up to 10 employees. Those benefits have a geographic limitation, however, given the lack of support for bank connections outside of North America.

We’d say ZipBooks isn’t ideal for retailers, as it lacks an inventory management module. For service businesses, however, ZipBooks time-tracking makes billing for time and services a snap.

Pros

  • Custom invoicing capability
  • Outstanding customer support
  • Excellent free forever plan
  • Time tracking for actual hours worked available

Cons

  • Aimed mainly at US-based users
  • Limited customer support hours
  • Limited app integrations

ZipBooks Plans & Pricing

ZipBooks is available at four different pricing levels, ranging from the free entry-level Starter plan to the Accountant tier, which offers bespoke pricing for a sophisticated set of professional accounting capabilities.

Starter Smarter Sophisticated Accountant
Monthly Cost/User Free ($0) for one user $15 per month for up to five users $35 per month for unlimited users Custom pricing based on specific needs
Free Trial
Users 1 5 Unlimited Based on requirement
Expense Management
Double Entry
Payroll Integrated with Gusto Integrated with Gusto Integrated with Gusto Integrated with Gusto
Reporting Basic Enhanced Full Custom
Customer Support Email, helpdesk Email, helpdesk Email, helpdesk Email, helpdesk

Starter – Free plan

The Starter plan is free and comes with unlimited invoicing — a core requirement for freelancers moving from side-hustle to solopreneur status. Starter also offers payment integration with digital processors like Stripe and PayPal, unlimited vendor and customer management, basic reporting, and the inclusion of one integrated bank account.

Smarter – from $15/month

When needs escalate beyond easy invoicing, ZipBooks paid Smarter plan offers all the features in the Starter plan and then adds automated reminders, recurring invoices, and line item storing for invoices. You can connect multiple banks and track the hours and minutes spent on a project with a built-in time tracker.

Smarter comes with five total user licenses, meaning a business with five ZipBooks users would pay $15 a month. A business with 10 ZipBooks users would pay $30 per month, and so on.

Sophisticated – from $35/month

Sophisticated is great for businesses at the larger end of the SMB spectrum that needs advanced accounting capabilities. For $35 a month you get all the capabilities in Starter and Smarter, plus enhanced features like smart tagging of entries, granular reporting with basic business intelligence analytics, document sharing, customizable account categories, and account reconciliation.

Sophisticated offers unlimited users, so the $35 monthly fee stays the same, even if you increase the size of your accounting team and add more ZipBooks users. So, if you’re a team of over 30 users, you are better off opting for the Sophisticated plan.

Accountant – Custom pricing

ZipBooks’ premium Accountant plan is designed for professional accountants who want to extend the online services they deliver to their clients. Pricing is based on a quote and after assessment of the user’s specific needs. Key features include data migration, managing clients through personalized dashboards, bulk editing, export of financial packages, and customizing dashboards, reports, documents, and invoices with client branding.

ZipBooks Overview

Starting price Free
Best for Freelancers and small businesses
Customer support Email and help desk support available from 9 am to 5 pm Mountain Standard Time (US).
App integrations Integrated with Gusto for payroll, Google Drive, Slack, Asana, Stripe, PayPal, Spiceworks, and more.
Security & Compliance 2FA. 256-bit TLS encryption for data in transit. AES256 or AES128 encryption for stored data.
Payroll ✅ (separate Gusto account required)
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app
Double entry
E-signatures
Auto-alerts and reminders

Features

We found ZipBooks to be a feature-rich SaaS solution that delivers classic accounting features with automation and collaboration tools that make it easier for small businesses to grow. Its main features are invoicing and billing, core accounting, reporting, and time tracking. ZipBooks also offers payroll functionality through its integration with Gusto.

Its mobile app has been discontinued, however the company says it is now ‘super mobile friendly’ when accessed via a smartphone or tablet web browser. We found the site working ok on mobile, but will always favor a dedicated app.

Invoicing

ZipBooks' invoicing feature

Invoicing is one of ZipBooks’ core functions and is available with every pricing plan. Users can import their contacts and use them to generate and send professional invoices, then track them through an accounts receivable dashboard. Invoices can be sent via email as PDFs. ZipBooks stores all customer and vendor information securely and automatically pulls customer and vendor details from documents to limit the number of manual entries you need to make. In terms of testing, there’s not much to say here – the invoicing process works as expected but we did find the automated process to be beneficial. It saved time and worked well.

Core Accounting

ZipBooks's core accounting feature

ZipBooks offers comprehensive accounting capabilities, allowing users to opt for either cash or accrual accounting, with support for double-entry accounting. Transactions can be added manually or imported from CSV files, but only if you’ve subscribed to a paid plan. Other helpful features include transaction tagging, reconciliation, multiple bank connections, multi-location accounting with consolidated reporting, and automated tracking.

Reporting

ZipBooks' financial reporting feature

ZipBooks offers a range of reports that increase in granularity with each price tier. Starter users can generate income statements and balance sheets. Smarter users can add taxes invoiced, general ledgers, and summaries of expenses. Move to Sophisticated and ZipBooks will include ‘insights reporting’ with basic analytics to help you see trends in business performance. The reporting is definitely worth having, so it’s a shame you only get it at the higher tier. Other premium features include custom reports from entry tags and dedicated statements by customer or vendor.

Time Tracking

ZipBooks' time tracking feature

For professional service businesses that invoice according to time spent, a built-in timer widget allows users to accurately record time worked on specific projects linked to specific customers. Manual time entries can also be made with added notes. During our testing, ZipBooks automatically imports the hours captured and turns them into an invoice using the hourly rates specified for that project and customer.

Integrations

ZipBooks doesn’t offer the range of integrations that a platform like Odoo does, but it does nail the essentials.

Big-name integrations include:

  • Slack and Asana for collaboration
  • Square, PayPal, and Stripe for payment processing
  • Gusto for HR and Payroll
  • Google Drive for document management
  • Spiceworks and Stack Reaction for IT management

As well as connections for almost any bank account in the US or Canada. You can be sure this last category will be a limiting factor for users outside North America. ZipBooks doesn’t support bank connections in the UK or Europe, Central or South America, Asia, or Africa.

ZipBooks User Reviews

Users on G2 heap fulsome praise on ZipBooks and give it a near-perfect 4.7 out of 5 cumulative score. Freelancers make up a large proportion of the reviewers and frequently mention its clean interface and simplicity in tracking financial activity. Unlimited invoicing and unlimited customers on the free plan both receive regular high-fives from end users.

A ZipBooks review on G2

ZipBooks vs Top Competitors

ZipBooks QuickBooks Zoho Books Kashoo
Best for Sole traders and freelancers SMBs with up to 250 employees Small businesses Smaller businesses on a path to growth
Starting Price $0 on the Starter plan In Europe, €1 per month on the Simple Start plan / £1 per month in the UK Free for businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue. $216 per year
Free Trial
Reporting Standard Standard Basic Standard
Mobile App

ZipBooks vs Quickbooks

QuickBooks and ZipBooks sound alike and people often confuse one with the other online. They are similar, with comparable core features for accounting and invoicing. However, ZipBooks is the more affordable option with a full-featured free plan and cheaper price triers. QuickBooks is still affordable at the lower tiers — especially in Europe — and wraps in more features than ZipBooks because it targets small businesses with employees rather than sole traders.

Read more in our QuickBooks review.

ZipBooks vs Zoho Books

Zoho is a small business application platform that pulls together multiple apps under one umbrella. Because of that, it’s probably best to compare different Zoho apps with ZipBooks at different levels. For example, ZipBooks’ free Starter plan is comparable to Zoho Invoice. Both focus on invoice and billing functions and are 100% free. ZipBooks’ Smarter and Sophisticated plans are more comparable to Zoho Books, with functionality that escalates as you move up the pricing tiers. We’d say Zoho Books wins the day due to its flat-rate pricing structure and easy integrations with the other finance and management apps on the platform.

Read more in our Zoho Books review.

ZipBooks vs Kashoo

If you like solutions that offer simple pricing in coherent bundles of functionality, it’s hard to beat Kashoo. There are just two tiers to choose from: Trulysmall, which offers automated accounting for small businesses with straightforward needs; and Kashoo, with advanced and personalized capabilities for established businesses. At $216 per year and $324 per year respectively, Kashoo is very reasonably priced. On the downside, it doesn’t offer ZipBooks’ time-tracking capability.

Verdict – is ZipBooks Worth it?

Everyone wants more for their money, but it’s hard to argue with free. For micro businesses, sole traders, independent professionals, and freelancers of every stripe, our review found that ZipBooks’ free plan blends enough functionality with its core invoicing tools to make it the perfect starter option. As the business grows, ZipBooks’ paid tiers allow you to ramp up capabilities in phases. The main drawback is its geographic focus. Techopedia readers outside of North America may find its lack of bank integrations off-putting at any price.

How We Test Accounting Software

Techopedia is a leading authority on business technology. Our independent reviews of accounting apps, platforms, and services are written with finance professionals in mind. We aim to help accounting teams in organizations large and small make informed buying decisions about the productivity tools they need.

When we review an accounting software product, we assess its ups and downs across six key areas:

  • Pricing – What are the different price tiers and what’s included/excluded
  • Features – Core features and those available at different price levels
  • Integrations – We look at how easily an accounting solution can be integrated with complementary solutions and blend into an existing workflow
  • Automation – We ask how many repetitive, time-consuming tasks the product can take on
  • Ease of Use – We look at the interface, range of menu options, effort needed to implement, and how much training is required for new users
  • Third-Party Reviews – We consider what hands-on users saying about the product on respected platforms like Capterra and G2

How to Choose the Best Accounting Software

Choosing the right accounting software can impact critical business essentials including financial performance, profitability, and cash flow. If you’re thinking of trying a new accounting solution or investing in one for the first time, here are some key considerations:

  • Ease of use – Is the accounting software’s interface and functionality intuitive or will training be required?
  • Essential Features – Does the solution combine accounting, expenses, and payroll?
  • Pricing – Is there a plan for my budget that offers all the capabilities I need? How easy is it to scale up or down if business needs change?
  • Integrations – Will the accounting software work well with my existing back office tools?
  • Customer Support – What levels of support are offered and do they differ by pricing tier?

FAQs

Does ZipBooks offer a free trial?

What type of company is ZipBooks best for?

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Is there a ZipBooks App?

Mark De Wolf

Mark is a freelance tech journalist covering software, cybersecurity, and SaaS. His work has appeared in Dow Jones, The Telegraph, SC Magazine, Strategy, InfoWorld, Redshift, and The Startup. He graduated from the Ryerson University School of Journalism with honors where he studied under senior reporters from The New York Times, BBC, and Toronto Star, and paid his way through uni as a jobbing advertising copywriter. In addition, Mark has been an external communications advisor for tech startups and scale-ups, supporting them from launch to successful exit. Success stories include SignRequest (acquired by Box), Zeigo (acquired by Schneider Electric), Prevero (acquired…