ZipBooks VS Wave Comparison: Which Is Better?
Both are solid options for easy-to-use accounting software. It comes down to which specific features you're looking for and pricing options.
|Ideal For||Small businesses and freelancers that want affordable software with strong features & good customer support||Small businesses and freelancers that want free, easy-to-use accounting software|
|Cloud-Based Or Installed||Cloud-based||Cloud-based|
|Standout Features||Good customer support, invoice health score, supports unlimited users||Invoicing automations, checkouts eCommerce tool, tax integration|
|What’s Missing?||Payroll, budgeting, inventory management, mobile apps, integrations||Budgeting, inventory management, time tracking, project management, phone & chat support|
If you’re looking for accounting software that doesn’t break the bank, doesn’t come with a steep learning curve, and isn’t overloaded with features you don’t need, look no further. ZipBooks and Wave are two of the most cost-efficient, user-friendly accounting solutions on the market.
While both ZipBooks and Wave bring a lot to the table, it’s important to determine which is the best software for your business. We’re putting these two contenders head-to-head to help you make this important decision, so you can make an informed decision more efficiently and start putting your new software to work for you. We’re breaking down pricing, features, and the most significant differences between ZipBooks vs. Wave so that you can spend less time researching and more time building your business.
Choose ZipBooks If…
- You operate a new business and need budget-friendly accounting software
- You’re a freelancer or entrepreneur that needs basic accounting features
- You want reliable accounting software backed with good customer support
Choose Wave If…
- You want free accounting software with no limitations or ads
- You want accounting software that’s easy to learn and use
- You own a small business that needs software for invoicing and basic bookkeeping
Table of Contents
The Key Differences Between ZipBooks & Wave
- ZipBooks doesn’t have mobile apps
- Wave has better invoicing
- Wave’s free plan has no limitations
- Wave has built-in payroll
- ZipBooks has better customer support
- ZipBooks has more features than Wave
- Wave has (slightly) better integrations
- Wave only supports one user
- Wave supports multiple businesses
ZipBooks and Wave have a lot of similarities. Both are extremely affordable. They both offer basic accounting functions ideal for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses. Both of them are easy to use, even for accounting beginners. Both are cloud-based software.
But when deciding between the two, there are a few key differences that can help you determine which software to choose for your business. From mobile apps to features and reporting, here are the most significant differences between Wave vs. ZipBooks.
ZipBooks Doesn’t Have Mobile Apps
For many business owners, mobility is a key selling point of accounting software. Unfortunately, ZipBooks falls a little short. Although you can access the cloud-based software from anywhere provided you have a working internet connection, ZipBooks does not have any mobile apps. While an iOS app was available in the past, this app was removed. ZipBooks reported that it was working on a new app, but there have been no recent updates on the status of a mobile app.
On the other hand, Wave does have mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. However, there isn’t a centralized app for either operating system — something that users complain about frequently. There have also been a few reports about bugs that affect the functionality of the apps.
Wave Has Better Invoicing
With just one invoice template and limited customization options, ZipBooks doesn’t stand up to the competition in terms of invoicing. There are also limited automations, and the automations that ZipBooks does have are only available with a paid subscription.
Wave has three invoice templates that can be customized to the branding of your business. Additionally, several invoice automations — such as invoice scheduling and recurring invoices — are available for no cost.
Wave’s Free Plan Has No Limitations
Both ZipBooks and Wave offer a free plan. Wave stands out, though, because the free plan is the only plan available. There are no limitations, no advertisements, and no outdated UI.
ZipBooks also offers a free plan. However, more advanced features aren’t available on the free plan; you will have to upgrade to receive access to time tracking, project management, and other features. ZipBooks’ free plan also allows you to add only one bank account.
Wave Has Built-In Payroll
If you need payroll for your business, Wave has you covered. Note that this is an add-on that will cost you a monthly fee. However, pricing is competitive, and you’ll be able to manage your payroll right within your accounting software.
ZipBooks does not have built-in payroll software. However, it does integrate with Gusto.
ZipBooks Has Better Customer Support
ZipBooks has solid customer support. In addition to a number of support options and help resources, ZipBooks has received positive reviews for its prompt and helpful customer service reps. You can contact the company through phone, email, or live chat within the software.
Wave has a few good support resources, including a comprehensive Help Center and the Wave Community that connects you with other Wave users. However, phone and chat services are only available to customers that use Wave Payroll or Wave Payments.
ZipBooks Has More Features Than Wave
ZipBooks and Wave each have a nice set of basic accounting and bookkeeping features, but both noticeably lack more advanced features. ZipBooks does have a slight edge, as it offers project management and time tracking. Wave does not have a project management feature, and time tracking is only available when you subscribe to Wave Payroll.
Wave Has (Slightly) Better Integrations
Neither ZipBooks nor Wave is leading the industry when it comes to integrations. ZipBooks has just six integrations. Wave only has three integrations. However, it does integrate with Zapier, which allows you to connect to 1,000+ business apps and software.
Wave Only Supports One User
A major drawback of Wave is that it only supports one user, so it isn’t scalable for larger businesses. While ZipBooks’ free plan only supports a single user, you can upgrade to add unlimited users.
Wave Supports Multiple Businesses
While Wave doesn’t support multiple users, it does support multiple businesses. ZipBooks requires a separate subscription for each company, although multiple companies can be managed in one place by using the same email address.
ZipBooks VS Wave: Pricing
ZipBooks has three main pricing plans that range from $0-$35/month. All plans include unlimited invoicing, Square and PayPal digital payments, customer and vendor management, and basic reporting. ZipBooks’ paid plans allow you to connect more than one bank account, add multiple users, and access more advanced features, such as recurring invoices, automated reminders, and a customizable chart of accounts. A custom plan is available for accountants that includes time tracking, additional features, and data migration. Give our full ZipBooks review a look to find out more about pricing.
Wave has a single pricing plan that costs $0/month. There are no hidden charges or setup fees, and there are no limitations on features. If you want to add Wave’s payment processing, Wave Payments, you will pay each time you use the service. You can also add payroll starting at $20/month plus an additional $6/month per employee or paid contractor. Check out our full Wave review to learn more about pricing.
Both ZipBooks and Wave offer free accounting software plans, which is ideal for businesses on a tight budget. However, Wave is the better choice because its free plan doesn’t place limits on its features. ZipBooks, on the other hand, does restrict some of its features, making them only available with paid plans. However, you may find that the features available on ZipBooks’ paid plans better fit your business. Before deciding solely based on pricing, keep reading to learn more about each software’s features to determine which is the best solution for you.
ZipBooks VS Wave: Features
ZipBooks and Wave both offer basic accounting software that’s easy to use and affordably priced. You’ll find everything you expect from accounting software with either option. Invoicing, expense tracking, contact management, and basic reporting are available through either Wave or ZipBooks.
However, if you’re looking for advanced features, neither option really hits the mark. Inventory management, budgeting, and other features are noticeably lacking from Wave and ZipBooks. If you delve deeper into specific features, such as payroll and project management, you’ll see that Wave excels in some areas, while ZipBooks is the better choice in others. Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable differences in features to help you determine which software is better suited for your needs.
ZipBooks offers unlimited invoicing for all users, even those on the free plan. ZipBooks does offer a few nice touches for its invoicing, including an invoice health score that evaluates and helps you improve your invoices. However, it is worth noting that ZipBooks lacks customization options and just one invoice template. Additionally, invoice reminders and recurring invoices are only available with the purchase of a paid plan.
Wave also has unlimited invoicing. Wave has three invoice templates that can be customized with your choice of colors and the addition of your company logo. What really stands out, though, is Wave’s numerous invoice automations, all of which are included for no additional cost. Automations include recurring invoices, automatic invoice reminders, invoice scheduling, and status tracking. You can also easily convert estimates to invoices using Wave. On the downside, sales tax calculations aren’t automatic, and you also have to add discounts as a separate line item.
ZipBooks lets you easily add expenses by connecting your bank account, manually entering transactions, or importing your bank statements. You can’t set custom bank rules, and there is no option for automatic categorization. Another thing to note is that the free plan allows you to connect only one bank account. If you are tracking multiple accounts, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.
When using Wave, you can also import your transactions by connecting your bank account, importing bank statements, or through manual entry. Wave features transaction matching, duplicate transaction merging, and bulk categorization.
Both Wave and ZipBooks keep reporting to a minimum. With ZipBooks, you can access up to 16 reports, depending on the plan you select. ZipBooks’ free plan only includes basic reports.
Wave only has 12 reports that cover the financial basics, including cash flow, profit and loss, and sales tax.
Wave doesn’t have the most advanced eCommerce features, but it does have a Checkouts tool that’s ideal for businesses that easily want to bill multiple customers at one time. With Checkouts, a link is generated that can be sent to one or more customers through text or email. The link can also be posted on Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace sites.
ZipBooks does not have a similar eCommerce tool.
Wave makes it easier to file your taxes with its H&R Block integration. With this integration, you can import your business data right into H&R Block, helping you save time and eliminate errors from manual entry. You will have to pay an additional fee to use this service.
ZipBooks does not offer tax support to its users.
Wave Payroll isn’t included in the free plan. Instead, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee as well as a fee for each employee and paid contractor. However, the pricing is competitive, and this is the ideal solution if you want simple, easy-to-use payroll that’s built right into your accounting software.
Unfortunately, ZipBooks does not offer a built-in payroll option.
ZipBooks’ paid plans include a project management feature. With this feature, you can create projects and tasks, add contacts and budgets, assign projects to employees, and attach time and expenses. You can also create invoices from your projects.
Wave does not have a project management feature available.
Time tracking is a feature that you will find with ZipBooks’ paid plans. With this feature, you can enter time manually or use the built-in timer. Tracked time can then be attached to projects and tasks.
Wave’s accounting software does not include a time tracking feature. However, time tracking is available with Wave Payroll.
The Bottom Line: Is ZipBooks Or Wave Better?
If you’re looking for forever-free software with no limitations on features, Wave is a great choice. You’ll have user-friendly software that covers the basics, such as bookkeeping and invoicing, for no monthly subscription fee. If you need to add payroll or payment processing, you can do so for a competitive price. Wave has great invoicing, supports multiple businesses, and is a solid choice for freelancers, sole proprietors, and small businesses. On the flip side, it doesn’t support more than one user, so it isn’t scalable for larger businesses. It also lacks major features, such as project management, budgeting, and time tracking.
Ultimately, in the Wave Accounting vs. ZipBooks debate, both are solid options for businesses that want basic accounting software that’s easy to use. Ultimately, the final decision will come down to what’s most important to you, whether it’s outstanding customer service, specific features, or pricing. To get a feel for what works for you, sign up for a free plan from Wave or ZipBooks, or give one of ZipBooks’ paid plans a try with a free trial. Good luck!