Zipbooks takes a lot of the pressure off small businesses that are running into cash flow problems.

Running a small business sucks. At least I imagine so, because I’ve never actually run any type of business unless you count my big-time lawn mowing enterprise I started (and ended) when I was 12 — this consisted of using my parents mower to trim a few lawns per week, charge 10 bones a pop, investing the absolute minimum of time and financial resources to further my business. We can all agree, I was a terrible small business owner.

For a real small business owner, problems and time restraints can pile up quicker than one of my lawn mowing excursions. These landmines can come from a variety of places — personnel limitations, lack of skills, the realization that 24 hours is not a suitable amount of time to perform all the tasks required of you in one day. At the lowest point, every small business owner has experienced this overwhelming feeling of manning a sinking ship, a captain refusing to part with their love even as the world caves in around them.

One area that has always caused problems for small business owners is accounting. This is most likely because people hate math, or maybe it’s because crunching company numbers can quickly turn into a hellish episode of Sesame Street where Count von Count won’t stop drubbing your mind with decimal points. In regards to accounting, small business owners are usually limited by one of two things — lack of funds to purchase adequate software or lack of understanding when it comes to bookkeeping.

Luckily, we live in an era where software is becoming simplified and things are given for free. This is basically the motto of ZipBooks, free accounting software that is simple and designed to get small business owners paid as effortlessly as possible.

“We want to make the process of managing cash in a small business transparent, easy, and clickable,” ZipBooks founder Tim Chaves told Beehive Startups. “As opposed to loaded with paperwork, difficult to understand, and time consuming.”

Chaves lived the plight of a small business owner while running two different companies (iWrap and Reef3), experiencing all the problems that can plague a business in flux. First and foremost? Cash flow.

“We were growing really fast, but somehow we were always behind on our cash,” said Chaves. “Every two weeks it was super stressful trying to figure out how we were going to make payroll. The issue was I always had to pay my people within two weeks of the work they had done, but because we were growing, they were always doing work that was bigger in scope than what we had been paid on.”

Every small business owner reading this is now frantically nodding at the screen. Breathe, people, breathe. Chaves eventually abandoned his life as a small business owner to attend Harvard Business School, where the problem of solving cash flow issues was always close at hand. Let’s assume a business doesn’t get paid for an invoice for 90 days. How do they make payroll every two weeks?

“It occurred to me that there should be an easier way to get paid when you need to get paid,” said Chaves. “That was the original idea behind ZipBooks, I’m sending an invoice and I want a button that I click to get paid.”

Chaves began working on ZipBooks during business school and has since returned to Utah, intent on building a company that provides businesses with not only the normal functionality of an invoicing or accounting program, but the option to be paid immediately after sending an invoice. Click a button, ZipBooks spots you the money, and cash flow worries disappear.

“One of our core hypotheses is that over time, many of our users will need or want the ability to get paid right away,” said Chaves. “We charge very low and transparent fees for those transactions when people choose to get paid immediately. Because we do that, we’re offering the software totally free.”

ZipBooks has been up and running for less than a year, with Brad Hanks coming on board as VP of Marketing to help spread the word of free accounting software with an instant payment choice. There are no tiered options, no premium content — ZipBooks is free for all users, with monetization coming through the instant payment option.

Being a small business owner will never be easy, but free, useful software is a step in the right direction.

“ZipBooks takes a lot of the pressure off small businesses that are running into cash flow problems,” said Chaves.

Published 4/15/2016