Zoho Books Review
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- Date Established
- Pleasanton, CA
- Competitive pricing plans
- Easy to use
- Good mobile apps
- Advanced invoicing features
- International invoicing
- Excellent customer support
- Unsuited for large businesses
- No payroll
Zoho Books is like the knock-off brand of accounting — it does nearly everything that the popular “designer” brands do but at half the cost. In the accounting world, big names (e.g., QuickBooks and Xero) often overshadow worthy competitors such as Zoho Books. One Zoho Books user put it this way:
You really don’t hear much about Zoho among small business owners but you really should. It’s pretty great.
Zoho Books is a complete accounting package with unbeatable invoicing and ample features. In the past few years, Zoho Books has made leaps and bounds, adding almost all of the features you’d see in bigger competitors, such as QuickBooks Online or Xero. And given the fact that other companies — including QuickBooks Online, Xero, and FreshBooks — have significantly increased their prices recently, I am happy to report that Zoho Books is as affordable as ever.
What’s more, the software has resolved almost all of the issues I’ve noted in previous reviews. In the past, this software had strong features but poor customer service, hardly any third-party integrations, and frequent bugs and downtime. These are no longer problems. The only thing users are left wanting is payroll support and budgeting. Without these features, Zoho Books is ruled out as an option for many larger businesses. But for small businesses that don’t need payroll, Zoho Books could still be a great choice.
Continue reading to see if Zoho Books is a good fit for you.
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Table of Contents
Zoho Books offers three affordable pricing plans. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial of any plan. No credit card or banking information is required, and you can cancel at any time. Subscription payments are made monthly; however, if you commit to a year-long plan, you can receive a discount of two free months. It’s possible to cancel the service at any time, even year-long plans (year-long users can receive a prorated refund).
There is a referral program, but you won’t receive any rewards from it. You can still refer friends if you’re feeling like a good Samaritan or if you love the software that much.
The Basic plan costs $9/month and includes:
- Unlimited invoicing
- Unlimited estimates
- 50 contacts
- Expense tracking
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Tax support
- Five automated workflows
- One user, one accountant
The Standard plan is priced at $19/month and includes everything from the Basic plan, plus:
- 500 contacts
- Accounts payable
- Ten automated workflows
- Two users, one accountant
The Professional plan costs $29/month and includes everything from the Standard plan, plus:
- Sales orders
- Purchase orders
- Custom domain
- Ten automated workflows
- Ten users
Zoho Finance Suite
Outgrown Zoho Books? In addition to Zoho Books’ three pricing plans, Zoho also offers a full financial package called Zoho Finance Suite, which includes:
- Zoho Books
- Zoho Invoice
- Zoho Inventory
- Zoho Subscriptions
- Zoho Expense
- Zoho Checkout
If you are planning on purchasing more Zoho products than just Zoho Books, Zoho Finance Suite could be an affordable way to get all of the features you need. Zoho Finance starts at $149/month per organization and includes ten users. Contact Zoho directly for more details.
Before purchasing Zoho Books, there are a few extra costs to be aware of:
- Extra Users: Additional users cost $2/month per user. Or you can pay $20/year per user.
- Snail Mail Credits: You can send invoices and estimates by mail directly through Zoho Books if you purchase snail mail credits. The cost is $2/credit. One credit is needed for US mail; two credits are required for international mail.
- Auto Scans: This addition allows you to scan receipts and documents to upload and store them in Zoho Books. You can purchase 50 scans for $5/month or $50/year.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
Zoho Books is cloud-based, so no downloads or installation is required.
Hardware & Software Requirements
Since Zoho Books is cloud-based software, all you need is an internet connection using one of the following supported browsers:
- Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
Zoho Books also has an app for Apple products (iOS 11.0+), Android products (4.3+), and Windows phones and tablets (8.1+). There’s even an app for Kindle Fire.
Specific Size Of Business
Zoho Books is ideal for most small businesses — and you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of features. Scalable pricing plans make the product fitting for a wide market, from freelancers and micro-businesses to small and potentially mid-sized businesses.
Zoho’s largest plan supports ten users (though more can be added for an additional cost), and the software offers very basic user permissions.
If you run a larger business, the lack of payroll and limited user permissions may rule this software out. Nonetheless, Zoho Books has the potential to be a great option for smaller businesses that don’t require payroll.
Zoho Books offers nine different country-specific editions, including a Global Edition.
Zoho Books uses both accrual and cash-basis accounting.
Ease Of Use
Zoho Books’ attractive UI is easy to set up and well-organized. The software is generally intuitive and easy to use, although it can be a bit difficult to navigate at times — there are so many features that some get hidden within each other. Once you get used to the nuances, Zoho Books is a joy to use. The company provides excellent customer service and support resources to help you understand the software.
Zoho Books offers a robust set of features that closely rivals QuickBooks Online, with quite a few unique touches thrown in. Here’s an overview of Zoho Books’ most notable features.
- Dashboard: The Zoho Books dashboard is appealing and makes it easy to view your financial state. The dashboard features graphs for Total Receivables, Total Payables, Cash Flow, Income and Expense, Your Top Expenses, Projects, and Bank and Credit Cards. You can also change the color theme of your whole dashboard and main menu, which is a cool touch.
- Invoicing: With 16 templates and tons of invoice customizations, Zoho Books’ invoicing feature is hard to beat. You can send recurring invoices or auto-schedule invoices to be sent in advance. You can add discounts, shipping charges, and attachments. You can also opt to add a salesperson field to each invoice as well as custom fields. Zoho Books offers invoice reminders and the unique option to send your invoices in 13 different languages and encrypt your .pdf invoices for added security. Zoho Books supports retainer invoices as well. Invoices can be sent via email or traditional mail.
- Estimates: There are 15 estimate templates to choose from. You can easily create estimates and convert them into invoices or projects.
- Client Portal: To this day, this is still one of my favorite client portals out there; it is easy to use and has a very appealing UI. Clients have the option to view their home dashboard, estimates, invoices, and project details and can make partial or full invoice payments directly through the portal. They can comment on estimates as well. The best part is, you get real-time notifications about when your invoices and estimates have been viewed and paid.
- Contact Management: You can manage both customers and vendors in Zoho. You can add basic contact information, multiple contact persons, custom fields, reporting tags, internal notes, and more. When you click on a contact, you’re taken to a beautiful dashboard where you can see an overview of that contact’s information, sales, comments, and statements. Even better, you can request reviews and testimonials directly from your clients within Zoho Books.
- Expense Tracking: You can enter expenses by hand (individually or in bulk), manually import bank statements via .csv and .tsv, or connect to your bank account directly. You can also upload your receipts into the software. Unfortunately, Zoho Books does not automatically categorize your expenses, although you can set bank transaction rules. Note: Like almost all software using bank live feeds, Zoho Books partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.
- Bank Reconciliation: You can reconcile your bank accounts in Zoho Books.
- Chart Of Accounts: Zoho Books provides a default chart of accounts that can be customized to fit your business’s needs.
- Fixed Asset Management: The software also offers fixed asset management (but no built-in depreciation like you’d find with Xero).
- Accounts Payable: Through Zoho Books, you can create bills, recurring bills, and payment reminders. Zoho Books allows you to add attachments and internal notes to bills.
- Checks: You can print checks directly from Zoho Books.
- Inventory (Professional Plan Only): Each Zoho Books plan offers a basic items list, but only the Professional Plan offers full inventory capabilities. For each inventory item, you can add an item name, unit, rate, sales cost, a link to a specific account, and can choose whether or not the item is taxable. You can set reorder levels and alerts for when stock is low. You can also add images and SKUs to your items. Additionally, Zoho Books has a feature called “Price List,” where you can create multiple pricing levels for your items.
- Project Management: The UI makes it easy to create projects, tasks, and budgets. You can budget by total project cost, total project hours, hours per task, or hours per staff. You can assign projects or specific tasks to staff members and set detailed user permissions for each member. When you click on each new project, you are taken to a project dashboard that includes charts and graphs showing the real-time progress of your project. You can easily comment on projects and attach time, bills, and expenses to them as well. Zoho Books makes it easy to turn projects into invoices. You can opt for clients to be able to see the progress of projects through their client portal. You can also request a weekly project summary report.
- Time Tracking: To log hours, you may use a built-in timer or enter time manually. The downside is that time has to be directly connected to a project, but Zoho Books does make it easy to bill the time to customers.
- Reports: Zoho Books offers over 50 reports, covering most basic accounting reports as well as helpful sales reports.
- Journal Entries: Zoho Books supports journal entries.
- Sales Orders: Zoho Books supports sales orders.
- Purchase Orders: You can create purchase orders in Zoho Books.
- Credit Memos: You can create credit memos, or credit notes, in Zoho Books.
- Report Tags: Much like QuickBooks Online’s class tracking, Zoho Books offers reporting tags. These tags are completely customizable and serve as another way to organize your transactions and information. You can run customized reports based on these tags.
- Default Email Messages: You can set default email messages for 16 preset templates or any number of customizable templates.
- Sales Tax: You can create as many sales tax settings (and sales exemptions) for your business as needed. You can assign default sales tax rates to customers. Zoho Books also integrates with an automated tax service called Avalara, which uses your customer’s location to get the most up-to-date sale tax rate (for an additional cost).
- Tax Support: Zoho Books allows you to run a 1099 report and Sales Tax Liability report to make life a little easier come tax season.
- Mileage Deductions: You can track mileage deductions.
- Multiple Currencies: Zoho Books supports 170+ different currencies and automatically imports exchange rates. You can easily assign default currencies to customers.
- Importing & Exporting: You can import and export nearly anything in Zoho Books via .csv. You can also create a backup company file in settings and export all of your data in a single document.
Customer Service & Support
Zoho Books offers excellent customer service. Not only are there plenty of support options available, but customer service representatives are also informative and quick to help. All of the emails and support tickets I sent were responded to within one to two hours, and I only had to wait on hold on the phone once (for a whopping three minutes). The live chat reps were also quick to respond, helpful, and refreshingly knowledgeable about the software (rather than just being salespeople). To make your life even easier, nearly every support option can be accessed directly from within the software.
Customer service is available 24/5, Monday through Friday. Here are all of the customer service options Zoho Books offers:
- Phone: You can contact Zoho Books via phone. Wait times are short, and representatives are generally helpful.
- Email: You can also email Zoho Books for help.
- Contact Form: You can submit an online support form as well. This service is much more actively maintained than the last time we reviewed this software.
- Live Chat: For quick responses, there’s a live chat feature on the Zoho Books site and within the software itself. The responses are well-worded, informative, and fast — I mean, can you beat a less than 60-second initial response time?
- Knowledgebase: There is a comprehensive knowledgebase, which features help articles, FAQs, blogs, videos, business guides, migration guides, a welcome guide, and a community forum. All of this information is accessible straight from within the software, and there’s a well-developed search bar.
- Webinars: You can sign up for weekly webinars on Zoho products in general, although they are not always pertinent to Zoho Books. You can also watch a prerecorded Zoho Books demo.
- YouTube: Zoho has a YouTube channel, but there aren’t many videos specific to Zoho Books.
- Accountant Finder: Zoho Books can help you find an accountant near you.
- Feature Timeline: While Zoho Books doesn’t reveal upcoming feature releases, the company does provide a timeline of past updates.
- Social Media: Zoho maintains active Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
For the most part, Zoho Books customer reviews are positive, and the majority of negative reviews are outdated and have been resolved (for example, many users used to complain of frequent outages and downtime, but this isn’t an issue as of late). The Zoho Corporation as a whole receives 1.9/5 stars on Trustpilot, although hardly any of the complaints revolve around Zoho Books. Still, there are a few things Zoho Books customers would like to see improved:
- No Payroll: Many users complain about the lack of payroll, which is a deal-breaker for some businesses.
- Lack Of Integrations: For quite a while, this was the most frequent complaint. And while there are a few users still begging for certain integrations, the company has added a good number of integrations and payment processors. More recently, users have been calling for the Zoho Books and Zoho CRM integration to be improved.
- More Functionality: While many users appreciate Zoho Books’ feature set, several people are calling for more customizable reports, better user permissions, a budgeting feature, and a more seamless migration from QuickBooks Online.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Most Zoho Books reviews are incredibly positive. The software receives 4.4/5 stars on Capterra (based on 398 reviews) and 4.6/5 stars on G2Crowd (based on 52 reviews). Furthermore, the mobile apps receive 4.6/5 stars on iTunes (based on 164 reviews) and 4.6/5 stars on Google Play (based on over 5,000 reviews).
Here are a few reasons why people like the software so much:
- Easy To Use: This is by far the most common praise of Zoho Books. Users find the software easy to learn, set up, and use. Users say Zoho Books’ intuitive interface and numerous automations save valuable time.
- Affordable: One of the most common praises is how affordable Zoho Books is.
- Mobile Apps: Users love the mobility and robust feature set of Zoho Books’ mobile apps.
- Good Custom Support: Many users report positive experiences with Zoho’s customer support.
- Feature Updates: Several users are impressed by the updates Zoho Books has implemented because of customer suggestions. I am incredibly pleased by how frequently the software is improved, and I’ve found that most weaknesses pointed out while reviewing this software often get resolved.
Here’s what a few users are saying:
I’ve tried QuickBooks, Quicken, other expense and timeclock apps…Zoho Books is one app that has the ability to integrate with multiple features EASILY! My time is money and Zoho Books saves me money because it saves me time!
I must say am very impressed with Zoho Books. It is an easy to use comprehensive platform. It is impressive how quick the system is and how quickly I can navigate the system from any screen to analyse data, reports and any information I need. This is an excellent Accounting System that doesn’t require being an accountant to understand and use it correctly.
I’ve tried all of the other big brand business accounting products, and while they have adequacies in certain areas, they lack in many other areas. Zoho Books is feature rich, and is exceptional value for money. The customer support is prompt, supportive, and flexible. I would reccomend Zoho Books to anyone, especially any small business owner.
Integrations & Add-Ons
In the past, Zoho provided a very limited set of integrations. Luckily, this has changed. Zoho Books now offers 31 integrations, including 11 payment processing apps and a Zapier integration (which connects Zoho books to 1,000+ other apps). You can also connect your Zoho Books account with seven other Zoho products, such as Zoho Inventory or Zoho Projects. The only downside is that there are no payroll integrations available. API is available for developers.
Are you interested in accepting online payments from your customers? Read our comprehensive merchant account reviews to learn the pros and cons of popular providers and see which payment processing option is best for your business.
Zoho Books takes strong security measures, including data encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular virus detection and prevention scanning. The company complies with the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework. Additional physical measures are taken to ensure data security, such as 24/7/365 surveillance, video monitoring, bullet-resistant walls, and more. Zoho Books backs up data regularly onto multiple servers in undisclosed locations. Visit Zoho’s website for a full list of security measures.
Zoho Books offers a strong set of features that could be ideal for many small businesses. The software comes with unbeatable invoicing, excellent customer support, and tons of time-saving automations. Features such as auto-scheduling invoices, reporting tags, and inventory put Zoho Books nearly on par with QuickBooks Online — and at half the cost. There are also several unique touches that are hard to beat, including a great client portal and the ability to send invoices in 13 different languages.
However, the major drawback of Zoho Books is that there is no payroll — and there are no payroll integrations, either. This is a big issue for larger businesses and even many small businesses in need of an all-in-one accounting software. Additionally, the time-tracking feature and user permissions could stand improvement, and there are no budgeting features (apart from job costing).
For small businesses that don’t require payroll, Zoho Books could still be a great solution that offers good value for the money. The software is ideal for invoicing, especially international invoicing. If you’re looking for robust accounting features at a competitive price point, consider giving Zoho Books’ free trial a go.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.