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Zoho Books Review

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Date Established
1996
Location
Pleasanton, CA

Pros

  • Competitive pricing plans
  • Easy to use
  • Good mobile apps
  • Advanced invoicing features
  • International invoicing
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • Unsuited for large businesses
  • No payroll

Overview

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 like QuickBooks and Xero often overshadow worthy competitors like 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 like QuickBooks Online or Xero. And given the fact that other companies — like QuickBooks and FreshBooks — have been significantly increasing 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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Pricing

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 pro-rated 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.

Basic

  • $9/month
  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • 50 contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • 5 automated workflows
  • 1 user, 1 accountant

Standard

  • $19/month
  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • 500 contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • Accounts payable
  • 10 automated workflows
  • 2 users, 1 accountant

Professional

  • $29/month
  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • Accounts payable
  • Purchase orders
  • Inventory
  • Custom domain
  • 10 automated workflows
  • 9 users, 1 accountant

Extra Costs

  • Extra Users: Additional users costs $2/month 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 $1.50/credit. 1 credit is needed for US mail; 2 credits are needed for international mail.
  • Auto Scans: This addition allows you to scan receipts and documents in order to upload and store them in Zoho Books. You can purchase 50 scans for $5/month.

Start Zoho Books free trial

Compare to other software options
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Monthly; starting from $15EasySmall to MediumSign up

Yearly; starting from $447Moderate to ComplexMedium to LargeSign up

Monthly; starting from $9Very EasySmallSign Up

Monthly; starting from $0Very EasySmallSign Up

Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed

Cloud-based. No downloads or installation 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
  • Safari
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera

Zoho Books also has an app for Apple products (iOS 9.0+), for Androids (4.1+), and for Windows phones and tablets (8.1+). They even have 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 Books supports multiple companies and its largest plan supports 10 users (though more can be added for an additional cost). 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.

Accounting Method

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 out.

Features

Zoho Books offers a robust set of features and quite a few unique touches. 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 Clow, 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.

Zoho Books Review

  • Invoicing: With 15 templates and tons of invoice customizations, Zoho Books’ invoicing feature is hard to beat. You can send recurring invoices or autoschedule 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. Furthermore, Zoho Books supports retainer invoices, sales orders, refunds, and customer credit. Invoices can be sent via email or traditional mail.

Zoho Books Review

  • Estimates: There are 15 estimate templates as well. You can easily create estimates and convert them into invoices or projects in Zoho Books.
  • 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.

Zoho Books Review

  • 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 overview that contact’s information, sales, comments, and statements. Even better, you can request reviews and testimonials directly from your clients.

Zoho Books Review

  • 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 and reconcile your bank accounts. 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.
  • 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. You can create purchase orders as well.
  • Chart Of Accounts: Zoho Books provides a default chart of accounts that can be customized to fit your business’s needs. The software also offers fixed asset management.

Zoho Books Review

  • 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 as well. In addition, Zoho Books has a feature called “Price List” where you can create multiple pricing levels for your items.
  • Projects: 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 projects summary report.

Zoho Books Review

  • 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 and helpful sales reports.
  • Journal Entries: Zoho Books supports journal entries.
  • Track Mileage Deductions: You can track mileage deductions in Zoho.
  • Report Tags: Much like QuickBooks Online’s class tracking, Zoho Books offers reporting tags. These tags are completely customizable and serve as a way to further organize your transactions and information. You can run customized reports based on these tags.
  • Default Email Messages: You can set default email messages for 18 preset templates or any number of customizable templates.

Zoho Books Review

  • Print Checks: You can print checks directly from Zoho Books.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Currency: Zoho Books supports 150+ 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 which exports all of your data in a single document.
  • API: API is available for developers.

Customer Service & Support

Zoho Books offers excellent customer service. Not only are there plenty of support options available, customer service representatives are 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 helpful and refreshingly knowledgeable about the software (rather than just being sales people). 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 quick—I mean, can you beat a less than 60-second initial response time?
  • Knowledge Base: There is a comprehensive knowledge base that 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 1/5 stars on TrustPilot, although almost all of the reviews are for Zoho CRM. However, there are still 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: This was the most frequent complaint for quite a while. 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 are calling for a better Zoho Books and Zoho CRM integration.
  • More Functionality: While many users appreciate Zoho Books’ feature set, several people are calling for more customizable reports, better user permissions, and a more seamless migration from QuickBooks Online.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Most Zoho Books reviews are incredibly positive. The software receives 4.5/5 stars on Capterra and 4.6/5 stars on G2Crowd. In addition, the mobile apps receive 4.8/5 stars in iTunes and 4.5/5 stars in the Google PlayStore.

Here are a few reasons 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 and easy to use. Users say Zoho Books’ intuitive interface and numerous automation 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.
  • Feature Updates: Many users are impressed by the updates Zoho Books has implemented because of customer suggestions. I myself am incredibly pleased by how frequently the software is improved, and I’ve found that most weaknesses pointed out while reviewing this software are often 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.

Start Zoho Books free trial

Integrations & Add-Ons

In the past, Zoho provided a very limited set of integrations. Luckily this has changed. Zoho Books now offers 11 payment gateways and 16 third-party integrations, including a Zapier integration (which connect Zoho books to 750 other apps). You can also connect your Zoho Books account with six other Zoho products.

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.

Security

Zoho Books takes strong security measures including 256-bit SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular virus detection and prevention scanning. 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.

Final Verdict

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 like autoscheduling 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.

For small businesses that don’t require payroll, Zoho Books could still be a great solution. The software 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.

Start Zoho Books free trial

Compare Zoho Books to other software options
SoftwarePricingEase of UseBusiness Size SupportedNext Steps

Monthly; starting from $15EasySmall to MediumSign up

Yearly; starting from $447Moderate to ComplexMedium to LargeSign up

Monthly; starting from $9Very EasySmallSign Up

Monthly; starting from $0Very EasySmallSign Up
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Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for two years. She has a BA in English & Creative Writing from George Fox University and studied at the University of Oxford as well. She has been quoted in Forbes and her work appears in Startup Nation, Small Business Bonfire, and Women on Business.
Chelsea Krause
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6 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Robert

    Organization Name: Ferox Therapeutics

    This experience was an unmitigated disaster. Zoho books is not able to consistently discern debits from credits (rather a fundamental problem for accounting software.) Had an issue with multiple transactions, wasted a tremendous amount of time trying to fix, via chat and over the phone (they were very nice), but after a month I have called it quits. I think in the end I was attracted by the price, but this experience clearly proves the maxim, you get what you pay for.

    1
    • Organization Name: Ferox Therapeutics

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Abdul Manan

    Organization Name: Essensia Tech

    Zohobooks is no doubt a good accounting software, but it is lacking the most essenstial feature to run any project based company. Zoho is lacking project costing and project profitability feature. So, zoho is completely ignoring the market of Project based companies. Moreover, the are lacking with performa invoice.

    • Organization Name: Essensia Tech

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Becca

    Organization Name: Expressions By Design

    I LOVE having something with the functionality of Quickbooks. The phone ap is fabulous and the custom price lists and ease of AR is amazing. My the only 2 things I don’t really like is the bank reconciliation and that it doesn’t have a payroll option which aren’t very big deal at all. I’m so impressed! Thank you Zoho!

    5
    • Organization Name: Expressions By Design

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gabriel

    False representation from ZOHO. I have been using ZOHO Invoices and ZOHO CRM for over a year now. After comparing various acounting solutions I decided to go with ZOHO Books. One of the key feature was the ability to automate the Account reconciliation through a feed from my financial institution. To make sure it was available to me before I start investing time and energy I checked on the site to make sure my bank was part of the financial institutions list that can integrate into Zoho books. I even called Customer support and both sources confirmed me that I was ok After having done 2 days worth of work to get ready for the switch I couldn’t set-up the bridge with my banks, After a few calls, tickets and emails, I was told that my bank wasn’t supported and was given no timeline when thi would be made available. Quite a lousy experience . They didn’t even offer any alternative solutions or credit to retain my business.

    2

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

      Pat

      I have been using Zoho Books for several months and I’m extremely happy with the online software. It has taking me three months to find the right software that works for my company and my clients. It has integrations beyond the big competitors and has a customer portal for viewing and paying invoices. Very user friendly with 24/7 support. Highly recommend bookkeeping software.

      5

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        Bruno

        Hi, i am trying Zoho Books for my company situated in Lima, Perú. This software actually has a lot of accounting stuff but, as you say, lacks of some stuff that helps checking profits of products or services, and also a lack of user control (permissions),.

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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