Zoho Invoice Review

  • 4 comments
  • Updated on:
Date Established
1996
Location
Pleasanton, CA

Overview:

It’s extremely rare (and refreshing) when a company cares more about its employees and business culture than about the money it generates. But that is exactly the attitude of Zoho CEO and founder Sridhar Vembu. As Vembu once said: “I don’t want to know my net worth. I don’t want to appear in any rich list. None of our founders drives a luxury car. We are happy with what we have.” And what Zoho has is a company of 3,500 employees that reaches over 20 million users throughout the entire world.

Zoho began in 1996 as AventNet. Vembu, along with his brothers, decided to return from their work and schooling in the US in order to create something meaningful back in their home country of India. In 2005, the network management company launched their first Zoho products, Zoho Writer and Zoho CRM. The company was renamed Zoho (an acronym of sorts for Small Office Home Office) in 2009 after the success of the Zoho Suite software. Now Zoho comprises over 30 different software options for small businesses, and the company can attribute much of its success to the business choices of Vembru, who has taken no outside capital from investors and has spent more money on engineering and improving the existing software than on marketing campaigns.

In 2008, Zoho created Zoho Invoice, a powerful invoicing software that has only gotten better over the years. The company has recently added four new invoice templates, an in-depth template customization feature, and has revamped the entire design of their software. Zoho Invoice features professional invoices, expenses, projects, time tracking and more.

Although there are limited integrations and occasionally poor customer service, Zoho Invoice’s prices are hard to beat. Zoho Invoice offers a forever free plan in addition to three other pricing plans that provide an extremely impressive amount of features for a very reasonable cost. To find out if these features would benefit your company, continue reading.

Pricing:

You can sign up for Zoho Invoice for free, with no contract and no credit card information required. As I mentioned above, Zoho Invoice offers a forever free plan in addition to three other pricing options. Payments are made monthly on the paid plans; however, you can receive a discount (two months free service) if you commit to a year-long plan.

All plans include expenses, projects, time tracking, contact management, extensive reports, and a client portal.

Free Plan:

  • Unlimited invoicing for up to 5 customers
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Multi-currency support
  • Multiple languages supported
  • Reports
  • Client Portal
  • One user

Basic:

  • $7/mo ($5.84/mo with discount)
  • Unlimited invoicing for up to 50 customers
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Multi-currency support
  • Multiple languages supported
  • Reports
  • Client Portal
  • Recurring invoices
  • One user

Standard:

  • $15/mo ($12.50/mo with discount)
  • Unlimited invoicing for up to 500 customers
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Multi-currency support
  • Multiple languages supported
  • Reports
  • Client Portal
  • Recurring invoices
  • Three users

Professional:

  • $30/mo ($20/mo with discount)
  • Unlimited invoices and unlimited customers
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Multi-currency support
  • Multiple languages supported
  • Reports
  • Client Portal
  • Recurring invoices
  • Unlimited users

Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:

Web-hosted. No installation or downloads required.

Hardware or Software Requirements:

Zoho Invoice is a cloud-based software, so all you need is the most recent version of your web-browser (Firefox or Chrome, ideally) and an internet connection. Good news for those of you with dinosaur computers like mine: my laptop runs on a much older version of iOS and the software still worked fine.

Zoho Invoice has one of the best mobile device offerings I have seen, with robust apps for iPhones/iPads (iOS 7+), Apple Watches, Androids (4.1+), Smart Watches, Windows (10 or 8.1), and even Kindles.

Specific Size of Business:

Zoho Invoice can be a good fit for anything from small to mid/large businesses. The forever free plan is particularly appropriate for freelancers and microbusinesses, but the scalability of the other pricing options (and the expanse of features that come with them) makes the software a good option for many businesses.

Note: If you are considering the Zoho Invoice Professional plan, it might be in your best interest to pass on Zoho Invoice altogether and check out Zoho Books instead. You’ll receive more features for the same price. Check out our full Zoho Books review here.

Ease of Use:

Zoho Invoice is incredibly intuitive and easy to use—so intuitive that the software’s slogan is “create and send an invoice in two minutes.” And unlike most claims of the sort, this one is mostly true.

  • Setup – The setup process for Zoho Invoice is quick and painless. Just add a few facts about your business, choose a portal name, select a default invoice template, add your personal business logo, and you are ready to go in a matter of minutes. Zoho Invoice makes it easy to get started by providing videos and tips to explain how each function works. While you can jump right into creating an invoice after the initial set-up, I recommend spending a good amount of time in the settings section. Go through each tab, even if you don’t think you need to; otherwise, you may skip something important. You’ll need to set up many critical preferences that let you choose how much you want the software to do for you. You can enable retainer invoices, discounts, package slip settings, automatic estimate conversion, and sale taxes. Zoho Invoice also allows you to import preexisting information.

Zoho Invoice Review

  • Organization – The organization of Zoho Invoice is intuitive and easy to navigate. There are tabs on the left for Dashboard, Contacts, Items, Estimates, Invoices, Payments Received, Expenses, Timesheet, and Reports. If you hover over these tabs, there is a plus button that allows you to quickly create a new invoice, estimate, or item, etc. Everything is clearly labeled and exactly where you would expect to find it. If you are having trouble locating something, I recommend double-checking the settings menu to see if you need to enable a feature or adjust your preferences.
  • Instructions and Guidance – If you can’t find what you’re looking or in the settings menu, there are many other tools that might help. There is a getting started video within the software itself. You can also request a personal software demo. In addition, there are weekly webinars and a collection of YouTube videos that demonstrate how to work the software. For more specific questions, there’s a Zoho Invoice Help Center and a FAQ section, or you can always email the company at support@zohoinvoice.com.
  • Problems – For the most part, Zoho Invoice is incredibly easy to use. The company is constantly updating the software and fixing bugs or streamlining their interface. However, there are a few things I think Zoho still needs to address:
    • Lack of Integrations– This is the biggest problem I have with the Zoho Invoice software. There are very few integrations, especially when compared to other invoicing and accounting software providers. I expected this to some extent; Zoho products tend to have fewer integrations with third-parties in general because there are so many integrations available with the company’s own 30+ software programs. However, even  Zoho-based integrations for Invoice are limited to Zoho CRM, Zoho Projects, Zoho Docs, and Zoho People.
    • Emails Unnecessarily Complicated – I do not remember this issue at all in previous reviews, but now when I go to send an invoice, the software doesn’t automatically pull the contact information and customer email into the “send email” screen. Instead, I have to enter everything manually, which is a pain.
    • No P&L Report– For a software that offers over 25 reports, I was disappointed to see that a basic Profit and Loss Statement is not included. While this isn’t a deal breaker by any means, it does limit the project feature and makes it more difficult to get a full picture of your business’s financial state.
    • Navigational Errors – Since I last reviewed the software, Zoho Invoice has become more complicated. For example, when trying to add an expense, a red notification box popped up and said, “amount doesn’t seem right.” There was no way to remedy this and I was unable to add this expense at all. This was only one of the many troublesome notifications I received while trying to navigate the software.

Features:

Zoho Invoice offers many basic invoicing staples as well as a few more unique features. Available features are generally easy to use and quite expansive compared to those of other software options, especially for the price. To see a full list of features, go here.

  • Dashboard – In addition to the tabs listed earlier, the Zoho Invoice dashboard is made up of charts and graphs that help you keep up with your business. These include total receivables, sales and expenses, projects, top expenses, and sales and receipts.

Zoho Invoice Review

  • Invoicing – Zoho Invoice offers eleven templates for a variety of needs (i.e. for displaying a large logo, long lists of expenses, sending by snail mail, etc.). Each template can be customized with a personal logo, a customer note, and your business’s term and conditions. You can set up personalized reminders, late fees, and retainer invoices under the settings tab. Zoho Invoice tracks when a client has viewed an invoice within their client portal. Clients can pay directly online through a payment gateway, with cash, or by check. You can set discounts and as many sales taxes as you need. In addition, all paid plans support recurring invoices. And as a recent bonus, Zoho Invoice has added the option to create and schedule invoices as drafts and then send them at a later, scheduled date. You can also attach files and salesmen to a specific invoice. Invoices can be paid online through the Client Portal (see below for more details).

Zoho Invoice Review

  • Estimates – There are also eleven estimate templates. Estimates are created in a similar fashion to invoices and can be converted into invoices easily. You can also track any changes your client makes to an estimate. Estimate templates and invoice templates are incredibly customizable; you can alter colors, backgrounds, fonts, and more.

Zoho Invoice Review

  • Thank You Notes – Zoho Invoice will automatically create thank you notes for your clients.
  • Expenses – Zoho Invoice allows you to record and track all expenses. You can add pictures of your receipts and generate detailed expense reports. There is also the option to create a recurring expense profile under the settings tab.
  • Payments – Through Zoho Invoice, you can send automatic payment reminders and accept payments via nine different payment gateways. Clients can pay with cash or check as well or opt to have their card information stored in the Client Portal and charged automatically. Zoho Invoice also supports credit notes and refunds.
  • Projects – The projects feature allows you to create and track projects and tasks. You can add both billable and unbillable hours to projects, assign projects to clients, and allow your client to see the hours you’ve logged so far (this feature is optional). You also have the option to attach expenses to a project and create budgets for each project to track how you are doing financially. Furthermore, you can easily convert projects to invoices. One of the coolest things about this feature is that you can assign different projects and tasks to specific staff members and set user permissions with varying degrees of strictness for each staff member.
  • Time Tracking – You and your staff can log billable and unbillable hours manually or with a built-in timer. This timer can be run either through a mobile app or via desktop software (I have only seen this feature in one other invoicing software company). Zoho Invoice will even automatically turn unbillable and billable hours into invoices so you can bill your clients faster. If you want, you can turn billable hours into a timesheet invoice yourself.
  • Contacts – The contact settings are particularly well developed. You can save your client’s basic information (i.e. name, business, address, etc.), but you can also assign a specific currency, sales tax, and language to your client.  Each contact name has its own small dashboard marking contact details, unused credits, outstanding receivables, payment due period, and a timeline of past transactions. If you want your contact to be able to access the client portal, make sure to check the box marked “allow portal access for this client.”
  • Client Portal – Zoho Invoice’s Client Portal is well developed and easy to use. It allows you to share invoices, accept payments, and receive customer reviews directly from your client (the only other software I’ve seen that has this unique customer review option is FreshBooks). Clients can easily pay invoices and request estimate changes. You can also enable your client to view the billable and unbillable hours attached to their project so far.

Zoho Invoice Review

  • Inventory – I hesitate to actually call this an inventory feature as it is incredibly limited, but Zoho Invoice does include an items list. You can record and save the name, unit, rate, and description of a particular item.
  • Packing Slips – This is one of the most unique features of Zoho Invoice. You can create packing slips with the following information: item, quantity, transaction number, description, shipping address, signature, balance due, and customer notes.
  • Reports – Zoho Invoice offers 27 reports, including Invoice Details, Customer Balances, Expense Details, and Project Summaries (to name a few). Under settings, you can also request a weekly summary report to be sent to your email. If you are looking for more typical accounting and bookkeeping reports, like P&L statements, I recommend looking elsewhere.
  • Sales Tax – Zoho Invoice has good sales tax support. You can set as many sales taxes (and sales exemptions) as needed and even assign a specific tax default to a contact. Zoho Invoice also integrates with Avalara, a sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax.
  • Multi-Currency – Not only does Zoho Invoice offer strong multi-currency capabilities, it also supports over 10 different languages. You can assign a default currency to clients under the contacts tab.
  • Open API – Zoho Invoice offers open API for developers.

Customer Service and Support:

Generally, customer service is a weak area with Zoho Products. So while I went into this review expecting poor customer service, I was pleasantly surprised to find that customer service seems to have improved since our last review (though it is still far from perfect).

Zoho Invoice offers customer support 24-hours a day, Monday through Friday. The support members I was able to speak with were friendly and helpful. However, I had a hard time getting through to phone representatives in the first place (and sometimes when I did get through their accents were thick and hard to distinguish, though this was not always the case). On one of the occasions I called, all of the support lines were busy and I was asked to leave a voicemail. Another time, I wasn’t able to speak with a human being because the line wouldn’t register the fact that I had hit the extension button for Zoho Invoice. Fortunately, I had better luck with emails and received responses in less than a day. Here’s a list of Zoho Invoice’s support options:

  • Phone – US users can reach Zoho at +1 (844) 316-5544. Australian users can call 1 (800) 911-076.
  • Email – Contact Zoho Invoice at support@zohoinvoice.com.
  • Help Center – Zoho Invoice has an extensive Help Center with a “welcome to Zoho Invoice” guide and how-to articles that cover everything. (These articles are categorized under Dashboard, Settings, Contacts, Invoice, Items & Price Lists, Estimates, Retainer Invoices, Recurring Invoices, Credit Notes, Expenses, Timesheet, Client Portal, Import & Export, US Sales Tax, Integrations, and Australia Tax.) There is a search bar for quick look up and articles are fairly helpful with detailed explanations and visuals. These articles have recently been revised with more up-to-date information and far fewer editing errors.
  • Community Forum – The community forum allows you to interact with other Zoho Invoice users by asking questions and sharing knowledge. The company also uses this resource to announce new software features and updates.
  • FAQ Section – There is also a detailed FAQ section that is similarly categorized.
  • Webinar – As mentioned above, Zoho Invoice has webinars that run weekly.
  • YouTube – Zoho Invoice’s YouTube channel features some webinar demonstrations. There are also instructional videos there that teach you how to use each feature in Zoho Invoice.
  • Blog – The Zoho Invoice blog features software updates, business tips, and other small business resources that companies may find helpful. There is an estimated read-time with each article, which is a nice touch.
  • Page Tips – Within the invoicing software, a button in the top right corner acts as a sort of FAQ/guide, which provides you with tips for whichever page you are on.
  • Social Media – Zoho has a Facebook Page, but it is not specialized to Zoho Invoice. In addition, Zoho Invoice has a Twitter account, though the activity is very dated. I’d suggest sticking to other avenues of customer service if you have a question or concern.
  • Feature Suggestion – There is a feature suggestion area where users can voice new Zoho Invoice ideas. Other users can vote on the suggestions they like best. Proposed features are then marked as works in progress, planned, or released, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many suggestions Zoho took to heart (the most recent being an Office365 integration which allows users to import contacts and users).

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Most complaints regarding Zoho Invoice are about minor feature flaws. However, a few issues show up again and again.

  • Poor Customer Service – Several customers report poor customer service. They complain that response times are slow and that reaching a representative via phone is difficult. A few also mention that there is an occasional language barrier with their customer service representatives, though this is not always the case.
  • No Offline Option – Several users wish there was offline access to their information and/or a way to work the invoicing software when they don’t have internet access. Although (in Zoho Invoice’s defense), it is a cloud-based service, so what can you expect?
  • Lack of Integrations – Around the board, this is the biggest complaint about Zoho Invoice. Lack of integrations is a big drawback for many, and it is hard for me to see this changing in the near future.

It is worth noting that Zoho does a good job of responding to customer reviews and complaints both quickly and kindly, and representatives do what they can to set things right.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Zoho Invoice receives 4.7/5 stars of G2Crowd and 4.7/5 stars on GetApp (which is more than a half star raise from our last review). The majority of customer reviews are positive, but users particularly like the following aspects of Zoho Invoice:

  • Easy to Use – Many love that Zoho Invoice is easy to use and understand. They enjoy the quick set up and the time they save by not having to learn a complicated software.
  • Powerful Mobile Apps – This is one of the most common praises of Zoho Invoice. Users like the breadth and mobility of the app’s functions. Some users especially like that they can run their business from their iPad or Kindle.
  • Professional Invoices – Users think Zoho Invoice lives up to its name in this area and praise the invoices for looking professional. Almost across the board, people consider these invoices a good value for the money and believe the invoicing software is reasonably priced.
  • Friendly Customer Service – Although some users report poor customer service, there are those who find the customer service to be friendly and helpful.
  • Good International Options – A few people mention the fact that the international currency and language options really help their business.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

As mentioned above, Zoho Invoice’s integrations are very limited, especially compared to other invoicing and accounting software companies. Zoho Invoice integrates with four other Zoho Suite products, nine payment gateways, and 14 other add-ons (most of these are document-related, like GoogleDrive and Dropbox). However, there are still a few notable add-ons that could be beneficial for your business.

Zoho Integrations:

  • Zoho CRM – Strong customer management tool that features sales tracking, inventory management, and more. Read our full review here.
  • Zoho Projects – A project management tool that offers time tracking, bug tracking, file management, and chat communication. Read our full review here.
  • Zoho People – Takes care of managing the Human Resource side of business.
  • Zoho Docs – A file storage solution that can be accessed anywhere.

Other Add-Ons:

  • PayPal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. Read our full review here.
  • WePay – Accept payments through a personal merchant account.
  • Stripe – Process and accept credit card payments. Read our full review here.
  • Postal Methods – A “web-to-post gateway” that conveniently send invoices and estimates for you via mail. Additional postage costs.
  • Slack – A powerful communication platform for business teams. (Here at Merchant Maverick we’re a little partial to Slack, since it’s our team’s main means of communication.)
  • Avalara – Automated sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax from a customer’s address.
  • Temponia – Time Tracking solution that utilizes calendar based scheduling to track projects and billable hours.

Note: Most payment gateways like WePay and Stripe charge extra processing and transaction fees.

Security:

Zoho uses 256-bit SSL encryption and their multiple data centers are housed in undisclosed locations. Virus scans and intrusion detection/prevention programs are run regularly. Zoho Invoice operates on multiple servers as a precautionary measure to avoid crashes (like the one they experienced in 2012). You can also add Two-Factor Authorization to your account for added security. In addition, physical security measures include security guards, video monitoring, bullet-proof walls, and more. Read here to learn more about Zoho’s security.

Final Verdict:

The first time I reviewed Zoho Invoice, I was underwhelmed by how basic the invoice templates were and disappointed by the lack of custom options. However, the company has recently added a much-anticipated invoice customization feature that puts Zoho Invoice far ahead of most of the competition. I had the honor of beta testing this feature last year before it was realized so I was incredibly excited to finally see this feature implemented. My excitement has been slightly dampened by a few annoying navigational errors that leave the software difficult, and at sometimes, impossible to use. Luckily, Zoho Invoice updates several times a month, so I’m holding out hope for these issues to be addressed quickly.

Although lack of integrations and the occasional poor customer service interaction could still be a problem for some users, in general, Zoho Invoice is a wonderful option for businesses needing strong invoicing, expense, and time tracking features. Unique touches like an in-app timer and packing slips make the software even more functional and easy to use. Low prices are also a huge plus, although the company has downgraded slightly (the free plan used to be much more competitive, allowing for 25 customers instead of five).

If you want to find out more or test Zoho Invoice for yourself, play around with the program on the forever free plan for a bit and let us know what you think.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files.
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4 Comments

    Tanel

    Nice overview!I'm just about to move my invoicing to Zoho myself. There is one really important feature. It can be set up for real multilingual sales. Possibility to translate invoice templates and most importantly the e-mail templates makes it really usable in different languages. There's still room for improvement like selecting e-mail template per recurring invoice etc. but so far the best I have found.Many invoicing systems claim to have it but as been through more than few of them I must say it's mostly just talk. Best you can have is translated invoice but still end up writing e-mails over and over again in different languages.Way to go Zoho 🙂

    5

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

    Krupa Subramanian

    Hi Tanel,

    Thank you for the really nice feedback. We are super glad to hear that you will be switching over to Zoho Invoice.

    With regards to selecting an email template per recurring invoice in Zoho Invoice, you can associate an invoice template to a customer. You can do this through the contacts section > select more > choose a template in the Invoice PDF field. This would be the default invoice template ( both recurring and regular invoice) for that particular customer.

    Hope this helps.

    If you are looking for a different functionality, please write to us at support@zohoinvoice.com. We’ll get right back to you.

    Regards,
    Krupa

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

    Krupa

    Hi Katherine,

    Thank you for reviewing Zoho Invoice.

    We recently made changes to the pricing of Zoho Invoice in order to encourage small business owners and freelancers to do more business around the world and not worry about the hassles of invoicing.

    In the Free plan of Zoho Invoice, you can now invoice upto 25 customers (previously 5 customers) in multiple currencies. In the Basic plan, you can invoice upto 50 customers (previously 25 customers) in multiple currencies.

    Regards,
    Krupa

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

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Krupa,

    Thanks for the update! I’ve adjusted the pricing in the review accordingly. If you see anything else that’s out of date, please let me know!

    Best,
    Katherine

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

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