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Zoho Books Review

Donna Fuscaldo
Donna Fuscaldo
Senior Finance Writer

Zoho Books is our choice as the best accounting software for microbusinesses, thanks to its solid array of features at an affordable price. From accounts payable to inventory management, Zoho Books has nearly every feature very small businesses need to run their operations.

Zoho Books

Zoho Books

The Best Accounting and Invoice-Generating Software for 2021

The Verdict

Zoho Books is an intuitive accounting program with full accounts receivable and accounts payable functionality. It's also very affordable, making it the best accounting software for really small businesses.

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As an online application, Zoho Books is accessible from any browser. It has automated features that can save you time, such as recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders, and client portals, which make it easy to follow up with your customers on quotes and payments. It's also scalable, so you can continue using it as your business grows or even if you start a second business.

Read all our reviews for the best accounting software options for small businesses.

Pricing

Zoho Books is one of the most affordable accounting software applications in its class, especially considering its many features, such as inventory tracking, project management, and billable time and expenses tools.

The software is available in three service plans: Standard, Professional and Premium. You can add a few optional features to your account for an extra fee. Zoho gives you the option of month-to-month or annual plans. Prices are discounted if you choose an annual plan. 

  • The Standard plan costs $15 per month and supports three users – you, your accountant and another user. You can manage up to 5,000 invoices. You can use it to create invoices and projects, track expenses, and reconcile accounts. It includes mile tracking, recurring invoicing and automatic bank feeds.
  • The Professional plan costs $40 per month and supports five users. In addition to the features in the Standard plan, this subscription has purchase ordering and inventory tracking tools, allows you to create sales orders, and supports multi currencies.
  • The Premium plan costs $60 per month and supports 10 users. You get everything in the two other plans as well as your own custom domain, access to a vendor portal, and Zoho Sign and Twilio integration.
  • Additional users cost $2.50 per month. This is option is available for all plans, not just its top tier.
  • Autoscans cost $8 a month for 50 scans. When you upload documents, such as vendor invoices or receipts, to Zoho Books, it automatically scans them and extracts the data to create new transactions, saving you the time of manually creating them.
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Overall, Zoho's pricing is quite competitive. The three plans are all well within the price range for most microbusinesses.

Timesaving Features

Zoho Books has several capabilities that help you complete your accounting tasks quickly. After you create an estimate or sales order, you can convert it to an invoice, a retainer invoice or a recurring invoice with just a few clicks. The software gives you the option of emailing your invoices as soon as you create them, scheduling them to be sent later or using the company's snail mail service to print and mail them for you.

Did you knowDid You Know: More than 40 standard reports are built into the software, including a general ledger, profit and loss, sales by item, timesheet details, and aged receivables and payables.

Here are more features that can save you time:

  • You can schedule payment email reminders and create multiple messages that send at different times. For example, you could create a payment reminder email and send it a week before the invoice is due, send a second email on the due date, and send a third email if you haven't received a payment a week after the due date.
  • If you connect your account to a payment processor, you can accept invoice payments online. Compatible payment gateways include PayPal, Braintree, Stripe and Square.

  • You can schedule reports to be automatically generated weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually and then emailed to you in the format of your choice (PDF, CSV or XLS). You can also set up the software to automatically email you a weekly report that gives you an overview of your business's performance, with summaries of your income and expenses, cash flow, top expenses, and active projects. More than 40 standard reports are built into the software, including a general ledger, profit and loss, sales by item, timesheet details, and aged receivables and payables.

  • Zoho Books' mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices. It also has an app for Windows phones. With the app, you can create invoices, run reports, capture receipts, record expenses and track billable time no matter where you are.
  • Keyboard shortcuts allow you to move quickly through the software and create new transactions.

  • Zoho Books connects to your business bank and credit card accounts, updating the bank feed daily. If you need to see a current transaction, you can refresh the bank feed – but only once a day.

  • One of the nicer features of Zoho Books is its client portal, which makes it easy for your customers to view their invoices and pay their bills online. You can use it to send estimates and chat within the program. Zoho Books alerts you when your customer views an estimate or invoice, accepts or declines an estimate, or makes a payment.

Additional Features

Zoho Books has plenty of other features to help the smallest businesses keep up with their accounting. Here are some of the most useful:

  • You can create projects, set tasks, track the time you spend on them, and invoice customers for billable time. The client approvals feature lets your clients approve timesheets before you bill them. The software also allows you to track and invoice billable expenses.

  • Inventory tracking tools are available on the Professional plan. The software shows you the available quantity when you enter the item on an invoice. If you enter a higher number than you have on hand, the number turns red. You can set up the system to email you a notification when the inventory drops below a certain number. If your inventory needs are more advanced – you need to bundle items, for example – you can add the Zoho Inventory app to the program for an additional cost.

  • This accounting software integrates with other Zoho programs and several third-party programs, including payment gateways, tax programs, and Zapier, which allows you to connect to hundreds of additional apps.

  • The template gallery has more invoice customization options than most accounting programs offer. You can choose from 16 templates, several languages and multiple fonts. You can also add your logo and a background image, and select colors for the background, accents, your company's name, your customer's name and the rest of the text on the page. Other document types, such as estimates and payment receipts, are also customizable.

  • When you view a transaction, the audit trail shows you when it was created, if it was converted to or from another type of transaction, and if the transaction has been updated, sent, or paid. It notes the name of the user who made any edits, along with the date and time of those edits, and allows you to add comments to the transaction.

  • The system supports barcode scanning, and you can create price lists, which is a useful feature if you offer special pricing to certain customers.

Zoho Books Pros

Zoho Books stands out as a good option for microbusinesses beyond its affordability, thanks to its ability to automate lots of accounting tasks. That frees you up to focus on what you do best – running your business. Estimates and sales orders can quickly be converted into a retainer or recurring invoices. You can schedule when your customers are billed and send payment reminders.

Another standout feature that business owners will appreciate is Zoho's client portal. It enhances the collaboration opportunities for you and your clients. You can send estimates, interact with clients and get paid via the portal.

Zoho Books is easy to set up and use, and it still manages to be powerful and comprehensive. Through the program, you can access real-time data and analytics to make informed business decisions. Zoho Books' ease of use, features, and pricing make it a great option for startups and very small businesses. Particularly if your business falls into one of these categories, Zoho Books is worth a close look.

Zoho Books Cons

Zoho Books offers a lot of functionality to small businesses at an affordable price, but there are a few things to be aware of before you subscribe.

FYIFYI: Larger small businesses should be aware that there's a cap of 5,000 transactions per month on the highest plan.

Larger small businesses should be aware that there's a cap of 5,000 transactions per month on the highest plan. Even though this is ample for most small businesses, it's a limit to keep in mind if your business is growing quickly.

Also, while the software can support multiple businesses under a single account, you need to pay a separate subscription fee for each organization.

Customer Support

Zoho offers unlimited customer support, meaning you can contact the company by phone 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday, for free. You can chat with an agent or email the company either within the accounting software or via the company's website. Online help resources include FAQs and a searchable knowledgebase.

Image Credit: utah778 / Getty Images
Zoho Books

Zoho Books

The Best Accounting and Invoice-Generating Software for 2021

The Verdict

Zoho Books is an intuitive accounting program with full accounts receivable and accounts payable functionality. It's also very affordable, making it the best accounting software for really small businesses.

Visit Site
Donna Fuscaldo
Donna Fuscaldo
business.com Staff
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A lifetime New Yorker, I am a veteran finance and business journalist that has contributed to several national media outlets including Forbes, Investopedia, and Bankrate.com. I have spent my career providing consumers and business owners with advice and guidance to help them navigate the world of finance. As a senior finance writer, I report on all aspects of finance from managing cash flow to choosing the best accounting software.