Zoho Books Review: Is the Accounting Software Worth Pricing?
You can’t run a business without knowing how much money flows in and out. Good accounting is the cornerstone of any profitable company.
Zoho makes one of the more popular apps for tackling this biz imperative. In this Zoho Books review, we'll nitpick Zoho accounting software to see why it's a crowd favorite.
Bear with us as we discuss the software's pros and cons, pricing plans, and primary features. If you make it until the end, we'll give you our two cents on whether Zoho Books is a good choice for your business.
Zoho Books review 2022: Is Zoho Books any good?
Let’s start this Zoho Books review by saying that the software is definitely a good value for your money. In a nutshell, Zoho Books comes with all the features small and medium-sized companies need from an accounting software, like invoices, expense tracking, estimates, online payments, advanced reporting, and more.
It’s even suitable for businesses that are selling physical products as it comes with some powerful inventory management and sales features.
This puts Zoho Books among the leading accounting software on the market today, on par with solutions such as QuickBooks Online and Freshbooks
Zoho Books can integrate seamlessly with other Zoho products, in addition to integrating well with third-party platforms that complement and expand its versatility.
Another advantage of the system is that it features a collaborative client portal where you can collaborate with clients on estimates, submit your time entries for approval before creating an invoice, and communicate in real-time over comments.
In terms of ease of use, Zoho Books is not the most intuitive software, especially for newbies. But this shouldn't be a problem if you have experience with accounting software. On the plus side, there's an extensive knowledge base that contains detailed information on how the software works.
If you want to see how Zoho Books compares to other accounting software like QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Wave, take a look at this comprehensive accounting software comparison chart we prepared for you.
Now let’s move this Zoho accounting review from overview to in-depth analysis.
Zoho Books pricing plans
First of all, how much does Zoho Books cost? Let’s first review Zoho accounting pricing:
How much does Zoho Books cost for nonprofits?
Zoho Books plans for nonprofits do exist. The vendor offers registered charities, trusts, and societies a 15% discount off on the original pricing.
Are there any Zoho Books coupon codes or promo discount vouchers?
We did the research, and it seems there are no Zoho Books coupon codes or discount vouchers at this time.
Zoho Books overview: what is Zoho Books & what is Zoho Books used for?
Zoho Books is a cloud-based mid-tier accounting and bookkeeping software that offers great functionality for small and medium-sized businesses. People use it to create and send professional invoices, track their income and expenses, receive online payments, manage their bills, create sales and purchase orders, and more.
If you have an accountant, you can give them access to the software so they can balance your books, prepare your taxes, and identify opportunities for improving the financial health of your business.
Zoho Books free vs paid: what’s the difference?
If you want to test the software before you commit to a monthly subscription, you can either sign up for the free 14-day trial or explore the demo account.
The free trial lets you explore the full-featured Premium plan, while the demo account lets you perform limited actions. The good thing about the demo account is that you don't have to fill out any forms to access it; simply click on the CTA link, and you'll be redirected to the demo account.
With that out of the way, let's discuss the monthly plans. The good news is that there are five monthly plans ranging from $15 to $240 per month, including a free plan.
The Zoho Books free plan gives you access to all the basic capabilities of the software, including estimates, invoices, online payments, payment reminders, multi-lingual invoicing, expenses, mileage tracking, bank reconciliation, 1099 contractors, and more.
The downside is that you can have only one user, plus accountant access. This plan lacks features like project profitability, timesheet and billing, inventory tracking, and premium integrations. It also only supports two payment gateways: Paypal and Stripe. You won't be able to track Sales Tax either.
The Standard plan includes all the features from the free plan, plus recurring expenses, predefined user roles, project expenses, invoice tracking, project tasks, timesheet and billing, and more. This plan supports up to three users.
The Professional plan supports five users and unlocks features like bills and recurring bills, sales approval, purchase orders and approval, multi-currency handling, project profitability, automated workflows, and more.
The Premium plan is a good option if you need more advanced features like vendor portal, custom domain, and custom reports.
The Elite plan contains everything from Premium, plus advanced analytics. The only difference between the Elite and Ultimate plans is that the Ultimate plan supports up to 15 users.
You can expand each one of the plans with different add-ons such as additional users, advanced autoscans, and snail mail.
Zoho Books features list
The main features of Zoho Books are:
Sales and purchase orders
Zoho Books lets you create invoices, customize them to fit your brand, and send them to your customer’s email address in a few clicks.
You can add your company logo to make the invoice look more professional, change fonts, add digital signatures, choose between 16 invoice templates, and more. You can even charge customers in their currency as the software supports multi-currency invoices.
Collecting payments from your customers is also a breeze. If you integrate Zoho Books with a payment gateway, customers will be able to pay via their credit cards, debit cards, net banking, and other payment options offered by the payment gateway.
There are a few ways customers can pay you: from the Client Portal, from the invoice email you send them, or from the invoice link you shared with them. Additionally, you can record payments manually if you’re receiving a cash payment for an invoice.
You can even create recurring invoices for your regular customers and retainer invoices if you collect advance payments from your customers.
With Zoho Books, you can track expenses, categorize them, convert them to invoices, and bill them to your customers.
When you record an expense in Zoho Books, you can associate it with a client or an employee. You can attach a receipt of your expense from your Desktop, Cloud or from your Documents in Zoho Books.
You can even automate recurring expenses and add expenses in bulk.
Another great feature is mileage tracking, a handy feature if you use your vehicle for work. The feature is built within the software to let you track business-related miles by using your smartphone. You can categorize trips and even add trips manually.
Zoho Books has a neat Estimates feature that lets you create estimates for clients and convert them to invoices as soon as your client accepts it.
There are a few customizable templates you can choose from to create estimates that reflect your brand. Another way to add estimates in Zoho Books is to import them from your system in a CSV, TSV or XLS format.
With the Bills feature in Zoho Books, you can easily create bills and import bills from your system. Bills can be associated with a vendor, contain a list of items, have notes and comments, and more. Bills can be saved, customized, downloaded, and printed.
The system lets you create recurring bills for purchases that happen at regular intervals. You can manually record payment for a bill or pay via check or ACH.
5. Client portal
The Client Portal is a space for your customers to view and manage all their transactions. From here, they’ll be able to accept estimates, pay invoices, leave reviews, and more.
Once a customer joins Zoho Books, you’ll be able to collaborate with them on estimates, submit your time entries for approval before creating an invoice, and discuss with customers in real-time over comments.
The Banking feature lets you fetch transactions from your PayPal account as well as your banks and reconcile your accounts fast. Using this feature will help you keep track of the money coming in and going out of your business. You can also fetch or import live bank feeds and match them instantly with your transactions in Zoho Books.
7. Online payments
Zoho Books integrates with all the popular payment gateways so that you can collect online payments from your customers swiftly and hassle-free.
Some of the payment gateways Zoho Books supports include Paypal, Paypal Payments Pro, Paypal Payflow Pro, Stripe, Square, Authorize.Net, 2Checkout, Braintree, Forte, and Worldpay.
Zoho Books has some basic project management capabilities, including a time tracking functionality. Creating a Project in Zoho Books is as easy as one-two-three. Projects can have a name, description, customer associated with it, billing method, budget, and project tasks.
You can mark a Project task as billable and convert it into an invoice. You can log time for tasks in two ways: manually or by using the timer.
If you already have a timesheet, you can import them into Zoho Books in a CSV, TSV or XLS format.
You can associate expenses with Projects, receive advance payments for projects, and log time on the go by using the mobile app.
9. Sales and purchase orders
Zoho Books lets you confirm sales before you ship them by creating a sales order. Sales orders are a document that confirms the items and prices of a sale. Once a client confirms a sale order, you can convert it into an invoice.
If you have low stock of your items, you can convert your sales order to a Purchase Order. Purchase Orders track the items ordered by a client, as well as the agreed-upon price with the vendor. Similar to Sales Orders, Purchase Orders can also be converted into invoices.
10. Sales tax
By enabling the sales tax feature, you’ll be able to use sales tax in your invoices and estimates. You can even add multiple taxes to invoices and estimates, set a default tax rate, and enter the exemptions that apply to your business (for example, if you’re a nonprofit organization).
Additionally, you can track the payments you've made to contractors and file your annual 1099s using your Tax 1099 account.
If you’re selling physical goods, you’ll be happy to know that Zoho Books has powerful inventory management capabilities. With the Inventory feature, you’ll be able to monitor inventory levels to identify items that are selling fast so that you can keep them well stocked at all times.
You can organize your inventory with information like SKU, product image, vendor details, cost, and more. You can also set up to receive alerts before the stock level falls below your minimum.
12. Mobile apps
You can manage accounting on the go with Zoho Books iOS and Android mobile apps. There’s also a version for Windows phones. The mobile apps let you create invoices, capture receipts, enter payments, and get real-time updates on accounting activity.
Zoho Books offers integrations with different payment gateways like Paypal and Stripe, other Zoho apps like Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM, and third-party apps such as Slack, Zapier, Google Workspace, and Twilio.
Zoho Books lets you generate all kinds of reports to check the health of your business. You can generate reports like Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement any time you want them.
You can also view reports like Sales by customer, Sales by item, and Sales by sales person. Additionally, you can create customized reports. You can schedule reports to be automatically generated weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually and emailed to you in the format of your choice.
Zoho Books pros and cons
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Zoho Books:
Zoho Books advantages
It has more payment gateway options than other accounting tools. You can accept payments from payment gateways such as Paypal, Stripe, Square, Worldpay, Forte, WePay, and more. This also means more variety for your clients. In addition to these payment gateways, you can also accept payments through direct bank transfers.
It offers all kinds of accounting and financial reports. You’ll get project summaries, Profit and Loss statements, total receivables and payables, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and more. You can also sync your Zoho Books account with Zoho Analytics for more advanced reporting.
It works seamlessly with other Zoho software tools. As your business grows, you can add any one of Zoho's 50+ apps to help you manage and run every aspect of your business from any location.
There’s a good free plan. The free plan is suitable for micro businesses and small business owners with tight budgets. You'll get all the basic features like invoices, expenses, estimates, and a client portal. On the plus side, although the free plan supports only one user, it comes with additional accountant access.
Always be up-to-date with everything going on in your business. Every time you navigate to the main dashboard, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the health of your company. You’ll get an overview of total receivables and payables, your cash flow, income and expenses, your top expenses, billable hours, and more.
It offers a good deal of automation features. Zoho Books helps you eliminate repetitive tasks so that you can focus on more important aspects of your business. For instance, you can send recurring invoices to regular customers, payment reminders to get paid on time, and use bank rules to filter and categorize transactions automatically, so nothing slips through the cracks.
It can be a solid ecommerce accounting solution. Zoho Books integrates well with other Zoho ecommerce platforms such as Zoho Inventory and Zoho Commerce. By integrating these platforms together, you’ll be able to automate many aspects of your ecommerce business, including sales, inventory, and accounting.
Zoho Books disadvantages
It has a learning curve. Zoho Books is a little difficult to learn how to use, which makes it an unsuitable option for companies that need to get up and running quickly. But if you have the time to learn the full capability of the software, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
Plans come with a limited number of users. As each plan has strict user limits, you must know how many users will need to use the software before you choose a monthly plan. For example, if you need more than five users, you’ll have to opt for the Premium plan that stands at $60 per month or higher. Another option is to go with a less expensive plan but add additional users for the price of $2.50 per user per month.
You can’t manage multiple companies under a single account. If you’re managing multiple companies, you might be disappointed to hear Zoho Books won’t let you set up and manage multiple companies in a single account. You’ll need separate accounts for this. If this is a deal-breaker for you, we suggest exploring alternatives, such as QuickBooks. We have a detailed QuickBooks vs Zoho Books comparison that can help you make the right decision.
Zoho Books complaints & praise (from real Zoho Books customer reviews)
The online reviews of Zoho Books are predominantly positive, with customers saying how the software fits the bill when it comes to functionality and affordability. The reasonable pricing seems to be a huge deciding factor for customers switching from another cloud accounting program.
Customers also like how Zoho Books is only one of the many products in the Zoho ecosystem. Not having to switch between multiple applications to complete daily tasks is a major benefit for customers.
Some reviewers are fans of the recurring invoices feature that lets them create and schedule invoices to be sent to customers on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
Other reviewers mention how the software lets you assign expenses to an employee and to a particular project so that you can easily track the expenses of each team and quickly notice when you're going over budget.
They also like how they can get reports on different modules like sales, track sales by salesperson, and assess the performance of each employee.
In addition, users are saying the product is stable, and the company offers solid tech support.
In terms of negative Zoho Books reviews, customers seem to have a few complaints. For instance, some customers would like to see better documentation to make it easier for new users to learn how the software works.
Several users find the software a bit heavy on features that clutter the interface and make working inside the software a hassle. Especially if you're not familiar with accounting, the software can seem unnecessarily complicated.
Other users say they think Zoho Books is suitable for SMBs, but it's incapable of managing complex corporate processes.
Review of Zoho Books support
Getting in touch with customer support is incredibly easy. If you reach out via live chat, a customer support specialist will be available to help you with anything immediately; the waiting time is only a few seconds.
In addition to live chat, you can find a variety of learning resources on the Zoho Books website, including blogs, product videos, FAQs, webinars, and help articles. There’s also a very active forum where you can ask questions and help fellow users with their issues and questions. There’s also email and phone support.
If you’re migrating to Zoho from another platform, there’s a comprehensive migration guide that offers step-by-step instructions on how to switch over to Zoho Books easily.
Zoho Books has a great network of Certified Professionals that you can hire to help you with the accounting aspect of your business. The accounting professionals can assist with everything from 1099 tax filing and bank reconciliations to payroll.
Is Zoho accounting software worth it? Key takeaways
Let’s get a straightforward answer to the question you ended up reading this post in the first place:
Is Zoho Books worth it?
Absolutely yes, assuming most of the following conditions are met:
It’s worth it if you already use other Zoho products and need a tool within the Zoho ecosystem. Ditto if you’re a small or medium-sized business, or an ecommerce company that needs an integrated management solution. Also if you’re in search of a feature-packed software that won’t break the bank.
Zoho Books might not be the ideal solution for freelancers that don’t need anything more than basic accounting features. On a similar note, large companies with advanced needs might find the software lacking in powerful features. In that case, you may want to explore the Zoho Books alternatives out there.
With that out of the way, if you’re interested in testing out the software, start with the free 14-day trial and later subscribe to a plan that fits your business needs—that is if you find the software to be exactly what you need.
You won’t have trouble finding a plan that meets your needs, as there are five subscription levels, in addition to a free forever plan.