PROS / It has Client Portals that let your customers view their transactions and pay their invoices online.
CONS / It doesn't have asset-management features.
VERDICT / Zoho Books is a logical, intuitive accounting program with a full range of both A/R and A/P functionality; it's a great choice for most growing small businesses.
Zoho Books is small business accounting software from Zoho, a business software company that also offers CRM, help desk and app-building software. Like all of the accounting software we reviewed, Zoho Books is an online application you can use from any browser.
There are three service tiers available: Basic, Standard and Professional. You can subscribe month to month, but the price is discounted if you subscribe annually. The Basic plan supports two users: you and your accountant, and you can add 50 contacts and create five automated workflows. You can use it to create invoices and projects, track expenses and reconcile your accounts. The Standard plan supports three users, 500 contacts and 10 automated workflows. It includes all the features in the Basic plan and allows you to track bills and print checks. The Professional plan supports an unlimited number of users and contacts, includes all the features in the Standard plan and creates purchase orders and tracks inventory.
This accounting software for small businesses integrates with other Zoho programs and several third-party integrations, including payment gateways and tax programs. Zoho Books is easy to use and offers nearly every feature we looked for in accounting software. For these reasons, it earns the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Like every online accounting software we reviewed, Zoho Books is easy to set up. You provide basic information about your company, choose which modules, or features, you want the system to include and connect your payment processor. The Getting Started button at the top right of the dashboard has a video that walks you through the software's main features. It also prompts you to create your first transaction, connect your bank account and set up system preferences. The first time you click each tab from the menu bar on the right, the page displays information on what tasks you can accomplish and sometimes also includes a short video or illustration that explains how a process works.
The interface is logical and attractive. The dashboard displays graphs and charts that show you an overview of your cash flow, receivables, payables, expenses, projects and bank accounts. You can change the time period for the charts, but you can't rearrange the cards on the dashboard. When you click the tabs on the menu bar, each screen includes a Page Tips button that opens up a fly panel with a search bar, short video and a list of related topics that link to the knowledgebase.
When you create estimates and sales orders, you can attach files and assign a salesperson to the sale. You can then convert the document to an invoice, a retainer invoice or a recurring invoice with just a few clicks. If you want to rearrange the product rows on the invoice, you can drag and drop them into place. You can also add or edit the customer note and terms and conditions. If you email your invoices, you can send them soon as you create them or schedule when you want them to be sent.
When you view the documents, it shows you a history of when it was created, if it was converted to or from another type of document, and if the document has been updated, along with the user's name, the date and time. You can also add comments about the document.
It's easy to customize the look and content fields of your documents. Zoho Books has a template gallery, with 11 invoice templates to choose from. You can select between several languages for the template and 10 fonts, though only four support English characters. You can add your logo and a background image. You can select colors for the background, accents, your company's name, your customer's name and the rest of the text on the page. You can choose which fields to include and change the names of each field as it appears on the document. You can create projects, set tasks and track the time you spend on them. You can then invoice your customers for your billable time. You can also track and invoice billable expenses.
You can set up Zoho Books to automatically email payment reminders to customers. You can create multiple messages that are sent at different times. For example, you could create a payment reminder email and send it a week before the invoice is due, set a second email that is sent on the due date and a third that is sent if you haven't received a payment a week after the due date.
Zoho Books's Client Portal feature makes it easy for your customers to view their invoices and pay their bills online. You can use the portal to send quotes and discuss them with your client in the program rather than via email, text or phone. The program alerts you when your customer views a quote or invoice, accepts or declines a quote, or makes a payment. You can also request customer feedback through the portal.
Accounts Payable & Inventory
With the Standard and Professional tiers of Zoho Books, you can manage vendors, track bills and print checks. The Professional tier also allows you to create purchase orders and track inventory. If you've set up inventory tracking, you can see what quantity is available when you enter the item on an invoice. If you enter a higher number than you have on hand, the available quantity number turns red. You can set up the system to email you a notification when the inventory drops below a certain number or reorder point.
The system supports barcode scanning, and you can create price lists, which is a useful feature if you offer special pricing to certain customers. If your inventory needs are more advanced; for example, if you need to bundle items, you can add the Zoho Inventory app to the program for an additional cost. Zoho Books doesn't include fixed asset-management features that calculate depreciation for computers, equipment and office furniture.
Zoho Books can generate many different types of financial reports, including a general ledger and an aged receivables report. You can connect your business bank and credit card accounts with this online accounting software for small businesses. The bank feed is updated daily, but if you need to see a current transaction, you can refresh the bank feed, though this action can only be used once a day.
It includes a bank reconciliation feature that suggests possible matches, though it doesn't feel as polished as those offered by its top competitors. Like every small business accounting software we reviewed, Zoho Books integrates with payment processors so you can accept invoice payments online. You can choose from PayPal, Braintree, Stripe, Square and more.
Access & Support
Zoho Books can support multiple businesses, but you need to pay a separate subscription for each organization. It offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices, and you can use it to create invoices, capture receipts, record expenses and track billable time. Apple Watch and Android smartwatch apps are also available.
If you need accounting education, you can read the company's Essential Business Guides and its blog, register for its weekly webinars and watch its demo videos. The company has a user forum that you can use to share feedback or submit your feature ideas to the company. You can contact the company by phone, email or live chat 24/5 for free, unlimited customer support.
Zoho Books is among the best small business accounting software applications we reviewed. It's easy to use, and you can use it for your invoicing, bookkeeping, purchasing and inventory. It includes automated features, such as recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders and client portals, which makes it easy to follow up with your customers on quotes and payments. It includes nearly every accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and banking feature we looked for, with the exception of fixed asset management.