Zoho Books review

Manage inventory, projects and sales with this intuitive cloud-based platform

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Our Verdict

Zoho Books is a good all-round accountancy platform for small businesses. It's only let down by a lack of native payroll features.

For

  • Well presented
  • 14-day free trial

Against

  • No payroll

Zoho Books is a cloud-based platform designed to be an easy-to-use tool for small businesses to manage both accounts and cashflow. It is made by Indian software company Zoho, which was founded in 1996 and focuses on developing business tools and IT solutions.

The main features of Zoho Books include an intuitive dashboard, a feature to track inventory in real-time, and robust reporting tools. It can also connect your organization’s bank account, allowing for automated fund transfers. Furthermore, the platform integrates with third-party payroll services.

While all this covers most of the financial tools your SMB is likely to need, there’s also an extensive help section on the Zoho Books dashboard if you require information on other features.

As the platform is cloud-based, it can be run from any computer with internet access.

Pricing

Zoho offers a 14-day free trial to anyone interested in sampling the software.

The Basic package is $9 (£6.90) per organization per month. This includes five automated workflows, two users, bank reconciliation, custom invoices, expense tracking and recurring transactions.

The Standard plan is $19 (£14.50) per organization per month. This includes all the Basic plan has to offer plus 500 contacts, three users, 10 automated workflows, bills and vendor credits.

The Professional package is $29 (£22) per organization per month, and includes unlimited contacts, 10 users, 10 automated workflows, purchase orders and a custom domain.

Zoho Books

Setup

Users only need to open the web browser of their choice and navigate to https://www.zoho.eu/books to get started.

As previously mentioned, Zoho offers a 14-day trial for all tiers. Just create an account to get started. During the initial setup you will be asked to choose the modules you require for your particular business. This is a straightforward process: Zoho walks you through each step. Users will be asked if they want to enable two-factor authentication upon initial sign-in. You can choose to enable this immediately or be reminded at a later stage.

Once setup is complete, users can then fill in their company profile. If more than one person is going to use Zoho Books, you’ll need to add them as either admins, Staff or Timesheet Staff. Admins have overall control of the accounts, Staff can access everything except for reports, settings and accountancy tools, and Timesheet Staff can only access timesheets.

Users can request a demo from their account homepage. Other than that, users can choose to Setup Opening Balances, Configure Chart of Accounts, or Configure Direct Bank Feeds, depending on the modules they chose to enable.

Zoho Books holds webinars each week. These impart tips and tricks such as how to navigate the dashboard.

Zoho Books

Interface

The dashboard of Zoho Books is very simple and straightforward to use. On the main screen, users can see Total Receivables and Total Payables, with access to ‘Cash Flows and Expenses charts as they scroll down.

All other options can be easily accessed on the left-hand side of the screen. Depending on the modules you enable, you can select from Items, Banking, Sales, Purchases and more.

The Settings icon at the top-right of the screen allows users to change their preferences for items such as Branding, Sales and Purchases. General Settings can also be adjusted from here.

The interface has many different menu options, but is laid out in such an efficient manner that it never seems overwhelming.

Zoho Books

Fantastic forms

Zoho includes the standard forms that come with most accountancy software. However, it also sports packing slips, retainer invoices and delivery notes.

Transaction forms can contain up to 10 custom fields, and that’s something not offered by competitors. Invoices include information relating to shipping charges, sales tax and any discounts offered.

Purchase transactions such as bills, expenses and purchases orders offer the same detailed information.

Zoho Books

Record breaking

Zoho has a variety of record templates, transaction forms and reports that make it stand out from the crowd.

Users can create new contacts and import customers from a file in the Contacts section, with those contacts being created as either a customer or vendor.

User details appear at the top-right of each contact record. You can choose from tax, payment details, address, custom fields and reporting tags via a series of tabs. The platform allows users to create up to 10 custom fields.

After entering all your contacts into the dashboard, you can then view them on one screen. Each contact has its own graph detailing payments in and out. From the Transactions tab users can view all transactions pertaining to that particular contact, along with the status of each transaction.

Additional features

Zoho Books has a supplementary mobile app. Once you have created your account, you can go to https://www.zoho.com/books/mobile-apps to download software for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones. Each app enables access to quick insights from your dashboard, invoices and expenses.

Final verdict

Zoho Books is an excellent tool for small businesses, containing everything you require for your daily accountancy needs. In some ways Zoho far outstrips its competitors considering the superior record and multiple transaction forms available.

However, it still doesn’t include payroll, and this has been a major criticism from users online, even though it can integrate with third-party payroll solutions such as greytHR and Paybooks.

The solution lacks some of the advanced features of the competition, such as report customization or some of the extra features available in project management. However, these do not take away from its overall excellence. It is a simple to use platform with highly detailed contact and transactions forms. Everything is neatly laid out so you aren’t forced to spend a huge amount of time acclimatizing to Zoho.