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  • Free Trial: 14 Days
  • App Integrations: 500+
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  • Customer Support: Email, Phone, On-Demand Webinars, Online Help Centre

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Zoho Books Review

Zoho Books is a strong contender for one of the best online accounting software in the UK. Check out this Zoho Books review if you are considering using this accounting software for managing your business’s finances.

Zoho Books Review

minimum price:

Free

Visit Website
  • Free Plan: Yes
  • Free Trial: 14 Days
  • App Integrations: 500+
  • Mobile Apps: Android and iOS
  • Customer Support: Email, Phone, On-Demand Webinars, Online Help Centre

Best For

Free accounting software

STRENGTHS

  • Free plan available
  • Client portal
  • A wide range of features
  • Integration with other Zoho products
  • Support 24 hours a day, five days a week

WEAKNESSES

  • Lack of payroll solution
  • Limited support for free users

Zoho Books is a simple yet effective bookkeeping software designed to help small and micro businesses streamline their accounting processes and keep track of their finances.

The cloud-based accounting platform offers an extensive suite of features, including invoicing, expense tracking, time tracking, and reporting. Moreover, unlike most of its competitors, Zoho Books offers a free plan that covers all the basics of accounting for small businesses and startups.

In this Zoho Books review, I will go over all the main features of this software and see how it stacks up against similar solutions on the market.

About Zoho Books

Zoho Books is one of the several cloud-based business tools offered by Zoho Corporation, an Indian multinational software development company. The company made a name for itself with its online office suite and its CRM solutions but has also ventured into the world of cloud accounting with Zoho Books.

Launched in 2011, the Zoho accounting software aims to provide small businesses with a simple and affordable way to manage their accounting and stay on top of their cash flow. The software is available in both free and paid versions, with the latter offering more advanced features such as bank feed integration and multi-currency support.

Let’s take a closer look at the main features offered by this cloud-based accounting software.

How Does Zoho Books Work?

To set up a Zoho Books account, you need to enter basic information about yourself, such as your business location, company name, email address, and phone number. 

After verifying your email address, you will be directed to the Getting Started page, which gives you a brief overview of your Zoho Books account, with related videos and how-to articles to help you along the way.

Here you will be prompted to input your organisation and tax details and create your first invoices and expenses. You can also connect your bank account, which will enable you to import bank transactions into Zoho Books automatically.

Zoho Books Dashboard | CyberCrew

Zoho Books offers a fairly intuitive and straightforward interface. The software is designed for businesses with little to no accounting experience, so most users should be able to get the hang of it relatively quickly.

On the left-hand side of the screen, you will find a navigation bar from which you can access all the main features of Zoho Books. For instance, clicking on the Items option will allow you to add goods and services, while from the Sales module, you can add customers, create invoices, estimates, sales receipts, and so on.

All the options are clearly laid out and self-explanatory, so it shouldn’t take you too long to get up to speed with the platform.

Zoho Books Key Features

Invoicing

Zoho Books offers a comprehensive invoicing solution that you can use to create professional, custom-designed invoices and automate a number of mundane daily tasks.

The platform has more invoice templates than most other accounting platforms – there are currently 18 templates you can choose from and customise to your liking. You can change properties such as font and colour, edit layouts, customise the header and footer information, and add your brand logo.

Zoho Books Invoicing | CyberCrew

Invoices can be one-off or recurrent for customers that you bill on a regular basis. What’s more, you can set up automatic payment reminders at chosen time intervals, either before or after the due date of an invoice.

Creating a new invoice is a straightforward process, as most options, from customer name to line items and due dates, can be selected from dropdown menus.

Zoho Books Invoicing | CyberCrew

Unlike most other cloud-based accounting tools, Zoho Books has a special “salesperson” category, where you can specify who made the sale for that particular invoice, which can be of use if you want to keep track of the achievements of your employees.

Zoho Books also integrates with most major online payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, Payflow Pro, and GoCardless, allowing you to receive online payments for your invoices.

You can also create retainer invoices and bill customers in advance for work that’s going to be carried out over a period of time. Zoho Books also lets you choose from multiple currencies, which is a handy feature if you work with international clients.

Expense Tracking

Another great feature of Zoho Books is its expense-tracking capabilities.

You can use the software to keep track of all your business expenses, from office supplies and travel costs to employee per diems. If you use a different service to track your expenses, you can import them into Zoho Books in the CSV, TSV, or XLS format.

In addition, you can categorise your expenses for easier management and even bill them to clients when necessary. You can automate expanse tracking even more by setting up recurring expenses for items or services that you purchase on a regular basis.

Zoho Books also has an AutoScan feature, which, once enabled, allows you to scan all the bills and receipts incurred in your business and automatically turns them into expenses, saving you the workload of having to enter them manually.

Client Portal

The Zoho Books Client Portal is a dedicated space where your clients can access all their past and perform various actions, such as pay invoices and accept estimates. For instance, once you send an invoice to a client, they can access it from the client portal, and you will get notified when they view it.

Here is an overview of the features that the client portal will give you access to

  • Collaborate on estimates and get them approved by customers
  • Get notified when a customer has viewed an invoice
  • Allow customers to pay their invoices from one place
  • Submit time entries for approval before you turn them into invoices
  • Get customer reviews
  • Communicate with customers in real-time through comments

Time Tracking

The Zoho Books dashboard also has a time tracking category, which is divided into two sections, Projects and Timesheet. From the Project section, you can keep track of time spent working on various projects, with options to log time manually or use the built-in timer widget.

The Timesheet module is designed for businesses that charge customers based on the amount of time they spend working on projects.  Here, you can create time entries and bill your clients accordingly.

While useful, the Zoho time tracking tool can be a little basic compared to dedicated time tracking software. For instance, all logged time must be assigned to a particular client or project, which can be a problem if you want to bill a customer for one-off jobs. 

Zoho Books Mobile App

Zoho Books also offers a smart accounting app for small businesses, available for Android and iOS devices. The app has many of the same capabilities as its web counterpart, allowing you to create and send invoices, track expenses, expenses, track time, and manage your finances from anywhere.

A minor setback is that you cannot customise invoice templates from the mobile app. Namely, the app only allows you can to change the current template, but if you want to edit it, you have to use the web-based application.

Zoho Books Customer Support

For users of Zoho Books’ free plan, support is a bit limited, as the only way to get in touch with a support agent is via email. However, if you subscribe to one of the platform’s paid plans, you’ll be able to reach its customer support team via email, live chat and phone.

In addition, phone support is available 24 hours a day, from Monday to Friday, meaning you can get in touch with someone at any hour if you have an urgent issue.

Zoho Books also offers on-demand webinars designed to help users get familiar with the basics of the software, as well as an extensive online knowledge base with step-by-step guides and video tutorials.

Zoho Books Pricing

You can use Zoho Books free of charge, provided your business makes less than £35,000 of revenue a year. The free plan can be used by a maximum of one user and one accountant and includes all the basics, such as invoicing (up to 1,000 per year), expense management, online payments, and VAT filing.

While the free plan is excellent for newly established businesses, you’ll likely need to upgrade to one of Zoho Books’ paid plans as your business grows.

Once your business surpasses the £35,000 revenue limit, there are three paid plans you can choose from, ranging in price from £12 to £30 a month. Prices are discounted if you commit to a year, and there is also a free trial available, allowing you to try out each of the plans for free for 14 days.

The table below outlines the main features included in each of the Zoho Books plans.

Plan Price Key Features
Free /
  • 1 user + 1 accountant
  • Up to 1,000 invoices a year
  • MTD VAT filing
  • Automated payment reminders
  • Online payments
  • Create business reports
  • Expenses and mileage tracking
  • Client management
  • Integration with Zoho apps
Standard £12/month

Everything in Free, plus:

  • Invite 3 users
  • Up to 5,000 invoices a year
  • Add recurring expenses
  • Timesheet and billing
  • Track project expenses
  • Bulk updates
Professional £24/month

Everything in Standard, plus:

  • Invite 5 users
  • Bill management
  • Sales approval
  • Retainer invoices
  • Multi-currency handling
  • Stock tracking
  • Track project profitability
Premium £30/month

Everything in Professional, plus:

  • Invite 10 users
  • Track activity across 3 branches
  • Custom domain
  • Custom reports
  • Vendor portal
  • Budgeting 

 

Zoho Books Alternatives

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online is the go-to small business accounting service for business owners in the UK.

While Zoho Books offers a free plan for businesses that make less than £35,000 per year, QuickBooks Online doesn’t have a free option (although there is a 30-day free trial).

However, the pricing for QuickBooks Online’s paid plans is very reasonable, starting at just £12 a month. In addition, QuickBooks Online currently offers a 50% discount for the first three months on all its plans.

Other accounting platforms offer similar features, such as invoicing, expense tracking and time tracking. However, where Zoho Books falls short in its lack of a payroll solution for its UK users, which in QuickBooks Online can be added for just £4 a month, on top of your regular subscription.

Zoho Books vs Xero

Another Zoho Books alternative is Xero, cloud-based accounting software with a focus on providing an easy-to-use and intuitive accounting solution for small businesses.

One advantage of Xero over Zoho Books is that it allows unlimited users in all its plans, while Zoho Books only lets you invite a maximum of 10 users with its highest plan. Xero also includes expense management as an optional add-on that you have to pay extra for, which is not the case with Zoho Books.

However, Xero lacks a free plan, making Zoho Books the obvious choice for small businesses searching for a free accounting solution. Xero’s entry-level plan also only includes 20 invoices per month, which is still less the Zoho’s free plan, which limits users to 1,000 invoices a year.

Zoho Books vs FreshBooks

FreshBooks is another excellent solution for small businesses looking to move their accounting to the cloud. It is one of the few accounting platforms that include an unlimited number of invoices in all its plans, making it one of the best invoicing solutions on the market.

FreshBooks also boasts a highly intuitive user interface and a robust set of features, from time tracking to expense management. However, similarily to Xero and QuickBooks, it doesn’t have a free plan, and its paid plans range from £11 to £30 a month.

FreshBooks also charges an additional £7 for each new user you add to your account, and similarly to Zoho Books, it lacks a payroll solution, making both platforms unsuitable for businesses looking to automate their payroll processes.

If you are interested to know how FreshBooks stacks up against QuickBooks, check out our detailed FreshBooks vs QuickBooks comparison next. 

 

Wrap Up

To conclude this Zoho Books review, Zoho Books is an excellent cloud accounting solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The software has all the features you need to keep your business finances in order and is particularly well suited for businesses already invested in the Zoho ecosystem of business applications.

The only downside is that it lacks payroll tools, which is something to keep in mind if you’re looking for an all-in-one accounting solution for your business. But overall, Zoho Books is a worthwhile investment for any small business owner looking for feature-rich and affordable accounting software.

FAQ

Are Zoho Books good?

Yes, Zoho Books is a good accounting tool for small businesses. It’s affordable, easy to use and offers all the features you need to manage your finances effectively, including invoicing, expense tracking, tax planning and reporting.

Does Zoho Books work offline?

No, Zoho Books is cloud-based accounting software, so it requires an internet connection to work. 

What are the disadvantages of Zoho Books?

One disadvantage of Zoho Books is that it doesn’t offer a payroll solution for UK users. Additionally, Zoho Books only allows you to invite up to ten users to your account with its highest plan, while some other accounting platforms allow unlimited users. 

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