Zoho Books Accounting Review 2024 – Features, Pricing, Pros & Cons

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Our Verdict

Modular accounting made simple (and budget-friendly!)

Zoho Books is a top accounting software choice for small retail or e-commerce businesses with less than 15 employees. It covers all the accounting essentials — invoicing, expenses, bank reconciliation, taxes, and custom reporting; plus it boasts excellent vendor and inventory management capabilities.

The platform is also very flexible, thanks to other Zoho modules that you can add to it, and it integrates with over 850 apps, thanks to Zoho Flow.

Another advantage of Zoho Books for SMBs is that it’s one of the most affordable solutions on the market. You can even get started with a free plan and take as much time as you need to test out the platform before scaling up to one of the paid plans.

Pros

  • Has a free forever plan, so you can test it risk-free
  • Offers a ton of automations for financial processes
  • Comes with time-tracking and project management
  • Facilitates client communication and collaboration
  • Provides advanced inventory tracking and management

Cons

  • Restrictions regarding the number of users and custom reports on most pricing plans
  • The bank account and credit card connection can break on occasion
  • The quality and knowledge of customer support varies

What is Zoho Books?

Zoho Books is a cost-effective, easy-to-use online accounting software for SMBs that want to streamline invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, and inventory management. The platform is also flexible and can easily be integrated with other modules in Zoho’s arsenal, as well as with over 850 third-party apps and tools.

In this Zoho Books review, we’ll go over the key features and functionalities of the accounting software, see how it compares to its top competitors, and help you determine whether it’s the right fit for your business.

Zoho Books Plans & Pricing

Zoho Books offers six different pricing plans for you to choose from, including a free forever plan for smaller businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue. Additionally, you pay a fixed monthly price for your organization, which makes Zoho Books super cost-effective for SMBs.

The number of users you can have with each pricing plan is limited, but you can always add additional users to your account for $2.5/user/month, meaning that Zoho Books is incredibly easy to scale as you grow and expand your business.

To note, while Zoho Books provides prices per month, they charge on an annual basis and don’t include any local taxes.

Here’s a breakdown of Zoho Books’ pricing plans:

Plan Monthly Cost Users Manage Expenses Reporting Customer Support
Free $0 1 user + 1 accountant Basic reports Email
Standard $15/month Invite 3 users 10 custom reports Email, Voice, Chat
Professional $40/month Invite 5 users 25 custom reports Email, Voice, Chat
Premium $60/month Invite 10 users 50 custom reports
Cash flow forecasting reports
Email, Voice, Chat
Elite $120/month Invite 10 users Unlimited custom reports Email, Voice, Chat
Ultimate $240/month Invite 15 users Advanced analytics and fully customizable reporting Email, Voice, Chat
Free Plan — $0/Month

The Zoho Books free plan is limited to a single user plus your accountant and is a great way to try out Zoho Books in practice without committing to a monthly payment. You’ll have access to all the accounting basics, such as chart of accounts, client portal, invoicing, payment reminders, bank and credit statements import, taxes, and reporting. One thing to note is that you’ll be limited to managing up to 1,000 invoices per annum.

Standard Plan — Starts at $15/Month

The Standard package lets you invite up to three users, increases the limit of annual invoices you can manage to 5,000, and lets you leverage custom fields and generate up to 10 custom reports each month. It also features Journal templates, so you won’t have to create new journal entries from scratch.

Professional Plan — Starts at $40/Month

The Professional tier adds project tasks into the mix, along with timesheets and billing, sales approval, vendor credits, purchase orders, currency adjustment, and stock tracking (inventory management).

It also lets you utilize contextual chat to get in touch with other users on your Zoho account, so you won’t have to rely on Slack or other communication channels. Instead, you’ll be able to ping your accounting team directly in Zoho Books, ensuring that not a single message gets lost.

In this tier, you get access to Zhozo’z project management system  which allows you tracking client expenses, automate processes, and more within the Zoho suite.

Premium Plan Starts at $60/Month

The Premium plan includes a custom domain and a vendor portal, which makes it much easier to communicate with your vendors and restock. It also introduces budgeting, custom buttons, and validation rules, as well as lets you create 10 custom modules and generate up to 50 custom reports per month.

Elite Plan — Starts at $120/Month

Elite introduces unlimited custom reports, enables advanced multi-currency handling, and gives you advanced inventory controls. The inventory controls include integrations with up to two Shopify stores, warehouse management for up to 5 warehouses, serial number, batch, and shipment tracking.

This plan is ideal for retailers and e-commerce businesses who want to continuously monitor inventory levels and ensure they never run out of stock.

Ultimate Plan — Starts at $240/Month

The Ultimate package lets you utilize up to 25 custom modules, making it easy to align with the unique needs of your business. It does require a bit of technical knowledge and extensive communication with the Zoho team, but in return, you get a comprehensive accounting software solution that’s fully tailored to your organization.

Additionally, the Ultimate plan unlocked advanced analytics and reporting, with real-time tracking and analysis of key financial metrics, custom reports and dashboards, easy export options, and embedded reports on sites and within applications.

Zoho Books Review: Key Features

Zoho Books is one of the best accounting software on the market. The platform helps you streamline and automate virtually every aspect of accounting and handling of financial data in your small business. That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that most of the advanced features are only available on higher-priced tiers, so carefully consider which features you need and how different tiers align with your budget.

Here’s a breakdown of the key Zoho Books features and functionalities so you can see exactly what the platform offers:

Invoicing and QuotesBills and ExpensesCustomer PortalProjectsInventorySales and Purchase Orders

With Zoho Books, you can create customized, professional invoices in seconds – and recurring invoices at that. The platform lets you add your company logo, change the template’s colors, customize fonts, and add descriptions for every line item in the invoice. You can also select the preferred payment method or offer your clients multiple options to ensure you get paid faster.

We found the option to add late payment reminders to invoices helpful as it means that we didn’t have to chase any clients for late payments – the system handles it for you automatically. What’s best, you’ll be able to charge global customers in their local currencies, and the platform will automatically record payments in your currency.

When it comes to quotes, you can choose from a gallery of customizable templates, digitally sign them before sending them to potential customers, and leverage the Customer Portal to send them, collaborate with clients in real-time, and confirm and close deals.

Zoho Books lets you create bills for all recurring purchases, minimizing manual work and saving you precious time. It also lets you approve and verify bills before they’re paid, track landed costs, and associate clients/customers with billable items. You can even convert purchase orders into bills with a single click of a button, streamlining the process and ensuring accuracy.

With Zoho Books, you’ll also be able to easily track vendor credits, apply them to bills, or use them to receive a refund.

During our testing we found the dashboard to be easy to use and we had all the details we needed such as income, business expenses, and purchases. It features graphs, lists, and pie charts, so you’ll have a great overview of the money coming in and out of your business at a glance.

The Customer Portal (also part of Zoho CRM) greatly facilitates client collaboration by letting them easily communicate with your team, leave feedback, review quotes and invoices, digitally sign documents, and make bulk payments to your business.

You’ll also get real-time notifications for every action your client takes — when they view your invoice, accept or decline, leave comments, or make payments.

The Projects functionality lets you track billable hours for every project you’re executing makes it easy to keep track of multiple projects and assess their profitability, and makes it easier for your team members to collaborate, thanks to role-based access and in-app communication.

It also makes it easier to manage expenses for each project, as well as makes it possible to receive advances (retainers) for projects, improving your cash flow.

Inventory management in Zoho Books is straightforward with Zoho Inventory, so it’s easy to capture all key product details (SKUs, images, cost, vendor details), monitor stock levels, and set reorder levels to automate purchase order creation.

You’ll be able to monitor inventory changes in real-time and generate in-depth inventory reports, so you’ll have insight into which items and categories are the most popular and which ones are gathering dust in your warehouse.

The Sales Orders functionality enables you to quickly convert quotes into invoices after confirming a sale, facilitates shipping, and gives you valuable insight into your sales.

One interesting aspect of this is that Zoho Books allows you to create partial invoices if a client orders larger quantities of items than you have in stock. It also lets you create purchase orders if you need to restock before fulfilling the full order.

Speaking of Purchase Orders, Zoho Books automatically logs every detail of each purchase, makes it easy to convert purchase orders into bills, and enables you to print, clone, and share orders via email, facilitating collaboration and helping you get things done faster.

Zoho Books Integrations

Zoho, as a platform, relies on Zoho Flow to integrate with over 850 apps and tools, so it’s easy to connect to your existing software stack. The integrations cover everything from popular project management tools like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp to CRMs, communication apps, and marketing and productivity tools.

Additionally, Zoho Books integrates natively with the other tools in Zoho’s arsenal, such as Zoho Payroll. So, while Zoho Books itself doesn’t offer payroll processing, you can integrate the two modules and use Zoho for both your accounting and payroll needs.

What is Zoho Books Good For?

Zoho Books is a top accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses due to its flexible pricing. A small business can benefit from choosing a pricing tier that meets all their needs without paying for unnecessary features. Retail and e-commerce companies will find Zoho Books especially beneficial for inventory management, sales, and purchase orders. However, large enterprises might be better off choosing other accounting software that covers more in-depth accounting needs.

Zoho Books Customer Reviews

The user reviews of Zoho Books are overwhelmingly positive, with the average ratings on popular review sites ranging from 4.0/5 to over 4.5/5 stars. Users almost universally agree that the platform’s strongest suites are its ease of use, flexibility of modules, mobile apps, integration capabilities, and affordability.

Zoho has a very simple, intuitive interface that makes learning and using it easy. At the same time, their analytics are robust and reveal tons of helpful info. For the price point, its the best among its competitors from our experience.

User review from Trustpilot.

As far as drawbacks of the accounting software go, users cite occasional communication issues with customer support, hiccups with bank connections, and limits to the number of users/contacts on all pricing plans.

Zoho Books Alternatives

Provider Zoho Books QuickBooks Sage Oracle NetSuite
Best for SMBs that want to streamline and automate accounting processes SMBs looking to automate invoicing, payroll, tax filing, and time tracking Solo entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses looking for a simple accounting solution Enterprises that need a full-featured cloud-based accounting platform with great customization options
Starting Price Free From $18/month From $17.80/month Custom quote
Free Trial Free forever plan 30-day free trial 30-day free trial
Payroll No (Integration with Zoho Payroll available) Paid add-on
Reporting Custom reports Custom reports Smart, customizable financial reports Customizable financial reports
Mobile App
Zoho Books vs QuickBooks

Zoho Books and QuickBooks are quite similar in terms of core functionalities. Both are cloud-based accounting software that covers invoicing, expense tracking, bookkeeping automation, automatic payment reminders, tax deductions, receipt capture, and financial reporting.

That said, Zoho Books has a few distinct advantages. It’s better for assigning billable hours to specific projects, makes it easier to create sales and purchase orders, and offers better integration capabilities.

QuickBooks, on the other hand, is more affordable if you want access to all features on one of the premium plans, and it provides the option of assisted bookkeeping for a flat $50/month fee.

Read more in our QuickBooks review.

Zoho Books vs Sage

Both Zoho Books and Sage are excellent accounting software solutions for small businesses, with a few key distinctions.

In addition to the core accounting functionalities, Sage allows you to manage the books for multiple companies, gives you access to advanced budgeting tools, lets you create job (project) cost projections, and comes with some industry-specific functionalities (construction, manufacturing, and distribution).

As you might’ve guessed, Sage is a slightly more expensive option as a result. Zoho Books is also more intuitive, with a cleaner, more user friendly interface and easier-to-understand reports with a lower learning curve.

Read more in our Sage accounting review.

Zoho Books vs Oracle NetSuite

Oracle NetSuite is a complex, reliable software and feature-rich business management platform, with accounting being only one aspect of it. As such, it’s much better suited for established businesses and large enterprises, considering it acts as a one-stop shop for all your business needs. It’s much more expensive than the alternatives, especially considering the monthly licensing fee and the upfront implementation cost.

On the contrary, Zoho Books is super easy to implement, can be quickly integrated with your existing software stack, and is a much more cost-effective solution for a small business that needs a specific set of accounting functionalities.

Read more in our Oracle NetSuite review.

How to Use Zoho Books - Quick Guide

To access Zoho Books successfully simply follow our easy step-by-step guide below.

  1. Sign up to Zoho Books

    You can sign up to Zoho Books for free or select a pricing plan. The free trial allows you to test out all the functionality available before you choose the plan that best suits your business.
  2. Set up Organization/Migrate from previous software

    Log in, go to Settings > Profile, and fill in the information to get your company organized. If you’re currently set up with another software, simply import your existing data to Zoho.
    Set up Organization/Migrate from previous software
  3. Set up your dashboard

    Zoho Books will guide you through, in detail, how to customize your dashboard to show your company’s finances. You’ll get an overview of your cash flow, top expenses, projects, and more.
    Set up your dashboard
  4. Open balances

    For the software to work properly, you need to import the closing balances of your previous financial year. To do this, go to Settings > Organization > Opening Balances > Enter Opening Balance Date.
    Open balances
  5. Ready to use

    Your Zoho Books account is now set up and ready to use.
Methodology

How We Review and Test Accounting Products

To provide our readers with accurate and well-informed recommendations, we test the most popular accounting products on the market to find the best options for you. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Features: We examine the features of each accounting software to determine what capabilities are offered- such as creating, editing, and deleting transactions.
  • Compliance: We evaluate accounting software based on whether it offers local compliance when it comes to payroll, taxes, documentation, and more.
  • Bank Reconciliation: We test the reconciliation process to ensure transactions match bank statements accurately.
  • Multi-Currency Support: We verify the accuracy of currency conversions and transactions in multi-currency environments.
  • User Experience: We get hands-on with each product and act as a new user, testing each platform to gain understanding if the platform is easy to use or not.
  • Reporting and Documentation: We verify the accuracy of financial reports generated by the software such as balance sheets and income statements.
  • Integrations: We evaluate the integrations of each piece of software to determine how well it fits in with other key pieces in a business’s software stack, and whether its functionality can be expanded as required.
  • Audit Trails: We ensure the software maintains comprehensive audit trails for tracking changes made to financial data.

FAQs

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Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert
Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…