Zoho Books Accounting Review 2024

Our Verdict

Modular accounting made simple (and budget-friendly!)

Zoho Books is a top 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

Zoho Books is a cost-effective, easy-to-use accounting solution for SMBs that want to streamline invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, and inventory management. The platform is also quite 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 review, we’ll go over the key features and functionalities of Zoho Books, 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/Per user Users Payroll Double Entry 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 — $0/Month

The 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, 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 — Starts at $15/Month

The Standard package lets you invite three other 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 — 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.

Premium — Starts at $60/Month

Premium 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 — 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 — 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 Overview

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re getting for your money with Zoho Books, here’s a quick overview of the platform:

Starting price Free
Best for SMBs that want to streamline and automate accounting processes
Customer support Email, Voice, Chat
App integrations Zoho CRM, Zoho Payroll, Stripe, PayPal, WePay, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Lucid Chart, Trello, Asana
Security & Compliance Encryption at rest and in transit, hardware-level and operational security, SSO, MFA, various compliance certifications, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, etc.
Payroll
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app
Double entry
E-signatures
Auto-alerts and reminders

Features

Zoho Books is a feature-rich platform that helps you streamline and automate virtually every aspect of accounting in your company. 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 Quotes

Professional invoices with Zoho Books

With Zoho Books, you can create customized, professional invoices in seconds. 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.

Bills and Expenses

Track bills and expenses with Zoho Books

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, 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.

Customer Portal

Zoho's customer portal

The Customer Portal 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.

Projects

Zoho's projects functionality

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

Zoho's inventory management

Inventory management in Zoho Books is straightforward, 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.

Sales and Purchase Orders

Zoho's sales orders functionality

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.

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.

Zoho Books also natively integrates 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.

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, integration capabilities, and affordability.

Zoho Books review on G2

As far as drawbacks of the 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.

What is Zoho Books Good For?

Zoho Books is an excellent option for small and medium-sized businesses due to its pricing structure. You can even get started for free, learn the ins and outs of the platform, and upgrade to a paid plan later down the line.

Another advantage for smaller businesses is that you can opt for the pricing tier that covers all your needs, meaning you don’t have to pay a premium price for a full-featured app with dozens of features you’ll never use.

Companies in retail and e-commerce will benefit the most from Zoho Books. While other businesses can leverage the platform’s invoicing, expense tracking, and automation capabilities, Zoho Books truly shines when it comes to inventory management and the creation of sales and purchase orders.

Overall, Zoho Books is an affordable accounting software solution for SMBs, but it might not be the best option for large enterprises that require slightly advanced features.

Zoho Books vs Top Competitors

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 platforms cover invoicing, expense tracking, bookkeeping automation, 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 in-depth 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 modern UI and easier-to-understand reports.

Find out all the details on our Sage accounting review.

Zoho Books vs Oracle NetSuite

Oracle NetSuite is a complex, 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 SMBs that need a specific set of accounting functionalities.

Read our full Oracle NetSuite review.

How We Test Accounting Software

Most of the leading accounting solutions on the market are quite similar in terms of their core functionalities. That said, they can greatly differ when it comes to their level of customization, the available automations, pricing, and ease of use.

Here are the key factors we take into account when reviewing and comparing accounting software:

  • Ease of use — The UI of the platform, how easy it is to navigate, and how complex it is to understand and fully utilize all of its features and functionalities
  • Features and functionalities — What features are available on different pricing plans, how customizable the functionalities of the platform are, and whether it offers advanced features as add-ons
  • Pricing — The overall value for money the platform offers, along with limitations (if any) on the number of users, reports, or functionalities on different pricing plans
  • User reviews — What the users of the platform have to say about its ease of use, functionality, value for money, benefits to their business, and potential drawbacks
  • Automations — The automations available and their level of customization
  • Integrations — The available integrations with other key third-party tools, apps, and payment-processing services

How To Choose the Best Accounting Software

There’s a myriad of accounting software solutions to choose from, so you have to know exactly what you’re looking for in order to make the best decision for your business. When assessing a particular accounting tool or platform, you should focus on the following aspects:

  • Features — Carefully consider what features you need and check what the platform offers under different pricing tiers. You don’t want to end up choosing an accounting software that lacks the key functionalities you need or overpaying for a platform if you’ll only be using half of what it offers.
  • Scalability — Your accounting platform needs to support your business’ growth. That’s why it’s crucial to opt for one that lets you easily upscale to a more advanced plan and add more users to your account if the need arises.
  • Value for money — When comparing multiple solutions, try and discern how much value you’re getting for your money with different tools and pricing plans. Ideally, you want a solution that covers all of your needs and aligns with your budget.
  • Integrations — Your chosen accounting platform must integrate with the tools you’re already using in day-to-day business. This will help eliminate duplicate data entry, reduce the risk of human error, save you valuable time, and let you access all your key data in one app.
  • Ease of use — You shouldn’t spend months and hundreds of dollars on training sessions before you’re able to efficiently use your accounting software. That’s why we recommend opting for a platform that’s intuitive and relatively easy to use so you can start streamlining and automating financial processes right away.
  • Customer support — Reputable accounting software should come with excellent customer support that’s quick to respond and knowledgeable. Pay attention to the available ways to contact the support representatives, as well as what other users have to say about the quality of the company’s customer support.

FAQs

What are the disadvantages of Zoho Books?

What is better than Zoho books?

Is Zoho Books really free?

Is Zoho Books the same as QuickBooks?

Why should I use Zoho Books?

Aleksandar Stevanovic

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…