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Zoho Books Accounting Software Review

Donna Fuscaldo
Donna Fuscaldo
  • Zoho Books is our pick as the best accounting software for microbusinesses in 2021.
  • This affordable accounting software lets you create, send, and track invoices and is extremely easy to use.
  • Zoho Books operates a client portal that enables you and your customers to collaborate in real time online.
  • This review is for small business owners who want to learn about Zoho's accounting software and why it's our best pick for microbusinesses.

Freelancers, entrepreneurs and microbusinesses need accounting software just as much as larger firms. Finding the right accounting software for a microbusiness requires focus on both price and usability. Zoho Books stood out in our search as an elite accounting solution for microbusinesses.

Zoho Books Accounting Software

Zoho Books Accounting Software

The Verdict

Zoho Books is our pick as the best accounting software for microbusinesses. It is affordable and offers a simple online accounting app that lets you create and send invoices, track expenses, and seamlessly connect accounts.

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Zoho Books Accounting Software

Affordable pricing 2/2
Free trial 2/2
Integrations 2/2
Invoicing and bill pay 1.75/2
Mobile app 1/2
Editor's score 8.75/10

For this category, we looked for accounting software for very small businesses – or microbusinesses – such as freelancers, consultants, sole proprietors, and individuals operating e-commerce and home-based businesses.

While price is always a consideration, it's especially important for microbusinesses, so we looked for software that is both inexpensive and highly capable. We wanted to find a scalable application that very small businesses can continue to use as they grow, with options to upgrade to higher plans and integrate with other business applications. We also wanted it to have a mobile app that helps busy entrepreneurs keep up with their accounting tasks on the go.

After much research and analysis of accounting software, we recommend Zoho Books as the best accounting software for microbusinesses in 2021.

Check out our best picks page to learn more about the best accounting software options for your business.

Zoho Books Pricing

Microbusinesses don't need complicated, pricey accounting software; they need affordable software that can grow with their operations. Zoho Books is a simple online accounting software application that syncs with your accounts and covers all the basics, allowing you to create and send invoices, track time and expenses, and generate reports.

Like many accounting software platforms, Zoho Books offers three pricing plans. If you choose to pay annually rather than monthly, you receive a discounted rate.

  • The Standard plan costs $15 per month and supports three users. You can manage up to 50,000 invoices, reconcile transactions, create invoices, track mileage and expenses, and manage projects and timesheets.

  • The Professional plan costs $40 per month and supports five users. You get everything in the standard plan plus the ability to send recurring invoices, make sales orders, manage purchase orders and handle multi-currencies.

  • The Premium plan costs $60 per month and supports 10 users. You get everything in the two other plans as well as a vendor portal, a custom domain, budgeting tools, and integration with Zoho Sign and Twilio.

  • Additional users cost $2.50. You can add extra users to any of the plans.

  • Snail mail credits cost $2 each. If your customers prefer hard copies of your estimates or invoices and you don't want to print them out and mail them yourself, you can purchase snail mail credits and have Zoho send them for you. Mail sent to customers in the U.S. costs one credit and takes five business days to arrive. Mail sent to international customers costs two credits and takes 10-15 days to arrive.

  • Auto-scans cost $8 per month for 50 This add-on feature scans the documents you upload – such as receipts or vendor invoices – and uses the data to create new transactions.
Zoho offers different pricing plans depending on the number of users and invoices you send each month.

Overall, Zoho Books offers competitive pricing plans that should meet the expectations of most freelancers or very small businesses. While some freelancers might opt for free accounting software, Zoho Books is well worth the monthly cost.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: Zoho Books has three pricing plans to fit all microbusinesses' budgets. Its standard plan is only $15 a month and gives you the ability to manage 50,000 invoices. 

Zoho Books Accounting Features

Accounting can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a business. It was no surprise, then, that the small business owners we spoke with said the most important thing they look for in accounting software is features that save them time. Zoho Books' automation and online payment features meet this requirement.

  • Automations: Zoho Books saves you time by automating your workflow. You can set up the software to automatically perform tasks like sending recurring invoices and payment reminders, tracking expenses, and notifying you when your bills are due. You can set up bank rules to automatically categorize transactions when they're imported each day from your bank feed, and the software identifies possible matches when you're reconciling your accounts. 
  • Invoicing: You can convert sales orders or estimates to invoices with a couple of clicks, edit the invoice as needed, and drag and drop lines to rearrange them. You can send them immediately or schedule them to send at a later time. The software keeps an audit trail, so you can see which transactions are linked, the user who created or changed them, and the date and time of the change.

Zoho Books has built-in inventory solutions that enable you to track and reorder inventory on the fly.
  • Online payments: You can connect your account to popular payment gateways like Authorize.Net, Braintree, PayPal, Square, Stripe, WePay, Worldpay and 2Checkout, allowing your customers to pay their invoices instantly online. This is an efficient way for you to receive funds and keep track of paid and unpaid invoices. Plus, it gives your customers a convenient, hassle-free way to pay for your products and services.

  • Mobile app: Like many accounting programs, Zoho Books has a mobile app. What makes Zoho Books' app different is that it's available on more devices than most, running on the iPhone, iPad, iMessage, Apple Watch, Android phones, tablets and smartwatches, and Windows phones. You can manage invoices and estimates, track payments and expenses, upload receipts, run reports, and view your dashboard for at-a-glance insights. It supports multiple users, and you can control the data they're able to access.

  • Time-tracking and project management tools: These features are included on all Zoho Books plans and allow you to create tasks and track billable hours. You can bill at a fixed cost or based on project hours, task hours, or staff hours. You can also budget hours per project, task or staff member.

Did you know?Did you know? Zoho Books has many features that will benefit microbusinesses, including accounting process automation, invoicing, online payments, and tools for time tracking and project management. Zoho also has a mobile app that supports more devices than most accounting software vendors do.

Zoho Books Pros

A major plus of Zoho Books is how easy it is to use, with a dashboard that is clear and simple to navigate. You get at-a-glance views of your business's financial performance through widgets for receivables and payables with current and overdue amounts, top expenses, projects with billable hours and expenses, bank and credit card accounts, and a cash flow chart.

To try Zoho Books yourself, consider signing up for a free 14-day trial – no credit card required. You can also learn more about this accounting software by watching the company's webinars and tutorial videos. As usual, we recommend using the free trial to better understand how the platform works and how it can benefit your business.

Another aspect of Zoho Books that stood out to us is its client portal that your customers can use to discuss and accept or decline estimates, view and pay their invoices, and download account statements. If your work is project-based, you can share project details such as tasks and logged hours. This is a particularly helpful feature for businesses that work closely with their clients on projects. If you want feedback from your customers, you can set up the portal to allow them to review your services.

With Zoho's client portal, you can collaborate with customers, send invoices and accept payments.

Invoice customization is easy. Sixteen templates are available, and each allows you to choose from multiple fonts and select any color for several elements. You can add a logo and background image, select which fields to include, and edit field text. The templates allow you to choose a different display language, which is useful if you have international customers. Templates are also available for documents such as estimates, credit notes and payment receipts. This type of customization tends to benefit businesses; it's always good for branding purposes to design your solutions to look the way you like.

Zoho has its own suite of business apps that you can connect to this accounting software, though some cost extra. It has customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing and social media marketing solutions, spreadsheet editors, and other productivity tools.

Like its competitors, Zoho Books integrates with third-party productivity apps and business solutions, including Google apps, the Square point-of-sale (POS) system, several credit card processors, and tax services Tax1099 and Avalara. It also has a Zapier integration, which allows you to connect to more than 1,000 third-party apps.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: There are several reasons why Zoho Books stood out to us, earning our best pick for microbusinesses. Take how easy the software is to use for starters. You can quickly navigate the dashboard, access full invoicing capabilities, and add integrations and apps to support other aspects of your business. Another plus is the client portal that makes it easy to collaborate with customers.

Zoho Books Cons

Although Zoho Books is packed with features, there are a couple of drawbacks you need to consider. For starters, there's a cap of 5,000 transactions per month. That won't matter to microbusinesses, but it may become an issue as you grow.

Additionally, while the software can support multiple businesses under a single account, you need to pay a separate subscription for each organization.

Did you know?Did you know? Zoho Books has a cap of 5,000 transactions per month, which shouldn't be an issue for microbusinesses but might not be ideal as you grow.

Customer Support

Zoho Books offers email, live chat, and 24-hour phone support five days a week in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, India, and several other countries. You can also find help online in Zoho Books' searchable knowledgebase and customer forums.

Image Credit: AndreyPopov / Getty Images
Zoho Books Accounting Software

Zoho Books Accounting Software

The Verdict

Zoho Books is our pick as the best accounting software for microbusinesses. It is affordable and offers a simple online accounting app that lets you create and send invoices, track expenses, and seamlessly connect accounts.

Visit Site
Donna Fuscaldo
Donna Fuscaldo
Business News Daily Staff
Donna Fuscaldo is a senior finance writer at business.com and has more than two decades of experience writing about business borrowing, funding, and investing for publications including the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Bankrate, Investopedia, Motley Fool, and Foxbusiness.com. Most recently she was a senior contributor at Forbes covering the intersection of money and technology before joining business.com. Donna has carved out a name for herself in the finance and small business markets, writing hundreds of business articles offering advice, insightful analysis, and groundbreaking coverage. Her areas of focus at business.com include business loans, accounting, and retirement benefits.