Zoho | Zoho Books

Zoho was founded in 1996 as AdventNet. The company rebranded to Zoho in 2009. Headquartered in India with US headquarters in Pleasanton, CA, Zoho is better known for their CRM application having launched Zoho Books in 2011.

zoho-screenZoho Books is classic double-entry accounting deployed as a hosted cloud application. The product is much more functional than most of the newer SaaS entry-level accounting applications on the market with a true chart of accounts structure and stronger overall accounting and financial reporting. Zoho Books more closely resembles an entry-level ERP application with inventory management and formalized purchase order and sales order processes. Like most of the entry-level accounting systems, it is also very strong in project accounting with excellent time tracking and expense reporting.

Inventory costing supports the FIFO or first-in-first-out costing method. The system does not support standard, actual (lot), average, or LIFO last-in-first-out costing but neither do any of their direct competitors. It’s worth mentioning that Zoho Books offers custom user-defined fields (UDFs) in several areas including inventory which make it much more adaptable than most other entry-level accounting systems.

Known as a CRM vendor, the integration to Zoho CRM makes Zoho Books a fantastic option for sales-driven businesses including some smaller distributors but there is no real manufacturing capabilities within the product limiting the product for even light manufacturers or more complex distribution kits.

Some of the features that really make Zoho nice are the online customer portal where clients can pay bills online, multi-company management, and estimates that can be quickly and easily converted to sales orders or invoices.

Zoho Books also has a stronger and more flexible security system than similarly-priced competitors with role-based access to many common tasks. Mobile apps are available for IOS, Android, and Windows.

Zoho Books is available in multiple editions starting with Basic for $9 per company per month limited to 50 contacts, 2 users (1 user and 1 accountant) and 5 automated workflows. Standard Edition is just $19 per company per month for up to 500 contacts, 3 users (2 users and 1 accountant), and 10 automated workflows plus a few extra bells and whistles. Professional is $29 per company per month with unlimited contacts, unlimited users, 10 automated workflows, and access to purchase orders, sales orders, and inventory.

Zoho offers much more than just accounting software. The company is known for CRM, their email application, and custom application development platform. Zoho CRM includes reports, surveys, marketing campaigns, websites, social media, contacts, forms, and more. They even have apps for employee recruitment and staff management. Zoho also recently introduced an app marketplace with about 50 apps currently listed.

With all of the features available, we see Zoho competing for larger businesses with 100 (or potentially more) employees so long as their business requirements do not exceed the core features of the application. Zoho as an organization offers not just accounting and CRM software, but a platform to build a small business.

Many reviews online point to the lack of payroll as a major gap. We disagree. While it may be nice to have payroll within the same platform as the accounting – it’s not critical and there are many great payroll applications available on the market including outsourced payroll services.


Zoho Corporation

4141 Hacienda Drive

Pleasanton, CA 94588

1 (877) 834-4428


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