Zoho Books Accounting Software Review 2023

Zoho Books is a great solution for small businesses that already use the brand’s other in-house applications, like Zoho Invoice.
Hillary Crawford
By Hillary Crawford 
Edited by Christine Aebischer

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Zoho Books is ideal for small businesses that already use other Zoho applications for inventory, invoicing or customer relationship management. The affordable, cloud-based accounting software solution automates business workflows, has strong invoicing capabilities, solid inventory management and a convenient mobile app.

Despite its rich feature set, Zoho Books has limited scalability due to its user limits and small number of third-party integrations.

Pros

Cons

  • Offers a free plan.

  • Rich feature set includes excellent invoicing, inventory management, workflow rules and a capable mobile app.

  • 24/5 phone and live chat support in all paid plans.

  • Limited third-party integrations.

  • Highest-tier plan caps number of users at 15 (can add on additional users for a monthly fee).

Zoho Books at a glance

Key features

Includes robust reporting tools, but offers fewer reports than competitors; has customizable invoicing features, advanced inventory control in higher tier plans and a capable mobile app.

Ease of use

Includes tools that help automate the reconciliation process; auto-categorizes transactions for you and lets you set up your own bank rules; no global search function.

Scalability

Highest-tier plan includes 15 users (additional users can be added for a fee); typically serves businesses with less than 100 employees.

Ease of sharing with accountants

Has audit trails and offers easy accountant access; less popular than competitors like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Integrations

Integrates with less than 50 third-party apps; limited choices for direct payroll and point-of-sale integrations.

Customer support

24/5 phone and live chat support included in all paid plans.

Cost

Offers a free plan, plus a range of paid plans.

Advanced features

Includes project tracking tools in paid plans, along with transaction tracking tags; lacks industry-specific reports; users with multiple businesses must pay for separate subscriptions.

How does Zoho Books work?

New users can try out a 14-day free trial of Zoho Books' Premium plan before deciding whether or not to subscribe. To create an account, you’ll need to share your business location, company name and email address. From there you can connect your bank accounts to the software, customize invoices and set up a client portal where you can communicate with customers and ask them for feedback.

After you finish setting up your organization profile, it’s worth getting familiar with the dashboard, which includes overviews of the following information:

  • Total Receivables.

  • Total Payables.

  • Cash Flow.

  • Income & Expense.

  • Top Expenses.

  • Projects.

  • Bank & Credit Cards.

Pricing and features

Plan

Pricing

Features

Free

Free (only for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue).

  • Access for one user and one accountant.

  • Client portal.

  • Customizable invoicing with automatic payment reminders.

  • Expense tracking.

  • Mobile app for sending invoices on the go and tracking mileage.

  • Manage 1099 contractors.

  • Basic reports.

  • Create bank rules that automatically categorize transactions.

Standard

$20 per month, or $180 annually.

All Free plan features, plus the following:

  • Access for up to three users.

  • Track project expenses and create project tasks.

  • Reporting tags for tracking transactions by location, etc.

  • Sales tax tracking.

  • Bill customers based on time spent on a project.

  • Create custom fields for invoices, etc.

Professional

$50 per month, or $480 annually.

All Standard plan features, plus the following:

  • Access for up to five users.

  • Create sales and purchase orders.

  • Handle multi-currency transactions.

  • Custom user roles.

  • Create up to 10 workflow rules.

  • Track project profitability.

Premium

$70 per month, or $720 annually.

All Professional plan features, plus the following:

  • Access for up to 10 users.

  • Vendor portal.

  • Up to 200 workflow rules.

  • Create custom reports.

Elite

$150 per month, or $1,440 annually.

All Premium plan features, plus the following:

  • Report for forecasting cash flow.

  • Sync with up to two Shopify stores.

  • Manage up to five warehouses.

  • Track serial numbers.

  • Print shipping labels and track shipments.

Ultimate

$275 per month, or $2,880 annually.

All Elite plan features, plus the following:

  • Access for up to 15 users.

  • View reports and dashboards in real time.

  • Collaborate with colleagues to create reports.

  • Export or print reports.

Benefits of Zoho Books

Rich feature set

Despite the fact that Zoho Books has fewer reports than some of its competitors, the software’s invoicing capabilities, inventory management features and mobile app compete with those of QuickBooks Online.

You can add your business’s logo to invoices, customize the font, convert estimates and automatically send payment reminders to clients. The product surpasses basic inventory count capabilities with low stock alerts, reorder points and a free barcode generator. Advanced inventory control, which comes with the Elite plan, gives you access to serial number tracking and Shopify store integrations, too. The mobile app lets you scan receipts, view basic reports, send invoices and track mileage.

Similar to QuickBooks Online and Xero, Zoho Books’ paid plans also include reporting tags that allow you to track transactions by location or department.

Cost

In addition to its free plan for businesses with annual revenue below $50,000, Zoho Books has five paid plans that fall anywhere between $20 per month and $275 per month. Though the free plan does not track sales tax or enable recurring expenses, it does include customizable invoicing, reconciliation tools and bank rules.

Customer support

Zoho Books stands out for offering 24/5 phone and live chat support to users subscribing to paid plans. While some free products, like Wave Accounting, limit users to a self-service help center, Zoho Books’ free plan does come with email support.

Drawbacks of Zoho Books

Limited third-party integrations

Zoho Books has significantly fewer third-party integrations than competitors like QuickBooks and Xero, making the product a better choice for business owners that already use in-house Zoho apps. Before subscribing to any accounting software, make sure it integrates directly with your payroll and POS software at the very least.

Lower user limits than competitors

Whereas products like Xero and Wave accommodate an unlimited number of users, Zoho Books’ most expensive Ultimate plan caps users at 15. For comparison, QuickBooks Online also caps the number of users you can have. However, its top tier plan allows for 25 collaborators. You can add additional users to Zoho Books for $3 per person per month.

Zoho Books alternatives

Bookkeeping and accounting software

QuickBooks
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on QuickBooks' website

QuickBooks Online $30 per month and up. Read Review.

FreshBooks
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on FreshBooks' website

FreshBooks Accounting $15 per month and up. Read Review.

Sage 50cloud $48.17 per month (when paid annually) and up.

Wave
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Wave Financial Free (add-ons available).

Xero
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on Xero's website

Xero $13 per month and up.

Methodology

NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including scope of features and integrations, customer support and cost, among others. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software.

These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. Simplicity doesn't always translate into ease of use. Less scalable products are typically simpler, but diminished functionality can cause headaches down the road for growing businesses. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.