Zoho Invoice: Invoices With Integration Options

September 8th, 2008

Zoho Invoice LogoIt may the most important part of any business – the part where the money comes in – so it’s not surprising that there are so many applications that help manage our invoicing. This week we’ll be talking about several of the applications which focus primarily on invoicing, starting with Zoho Invoices.

When we think about invoicing applications it is helpful to remember the problems they solve; the complicated tracking process, the need to recreate invoices on a scheduled basis, and to make sure that they are paid out in a timely manner. Zoho Invoice is one application that solves these problems, and adds in a few extra features that are sure to please businesses. Let’s take a look.

After signing in, Zoho Invoice comes across as an incredibly easy to set up invoicing system with equally easy navigation across the pages. This is mostly due to a visually pleasing interface, but it also has a lot to with the quick links to every area of the program, all from the Welcome Page. There are immediate options to configure your time zone and currency (Zoho Invoice supports multiple currencies), upload your logo, and links to input the details that make invoicing simple; client’s information, information on the products or services you sell, and customization.

Zoho Invoice Screenshot

Color-wise, Zoho Invoice allows only the barest of customization – a choice of one of four color schemes – yet the customization within invoicing is impressive. You can customize emails and even customize the invoices themselves with a pull down list of templates. In addition to time saving customization, Zoho Invoice uses the common layout of tabs to divide up the functions of invoicing, breaking it into estimates, invoices, customers, items, and reports.

The first tab is “Home,” but we would know it as the dashboard, a place to see open invoices, sales, and receipts at a glance. Amounts listed under invoices and sales are linked to corresponding pages, so if you are wondering about an amount, you are always a click away from the answer.

The Estimates tab is as the name suggests, a place for you to generate estimates. This is an excellent bonus for an invoice application, since, having already entered in all the services and product information for the invoices, an estimate is almost complete. Under the Estimates tab there are options for importing, exporting, and as you will see with each tab from this one on, quick links to invoices, items, and invoices that you want to automatically recurr (Zoho Invoice calls these “Recurring Profiles”). For users that are generating estimates (or for that matter invoices), the links bring you to the tab with that information quickly, so if you’re generating an estimate for a recurring customer and want to double check the details on two similar items you are never far from that information.

The tab that follows Estimates is Invoices, and as you may imagine, this is where most of the activity is centered. Create invoices, keep them in drafts, and check on the status of any invoice, closed or otherwise all from this tab. Easily recognizable icons keep you up to date of invoices for at a glance status, and there are one click buttons to edit or add payment from the Invoices dashboard or within the invoice dialog box. As with estimates, invoices are exportable as .xls, .csv, .tsv, and json and importable as .csv and .tsv.

Zoho Screenshot

Following Invoices is the tab for Customers, where you can put in customers and add the people at those companies that handle accounting. A private note field on the Customer dialog box lets you put in specialized information that will show in the Customers dashboard. If there were specialized instructions on how to send an invoice, for example, this information is readily available under this tab. As part of the larger Zoho suite, Zoho Invoice allows of an import and sync of the Zoho CRM, so that your customer list will be as up to date as it can be. The Customers tab also allows users to set the terms for specific customers (net 15, 30, etc.) and see a contact list of all contacts, should you ever need to track down a specific person. Setting a customer’s profile to active or suspended allows you to separate who you need to see and who is part of the financial history, and is easily reversible if you need to bring back old customers.

The Items tab allows you to put in an item or service that is used frequently in invoices, setting price, giving it a description, and setting the tax rates. Items can be applied to estimates as well as invoices, and can be imported as part of the Zoho CRM or .csv.

No invoicing application would be complete without log term tracking, and Zoho Invoice has done this with a Reports tab that lets you create reports from the activity. Aging reports, invoices by status, date, balance reports, payment reports, and sales by customer reports are all possible under this tab, filtered by date.

Zoho Invoice is a resource for any invoice need, however, we did find some detractions to the service. For one, with international invoices you can not set an amount in that location’s currency, which would be a potential bonus depending on exchange rates; instead you must manually input the rate of exchange, at which time you have locked in that rate. Customers receiving that locked in rate may not appreciate it either – they may see it as a repricing of the item. It would also be good to also have another function integrated into the invoices dialog box, so while you were creating the invoice you could set it to reoccur. As it stands the only way to create a reoccuring invoice is to hit the “Reoccuring” icon, which is available under most tabs, but absent from the invoice dialog box.

Zoho Reports Screenshot

Starting with a free plan, Zoho Invoice is a value for light invoicing (there is a limit of five per month), but with paid subscriptions the limit for monthly invoices can go as high as 1500, with the additional features of unbranded emails. All plans include SSL encryption, email replies for payments, and Zoho Projects integration. To find Zoho, and similar applications, there is the Listio search invoice+business.

Next in this series: Invoices Made Easy: Invoicing Through The Mail

Application: Zoho Invoice
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/Zoho-Invoice/
Website: http://invoice.zoho.com
Online invoicing & billing solution with template support, makes invoice creation, sending & tracking simple. Print & save invoices, quotes as PDF.... Learn more

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One Response to “Zoho Invoice: Invoices With Integration Options”

  1. Sivaramakrishnan Iswaran Says:

    Thanks for the excellent review.

    Not sure whether I have understood the problem you have mentioned with respect to raising international invoices (invoices in foreign currency), the following is what we do-

    Now for sending international invoices (invoices in foreign currency) we get the item rates in base currency (local currency) and then calculate the value of the item in foreign currency based on the specified exchange rate.

    Yes, we will make the necessary enhancements so that the user will have the option to directly enter the rate of the items in foreign currency. Thanks for this input.


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