Integrated Online Accounting and Bookkeeping With Zoho Books

Zoho, a provider of an extensive suite of 26 web applications, many of which we’ve written about previously, is now offering a bookkeeping and accounting system called Zoho Books. It will compete with online business accounting systems like LessAccounting and QuickBooks Online.

I was given a preview of the app, and the folks at Zoho that I talked to take great pride in operating their company using their own products. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much of a chance to explore the product as I would have liked, but another blog announced Zoho Books prematurely, and Zoho had to take the site down until today.

I was impressed with what I was able to see, however. Zoho Books is intended for businesspeople who may not have accounting backgrounds, but it includes the features we’ve come to expect from accounting software, including functions to manage customer, invoice, banking and expense data. Users can generate estimates, quotes and invoices in multiple currencies, all of which can be customized, include company logos, and be sent electronically or by postal mail. Its systems for generating reports, automating recurring invoices and sending out payment reminders should be useful for many businesses.

The new service is a natural extension of existing products Zoho Invoice and Zoho CRM. Not surprisingly, Zoho Books integrates well with the existing contacts modules, and the service makes it easy to import and export data. Zoho has preset systems for importing information from other major accounting programs, and Zoho support will assist you in importing data from other sources.

Zoho Books also includes some nice additions, including a function allowing accountants and financial advisorts to collaborate with business owners in real time, and a system for letting customers pay online using, Google Checkout, (s goog) or PayPal (s ebay) for Business.

Even though the Google Apps suite competes with Zoho, the new app joins several other Zoho applications that are available in the Google Apps Marketplace.

A video tour and a free 30-day trial of Zoho Books are available, and Zoho is offering two free months for those signing up for the new service. Zoho Books is priced starting at $24/month or $240/year, which includes access for two users. Additional users may be added for $5/user/month. Combination packages will be available for those who are already using other Zoho products; pricing has not yet been set.

How do you manage accounting for your business?

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):