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Author : Darcie

Zoho Pricing Article

How Much Does Zoho Cost?

The pace of the business world isn’t slowing and you may be looking for new ways to get work done and achieve more in your organization. Part of this is likely all of the activities around becoming more efficient, and one place a lot of organizations start is with their CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software. If you’re reading this article, you’re curious about Zoho and asking, “How much does Zoho cost?”

Keep reading for more about how the cost of Zoho is figured. We’ll talk about what to keep in mind as you are considering Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, Zoho One, or any other application in the Zoho ecosystem.

How much does Zoho CRM cost?

“How much does Zoho CRM cost?” For sure, it’s a loaded question. And when you search for this information, you’ll find a lot of variation in pricing levels. They range from Ultimate and Enterprise options to Professional and Standard. These options have diminishing features – all the way down to the amazing cost of zero dollars for Zoho CRM Free version. Yes, you heard that, Zoho CRM does offer a free version. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not just a trial period, and you don’t have to use a credit card to get access now only to be billed later.

[caption id="attachment_4719" align="alignright" width="450"]Zoho CRM pricing questions answered Zoho CRM does offer a free version. However, be sure to ask the correct questions to find out if it will work for you.[/caption]

However, understand that this free version comes with many limitations. If you’re here, answer a couple quick questions to find out if you’ll need more than the free version of Zoho CRM.

  • Do you have more than three users?
  • Are you interested in features like:
    • sales forecasting,
    • multiple currencies,
    • scoring and assignment rules,
    • custom modules,
    • process automation,
    • or prediction and artificial intelligence tools?

If you answered YES to any of these questions…then it’s time to talk about your business needs and goals and find the best fit version of Zoho CRM for you.

Of course, we’ll be glad to help. Our Business Process Analysis is designed to ensure we capture all the information about your business AND your goals so we can provide accurate, realistic recommendations for your digital transformation.

But maybe you’re curious about Zoho Books, too? Pairing an accounting solution with your customer relationship manager is another step toward integrating your processes. Before we get too far ahead, let’s talk about the cost of Zoho Books.

How much does Zoho Books cost?

This online accounting software has tiered pricing, available add-ons, and even bundles available that can impact the pricing of Zoho Books. Each configuration varies slightly in price, so generally speaking, this solution is positioned well for small-to-mid-size businesses.

[caption id="attachment_4720" align="alignleft" width="450"]Costs for Zoho Books Zoho Books is well positioned for small-to-mid sized businesses, and we often recommend this solution or a Quickbooks integration for even more functionality.[/caption]

The top tier Professional plan maxes out at 5000 transactions allowing for over 500 contacts and 10 users, so this should give you a sense of its capabilities in terms of volume. In comparison, Basic version allows for up to 50 contacts and two users, while the mid or Standard plan offers up to 500 contacts and 3 users.

Books is both an affordable and powerful tool for businesses as we just explained. But more often than not, you’ll need additional functionality beyond accounting and finances in order to integrate various areas of your business. For this reason, a few add-ons (for example, additional users) and bundles are available to meet those needs. Popular bundles for Zoho Books include:

  • Zoho Inventory, an inventory management software that easily integrates with Zoho Books
  • Zoho Subscriptions, which helps you manage your subscription-model business in tandem with Books
  • And Zoho Expense, to assist with and integrate your expense tracking activities with Zoho Books

Would you like to know more about Zoho Books pricing and options available? Our Zoho Certified Consultants would be happy to assist! Get connected here.

Or perhaps you’re interested in moving all of your business processes, including CRM and Books onto Zoho? Let’s talk about the pricing for Zoho One.

How much does Zoho One cost?

To start, are you familiar with Zoho One?

[caption id="attachment_4721" align="alignright" width="450"]cost of zoho one Did you know that one subscription to Zoho One includes access to over 40 applications?[/caption]

“Zoho One is a truly revolutionary suite that can run your entire business – seriously. It has 40+ integrated applications that encompasses everything like CRM, email newsletters, documents, inventory, and more. You simply need a username and password, integrate your applications, and you’re set; one dashboard to rule all.”

Zoho One offers centralized administrative control, and all-in-one licensing model. It has over 40 integrated applications with enterprise-level features and mobile apps included. It’s a lot, but it was designed to be just that – a full spectrum set of unified business tools that’s affordable, accessible, and impactful. Monthly cost per license ranges from $30 per user, per month, when billed annually for the All Users Plan, to $75 per license, per month, when billed annually. The second option is named the Flexible User Pricing. It’s for instances when not everyone in your organization will need the applications.

We often recommend Zoho One option for its flexibility to grow with the needs of businesses. You know as well as anyone that organizations grow, processes change, and business needs evolve over time. This platform gives you the tools needed to get your sales, marketing, customer support, finance, human resources, and operations departments moving in the same direction, successfully.

When you’re ready for the next steps of your Zoho implementation – or if you have more questions about Zoho pricing and whether or not any of the solutions we discussed here are a good fit for you – we hope you’ll let us know.


Connect with a Consultant


What's New at Zoho JAN 2021

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | January 2021

Welcome to our first “What’s New” in this new year, Zoho Updates January 2021! We’ve gathered some notable updates, improvements, and fixes from CRM, Creator, and Desk for you from the past month. It’s exciting to see what’s taking shape for Zoho CRM in 2021 – have you already noticed some changes in your environment? What do you think so far? Let us know in the comments.

Here are your What’s New, Zoho Updates January 2021. 


New Features from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • You may have noticed updates this past month to some areas of the Zoho CRM user interface. This includes a visual enhancement on the Setup page, where you’ll now see the page heading and search bar sectioned nicely along the left. Zoho CRM has seen a few visual updates recently, and as we understand, this is just the start for the “UX revamp” they have planned in 2021. What do you think of the improvements so far?
  • The “URL to notify” regarding third-party applications has been increased to 300 characters over its previous 200 character limit when entering a Webhook URL.
  • CRM improvement when integrating Desk, now Products module can be synced, too. In the past only the modules for Accounts and Contacts could be synched.
  • Duplication is now reduced when integrating CRM and Desk. Both primary and secondary email records are checked when performing this action.

Zoho Creator

  • From Zoho Creator, “As announced earlier, we have officially started the Creator 5 upgrade process. We have planned to take this forward in phases and upgrade all Zoho accounts to Creator 5 by February 1st, 2021. As a step in that direction, we have come up with an upgrade wizard that pops up when you sign into your account.” Do you have questions or need help with your upgrade? Contact ZBrains today.

ZOHO UPDATESApplication Updates from Zoho


Zoho Desk

  • Learn more about Gamescope for Agents in Zoho Desk! This feature helps to increase engagement and incentivizes the behaviors that benefit users and clients. Keep reading for details on the points, badges, and trophies and how they work in Zoho Desk’s Gamescope.

Additional Critical Notes on Zoho Creator Updates

  • Zoho announced the end-of-life for Creator v1 on February 3, 2021, and will require a migration to Zoho Creator v2. The application will remain compatible until then; however, we strongly recommend scheduling your analysis and migration in advance in order to avoid any interruptions in service.  We suggest getting started as quickly as possible because the timeline for your migration is variable depending on the complexity of your solution. Contact us any time to schedule your migration analysis.

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

    • In Creator, this bug fix now loads data in batches as the user scrolls through reports, enhancing the performance of data-heavy lookups in C4.


Finding the updates helpful?  Let us know in the comments if there’s anything else we can do to help provide you with the latest from Zoho and make your day easier.



If you have any questions or would like to schedule assistance around any of these updates please contact our consultants or call our offices at (888) 207-4111.


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zoho books overview

Could Zoho Books Improve Your Small Business?

In this rundown of Zoho Books, we’ll define what this application is and what it does. Next, we’ll look at a couple of product reviews. Then, share some common comparisons between Zoho Books and other accounting solutions that are often used by small businesses. If you’re new to Zoho, new to Zoho Books, or just looking for some high-level info to get going, this article is a great place to start. 

What is Zoho Books?

Books is a Zoho accounting solution designed to help businesses with end-to-end accounting and tax compliance. This Zoho accounting software is one of 40+ applications on the integrated Zoho platform and is well-positioned for small and medium businesses.

[caption id="attachment_4653" align="alignright" width="450"]person at computer Even if Zoho Books isn’t the right solution for your accounting team, but you’re still interested in Zoho – remember that it integrates with many other solutions![/caption]

Here are the high points

You can streamline all of your back office duties with Zoho Books and organize all of your transactions in one place. Given this set of features you may want to take a closer look at Zoho Books, we think it’s a real contender. Zoho Books features allow you to:

  • Collect online payments securely and quickly.
  • Keep records of all your invoices, estimates, credit notes, and even recurring invoices in one place.
  • Convert estimates to invoices in just a few clicks.
  • Automatically remind overdue clients with payment reminders.
  • Never lose a minute of billable hours. Monitor and track how labor is spent in your company.
  • Manage inventory and even automate redundant tasks.
  •  Capture and view all financial information related to your asset, liability, revenue, or expense accounts and organize them how you want.
  • Simplify tax season. Generate tax reports in just a few clicks. so you are set when tax season arrives.
  • And this is in addition to standard features including: purchase orders, project accounting, bank reconciliations, and compatibility with government and non-profit accounting needs.
  • Also notable is the transaction limit of 5,000 per month with the most advanced offering of Zoho Books. It’s definitely something to consider as you continue your research. 

If this isn’t the solution for you, or you need a solution with a little more umph, Zoho also integrates well with applications such as Quickbooks. And we’ll take a closer look at some of those a little later in this article. 

But first, let’s look at what folks are saying about Zoho Books. 


Zoho Books Reviews

Across the board we think you’ll see that Zoho’s value approach to their solutions, coupled with the in depth integrations between those 40+ solutions, makes it a compelling choice for small and mid-sized businesses. Most notably for those who need visibility to their organization across each platform used. And for those who want to minimize the number of applications needed day to day. 

Additionally, while affordable, Zoho and Zoho Certified Consultants like ZBrains have your support and custom development needs covered. Now, let’s look at what others say about Books:


PC Mag’s SMB Accounting solutions review says:


Zoho Books is an excellent choice for cloud-based small business accounting, offering an exceptional user experience, an attractive price, and a rich set of tools. Larger businesses may want to consider it, too…” shares this  Zoho Books review:

“The Best Accounting and Invoice-Generating Software

The Verdict

Zoho Books is an intuitive accounting program with full accounts receivable and accounts payable functionality. It’s also very affordable, making it the best accounting software for really small businesses.”


What ZBrains Client Said

As with any purchase that has an impact on your business, especially when you’re considering the tools you and your teams will use each day, we encourage you to do more research and find others who have been through the same. Here’s what one of our clients, Lavoro Technologies,   had to say about it when they were going through the comparison process:

Before choosing Zoho they looked at multiple alternatives, including QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Intacct, Sage, and BusinessObjects. The affordability of Zoho was a huge selling point for Lavoro, especially when coupled with its ease of use, as Jim describes, ‘It just makes sense the way that it operates, how you can go from customer to estimate, from customer to invoice, estimate to invoice. [In terms of NetSuite,] I just didn’t see the reason to pay $125 per month per user for aspects of a program that I didn’t see us using.


Speaking of comparisons, let’s take a look now at how Zoho Books. Let’s see how it stacks up against a couple of common accounting solutions for small businesses.


Product Comparisons

Comparisons between Zoho Books and other solutions like Quickbooks Online are prevalent. If you’ve been considering which software is the right one for your small business, we’ve compared four common solutions with Zoho Books here. Of course, there are many others. We’re happy to answer your questions about them- just let us know!

Let’s dive in.


Zoho Books vs Quickbooks Online

Quickbooks Online is positioned as a solution for small businesses. For instance, it shares many similarities in terms of capabilities to Zoho Books. The interfaces for each are relatively simple to understand and use. The shared features include accounts receivable, tax management, banking reconciliation, billing, and invoicing. Where Zoho Books offers a bit more functionality is in project accounting and the ability to do purchase orders. It also handles government and non-profits, where Quickbooks Online does not. 

If you’re already using Quickbooks Online, and are curious about integrating with the rest of Zoho ecosystem, take a look at the Zoho and Quickbooks Online Integration we provide at ZBrains.

Zoho Books vs Quickbooks

Users of Quickbooks also rate it highly. For instance, they cite ease of use and robust features as the benefits of this platform, and we don’t disagree. For a lot of businesses, Quickbooks is a great solution. And just like other versions of this software, it integrates very well with Zoho. This allows for the best of both worlds. Learn a little more about AgilitySync, the platform we use to connect Zoho and QuickBooks in this video.

[caption id="attachment_4654" align="alignright" width="450"] Take your research for a new accounting solution to the full extent. Be sure to compare it against any other options you’re considering.[/caption]

Zoho Books vs FreshBooks

Users will say that Freshbooks is easy to use and affordable. It does allow for the most basic features; however, it doesn’t quite stack up in terms of a well-rounded offering. With FreshBooks, you’ll leave behind key features and capabilities such as:  tax management, purchase orders, and project accounting. We’ve seen these three features are especially important to the majority of our service and project-based clients. 

• Zoho Books vs Sage

Sage products for business accounting have been around for decades. Now, there is little to support an argument for taking up this solution as a small business when other, better solutions are widely available. To learn a little more about why we don’t necessarily recommend this software, read our full Zoho Books and Sage100 comparison here, and our article on transitioning away from Sage100.

Above all, we hope this helps as you continue your research and efforts to find the best accounting solution match for your business. If you’re ready, keep reading for next steps.


Your Next Steps

A lot of consultants might suggest you dive right in with a free trial, but at ZBrains we start by having one of our Zoho experts to analyze your company and determine the strengths and weaknesses with a comprehensive business process analysis (BPA). Our process ensures a successful implementation that allows you use the software to your advantage. The result is that your organization enjoys all of the functionality and benefits of the Zoho system.

In summary, if you need help setting up your integration – for example, mapping custom fields, migrating legacy data, workflow rules, or extra training sessions, we offer our services to you. Give us a call, or use the button below to write to us about your needs!


Connect with a Consultant


Zoho updates December 2020

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | December 2020

In the past month, we saw a number of updates and improvements in the Zoho CRM application. They’re outlined briefly in this post, along with additional insights about Zoho Creator and Zoho Meet. Keep reading for details.

Finding the updates helpful?  Let us know in the comments if there’s anything else we can do to help provide you with the latest from Zoho and make your day easier.

Here are your What’s New updates for December 2020. 


New Features from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • In CRM instances with Cliq integration, you will find the capability to call or chat with the record owner directly from CRM when you hover over the record owner name. Enjoy this improved communication workflow!
  • External fields is a new feature in Zoho CRM allowing you to connect CRM with outside data sources. With this feature you can designate a custom, single line field for third-party application information is stored. With this “upsert API call” the external ID can be used to search, create, update, or delete records. Learn more
  • Improvements to the CRM Auto Number field now allows you (as an admin) to select the date formatting option from settings that you like best.

Zoho Creator

  • Security upgrades for Creator accounts associated to Zoho data centers in EU, India, China, and Australia. API and Security Permissions are designed to enhance application security by limiting user access to resources such as API access, PII data, and ePHI data.

  • Zoho Creator’s audit trail feature has been improved for all accounts using Creator 5. Quick summary includes the following:

    • IP address and source information can be captured including: OS, device, and browser.

    • Logs can be exported as .CSA, and you can apply filters while exporting.

    • Improved security.

    • Unchanged data retention for logs is 365 days.

  • Zoho Creator US V5.25.6 iOS now includes upgraded security including allowing reports printing options only for users with this permission.

  • Increased security in Creator applies field permissions to record and print templates when exporting or printing, and ensures that the results contain only the fields permitted for the end user.

  • From Zoho, “You can now control the availability of the change email address option for your portal users. We’ve introduced the Allow customers to change their email addresses option in the customer portal settings.” Read more about this improvement and more on Creator here.

Zoho Meeting

  • Exciting performance improvements and bug fixes to Zoho Meeting are now live. Users now enjoy multi-video feed support for webinars, bandwidth optimization, and improved reliability for recordings. Meetings have also been reworked to resolve several known bugs.

ZOHO UPDATESApplication Updates from Zoho

 Zoho CRM


  • Updates in CRM include limits of 1000 merges per month per organization for Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate edition users. This applies to merges performed while using the mail merge templates’ mail merge and print preview actions. If you need assistance with this new limit or have questions about how it could impact your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • There have been updates to the Workflow rules in CRM. From Zoho, here are the new limits for this feature:

    • Workflow rules per org: 2500

    • 2500 (maximum 2000 active rules)

    • Execution limit/org: 50

    • Workflow rules per module:

    • Free – 10 (maximum 5 active)

    • Standard – 30 (maximum 15 active)

    • Professional – 80 (maximum 40 active)

    • Enterprise- 125 (maximum 75 active)

    • Ultimate – 150 (maximum 100 active)

  • Turning on notifications in your Feeds Preference now allows you to receive notifications for actions via automations such as when records are created, updated, or deleted. (Just select ’Send Notifications.’)

  • If you are using Workflow rules in CRM Standard edition, now you can take advantage of these actions: Field Update Trigger, Delete Trigger, Field update action, and Email recipient in alert.

Additional Critical Notes on Zoho Creator Updates

  • Zoho announced the end-of-life for Creator v1 on February 3, 2021, and will require a migration to Zoho Creator v2. The application will remain compatible until then; however, we strongly recommend scheduling your analysis and migration in advance in order to avoid any interruptions in service.  We suggest getting started as quickly as possible because the timeline for your migration is variable depending on the complexity of your solution. Contact us any time to schedule your migration analysis.

Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • In Creator, a bug affecting the field labels in PDFs attached to email notifications not translating as expected has been repaired

  • Bug fix for custom location in map report for Zoho Creator has been implemented.



If you have any questions or would like to schedule assistance around any of these updates please contact our consultants or call our offices at (888) 207-4111.


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article about business process analysis

Process Makes Perfect: Features of Business Process Analysis Design that Leads to Successful Implementations

If you’ve found this article, there’s a good chance that you already know Zoho is a viable solution for your business. Perhaps you’re just not sure how to implement. In a slightly worse-case scenario, you need to repair after a failed implementation. Zoho capabilities are wide-ranging, so finding the optimal solution – or combination of solutions – is paramount. This is why the business process analysis design is so important.


Starting off on the right foot by setting up business software correctly helps your sales, operations, accounting, and other teams communicate effectively and work more efficiently. A lot of experience and tried-and-true testing that has gone into what we call “Business Process Analysis.” This process ensures that a full understanding of your business needs is acquired and approved by you before you commit to any large project. Managing expectations and adapting to change is crucial to our success. Our process is designed around these ideals. 


Starting off this way is the best of both worlds: 


  • You have more control of your budget. You get to mitigate the risk of stepping into a project that is based solely on time and materials billing.
  • With greater flexibility available to possible changes in requirements, you’re not tied into a single, rigid solution that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted to close a sale. 
  • Because we collaborate with you at each step of the system design – you can rest easy knowing that your business is getting what it needs!


In this article, we’ll review the features of a Business Process Analysis with ZBrains that leads to successful implementation. We truly believe in this process, and that’s why we use it for nearly every project that is done here at ZBrains. 


Let’s take a closer look at business process analysis design here at ZBrains:



Business process analysis meeting

1. The Assessment phase is foundational to a successful project. We start by understanding the current state of your business processes, and you get a better understanding of how Zoho + ZBrains can solve for business gaps – both known and unknown! Starting here increases adoption and overall project success. Our teams translate your vision into an achievable project plan. Because of this plan, we’re more likely to achieve project success. We define a successful project as one that is within budget and timeline, but most importantly, widely adopted across the organization. After all, what’s the point of implementing a system if no one is going to use it?


2. Planning is our deep dive, and a phase where every stone is turned as we define each detail of your new system. We’ve already identified your business needs, and matched them to Zoho solutions.  This step ensures everything is correct, down to individual screens, fields, automations, and more. Having a plan ensures you don’t miss the mark, which can be expensive in resources and time!


3. Your customized solutions and project plan come to life during Deployment. When your personalized plan from ZBrains gets your stamp of approval, we begin to build your system. During this time we recommend training, and after the project is completed, we also recommend support for your new implementation. Support and effective change management are critical and enables your team to provide immediate feedback and drive user adoption for a successful project launch. Efficient use of time during deployment gets you up and running quicker.


4. Optimization! Now that you’ve spent some time with Zoho, you’re probably ready for more – more improvements, new processes, and greater control of the data within your organization. When you partner with ZBrains, this is really just the beginning.


Interested in learning more, or need to start this conversation in your organization? Here’s how to start:

  • Take a look at the infographic below. 
  • See how we’ve helped clients in the past
  • Reach out to a member of our team today 


We are Zoho Certified Consultants here to help! Contact us any time.


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ZBrains BPA Infographic

Get the PDF here: Business Transformation Process Chart



difference between quotes and estimates in Zoho

What’s the difference between an estimate and a quote in Zoho?

When it comes to your business – and it’s true for the clients we work with here at ZBrains – one of the primary things you want and need to do in your CRM or ERP system is to create quotes and/or estimates. It’s a concise way to share your offering with clients. And more than likely, you want to create them quickly and efficiently. And also in an organized way that is easy for your teams to manage. So, when it comes to this process – and quotes vs estimates – what are your best options in Zoho? Keep reading for a little more insight on the differences between estimates and quotes, and how to use them in Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, or with another custom integration like QuickBooks.


The Difference Between Estimate vs Quote


When is the last time you were able to give a straight price for a project or service to one of your customers without some customization? Because so many businesses rely on custom solutions in order to meet their needs, there’s a good chance that you’re probably using estimates or quotes to build personalized prices for each of your clients’ jobs. We’ve certainly found that no two jobs are exactly alike, so relying on a good way to build and communicate estimates or quotes is absolutely necessary. And giving your clients exactly the decision making information they need from the start of their relationship with you will set the tone for a successful partnership.


So, what is the difference between an estimate and quote?


A quote gives your client a fixed price to accept for a project or service. It acts as a contractual agreement. A vendor (you)  will combine fixed and variable costs, and present to the customer to accept or not. This will include a combination of hourly rates and cost of materials, equipment and/or services for a job. Generally speaking, a quote includes exactly what is needed for a job. Once it’s accepted by your customer, this is the price they pay at the end. The price in a quote is not subject to change, unless additional work, materials, or services are agreed upon by a vendor and their client. (Sometimes these become change orders.)


An estimate also includes fixed and variable costs for a job, but does not act as a contractual agreement. In this event, a vendor might share a range of costs to give a scope of what the project entails. This is a “ballpark” number. It’s subject to variation whether that comes in the form of fewer or greater hours, changes to services purchased, or materials used for a job.


In order to effectively communicate with your clients, it’s a good practice to provide both quotes or estimates in writing. Additionally, both types of engagements generally have an expiration date.


Quotes vs Estimates: which is best for your process?


When it comes to your clients and your business, you must decide between quotes vs estimates and which is best for your process. A common practice is that your level of effort is equivalent to the amount of detail provided by the lead.


For example, you may wish to use a less time-intensive method to share what a job or project may cost when a lead or potential client has provided only high-level information about their needs. In this case, an estimate allows you to give a realistic look at the possible, estimated costs of a project. At that time, the lead may decide it’s not what they want and move on, and you haven’t spent a lot of time on exacting work that goes to waste. 


Alternately, your lead may see the quote and be interested in going forward with the work based solely on the estimate. That’s great!


Or in cases where further refinement is needed, you may engage in additional information gathering with the client. Then perhaps you’d spend a little more time putting together a more formal Quote for their final approval on this contract before beginning the work.


In the event that estimates won’t work for your business, you may spend additional time in your sales process qualifying a lead. Your goal is to determine if they are a fit before investing time in the lengthy process of building out an exacting quote for them. 


Consider your clients, your business needs, and your processes carefully – or engage with a consultant – if you’re in a position to integrate your estimating or quoting process into a CRM or ERP system.


Using Quotes in Zoho CRM and Using Estimates in Zoho Books


compare quotes vs estimates“Quote” and “Estimate” are essentially the same in Zoho; however, Quotes are generated in Zoho CRM and Estimates are generated in Zoho Books. We understand that it seems pretty awkward to say this given we just spent all that time sharing the practical difference between the two. Now we’re saying that Zoho says they’re the same? 


Well, Yes. And, No. But stay with us here!


Remember how we just mentioned that this all boils down to how you run your business, what your process is, and what the needs of your clients are? This is why there are so many options in Zoho! 


  • You can keep it streamlined by using Quotes in CRM. With a little set up, you can engage a Zoho CRM function allowing you to create Quotes from Deals.
  • If you’re using Zoho Books, you can use Estimates to create a proposal, and then convert it to a sales order or invoice upon acceptance.
  • Perhaps you might have a simple sync between Zoho CRM and QuickBooks that ties together Quotes and your accounting functions. While this isn’t a 360° solution it works great for some.
  • And if you’re searching for a true ERP solution, then a fully integrated, real-time solution is what you want. This could include Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, and other applications – even third party integrations.


Finding the right solution for quoting or estimating


When it comes down to making a choice about how to set up your system, including how you’ll use quotes vs estimates in your sales process, we recommend taking the time to fully evaluate your existing systems. Furthermore, evaluate your process to ensure that what you select is serving your needs.


ZBrains helps businesses like yours by working together and analyzing expectations and performance gaps in your business process. We take the time needed to examine your business from the perspective of the world at large. Then, our experts determine what is working, and what is not.  We’ll consider which methods need to be introduced to change and strengthen the fabric of your company.


The basics of Business Process Analysis from ZBrains works like this:


  • First, we partner with your team to thoroughly review your sales, marketing, operations, and accounting processes. And work to understand requirements and current systems. 
  • Next, with your timeline, goals, and targets in mind, we give you a strategy that can be executed with precision to create a successful business plan.
  • We recommend solutions and develop customizations to support your goals. (Like determining how you want quotes vs estimates to flow in your system and sales process!)
  • Finally, we consolidate your business operations into a centralized platform with Zoho as the hub. And you begin operating in a system that supports every aspect of your operation that was identified at the start. 
  • With the systems in place, and useful data at hand in Zoho, you can more easily refine and optimize your business as time goes on. 

Does this sound like the digital transformation you’re considering? We’d love to help. Contact us today!


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Zoho Updates 11 2020

Zoho Updates, New Features, and Issues | November 2020

Again in the past month, we’ve seen a lot of changes, updates, and bug fixes in Zoho; most notably Creator. Be sure not to miss the additional critical notes on Creator to ensure your systems continue running smoothly.

We’d love to know if this update is useful for you. Let us know in the comments what else we can include to help provide you with the latest from Zoho to make your day easier.

Here are your What’s New updates for November 2020. 


New Features from Zoho

Zoho CRM

  • Many-to-many associations between records within a module is now possible in Zoho CRM. Self-referencing lookup fields allow you to create deeper relationships between the contacts and content in your database. Need help setting this up? Let us know!
  • Special and foreign characters are now supported in email addresses of CRM records such as Leads and Contacts. The following characters will be supported: # ! $ % & ‘ * + – / ^ _ ` {} | ~

Zoho Creator

  • A new field property available for “Contains Health Info.” This allows for further HIPAA compliance control because now fields can be designated as sensitive if they contain health information. This is available for the following field types: single line, email, number, decimal, percent, currency, date, time, and date-time.

ZOHO UPDATESApplication Updates from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • This month we again saw many application updates for Zoho Creator:
    • Improved client communications because you can use more verified email addresses. Zoho ONE verified (sender) emails increased from 10 to 50!
    • Improvements to widgets, including externally hosted widgets, and white listing 3rd party services.
    • Additional improvements added for user admin assignments. Now the app only allows to select users that have accepted an invitation to your workspace.
    • Smarter logic protection is now in place to ensure you don’t delete connections used in other applications. When deleting a connection a prompt will show the places it is used including: integration fields, integration orgs, pages, and workflows. 
    • Version 6.2.5 of the Zoho Creator Portal Android app and Version 3.4 of the Customer Portal – Zoho Creator iOS app both introduced improvements recently. The Android version offers authentication-related security improvements and has fixed several minor bugs to improve stability. Further updates have improved application speed. In addition to improvements similar to Android, iOS now makes accessing and managing offline components better.
    • Get granular and control report printing parameters for your application’s end users. Now the “Print” option in reports will be available for the end user only when they are permitted.
    • New domain URLs have been enabled for EU data center:
      • for Creator applications,
      • for all published components
      • for all custom applications
    • As mentioned in last month’s update, default SMS connections are now deprecated and replaced. Any SMS Actions that use this connection, and the zoho.sms.send Deluge task, will no longer work and requires updates. Please let us know if we can analyze and correct any issues in your system impacted by this change.
  • These are just a few of the highlights of what’s new in Zoho Creator, please see the full technical documentation from Zoho for more.

Additional Critical Notes on Zoho Creator Updates

  • Effective end of October, 2020 Zoho is making a change to the notations used in API Names. If you are using Smart Scheduler for FieldTech or any other custom extensions, please schedule your updates. Zoho Creator is moving from Dot (.) notation in API Names to the Double Underscore ( __ ) notation for all components and Removing Dot(.) and Double Underscore(__) Notation for Default fields of Custom Modules created in Zoho Extensions.
  • Zoho announced the end-of-life for Creator v1 on February 3, 2021, and will require a migration to Zoho Creator v2. The application will remain compatible until then; however, we strongly recommend scheduling your analysis and migration in advance in order to avoid any interruptions in service.  We suggest getting started as quickly as possible because the timeline for your migration is variable depending on the complexity of your solution. Contact us any time to schedule your migration analysis.

 Zoho CRM

  • Zoho CRM and Zoho Analytics Integration API Upgrades: This upgrade means that new features including sub-forms, linking modules, and customer fields in Users module will begin to be supported. As a result, some changes will occur in the fields permissions of Zoho CRM Admin who configured Zoho Analytics integration. The following will not be synced in Zoho Analytics: 
    • Modules or tabs marked as hidden in Zoho CRM, 
    • Modules or Fields with read or write restrictions, 
    • Fields in Zoho CRM that have been deleted or are unused.
  • You might have noticed an upgrade to the details view available in CRM. If you haven’t switched over already, please note that the old details view will be discontinued on November 10, 2020. 
  • Updates in CRM Wizards are available to all users. Now you can add Widgets to the Wizard layout, filter Wizards from the list view, reposition buttons, and include a file upload field in wizard layouts. 
  • Effective March 31, 2021 Zoho will sunset the Zoho CRM Plugin for Microsoft Outlook. Additionally from Zoho Corporation, on “October 15, 2020 users will be restricted from downloading the plugin, and will be redirected to download and use ‘Zoho CRM for email Outlook Add-in’ from the product.”

Zoho Books

  • New mini-dashboard available in Zoho Books invoices module. Now you can see a quick overview of invoices when you go to Sales > Invoices.
  • Update allows you to import files from various cloud storage applications including Zoho Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.
  • With public links, now it’s even easier to get signatures and estimate approvals  from clients without a portal. Enable this feature: Settings > Preferences > Estimates > Mark “Allow” on the public link option.
  • Now your templates can have customized address formats per template. Customize an address: Go to Settings > Templates > Choose the module and edit your template > Go to Header then edit the address format.
  • The Zoho Books Windows app and iOS 14 Windows app updates now allow you to have a more seamless experience between the web app and the Windows app or iOS 14 app.

Keep up to date on all the Books releases here.


Zoho BugsIssues Notices from Zoho

 Zoho Creator

  • Images uploaded via APIs in reports are now working.
  • Installing applications from the gallery bug fixed.
  • More specific controls within Deluge are now in place when working with and searching for encrypted datasets. Prior searches on encrypted fields commonly returned no results. For this reason only searches using the operators for “Equals,” “Not Equals,” and “isEmpty” are currently available.




If you have any questions or would like to schedule assistance around any of these updates please contact our consultants or call our offices at (888) 207-4111.


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designing solutions to business problems with Zoho

How to Design Solutions to Business Problems for Every Department with Zoho

Regardless of your industry, there’s a good chance your organization has multiple departments working together to keep business rolling ahead. This includes Operations, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and maybe you have others, too. We’re here to share that it’s more straightforward than you might have thought to implement or design solutions to business problems for every department with Zoho applications.


You’ll see here an overview of the Zoho solutions offered for each department of your business; however, this quick article is just meant to get thoughts flowing. In other words, it’s just the start of what Zoho can do.  


If you could solve your business problems head on with a Zoho solution, how much time would open up for innovation in your organization?


Let’s take a look at what Zoho has to offer for each department in your organization:


It’s a hefty lift finding an all-in-one solution for operational problems; however, within Zoho’s more than 40 applications they exist. Certainly, there’s a good chance that you don’t need  – or really want – that many apps to run your business. This is where Zoho One comes into play. 

While the 40+ integrated applications encompass everything from CRM, finance, email newsletters, and 

documents, to project management, inventory, and more; you can choose which fit your business needs. You simply need a username and password, integrate your applications, and you’re set; one dashboard to rule all. In your operations department some highlight features include:

  • Project management style flexibility lets you choose from waterfall, agile, and kanban task boards. 
  • Team communication, collaboration, and client portal options ease keeping in touch with dispersed teams and customers.
  • Order fulfillment, multi-channel selling, and warehouse management tools.
  • The ability to create apps that meet the needs of specific business processes, like a  Zoho ERP app developed on Zoho Creator.
  • And we’ve only scratched the surface…



Zoho Books offers tax compliance, and is integrated with 40+ of Zoho’s applications – or whichever you choose to use –  for visibility across your business. You’ve got the basics and more covered in this full-scope solution including being able to see those details about your contacts, time tracking, banking, inventory, payables, receivables, and robust reporting.  


zoho sales toolsStreamline all of your back office duties with Zoho Books and organize all of your transactions in one place. If this isn’t the solution for you, Zoho also integrates with other solutions Quickbooks, but given this set of features you may want to take a closer look at Zoho Books:

  • Collect online payments securely and quickly.
  • Keep records of all your invoices, estimates, credit notes, and even recurring invoices in one place.
  • Convert estimates to invoices in just a few clicks.
  • Automatically remind overdue clients with payment reminders.
  • Never lose a minute of billable hours by monitoring and tracking how labor is spent in your company.
  • Manage inventory and even automate redundant tasks
  •  Capture and view all financial information related to your asset, liability, revenue, or expense accounts and organize them how you want.
  • Simplify tax season in just a few clicks to generate tax reports so you are set when tax season arrives.

Customer Service

Zoho Desk customer service app provides the platform you need for customer support teams ranging from startup to enterprise. Scaled capabilities make it easy to get the basics like customer feedback and a ticketing system, with the option to grow and add more. With small business features you gain even more capability such as:


  • Automate routine tasks using blueprint, 
  • Optimize resource management by connecting clients with the proper support agent, 
  • Improve customer experience with team collaboration,
  • And just like every Zoho app, the data is there and ready to meet your insights and analytics needs. 

marketing tools from Zoho


Marketing departments are often called upon to design solutions to business problems, and the tools from Zoho certainly help! You’ll find an arsenal of applications in Zoho to support your marketing efforts from website creation and testing, to email marketing and social media. And because they integrate with CRM and the rest of the Zoho One suite, you’ll also get end-to-end data for a full story of lead to sale for every contact. With this sort of insight, Zoho makes answering big questions about your marketing strategy – and any adjustments you should consider – very direct. Learn more about marketing tools in Zoho One.


If your sales department is like any other we’ve met since starting ZBrains in 2012, you’re putting a lot of eggs into any CRM solution you choose. Don’t dig around looking for solutions only to wonder if they’ll work. We strongly recommend a partner for any CRM implementation involving this aspect of your organization and avoid common pitfalls:

  • Starting an implementation project without a planning roadmap in place.
  • You’ve got a new tool, but user adoption is poor.
  • You don’t have support – and this means internal training and external partnership.
  • You’re trying to do it on your own and it’s just not working out.


Trust in Zoho-certified CRM consultants at ZBrains to help you implement your new system and Zoho CRM in a way that truly complements your business. Our goal is to really invest time in getting to know your business so you get you all the tools you need to succeed. We even invented a name for how we do it – Business Process Analysis. Imagine the power you can put behind your sales team when a correctly implemented CRM is in place to foster your sales process from lead to sale, to cross-selling and upselling opps!


We hope this high level overview explaining how Zoho apps, and Zoho One can help you design solutions to business problems for every department in your organization has been informative. And as always, if there’s something you read that sparks an idea, there’s a pretty good chance that Zoho has a solution. At ZBrains we love the opportunity to address and solve those big questions whenever we partner with a new client. How can we help you?


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zoho for manufacturing and distribution

How Zoho Can Solve Business Problems for Manufacturing and Distribution Companies

In this article, we’ll look at how to solve business problems around three common issues we’ve seen impact others in your industry and share some ideas that have been successful for them. Zoho solves business problems for many types of businesses, but Distribution and Manufacturing by the nature of their industry are especially suited for the use of Zoho CRM and other Zoho applications.

You might spend time trying to solve for traveling work orders, time tracking, asset management, RMA and MRP requirements. If you’re encountering them, these problems can take up a lot of time and inhibit innovation.

You’d rather be focusing on hard numbers, actionable steps, and measurable KPI efforts like:

  • operating efficiency
  • utilizing capacity to the fullest extent
  • keeping a keen eye on profitability
  • working to ensure that your shipping is staying on time

These days you may also be looking for even more in-depth functionality in order to do more with existing resources, including redeploying talent, improving productivity, and shifting operations. Let’s take a closer look at three problems in manufacturing and distribution that Zoho can help you solve.

Problem 1: You’re aiming for Lean Manufacturing goals and falling short

Lean manufacturing goals with ZohoAs a decision maker in the manufacturing industry you need to introduce and foster ideas and methods to increase sales, manage orders and the warehouse, and more. You do all of this while trying to keep a pulse on the end-to-end tracking of your process, too.

Zoho Inventory helps here:

  • So you can manage inventory in multiple warehouses.
  • It integrates with Zoho CRM and Zoho Books to automatically sync contacts and your orders.
  • You get a few steps closer to the financial data you need, while addressing lean wastes of waiting and extra processing.

Zoho Inventory not cutting it? No sweat, tools like FieldTech have been produced for more robust ERP requirements using Zoho Creator for things like inventory management, and to optimize your production routing.

These ideas scratch the surface of the data you can access with the Zoho ecosystem.  How else could organized and actionable data provide information to help guide your lean manufacturing efforts as you solve business problems you encounter?

Problem 2: Forecasting for your business is a foggy endeavor

forecasting for distribution and manufacturingYou need visibility to what’s being produced, purchased – and when –  in order to make the best inventory management decisions. And if you can get the information in a tidy dashboard with less data input, even better!

Zoho Inventory provides data-driven insights to help you understand your customers in a meaningful way. You gain a more accurate forecasting for production material needs.

Add Zia’s prediction tool in Zoho CRM to take advantage of key business indicators such as the likelihood of a lead converting to a deal, revenue forecasts, and how likely a site visitor is to purchase. Zia predictions can be implemented for both standard and custom modules so your business can take advantage of this tool.

What predictors would be most meaningful for your organization?

Creating a prediction using Zia is relatively straightforward, but you can also work with a ZBrains Zoho Certified Consultant to get a head start on taking advantage of your data.

Finally, in addition to predictions, Zia also looks for trends. Using the data you have, Zia relies on past experiences to offer predictions. Receive alerts for spikes or dips without having to check on a dashboard daily. Decide if you want notifications about leads, contacts, deals, tasks, events, calls, email, or something different depending on the components you select for Zia to watch.

Having the power to forecast and even predict business events in distribution and manufacturing is essential to smooth operations.

Problem 3: You need solve business problems more quickly and spend more time on innovation

people meeting with laptopUntangling from daily business operations and on-the-fly problem solving in your organization can be a daunting undertaking. In other words, it’s time to start solving those issues more quickly. You want to resolve them completely so you have time to devote to innovation.

Naturally, this is where a business can cut even more of the lean wastes. They can spend money less on operations, and begin to excel. If you had the time, what innovation would you put into place immediately for your organization?

Having a plan to remain adaptable, and the visibility to metrics you need to communicate for success starts with information architecture. Zoho’s CRM and streamlined ERP solution to manage your inventory and orders, along with the multitude of possible integrations to fit your process is a great place to start your journey. Consider this change if you currently:

  • Pay for several systems wherein a change to one affects the others resulting in development expenses.
  • You manage multiple vendors, and spend a lot of time reiterating the same business needs and goals.
  • Your teams are working from siloed data.
  • Existing systems make global reporting cost-prohibitive and time consuming.

Start with a Zoho solution that gives end-to-end visibility to your organization. Quit struggling to track, report, and act on data. Finally start solving problems for good so you can achieve a better, leaner business.

Begin solving business problems for your manufacturing or distribution organizations with Zoho solutions.  Don’t put it off any longer, contact us for an assessment that’s geared specifically to your business – our ZBrains team of Zoho Certified Consultants are eager to help!

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Creative Thinking with Zoho

Creative Thinking to Solve Business Problems for Field Services and Construction with Zoho Applications

It’s important to act on creative thinking to solve business problems to stay on top in field services and construction. Your industry might have standard  KPI’s and processes that “work for everyone.” However, as business owners and operators we know it’s our job to ensure that we’re constantly innovating, improving, and making the most of the time available each day.

As a result, the way you work is almost guaranteed to change over time and you’ll need to keep solving new problems. The beauty of Zoho CRM and all of the other Zoho applications available, is that they allow for creative solutions to business problems.

This includes the data you capture and your Zoho systems, including what you’re doing with both to make your business profitable time and again. In this article, we’ll share four common business problems that we see Field Services and Construction firms encountering often. This includes everything from your deals and quoting to how to save time calculating commissions. And we’re going to tell you some of the ways that Zoho applications provide a framework. You can ensure you’re staying on the edge of innovation and setting yourself apart from competition, if that’s a goal of yours.

Let’s take look at some common business problems and which KPI’s you can track in Zoho to stay on top:

Problem 1: Your scheduling and routing efficiency needs help

For Field Services businesses especially, the routing efficiency KPI is a big one, but consider scheduling, too. Are these tasks cumbersome and wasting time that could be spent on the job? You might be asking and wondering:construction inside building

  • Are techs arriving to jobs on time?
  • Do you have the right person scheduled for the work they’re doing?
  • Is time wasted with crews making trips across town?
  • How much loss happens when an appointment cancels?
  • How much productivity – and profit – is lost with extra movement?

Making sure your business has a handle on routing efficiency measurements using geolocation can help you see where you can make up losses. But this is just the start. With the right creative thinking to solve business problems, and the right tools for the job, you can achieve gains in productivity.

The Zoho Scheduling App allows for setting appointments based on sales rep calendar availability, location, skill level, or any other metric you define. The app also recognizes cancellations and can suggest appointments to fill cancellation gaps.  For use with a larger sales team, the Zoho Smart Scheduler  combines savings to positively impact revenue!

Problem 2: You’re losing deals because of a disconnect in quoting.

Do any of these sound true for you?

  • Updating product pricing, calculating, and then generating proposals takes forever and are prone for error.
  • Collecting necessary signatures for a job is a hassle.
  • Some of your products are missing descriptions or images in your system.
  • Customers don’t have a way to electronically approve your estimates.

This losing deals issue exists in a lot of businesses, not just construction and field services. However, when your project profitability, service level agreements, and customer satisfaction rely on accurate quotes, it’s paramount to start each job on the right foot.

Optimizations give you beautiful looking quotes, faster quote delivery, more accurate quoting, and an easier transition into creating  jobs. Assemble quotes with the click of a button when Zoho CRM is customized for your construction or field service business . The information required is stored in your CRM! That is: items details, photos, and any other information you require for each SKU. Integrate your Zoho quoting (CPQ) tool with an app like  HelloSign or other eSignature tool of your choice, and approval signatures become a breeze.

How much time would your staff save with this sort of integrated quoting and communication tool? Do you think a stronger – and quicker – quoting process would help you land more deals?

Problem 3: Calculating commissions is an overwhelming task

It’s time again for you to calculate commissions for your staff and your business has grown to a complexity that makes this task, well, overwhelming. For you and for your employees. They want to compare month-to-month earnings. You both want easy to access statements and to get this finished on time. Ideally, you envision all of this working in a single system to save you time and effort.

With creative thinking to solve this business problem, Zoho created the Zoho Commission Calculator. Saving time and making this process more straightforward, now you can focus on your next innovation to tackle. And your sales staff can back to what they do best – sales.

Problem 4: Job Costing and Time Tracking feel impossible to capture

With Zoho as your hub, tedious and often difficult tasks of job costing and time tracking are made simpler in FieldTech.  This app connects your field service operation and optimizes your workforce. The benefits are far-reaching in terms of your new ability to report on accurate data around these two specific tasks.

building construction exterior

And the result of accurate reporting? You receive a direct line to the improvement opportunities that exist in these daily operations.

Let’s take a look:

Time Tracking

When your techs arrive on the job, they can select from available work orders and log time against individual tasks assigned on those work orders. One feature that stands out here is geo-location that automatically clocks techs in when they arrive on site. They spend less time on data entry, and don’t miss this task.

Of course, time tracking data is visible to managers, and in reporting. Bottlenecks become easily identifiable, and you can act on them – whether that’s staff training or an innovation in process.

Job Costing

Does your job costing process currently take you between spreadsheets and several applications to find the full story and get answers you need? To find material, equipment, labor, and other direct costs is taking a lifetime. With FieldTech implementation you can see how profitable your jobs are right from a centralized dashboard.

Job Costing ties into time tracking, too:

    • See which of your field techs are doing the best/most efficient work.
    • Get granular and see time spent for a particular job against expected time.
    • Easily see gross profit and how it compares against other jobs.

Imagine being able to compare data from your jobs to find out which are most likely to be successful for your company when you start searching for new leads. Kick off your next marketing campaign armed with data from job costing.

This holistic company view, accompanied by accurate data gives you uncomplicated, actionable insights.

Are you ready to use creative thinking to solve business problems and more with Zoho? Don’t leave it to chance, contact us for an assessment that’s geared specifically to your business. Whether you’re in Field Services or Construction, the ZBrains team of Zoho Certified Consultants are eager to help.


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