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Zoho CRM Last Activity Field

What is “Last Activity Time” in Zoho CRM?

If you’re like a lot of other Zoho CRM users, you’re using the application to track sales agent activity and customer interactions throughout your sales process. The information captured by the Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM helps you assess whether or not your deals and customer relationships are headed in the right direction. In this article you’ll learn exactly what this field is. You’ll see where it can be accessed. We also share the types of activities and updates recorded as Last Activity Time.  

So, what is Last Activity time in Zoho CRM? 

Each time changes are made on a record, Last Activity Time is there to track it. This includes activities ranging from adding notes or closing a task, to sending emails or editing fields. Everything tracked here can be used in reporting. An example might be a report on activity recency for your accounts in a certain region or for a specific sales person. Having the data available from the Last Activity Time field is the key to answering questions just like that. 

 

You might be asking yourself, “How can I report on Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM?”

This is a great question! Firstly, you’ll find that there are several key benefits to reporting on Last Activity Time that support your sales team, including:

  • CRM user sitting at a tablet computerCapacity Planning for Sales Agents; you may notice that a record owner has many records that haven’t been touched in awhile, but activity is high, perhaps they require some help, or it’s time to grow your sales team.
  • Gain Insight Into Cross-Sell Opportunities; you can segment your customers using RFM Scoring (Recency Frequency Monetary feature) or Account Score with Last Activity Time. This will help you identify and prioritize direct outreach to accounts who haven’t purchased in a while. 
  • Enhance Your Customer’s Experience; with Last Activity Time you can quickly identify customers that need engagement. Anticipate their needs by calling or outreaching to them before they contact you.
  • Better Business Through Reporting; looking to prioritize the best use of your valuable data, but need help to get your reporting up and running? Contact ZBrains.

If you’re taking notes, the Last Activity time in Zoho CRM is viewable in all modules with the exception of the Activities module. This means that you can use this field as a filter to do tasks like creating a filtered segment in your Leads module, or do the same in Accounts to see quickly how many accounts may need an outreach. 

To use this field in Reports, you’ll find it is available for Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Deals; and the questions you can answer are more or less limitless when your good data is put to use in Reports!

 

Which Activities and Updates will record as Last Activity Time?

Learn the nine primary ways that Last Activity Time is recorded inZoho CRM. It is helpful to know this information to understand the reporting or any filtered lists you reference. For example, bulk actions like restoring accounts could skew your report if you are looking for recent activities on a set of records. You may not see the results you are looking for if you are looking for data on completed Tasks in Last Activity Time (they’re not tracked here!).

  1. When you edit fields in a record.
  2. When you add new Activities, or update Activities such as Tasks, Events, and Calls.
  3. Adding a new Note or editing a Note will record.
  4. Sending Emails to Leads and Contacts in Zoho CRM will update this field.
  5. Last Activity Time is recorded when you change the Owner of a record.
  6. Adding Deals and Contacts under an Account will record it.
  7. Deleting or restoring a record, whether individually or in bulk.
  8. When you add or delete a record, it will record this field. One caveat here is, this does not include when you delete a record associated with the parent record. 
  9. Closing a Task will record; however, this does not apply to Events.  After the End Date, Events are automatically moved to closed activities.

How are you going to harness the data captured by Last Activity Time in Zoho CRM? 

Whether you’re questioning how to get the most out of your CRM data or looking to make improvements to your sales dashboards and reporting capabilities, the ZBrains team of Premium Partner Consultants  is here to help. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help with your digital business transformation along any step of the way from implementation and customization to consulting. Contact us any time!

Zoho CRM Implementation

9 Reasons CRM Projects Fail

CRM implementation failures can happen for many reasons. Most often CRM projects fail because the solution is ineffective and doesn’t improve your processes, the project was late, or it was over budget. Another indicator of failure is low user adoption.

If you’ve found this article, there’s a good chance you’re just starting to research Zoho CRM or Zoho One and how to implement it, or you’re down the road a bit further and you might need some help. We hope the information here about common reasons CRM projects fail and what to look out for will provide the insight you need to start off on the right foot – or even better – can help you get back on the right track with your project! Keep reading for 9 reasons CRM implementations fail, and the considerations you should address to ensure a successful Zoho CRM or Zoho One implementation. 

 

#1) Not having a goal from the start

Every successful software implementation, especially customer relationship management software, begins with your business goals. Ask yourself: 

  • What are the important success indicators or KPI’s for my business and sales teams? 
  • How do I want my business to look in 12 to 24 months? 
  • …5 years from now?

Make time to invest in your vision, and document it.  Your vision for success, the targets you wish to achieve, and making sure you are specific about them in planning will have great returns in your CRM implementation.

 

CRM Failure #2) Not customer focused

computer and glasse

We’re talking here about the experience of your system users and external customers. A successful CRM will make the work inside your business easier and more efficient for your associates by providing a trustworthy source of truth with the data it records. And the outcome is that your external, or paying customers, gain the benefit of working with a well-organized firm that provides excellent customer service as a result of having useful insight about them. Remember to give attention to both the users and external clients who will be impacted by CRM implementation. 

 

#3) Lack of planning

The best foundation for your CRM implementation is impeccable planning, whether that’s Zoho CRM or another product you might be researching and learning about.  Your plan should include:

  • Developing and understanding your goals (see CRM Failure 1).
  • Selecting a team or partner to see you through the journey and beyond.
  • Examining and documenting all workflows for every team using or inputting to CRM (see CRM Failure 2 & 4).
  • Fully understanding and documenting your organization’s technology stack.
  • Having a plan for testing, training & deployment. 
  • Keeping the vision for your business’ future in sight.

 

CRM Failure #4) No one is using the tool (i.e. Poor User Adoption)

CRM User Adoption

Involve your CRM users from the start and utilize their input and experiences as a part of the overall goals to gain buy-in for a system upgrade. Learn what is important to your users and important to your business, then plan for evolution. Consider the required phases to reach your goal. Think “crawl, walk, run”, and how a multi-stage plan will help with Zoho user adoption. (Tip: Watch out for scope creep here. Bad planning also causes scope creep. Don’t look at CRM implementation as a single project, rather a tool that you want to grow and improve with your business over time.)

Understand their challenges, workflows, and how a positive outcome will impact your business (greater efficiency!). Involving your teams in this process does help with overall adoption – and bonus – you may uncover new ideas to improve workflows with CRM! For example, data around processes like sales qualification can easily be entered, tracked, and reported in a CRM. No more managing clients through email inboxes. In the right CRM, your reminders, tasks, and saved filtered views can help deliver useful information at-a-glance.

 

#5)  No Support (Yes, this includes training!)

Starting off knowing your internal champions and whether or not you have executive support for a CRM project is paramount to its success. In your planning phase, identify internal champions keeping in mind you may have more than one depending on the complexity of your business and the teams who will use your new CRM. Additionally, executive support will be indispensable when it comes to your implementation. In our experience here at ZBrains, this high-level buy in – not only regarding budget, but for strategy and execution – can make or break an implementation.

Ensure your vendor can train your teams on Zoho and offer ongoing support, if you need it. And chances are that you really will because after the switches are flipped, your teams need to be ready to go. Vendor support is crucial when taking into consideration the plan for your CRM and your business goals. Have you selected the right software and partner?  We mentioned this in planning, but it cannot be stressed enough: CRM implementation shouldn’t be considered a one-off project. Look for a partnership that aligns with and enhances your business.

 

CRM Failure #6) It’s the wrong software

CRM Failure FrustrationYou find yourself thinking, “it just doesn’t do what I need it to do” and you’re putting workarounds in to practice left and right then chances are it hasn’t been built or customized to envelop your workflows.  This goes back to project scope. Was an important process or workflow not considered during planning? Be sure that you are talking to your software consultant or partner about planning phases for your CRM implementation, and ensuring that each stage aligns with your business goals so you don’t end up with a software that isn’t helping you like it should.  You need a software that works for your business and improves your work. Avoid applications that things down, or make straightforward tasks or reporting convoluted and difficult. 

After you’ve implemented, you might find yourself thinking, “It’s not being widely used (by everyone) in my organization.” Be sure to check in: does everyone understand their role in using the CRM, and do they have the proper training to utilize the software in the best way possible?

 

#7) Your data is weird

When data is not well organized or largely incomplete, just because you put it into CRM doesn’t mean you’ll get great results. Knowing what data your business is tracking and why will help you understand the best way to organize it. Knowing what you want to get out of a CRM will absolutely impact what needs to go in, both in terms of the implementation and the data itself. CRM is often expected to be a single source of truth. This means that all of your associates must be on board with standards, governance should be deployed, and training is essential so that all of your teams have a similar sense of the data being entered, and how it is intended to be used. It’s an old adage you’ve heard before, but it’s still true: “Garbage in, garbage out.” When you have data integrity, your CRM implementation and results will shine even greater.

 

CRM Failure #8) Your vendor doesn’t get your goals

Successful Zoho Partner

Have you found the right vendor for your CRM implementation? When you’re using lingo from field services and construction industries, or distribution and manufacturing, do they know what you mean? The right vendor already knows your language. They’ll use their time getting to understand your unique business needs even better. Here are some things to look for (and avoid) in a partner:

  • Avoid boilerplate solutions or partners who won’t take the time to meet you and investigate your operations. 
  • If planning isn’t a priority for them, buyer beware. They may just wish to capitalize on scope creep. A consultant worth their weight will tell you, you can never give them too much information about your business and your goals.
  • Be sure to ask your potential consultants for references from businesses in industries like yours. Contact them.
  • Look for vendors who are interested in your partnership from consulting and implementation, through to future customization and optimization. Select a partner that wants to celebrate your growth and successes.  

 

# 9) You’re trying to do it on your own

At your organization, maybe you’ve done a project like software implementation before, or maybe you haven’t, but you’re convinced to shave some expenses off the top by trying to do an implementation on your own. Be sure to ask yourself the right questions: 

  • Are your key stakeholders available to commit the time needed to implement a new CRM?
  • Would this project take them away from their normal responsibilities and have a negative impact on your business? 
  • Does your team have the necessary skills to scope, plan, implement, train, and support a new CRM implementation? 
  • What would happen if any one of the team were to leave in the middle of the project? Could the others cover this gap in both skillset and time commitment? 
  • If you honestly evaluate the internal costs (expense and timeline) against the cost of hiring a consultant, are you still saving money and time?

Do your answers to any of these questions leave you feeling wary? Consider finding a partner for your project. If you’re still searching for a partner, or you want assistance with a CRM implementation that didn’t meet your expectations, drop us a line. We’d love to get to know you better. Contact us any time.

Why do business owners need a CRM?

Why Do Business Owners Need a CRM?

What is CRM? A way to Save Time, Money, and Gain Functionality

As the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, that phrase fails to address which way is best. Over time, business owners have found countless ways to run their companies, using a various combination of roles, software, and automations to increase their bottom line. In the end, business owners often fail to optimize their strategy for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they figure they don’t have the time to optimize. Maybe they are set in their ways and are not open to change. This leads us to the question:

‘What are the benefits of CRM?’

As you can expect, our answer is multi-faceted. Put simply, a CRM (customer relationship management software) benefits a business by saving time, saving money, and adding functionality to it. Read on to learn about all the ways a CRM can benefit your business in the short and long term:

Organize Data and Prioritize Efforts

A solid CRM organizes your effortsBusinesses of multiple industries can benefit from CRM software. The simple act of organizing data into one centralized location will tremendously help you, your employees, and your overall process. In essence, the more you know about your customers the better you can serve them. Imagine arming yourself with knowledge of all their pain points, their inefficiencies, and archaic practices. Your employees can readily retrieve any and all information about each client, including purchases, preferences, and all other pertinent details.

CRM Software Helps You Gain Visibility

When you nurture a better understanding of your customer needs and behaviors you are better equipped to identify the correct time to promote your product. In this way you give yourself the best possible chance at increasing your revenue. Solid CRM software helps you achieve this better understanding, to the benefit of your entire team. If you are interested in learning more about Zoho CRM and how it can help your business our team of Zoho Consultants is more than happy to help!

Automate and Optimize

We live in a world that is more automated by the day, and it behooves you to follow suit to survive. Fortunately a CRM is the perfect tool for establishing multiple useful automations. It is especially useful for automating all the smaller tasks associated with a sale. Your team will appreciate the automated forms, reports, and follow-ups, taking these burdens off their collective shoulders. Furthermore, this allows them to devote more time to closing deals, resolving customer pain points, and upselling when appropriate.

Zoho CRM Integration with Other Applications

Ultimately, the integrations we’ve created for Zoho CRM make the software that much more valuable. From QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online and Sage Intacct to Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and a host of other integrations, there is a growing list of useful integrations that are bound to make your life easier.

Whether you are a veteran of CRM software, or a complete rookie, learning Zoho CRM can be a daunting task. Luckily, the ZBrains team is here to help! Take advantage of our Zoho CRM Training and enjoy 90 minutes of private training on Zoho CRM and all the applications that connect to it.

The Decline of Sage 100

What to Do When Looking to Transition Off Sage 100

The Decline of Sage 100

migrate off sage 100

Sage 100 has been on the forefront of accounting software for over three decades. But the unfortunate truth is that Sage Group is coming out of one of its most brutal years to date. For years Sage has worn their perceived “boring” company label as a badge of honor. Until recently they were one of two firms on the London Stock Market that achieved 10 years of uninterrupted earnings per share growth. A slow start in January 2018 coupled with a profit warning mere months later have spelled the beginning of the end for the once dominant Sage 100.

Reasons for the Decline

It took many years for the decline to really manifest, but longtime users of Sage probably could have seen the writing on the wall.  Sage took the plunge into cloud-based software relatively late in 2016 with Sage Live (now called Sage Business Cloud Financials), and, like relative newcomer QuickBooks Online, Sage Live did not have nearly the feature library as did its on-premise brethren.  It was simply a case of too little, too late.  Sage’s bread and butter was and still is this on-premise software, and once the last users migrate away, Sage won’t have much to show for their efforts over the years.

The decline of Sage likely has many long-term Sage users wondering: now what? Fortunately, Zoho Corporation entered the cloud-based software game years before Sage did, all the way back in 2005 (with a rival to the Microsoft Office Suite; Zoho CRM was launched in 2006).  For that reason, Zoho has had much more time to build out their list of features, expand their applications, and offer a piece of software that can hold its own against many other cloud-based – and even on-premise – accounting systems.  Zoho Books, Zoho’s accounting system, offers a host of great features to meet your basic and advanced accounting needs. The following is a road map to help you know your options when looking to transition off Sage 100 and onto something a bit more modern.

The Zoho Advantage

Zoho Books has multiple significant advantages over its Sage 100 competitor (which we discussed in our Zoho Books vs Sage 100 comparison). The Zoho accounting software is easy-to-use, inexpensive, and cloud-based. Though it may not be capable of handling Payroll in all US states just yet, Gusto is a viable option. Moreover, the built-in API makes Gusto an alternative we can integrate with. (Currently Zoho only handles Payroll processing in California, Texas, and Indiana).

What’s more, Zoho offers greater mobility, with a corresponding mobile app for each of its applications, including Zoho Books. Zoho Books can also handle multiple currencies, a feature that Sage 100 lacks, at least without the help of an expensive upgrade. Plus, perhaps the most significant benefit of the Zoho suite of applications is its inexpensive nature, especially in comparison to Sage 100. The bottom line is that with Zoho you get the valuable combination of saving money and gaining functionality. It’s a win-win that is hard to beat!

ZBrains Answers to Common Questions

Seasoned users of Sage 100 know that it can handle Work Orders and Material Resource Planning (MRP), while Zoho cannot. But what they may not know is that we at ZBrains offer Zoho ERP software that can do both of those things. This means you can manage them via Zoho without breaking a sweat.

Some users of Sage may be concerned about Zoho’s lack of fixed asset depreciation functionality. But the fact is that most small and medium sized businesses simply send their fixed asset depreciation information to their CPA. Maybe you utilize your own fixed asset depreciation software, in which case you can continue to use it because of Zoho’s shortcoming in this regard.

Next Steps

Ultimately, Zoho has a full arsenal of applications to help in your transition from Sage 100, whether you choose to do so now or later. (Learn more about what others are saying about Sage 100 here)

migrate off sage 100

Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory, and Zoho Creator all provide the same functionality lost when switching off Sage, at a fraction of the price. 

Still not convinced? Contact our Zoho consulting team to learn more and discover all of the top notch functionality of Zoho, in an effort to land on the answer to the eternal question: What can Zoho do for you?

And, if all else fails and you still feel the need to keep your org on Sage 100, there is one other thing you can do: use our Zoho CRM Sage 100 integration.

Zoho Books vs Sage 100

Zoho Books vs Sage 100

Zoho Books vs Sage 100: A Tale of Two Software Programs

Tax season is upon us, which means tracking down all financial statements and ensuring your accounting needs are fully met. Whether you are evaluating your current financial software for deficiencies or simply looking to manage your finances better in 2019, we hope this comparison of Zoho Books vs. Sage 100 is beneficial. Follow along as we evaluate the features of these two pieces of software and provide insight into their similarities and differences. Tax season may be upon us, but hopefully one of these programs can help make your life that much easier.

The End of an Erazoho books vs sage 100

Sage 100 appears to be on its final legs, a quiet exit from center stage on its descent into obscurity. This software used to be the cream of the crop, known as MAS 90 (Master Accounting Series of the 90s). Given the typical shelf life of 10 years for an ERP, this software has been around for 3 lifetimes! Given that extended time on the market and the lack of new features, the writing is on the wall. Sage 100 will soon be put out to pasture.

Where Sage 100 Went Wrong

That decline in popularity raises the question: Where did Sage 100 go wrong? For starters, Sage 100 is overblown for many smaller businesses, which means companies are not often implementing it new. Not only is it an on-premise software, but it is overwrought, and more expensive than Zoho Books. Zoho Books has multiple advantages, being inexpensive, easy-to-use, and cloud-based. On top of all that, Sage continues to increase maintenance prices year over year, making it increasingly and frustratingly more expensive.

The Major Differences for Zoho Books vs. Sage 100

There are multiple significant differences between these two pieces of software:

zoho books vs sage 100Mobility: Everything Zoho does has a corresponding mobile app; unfortunately Sage 100 is noticeably lacking in this arena.

Native Integrations: Zoho Books again has an edge, boasting the ability to integrate with Amazon, eBay, Avalara, and other payment gateways. With Zoho, you can avoid kicking everyone out before installing.

Multi-currency: Quite simply, Zoho Books operates with multiple currencies and Sage 100 does not.

New Features: Zoho is known for their innovation, their push towards a better, more efficient product. They unveil new features on a regular basis, whereas Sage is once again bringing up the rear. Sage is happy to announce a new feature that adds very little value such as adding character limits to a custom field.

Overall Comparison: Zoho Books vs. Sage 100

In the end, it is clear that there are stark differences between these two pieces of software. Sage 100 is in the sunset of its run and Zoho Books consistently churns out new inventive features.  (Of course, if you’re trapped between a rock and a hard place and need to stay on Sage 100 no matter what, we offer a Zoho CRM Sage 100 integration, too.)

Whether you are a seasoned user of Zoho or branching out to find a CRM that works for your business, we at ZBrains are happy to help. Allow one of our Zoho experts to analyze your company and determine the strengths and weaknesses with a comprehensive business process analysis (BPA). With the power of Zoho consulting, we can help you use Zoho Books to your advantage and enjoy all of the functionality and benefits of the Zoho system.

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online: Two Titans of Accounting Software

It’s true every tax season and usually the times in between, managing your finances has never been more important. But how do you tackle such a task? QuickBooks Online is used by more than 2.5 million companies, an impressive number. However, how many of those business owners are truly satisfied? How many are getting the most out of their accounting software? Zoho Books offers a few very useful features that QuickBooks lacks, especially when under the larger umbrella of Zoho Finance. Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online is a veritable clash of titans, and both bring particulars to the table that appeal to wide audiences. 

Our goal is to help you make a more informed decision about your accounting software. Whether you are buying for the first time, re-evaluating your current tools, or simply seeing what else is out there, we hope this comparison makes your job easier. Join us as we navigate the waters of financial software:

Comparing the Significant Features of Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

A great place to begin when comparing and contrasting these two is their nuts and bolts; in what they do best and offer to the customer. The three things that QuickBooks (QB) offers over its Zoho equivalent are:

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

  1. Payroll Processing
  2. Budget and Forecasting
  3. Online Bill Payments

Conversely, Zoho Books provides its own slate of unique features that do not exist in QB:

  • Workflows: Create different workflows based on your needs
  • Create Users: Add users to your organization for easy collaboration
  • Client Portal: Not only allows for communication with customers in an interactive portal, but you can also send them sales orders once they accept your estimate! Plus, this feature allows you to collaborate with clients by sending messages through the portal.

The Sales Orders issue is incredibly crucial, because QuickBooks Online is severely lacking in this arena, which translates to an inventory tracking system that is not robust. In this sense, the “inventory tracking” feature boasted by QB Online is misleading, because the software simply offers no way to reserve inventory! This inability to create sales orders and therefore an inability to track orders placed by customers is a not-so-subtle blemish on the QuickBooks image/brand.

There are a few other noteworthy Zoho features worth mentioning:

  1. Integrates with multiple shipping options out of the box, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS
  2. Offers a useful multi-currency option for balance sheet accounts (assets, liability, equity)
  3. Zoho Books allows for use with 6-10 payment gateways
  4. Zoho Books includes a Retainer Invoice- affords you the ability to track prepayments

Price Comparison of Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

Zoho Books vs QuickBooks OnlineAny comparison is incomplete without evaluating pricing differences and similarities. In this case, if we view the price of Zoho Books on its own, it clearly is more cost-effective. Zoho Books’ standard price is $19 per organization per month, which includes 500 contacts, three users, and 10 automated workflows. Meanwhile, the “Essentials” package for QB Online is $35 per month, their equivalent of the Standard package. Therefore in this specific price comparison, Zoho Books has the edge.

However, if you crave the full accounting power from Zoho (which includes a fleet of applications: Invoice, Books, Zoho Inventory, Subscriptions, Expense, Checkout), you will need Zoho Finance. Operating with the integrated capabilities of Zoho Finance does require a more substantial investment, to the tune of $149 per month. This price includes 10 users and a slew of other fantastic features, all of which you can explore here.

*An important note about pricing: QB charges additional fees for data migration, Zoho Books does not.*

Overall Comparison

Ultimately, one of the most difficult hurdles for users of QuickBooks is to even consider a switch to another software. Fans of QuickBooks often believe that a transition to another operating platform will be too much of a hassle (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!). But the truth is that Zoho Books has more than its fair share of advantages over QB Online, and the integrations with other Zoho software make it that much more valuable.Zoho Books vs QuickBooks Online

Plus, a nifty bonus of Zoho Books is that the mobile features can be accessed on phones from Apple, Android, and Microsoft, as well as Kindles (QB can only handle Apple + Android).

In the end, Zoho Books offers a reliable way to completely migrate off QuickBooks. Not completely sold? Check out our Zoho QuickBooks Online integration, which allows you to continue to use QuickBooks Online and share that data with the Zoho CRM.  Our team of Zoho consultants can tell you the best way to set it up based on how you conduct business.

The Joys of Using TaxJar are numerous, a fact which every accountant can get behind.

The Joys of Using TaxJar Part 2

Establishing Nexus and Complying with State, Local, and County Tax Laws

In Part 1 we covered why you should want TaxJar, how the ZBrains CPQ tool integrates with TaxJar, and who TaxJar is for. Join us as we move towards a greater understanding of TaxJar:

When it comes to calculating your taxes and taking advantage of the joys of using TaxJar, tax nexus is vital. Determining nexus is an important element of tax compliance, and how you establish nexus can vary from state to state. Most definitions of nexus include the terms “doing business” or “engaged in business.” This blog details all the specifics regarding the various state laws.

The significant questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Do I have a location, warehouse, or other physical presence in a state?
  2. Do I have an employee, contractor, sales person, installer, or someone else working for me in a state?
  3. Do I have products stored in a state?
  4. Do my sales or number of transactions in a state exceed that state’s economic nexus threshold?
  5. Do I have a drop shipping relationship with a vendor in a state?
  6. Do I have an affiliate program with affiliates in various states?
  7. Do I cross state lines to sell my products at a trade show, craft fair, or other event?

Of note are the most common items that may not be taxable in some states:

-Grocery food

-Clothing

-Certain books (textbooks, religious books, etc.)

-Prescription and nonprescription medicine

-Supplements

-Magazines and subscriptions

-Digital products (books, music, movies, etc.)

Other Noteworthy Tax Nexus Issues

Once nexus is established it is crucial to do these three things:

-Register for a sales tax permit in that state

-Charge sales tax to customers in that state (regardless of how you sold them a product, or from where that product was shipped)

-File sales tax returns in that state

Perhaps the most obvious hurdle is the variability among state laws. For example, if you do not use TaxJar and have nexus in multiple states, you are forced to research the laws for each state on your own. This process can be tedious, especially when considering state, local, and county tax differences. Given all of this, the TaxJar automation of sales tax computation is truly an invaluable resource.

*Sometimes an identical product may be taxable in one state and non-taxable in another. A product may also not be taxable at the state level, but still taxable at the local level. *

Drop Ship, Ship Direct, and Multiple Warehouses with TaxJar

There are a few important scenarios to address when it comes to tax compliance. Drop shipping occurs when you use a vendor to ship an item directly to a customer. For example: you sell phone cases through your website and use a third party printing company to print designs on the cases before they are shipped to the customer.

Three things happen in this process: the customer buys the item from you, you buy the item from the vendor, and the vendor ships it to the customer. If your vendor has nexus in your state they must charge you sales tax on that purchase, unless you issue a resale certificate! The resale certificate indicates that the item you bought is for resale. This is where it can be complicated: you may be required to charge sales tax to your customer, and concurrently your vendor may need to charge sales tax to you.

Conversely, when shipping directly to the customer, you simply have to determine the sales tax in the buyer’s ship-to address.

Last but not least is the multiple warehouses scenario, which dictates that you must charge sales tax to buyers living in every state where your inventory is warehoused. A great example where this law may be overlooked is when sellers put their products Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). It is easy to forget that you need to charge sales tax for buyers living in each state that your goods are warehoused through Amazon FBA.

API and Customer Service

One beauty of TaxJar is the SmartCalcs Sales Tax service, which is very easy to utilize using modern restful APIs. Once integrated, it can easily determine if, when, and how much sales tax to collect. Collect the right tax amount every time you sell a product! It also makes sales tax reporting and filing easier for you or your merchants. The SmartCalcs Sales Tax service is clearly one of the best joys of using TaxJar.

The New Kid on the Block: Economic Nexus

As of June 21, 2018, a new law went into effect: Economic Nexus. This nexus law requires that sellers collect sales tax in a state because:

-They make a certain dollar amount of sales in that state (most common threshold is $100,000 per year)

-Have a certain number of sales transactions in that state (most common is 200 per year)

Approximately half of the states with a sales tax have economic nexus laws, and more states have announced they will soon also pass economic nexus laws or regulations.

The Shortcomings of TaxJar

Although this blog explores the joys of using TaxJar, we would be remiss if we did not mention any of the problems. Despite all of the areas in which it excels, there are some caveats. Most notable is that it is not very flexible. The good news is that within Zoho Creator, you can perform your tax reporting without going to TaxJar. From drag and drop reporting and ad hoc reports to all the transactions in Creator, the bottom line is that it is easier to use than TaxJar. Simply use TaxJar to acquire accurate percentages, and then store that data back in Zoho Creator to generate your own reports.

Whether you are trying to determine tax nexus or simplify your tax compliance process, TaxJar can get you there. Explore this handy software for yourself and ensure you calculate your taxes with accuracy.

The Joys of Using TaxJar are felt by multiple departments and numerous employees

The Joys of Using TaxJar

The Joys of Using Tax Jar: Why You Should Want It

Maintaining sales tax compliance is not an aspect of running a company that business owners often get excited about. Fortunately TaxJar handles the mundane parts of the tax compliance process. TaxJar is a phenomenal way for business owners to spend less time on sales tax and more time growing the business they love. It is designed for those on an E-commerce platform, and is especially effective for businesses with nexus in multiple states. Join us as we explore and illuminate all the Joys of Using TaxJar!

Nexus, for those who are unaware, is a presence or connection in a state significant enough for you to be required to comply with sales tax law. It is precisely the differences among the 45 U.S. states (and D.C.) that make complying with sales tax laws such a hassle. The good news? TaxJar is not only easy to use, it is cost-effective, and using it as your tax compliance software affords you top notch customer service. The best way to enjoy all the aforementioned benefits is to integrate TaxJar with Zoho. That’s precisely where we come in. 

How ZBrains CPQ Combines with TaxJar

A great integration couples two parts of your business with ease, providing synergy that makes your job easier. Thus is the case with our Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and TaxJar. Generate sales quotes quickly and easily using our CPQ. The resulting process means you rely on just one system rather than an array of programs and personnel.

Here are the important facts about our CPQ:

-All your SKUs update automatically, no more looking through hundreds of defunct item codes

-All your item descriptions and pictures (if necessary) are up to date

-Your quotes come with a configurator: never search through line items that have nothing to do with the items you sell

Who is TaxJar For?

Although the design of TaxJar caters to eCommerce businesses, the software helps businesses everyday of all types and backgrounds. Versatility is undoubtedly one of the best joys of using TaxJar. It calculates tax for companies in any U.S. location as well as Canada, Australia, and the EU. Rest assured that if you have sales tax issue(s) to rectify, TaxJar can ensure your problems are a thing of the past. 

Use TaxJar to calculate sales tax for each state your business is in or where you have already been collecting taxes. It determines what taxes should be collected, and whether tax has been over or under collected. Discover those details by determining in which U.S. Sates you have nexus, a major topic in the second half of the Joys of Using TaxJar blog.

In addition to our TaxJar Integration for Zoho, we have numerous other Zoho Integrations to make your life easier.

This is part one of a two-part series.  Check here for Part 2 of The Joys of Using TaxJar.

Comparing and Contrasting TaxJar vs Avalara

TaxJar vs Avalara

TaxJar vs Avalara

Determining the best Tax Software for your business is a crucial step in the evolution of any company. A good sales tax compliance software is a cinch to implement, easy to use, and ultimately solves your problems so you can get back to running your business. To compare TaxJar vs Avalara, we evaluated each SaaS (software as a service) on: Ease of Use, Customer Support, Pricing, and Overall Customer Satisfaction. We hope this comparison article helps you make an informed decision about the best tax software for your business.

Ease of Use

Since the dawn of software solutions people have put a premium on usability. What good is a software if it takes months or even years to master the nuances? In terms of the customer/user experience, TaxJar is simply easier to use. TaxJar is built for multi-channel sellers, who can easily import data with a few clicks from Shopify and Amazon. By contrast, Avalara users are forced to download CSVs (comma separated values) and re-format them to meet AvaTax requirements. In the end, you don’t have to take our word for it when it comes to the functionality of each SaaS, you can look what customers are saying for yourself!

Pricing

When evaluating TaxJar vs Avalara on price we considered the offer of a TaxJar free trial, the contract differences, and the extra fees charged by Avalara. A good first impression goes a long way, which is why TaxJar provides potential customers with a 30-day free trial. According to their website, this trial does not require a credit card. Plus, new customers to TaxJar do not face setup fees, cancellation fees, hidden fees, or forced annual contracts. From our research we found that annual contracts are the standard for Avalara customers: some being multi-year. Meanwhile, TaxJar proudly offers monthly plans because they stand behind their service rather than rely on contracts to keep customers around.

Last but not least are the fees built in to each software. Our research indicates that a typical 20K transaction year with TaxJar will cost $2,150, a pittance compared to the $12,515 price tag for Avalara customers. The combination of an activation fee, annual connector fee, annual license, and monthly billing (among others) from Avalara contributes to this hefty final figure. All of this information illustrates why TaxJar is the more cost-efficient model.

Customer Support

Another pillar of great software is strong customer support, and unfortunately for Avalara customers, this is where they fall significantly short. The Avalara adage of ‘Tax compliance done right’ does not accurately reflect their customer support services. Time and time again customers have complained about the abysmal support from Avalara. The general consensus among TaxJar customers is positive for their customer support. Calculating accurate taxes is important and the consequences can be more than a bit frustrating. As a result, TaxJar’s solid reputation of good customer support is so integral to the overall customer experience.

Overall Customer Satisfaction

No matter which software you choose, we hope this comparison has been useful. Although both serve the same purposes, our ZBrains Tax Jar integration provides all the benefits of TaxJar without the price tag of Avalara. As an added bonus, if you use Magento to help sell, TaxJar offers free sales tax calculations!

Long-time users of TaxJar and brand new customers alike can benefit from our Zoho Integration for TaxJar. Discover the benefits of this and all of our Zoho integrations!

The Benefits of the ZBrains Commission Calculator

Calculate Commissions on Time Every Time with ZBrains Commissions Calculator

Elegantly Crafted to Integrate with Zoho CRM or Your Accounting Suite

Paying employees on time is vital for team morale, financial planning, and evaluating your sales progress on a regular basis. The Zoho Commission Calculator does just that, effectively eliminating all the hard work involved in the commissions calculation process. We designed it to make your life easier and put smiles on the faces of your sales team. In the end, paying your employees accurately and on time will keep them happy and eager to sell more.

Integration is the name of the game, which is why we designed this Commission Calculator in Zoho Creator for integration with your accounting software. Whether you use QuickBooks, Zoho Books, or Exact Online, our Commission Calculator pulls invoices from your software to begin the process of calculating commissions. This flexible commission software solution works with every kind of commission table out there: Commission on Gross Profit, Sales Revenue Commission, Revenue Tiers, and Placement Fees. The result? An invaluable product that integrates with Zoho and makes life easier for you and your entire sales team.

Why You Should Want the ZBrains Commission Calculator

The mark of a great ZBrains integration is one that fills a necessary gap or automates a process, cutting down on both labor and man-hours. The ZBrains Commission Calculator fits that definition perfectly. It automates a regular process and places it firmly within the Zoho environment for your benefit. In addition to saving plenty of time and effort, this calculator ensures employees are paid on time, every time. At the end of the day a happy sales team is a more effective sales team.  When your hard-working sales force is consistently recognized for their efforts, their motivation to sell will increase.

What Does This Commission Calculator Do For Me?

Think of every member of your sales team: the budding sales novices, hungry mid-tier sellers, all the way up the ladder to your experienced aces-in-the-hole. Imagine how long it takes to manually calculate sales commission, and develop Excel reports separate from your accounting software or CRM. Numerous problems are likely to arise from this setup, such as commissions delivered late, off a decimal, or simply unaccounted for. In our on-demand world rife with immediate gratification, this laborious process sticks out like a sore thumb.

Fortunately, our Commission Calculator fills that void and makes certain your sales team is paid appropriately and promptly. It offers numerous valuable features:

  • Automatic Commission Calculation
  • Commission Approvals
  • Commission Statements
  • Payroll Integration (optional upgrade)

Create commission tables, assign them to your sales reps, and approve commissions on your schedule. The goal with our commission calculator is to put you securely in the driver’s seat. You can approve commissions bi-weekly, monthly, or on your own custom schedule as you see fit. 

Questions about our commission calculator for Zoho – or any other Zoho consulting question?  We’d love to hear from you.  Drop us a line!