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Zoho Finance: Feb ’19 Features for Zoho Books, Zoho Expense & More

February 2019 New Features in Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, and More

 Zoho Expense, Zoho Books, and New Feautures of Zoho by ZBrains

At a time when Zoho CRM has been dubbed either a “Leader” or “High Performer” in every business category according to a G2Crowd report, Zoho Corporation has used the momentum from their growing flagship app to push out some great updates to a different suite, the Zoho Finance Platform.  This suite, which includes Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, Zoho Inventory, and Zoho Subscriptions, can be used alongside the CRM to manage a business’s finances, while the CRM handles sales activities and forecasting.

Zoho is innovation at its core

Improving existing apps is the name of the game for Zoho, and this current round of updates should only strengthen Zoho’s brand in the coming months and years.  And given all that, we could not be happier to share these updates with you!

These are just some of the updates Zoho is pushing to their Finance Plus platform.  Keep an eye out for these and many more on the horizon:

zoho books by zbrains

Zoho Books

  1. File 1099s easily with a Yearli integration.  Yearli, which files 1099-MISC forms to the US federal government and applicable state governments during tax season, now integrates directly with Zoho Books.  This means no more double-entry between those two platforms. You can activate this integration from inside of Yearli and import data directly, where it will be ready to submit.
  2. Got new users?  Show them “What’s Next.”  Similar to the Zoho CRM blueprint feature, a new “What’s Next” tab in the Invoices module of Zoho Books tells users of your system the potential actions they can take next, related to an invoice record.  These actions are customizable based on any user’s permissions, and you can turn this new feature on and off as needed.
  3. Branding and Client Portal modules are combined.  Pretty self-explanatory; these modules had been separated, but now you can control the look of your customers’ invoices, actions customers can take, and your custom portal domain all from the same place.
  4. Get quicker answers to your Zoho Books questions.  Page Tips, available near the upper right corner of Zoho Books, now has a search bar that links directly to Zoho Books FAQ.  This will likely cut down on time spent calling your Zoho consultant for help (although we are always happy to hear from you too!).

zoho expence by zbrains

Zoho Expense

  1. Different Expense categories = different experiences.  Now, you can personalize the expense creation experience based on the expense category selected by your staff.  Use categories to enable or disable certain fields, pre-fill values in fields, or add tooltips or hints to fields to streamline users’ experience.  This particular update for Zoho Expense is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
  2. Use Web Tabs for a more integrated experience.  When you’re switching between related tabs in Zoho Expense, what could be better than having related websites directly integrated as you enter or approve expenses?  Use new Web Tabs to keep booking sites or other pricing sites you frequent close at hand, integrated with Zoho Expense.
  3. Do you use Xero?  Now you can integrate it with Expense.  This prevents having to enter expense info across two platforms.  The integration syncs Customers, Expense Accounts, and Categories between Xero and Zoho Expense.  Plus, all approved expenses can be synced to Xero automatically. Nice time saver!

zoho inventory by zbrains

Zoho Inventory

  1. Do you categorize your items?  So does Inventory.  This is a simple but much-needed update to organize inventory based on category.  Zoho Inventory allows you to run reports not just on items themselves, but on categories of items to gauge performance.
  2. Process only what you need, and nothing you don’t.  You can now manually add items to a package to ship, or even scan their barcodes for an even quicker experience.  This ensures you only process items you need to ship, regardless of the items’ quantity on a related Sales Order.
  3. Simpler orders?  Ship quickly and invoice instantly!  For less involved orders, you now have the ability to select a SO and create a manual shipment without needing to create a Package record first.  (You can also mark those shipments as delivered right away, manually.) Last but not least, create invoices directly from SOs without going through the usual invoice edit page.
  4. Never go Less Than Zero.  It’s easy to get bogged down when dealing with multiple orders at once, and it’s possible to exhaust your product stock when managing it on two different screens.  Now, you can restrict creation of a transaction when it would bring an item’s stock below 0 – and, you can turn this feature on and off as needed.

zoho subscription by zbrains

Zoho Subscriptions

  1. View all your credit notes as a list.  Now, instead of searching in different places for a customer’s credit notes, you can see them all in a list view.  Simple, but absolutely a time-saver!
  2. Extend subscriptions instantly.  Extending subscriptions when they were meant to be limited used to be a pain, what with having to create a new subscription record and crowding up your customers’ records.  Now, you can extend any limited subscription by a specific number of cycles, and you’re good to go.

Get on Board with Zoho’s Growing Finance Platform and Affordable Pricing

Given all these updates to the Zoho Finance platform, and coupled with Zoho’s already inexpensive price point (for example, Zoho Books can be just $29/mo per company by itself), it’s never been a better time to get into Zoho.  Zoho CRM picks up market share seemingly daily, and the Zoho Finance apps will likely follow suit as their feature library continues to grow.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to get in on the ground floor…when it’s still on the ground?  If you’ve ever been curious about Zoho Books, Zoho Expense, or any other Zoho app, it’s a great time to contact us so we can show you how your business would run on Zoho. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or you’re well-versed in all things accounting – there’s something for everyone here.  Contact us and let’s chat!

5 Game-Changing Features of the New Zoho CRM!

New Zoho CRM is back with a vengeance after its facelift

If you haven’t already heard about the new Zoho CRM interface and new Zoho CRM features that were all rolled out in earnest over the past few weeks, you’ve probably been living under a rock – or, you’ve just been really busy.  Don’t worry!  It happens to me, too.

Before Zoho rolled out the new UI, however, they very quietly rolled it out to their partner network so we could all become familiar with it before we started helping people build out their own systems.  And, let me tell you: it is gorgeous.  But, that’s not even what I wanted to talk about.

Zoho proves with this new iteration of their CRM that beauty is much more than skin-deep.  I’ve put together 5 ways this Zoho CRM changes the game completely – and puts you firmly in command of your system.

1. Schedule a script to run independently instead of as part of a workflow rule

zoho crm features

This is really nifty.  Zoho workflow automation has always been handy, but, up to this point, if you wanted the system to carry out a task for you, that task would have to be based on some other action taking place, like the creation or editing of a record.  That would make it impossible for you to run a custom script that wasn’t based on an action – like, say, to sync data from Zoho to Google Drive (or some other cloud-based system) at the end of every workday.  But, with this new capability, there’s no more limitation in that arena, and you don’t need to base a scheduled script upon performing an action!

2. Automatically trigger leads to convert based on set criteria

zoho crm features

Workflow rules now extend to lead conversion, so if your Lead record matches that special criteria you set for qualification, you don’t even have to press convert anymore.  For people who have hundreds of things going on – and might be prone to forgetting to convert their Leads to Potentials – this is a lifesaver, but, it’s also good for new salespeople who might not be sure what your exact lead conversion criteria are.  If you tell your CRM what those conditions are, it takes the work off your salespeople’s plates.

3. Set multiple layouts per module

zoho crm features

Have you ever wished you could add another layer of granularity to your record separation game?  With the new CRM, you can plan separate page layouts for any module in Zoho – even custom ones!  This comes in handy if, for example, you deal with multiple kinds of leads.  While you’ll want to keep track of all your sales activities, you probably won’t want to take potential partners down the same sales funnel as your regular prospects.  The new Zoho CRM allows for multiple completely custom page layouts so you can take every kind of Lead, Potential, or Account down the sales path that’s best for your business.

4. Gamify your CRM activities!

zoho crm features

Sales gamification is a great motivator, as I’ve mentioned before.  In the new Zoho CRM interface, Zoho takes the same great idea they’ve applied to Zoho Projects (and on which they developed an entire app in Zoho Motivator) and applies it to the CRM – and, as it is in Projects, it’s a great tool to drive proper use of the system.  If you don’t believe it, just imagine this: After starting a contest, all your salespeople start taking notes on pertinent records, converting Leads to Potentials, and completing tasks in the CRM… It might sound like a pipe dream, but with Gamescope for the CRM, all you have to provide is the incentive; the CRM takes care of the contest itself (and provides fun, encouraging notes to users who complete enough CRM tasks even if you don’t provide a prize to the daily victor).

5. See all dashboards in the mobile CRM app!

zoho crm features

Any mobile CRM app is a great idea: All sorts of working people benefit from accessing their database on the go, whether it’s technicians out in the field or executives looking to stay abreast of current happenings from outside the office.  But, from the Zoho CRM mobile app it wasn’t always possible to see all your custom reports dashboards in one place… And, now it is.  So, rather than have to thumb (or finger) through pages of data from a smaller screen, you can just do the same thing you’d do in the office – look at your beautiful reports and know at a glance how your business is running.

But, wait… There’s more!

zoho crm features

Zoho, the overachieving developers they are, have done much more than this in the new Zoho CRM design, so for a full breakdown I recommend taking a glance at the article Zoho put out on the subject.  Or, better still, if you aren’t using Zoho yet, sign up for a free trial.

Zoho App Creator: The Easy Way to Build Mobile Applications!

You know you’re living in a decadent time when you learn that Zoho’s just created a new product that lets users create entire mobile apps from scratch.  The new product, called Zoho App Creator, is pretty similar to Zoho Creator, but with a focus set squarely on creating mobile apps.

zoho app creator

Forgive my amazement, but, remember when creating apps was something you needed to hire a very experienced developer to do, and, even when the thing was all done, you had to jump through flaming hoops of compliance to get the thing into the App Store or the Play Store?  Now, you can get all apps created with Zoho App Creator into the app store, no sweat.  Unreal!

This is still a relatively new product, so I’m sure there will be updates, but let me give you the first-time rundown!  We can explore it together.

Zoho App Creator – First Glance

zoho app creator

Zoho’s new UI rollout really shines here – AppCreator is perfectly in line with all the other apps Zoho’s upgraded recently.  (Still waiting for a few stragglers, though… I’m looking at you, Zoho Campaigns…)  All the main buttons – the hamburger, the home and help icons – are in their expected places, and the lighter blue header is a nice change from the darker hues of most other Zoho apps.

Truly the easiest, coolest thing

Zoho App Creator gives the user a screen with which to build real, functioning mobile apps that not only stand on their own, but can connect to Zoho CRM and other third-party business programs.  Building apps is all pretty much done in a familiar, drag-and-drop fashion; users can select the data fields of their choice from a bank, and even create their own custom fields if they so choose.  And, perhaps the best part: you don’t even have to know how to code to use this.  Apps you build with Zoho App Creator will function on Androids, Apple devices, and Windows machines…just like that.

zoho app creator

But, how can you use Zoho App Creator for your business?

Pretty easily, actually.  Here are some easy potential use cases:

  • Connect to the CRM and set up a scheduling app to fit your needs
  • Send information to your CRM or other business program on the fly by entering through a form
  • Set the CRM to notify Zoho App Creator users when certain conditions arise
  • Sync data from multiple business programs to a single custom app

There are loads more, of course – I’m sure you’re thinking of a few possible applications yourself.

Another thing you’ll love: As with all other Zoho apps, AppCreator is cloud-based.  That means any change you make to the app will reflect for all app users immediately.  That means no software upgrades!

What you can do now:

  • Sign up for a trial of Zoho App Creator and get your hands dirty!  Er, you won’t get them dirty, actually, since the thing is so easy to use.  Give it a shot.
  • Stay tuned for more content on the latest Zoho offerings!  I plan to create a searchable page for the site that includes more in-depth info on Zoho App Creator, which will include a comprehensive list of features and more potential use cases for the product, written in a more consultative way.



Transform Your Sales Process with SalesIQ Zoho Mobile App

zoho salesiq mobile app

The big picture: You’ve probably shied away from SalesIQ in the past because you were afraid it would look bad if your sales team wasn’t logged in.  But, what if you could solve that problem with a mobile app?

If so, this is the one for you.  A programmable chat window on your website ensures your visitors have someone to talk to – and now, with the SalesIQ mobile app, you can be there whenever you want, even when you’re not at your desk.

It seems like these days, Zoho comes out with a new feature almost every week.

And, I’m not talking about silly, useless updates either – these are the real deal.  Last week, they released an update for Zoho Creator, the Zoho AppCreator, which allows for creating functional apps in Creator with a simple drag-and-drop interface… Impressive.  (Look for a piece going into a little more depth on that later this week.)

zoho salesiq mobile app

And, just today, I heard about this great update for Zoho SalesIQ – the SalesIQ mobile app.  As with any good mobile app, it’s lightweight (18 MB for Apple devices and only 9 for Androids) and provides enough functionality to make sense without giving you all the controls you get with the full version of SalesIQ.  For an example of what I mean, you can set your status to Away or Busy with the SalesIQ mobile app, but you can’t change your company’s business hours or address information.  I don’t know why you’d need to do that from your mobile, though.  (Before continuing, if you aren’t sure what SalesIQ is, I’d suggest reading this.)

The app doesn’t have the nice orbiting display the full version of SalesIQ boasts, but it does show numbers of visitors in each orbit you have set up, and then offers a detailed view you can use to chat those individual visitors up if you’d like.

Most importantly, the Zoho SalesIQ mobile app includes the option to make noise, vibrate, and flash the screen when someone responds to one of your website triggers.  That way you never miss your visitors’ requests when you’re away from your desk.

zoho salesiq mobile appZoho SalesIQ mobile app features and screens:

  • Visitors Online – Shows numbers of visitors in each category on your website(s) with the SalesIQ code embedded in them.  (You can get the code for this from inside the full version of SalesIQ, but not the SalesIQ mobile app.)
    • Detail – Shows individual profiles of visitors on your websites, including their names (if you or they have filled out that info), IP addresses, the current page they’re on, their referral method, their browser, and their operating system – just like the full SalesIQ.
  • Visitor History – Shows profiles of either all visitors or returning visitors to your websites, including all info from the Detail screen mentioned above.  My only gripe with this SalesIQ mobile app feature is the visitors don’t seem to be in any logical order, and there’s no way to sort them (yet).
  • Visitor Chats – Separate from the Visitors Online screen, this is where your chats take place.  You can choose between viewing Ongoing, Missed, or Historical chats here.
  • User Chats – This is for communicating with team members also online (whether on the SalesIQ mobile app or on the full version), good for announcements related to the product, e.g., you’re running a contest for your Sales team members to see how many conversions they can get that day.  You can send private messages or “message board” messages, which are like group chats.  (These features are available in the full version of SalesIQ too.)

zoho salesiq mobile app

  • Settings – This screen is pretty basic, but gives you all the functionality you’d really need from a mobile chat app:
    • Profile – Displays your photo, same as the regular SalesIQ.  Also displays your privilege level (Administrator, member, etc.) and the name of your company.  Useful in situations when you’re responding on behalf of others in your organization, or on behalf of other organizations (which as a Zoho certified consultancy we sometimes do).
    • StatusThe most important screen.  Allows you to set your status as Available or Busy.  This stays consistent between any instances of SalesIQ that are open, which is also very nice.
    • Notifications – Allows for setting the kinds of notifications you want in your SalesIQ mobile app (sounds, vibrations, and pop-ups) for new chat messages, followup messages, and messages from within your organization.
    • Theme – Allows for a slight skin modification.  Kinda cool if you have a favorite color, or you’re in a particularly orange or pink mood today 🙂
    • Reset data – Clears all data from SalesIQ.  If you ran a few test chats and want to clear those out, this is good to have, but I’m actually a little scared of hitting this by accident one day.  I don’t know why this is included in the app.
    • Sign out – Signs the current user out of the Zoho SalesIQ mobile app (but not your full version of SalesIQ, if applicable).

The SalesIQ mobile app is a great way to stay on top of your chat game

In short, this is a fine product for anyone looking to engage website visitors a little better.  To make the best use of this, set up automated SalesIQ triggers for website visitors so your system pushes notifications to visitors automatically and you can worry about people contacting you instead of fumbling with your mobile keyboard to type personalized messages to everyone you see.

As with most new apps, there are a couple of features that would benefit from a little tweaking, but overall this SalesIQ mobile app is a great addition to the Zoho family.  And, it’s only been around since March 30th of this year, so I’m guessing Zoho will improve this one and perhaps even add more features as time goes on.

I’m online right now (at least until 7 PM, when I tend to fall over from exhaustion)… are you?



Zoho CRM Mobile Apps Announcement

Get Ready to Take Your Business to the Next Level with Zoho’s New CRM Mobile App

zoho crm mobile app

Zoho has just announced a trio of exciting new products designed to let you take your whole business on the road!  These mobile apps will not only prove invaluable to business owners looking to access important company information from their phones, of course – but, they’ll also allow salespeople to collect and manage prospect information easily at trade shows, and even scan business card data to relay to Zoho CRM.

The trio of Zoho CRM mobile apps are as follows:

  • Zoho CRM
  • Zoho Leads
  • Zoho Card Scanner

zoho crm mobile app

Zoho CRM Mobile App – your entire business in your hands

The Zoho CRM mobile app allows for immediate access to your Zoho CRM, whether you’re on the road or just away from your home base.  The app works on Android, iPhone, or iPad, and allows you to make business decisions and even collaborate with your team just as you normally would from your computer.

Standard tasks like emailing and calling directly from the app are, of course, available.  As well, the app allows for data access even when not connected to the internet (for example, when your mobile device is in Airplane Mode) and synchronizes the data automatically as soon as your device is reconnected.

Cool feature: Visit your customers

The Zoho CRM mobile app comes with a great feature that can alert you when you’re close to your prospects’ businesses, so you can visit them (with built-in driving directions) if you’d like.  This is a great tool if you have an hour to kill before or after a trade show in a client-dense area, or, simply for when you aren’t sure how to get to a client’s office.

Access the Zoho CRM mobile app here.

zoho crm mobile app

Effortless Trade Shows with Zoho Leads Mobile App

Scanning badges at trade shows can be a major hassle; you need to have the right equipment and generally follow protocol like waiting until the end of a trade show to get more prospect information, or waiting around with a stack of business cards.  The Zoho Leads mobile app makes the whole process much easier.  It works as a trade show scanner app, letting you transfer information into your Zoho CRM immediately, and even allows for following up and managing your new client details directly from the app.

How does the Zoho business card scanner work?

All you have to do is scan your prospects’ badge QR codes, or just take a picture of their badges or business cards from your mobile device; the Zoho Leads mobile app imports all relevant data to the app (and to your Zoho CRM) automatically.  You can then assign lead owners and even send followup emails to your prospects right from the app.  Pretty nifty!

(If you’re unable to scan badges, business cards, or QR codes, you can also add lead details manually.)

Cool feature: See your success rate right away with Zoho Campaigns integration

It can sometimes take a little time to see just how successful your trade show efforts were.  However, with Zoho Campaigns integration with your Zoho Leads mobile app, you can add your prospects to special mailing lists immediately and serve them fresh content to gauge their level of interest in your company.

Access the Zoho Leads mobile app here.

zoho crm mobile app

Zoho Card Scanner Mobile App – like Leads, but streamlined

Want the card-scanning functionality of the Zoho Leads mobile app without the extra bells and whistles?  The Zoho Card Scanner mobile app is right for you.  The Zoho Card Scanner mobile app allows users to automatically import business card or QR code data directly to Zoho CRM just by scanning a badge or taking a picture of a card.

Neat features:

  • The Zoho Card Scanner mobile app reads business cards in seven different languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Russian, and Swedish.
  • Similar to the Zoho CRM mobile app, the Zoho Card Scanner mobile app locates your prospects’ addresses on a map so you can see how close you are to their businesses.

Access the Zoho Card Scanner mobile app here.

zoho crm mobile app

Little bit bogged down?

Our Zoho consulting experts are always eager to answer questions about these new Zoho products, as well as give specialized Zoho training sessions or go over our variety of Zoho support plans.  Contact us by using the link in the upper right corner of this window!