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A woman using Zoho Expense to manage her business

How to Use Zoho Expense to Manage Your Business Expenses

Zoho Expense is an expense reporting software from Zoho’s suite of powerful cloud-based business apps. It enables businesses to quickly capture, track, and report on the expenses of their employees for tax, accounting, and budgeting purposes.

It integrates with Zoho Books, allowing businesses to manage their travel and business expenses more efficiently. When used in conjunction with Zoho Books, business owners can set up their account and start using Zoho Expense right away.

Zoho Expense also offers a streamlined experience that saves time and effort. One noteworthy feature is its OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, which scans receipts and automatically creates expenses. While the accuracy of OCR-generated data may vary (and requires human review), it significantly reduces the time spent on manual data entry and speeds up the expense reporting process.

How to Get Started with Zoho Expense

It’s easy to get started with Zoho Expense—all you need to do is sign up. Once you’ve done that, your 14-day free trial will begin automatically.

Like most expense management software, Zoho Expense can integrate directly with your bank and identify expenses. Setting up custom criteria for automated expense classifications and categorizations saves you from having to enter each expense manually.

Here’s a brief overview of Zoho Expense’s main interface:

  1. A left-hand side Navigation panel provides an organized overview of all Zoho Expense modules.
  2. To easily create new transactions, use the Quick Create button near each respective module.
  3. Use the Search bar feature to locate a particular expense, report, or additional information.
  4. Manage your Organization Profile, subscriptions, and more by clicking the Settings icon.
  5. Contact Zoho Expense regarding any issues via the Support option.

Once you familiarize yourself with its main interface, you can begin creating expense reports and managing your company spending.

Step 1: Creating Expense Reports

Create and Manage Expense Reports

Follow these steps to create and manage your expense reports:

  1. Create a new expense report by clicking the “+” icon next to “Reports.” Fill in the required information on the New Report screen, such as:
    1. Report title
    2. Length of time
    3. Business purpose (optional)
    4. Submit to (select an approver, if applicable)
  1. Incorporate previously created expenses into the report, as needed.
  2. To add a new expense directly to the report, simply create it on the same page.
  3. Click “Save and Submit” to save your progress and immediately send the report to your designated approver.

Zoho Expense also offers customers an automated expense report generator they can use for free with the software.

Approve Expense Reports

Follow these steps to approve, reject, or reimburse expense reports effectively:

  1. Click on “My Approvals” located on the left-hand side of the screen.
  2. Choose an expense report that requires approval or rejection.
  3. Decide whether to approve or reject the report based on its content and accuracy.
  4. If necessary, send the report to another stakeholder instead of approving or rejecting it yourself.
  5. Leave a comment for clarification or additional information, or send an email to the reporter.
  6. Reimburse expenses after approval from all stakeholders involved.

Configure Expense Preferences

Establish essential preferences and company policies for expenses by following these steps:

  1. Click on “Settings” located on the left-hand side (LHS) of the screen.
  2. Choose “Expenses” from the Preferences section to access expense-related settings.
  3. Define the currencies to be used for recording expenses.
  4. Add custom fields to the expense creation page, allowing for more detailed and organized records.
  5. Set up Notifications for expenses to stay informed about important updates and changes.

Step 2: Managing Business Expenses

Zoho Expense offers numerous features, such as Mileage Tracking and Expense Reporting Automation, to help you efficiently monitor your business expenses for different activities and events. Depending on your business and its expense types, you can use these features to get better insights into your spending and manage it more effectively.

To analyze expenses and gain better visibility into your spending, follow these steps:

  1. Select “Analytics” from the left-hand side of the screen to access expense analytics.
  2. Choose a specific report from the left pane that fits your needs.
  3. Customize the report according to your requirements for a more detailed analysis.
  4. Print or export the report as a PDF for easy sharing and review if needed.

Zoho Expense integrates natively with other Zoho products, including Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho People. It also integrates with Quickbooks for a more comprehensive view of your finances.

Integrate with other systems using the Zoho Expense API or Zapier to automate and streamline expense processes.

How to Best Manage Business Expenses

Managing business expenses is straightforward, and automating the process makes it less error-prone. Still, there are a few issues you can run into if you don’t follow these best practices:

  • Ensure that all company policies and preferences are set up correctly to maintain consistency across expense reports.
  • Regularly review and update expense categories to reflect your business’s evolving needs.
  • Utilize the Analytics feature to monitor spending patterns and identify areas for cost reduction.
  • Set up expense rules to automate categorization and streamline the approval process.
  • Integrate Zoho Expense with other business applications for seamless data sharing and improved efficiency.

Tips to Improve Expense Management Efforts

Failing to establish clear expense policies can lead to compliance issues. And neglecting to consistently update and maintain expense categories results in inaccurate data and analysis.

To improve your expense tracking efforts with Zoho Expense, use the following tips:

  1. Encourage employees to submit expenses on time and attach receipts for accurate documentation.
  2. Set up automated notifications to remind employees and approvers of pending tasks and deadlines.
  3. Regularly review expense reports to identify trends, anomalies, or potential fraud.
  4. Train employees on how to use Zoho Expense effectively, and work with a reputable third-party consultant for insights and help.

Zoho Expense Mobile App

Zoho Expense is available on both Android and iOS devices, allowing users to manage expenses on the go. The mobile app enables employees to quickly capture receipts, create and submit expense reports, and even track mileage, ensuring that expense management is convenient and efficient, no matter where they are.


Zoho Expense is a powerful and easy-to-use expense management platform for businesses of all sizes. Automated expense tracking and robust analytics help organizations control costs and get better insights into their spending.

For more on Zoho Expense setup, API integration, and company-wide deployment, contact our team for help.

Zoho Quickbooks Integration

Zoho CRM Integration: Benefits and Process

With more than 80 percent of the SMB market share, QuickBooks is by far the world’s most popular accounting software. Businesses use QuickBooks to track income and expenses, pay bills, send invoices, and produce files and reports for their accountants. Integrating Quickbooks with Zoho CRM takes account management capabilities even further, automating repetitive data entry processes and enabling more agile interactions with customers.

Simplify Sales and Order Process: QuickBooks Integration with Zoho CRM

Integrating QuickBooks with Zoho CRM saves businesses a lot of time by eliminating the need for duplicated, manual data entry. Integration helps to lessen errors in the sales and order process and eliminate data conflicts by synchronizing contacts, quotes, products, vendors, sales orders, invoices, and other data fields.zoho crm

Following integration, the salesperson can enter the order in CRM and the software manipulates the record type as the order is processed, filled, and invoiced. Once the order has been filled and invoiced, the software syncs the information back to the original system.

The process of integrating QuickBooks differs depending on whether you use QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop. Here’s an overview of the integration process for each.

QuickBooks Online <> Zoho CRM Integration

For QuickBooks Online, there are two integration alternatives – using Zoho’s integration platform, Zoho Flow, or using a service provider to allow custom syncs.

Zoho Flow is Zoho’s DIY tool for connecting cloud applications and automating complex business workflows without needing to write any code. The platform works with over 400 business applications (including QuickBooks Online) and offers over 500 ready-to-use integrations. Its drag-and-drop integration builder can also accommodate a degree of custom integration. If you need deeper integration or run into problems using Zoho Flow, reach out to us at ZBrains.

Companies that need custom synchronizations or don’t feel comfortable undertaking such an important task on their own should work with an experienced service provider like ZBrains. We’ve done hundreds of QuickBooks Online <> Zoho CRM integrations.

Modules That Can Be Synced

Essential modules that can be synced in a QuickBooks <> Zoho CRM integration include:

  • QuickBooks Customers with Zoho CRM Accounts
  • QuickBooks Customers with Zoho CRM Contacts
  • QuickBooks Items with Zoho CRM Products
  • QuickBooks Vendors with Zoho CRM Vendors

Transactional modules that can be synced include:

  • QuickBooks Invoices with Zoho CRM Invoices
  • QuickBooks Sales Orders with Zoho CRM Sales Orders
  • QuickBooks Estimates with Zoho CRM Quotes
  • QuickBooks Purchase Orders with Zoho CRM Purchase Orders

Other modules that can be synced include but are not limited to:

  • QuickBooks Jobs <> Zoho Deals
  • QuickBooks Payments <> Zoho Payments

Major Steps in the Integration Process

All integrations include at least seven major steps, starting with the discovery phase and continuing through ongoing support post-integration.


Before any work begins, there should be one or more planning sessions to develop the information needed to create integration specifications. These specifications will be followed in field mapping, deploying the integration, and establishing the appropriate settings.

Systems backup

Next, test environments and data backups of both QuickBooks and Zoho CRM should be created before the integration deploys.

Deployment and Testing

The deployment process, which includes integration planning, data cleanup, and field mapping, is typically completed in less than one day. That includes time spent meeting with the deployment engineers, creating test records, and verifying data.

This process typically incorporates screen-sharing sessions and involves the use of a tool such as ZBrains AgilitySync.

Sync and migrate data between systems

Data from Zoho CRM to QuickBooks or QuickBooks to Zoho CRM can be migrated from as far back as 2012. This is a labor-intensive process that normally adds 2-4 weeks to the integration timeline.

Ongoing support

However your integration is undertaken, you will need ongoing support for tasks such as mapping and settings changes, bug fixes, and answers to any questions you may have along the way.

Efficient QuickBooks Desktop Integration: Expert Guidance

Since QuickBooks Desktop is locally hosted, integrations are more complicated and there is no ready-made integration option.

You will need to use a service provider who can help you decide whether integrating directly to Zoho CRM or migrating first to Zoho Books is the best option for you. ZBrains has extensive experience working with companies on their QuickBooks Desktop integrations, with or without a Zoho Books migration.


Any business can reap the benefits of a QuickBooks <> Zoho CRM integration, from saving time and eliminating data conflicts, to strengthening the sales cycle and enhancing the overall customer experience. ZBrains provides total deployment assistance for QuickBooks <> Zoho CRM integrations, including standard and custom field mappings, data migration, conditional syncing, and more.

Reach out today for more information.

Businesswoman Using Zoho Books API in her Business

What is the Zoho Books API and How Do I Use It?

Zoho Books, a cloud-based accounting software, allows businesses to easily manage their finances and automate their workflows through a rich set of features and an intuitive user interface. 

With the Zoho Books API, companies can integrate Zoho Books with other Zoho apps and third-party software to increase its functionality and streamline internal workflows.

Understanding the Zoho Books API: A Quick Overview

The Zoho Books API serves as an interface that enables developers to interact programmatically with Zoho Books. Essentially, this empowers you to extend Zoho Books’ functionality, integrate it with other applications, and automate tasks, ultimately slashing time wastage and diminishing manual errors. Whether you’re a small business owner, an accountant, or a developer, the Zoho Books API unfurls a realm of possibilities for elevating your financial management processes.

Key Features of Zoho Books API:

Automate and Simplify Your Finances

With the Zoho Books API, you can automate repetitive tasks and reduce the risk of human error in financial management. Seamlessly connect Zoho Books with Zoho Campaigns to automate invoice notifications and payment reminders, ensuring timely payments from your customers. Integrate Zoho Mail to streamline communication with clients and vendors, making sending invoices, receipts, and other financial documents directly from your Zoho Books account easy.

Efficient Inventory Management

Integrating Zoho Books with Zoho Inventory through the API can be a game-changer for businesses that deal with inventory. Automatically sync your inventory levels across both platforms, ensuring you always sell and are well-stocked. Efficiently manage purchase orders, track shipments, and update product information in real time, all from within your Zoho Books interface.

Seamless Customer Relationship Management

By integrating Zoho Books with your Zoho CRM using the API, you can gain deeper insights into your customers’ financial activities. View a customer’s payment history, outstanding invoices, and credit notes directly from your CRM dashboard. This integration enables your sales and finance teams to work together efficiently, providing a seamless customer experience.

Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

The Zoho Books API allows you to extract financial data and create real-time custom reports. Connect Zoho Books with your preferred business intelligence tools, and gain valuable insights into your financial performance, cash flow, and profitability. Accessing up-to-date financial information at your fingertips empowers better decision-making and strategic planning.

Enhanced Security and Data Privacy

Zoho takes security and data privacy seriously. The Zoho Books API uses OAuth 2.0 protocols, ensuring secure access to your data while protecting sensitive financial information. You have complete control over the permissions granted to third-party applications, enhancing data security and compliance.

But how exactly does it work? Let’s take a closer look. 

How does the Zoho Books API enhance integration and functionality?

Essentially, the Zoho Books API is the function that allows you to perform all of your Zoho Books operations within the web client. 

It is built on REST (Representational State Transfer) principles, making it relatively straightforward to use and allowing for a wide range of activities and integrations. Further, because the API follows HTTP rules, every resource is exposed as a URL, and every URL can be obtained through the API Root Endpoint. 

In practical terms, integrations set up using the Zoho Books API enable businesses to utilize add-ons to get more from their Zoho Apps. The API not only integrates with several other third-party software, but also allows Zoho Books to integrate with other Zoho products, such as Zoho Campaigns, Zoho Mail, and Zoho Inventory

This is especially helpful for businesses working across multiple Zoho apps or that already have established third-party solutions in place that they don’t want to replace.

How Does the Zoho Books API Work?

Use the following instructions to start using the Zoho Books API:

Step #1: Register a New Client 

Because Zoho’s REST APIs use OAuth 2.0 protocols, your first step will be to register your application within Zoho’s Developer Console to generate a Client ID and Client Secret. 

Step #2: Generate a Grant Token. 

Next, you’ll redirect to the authorization URL ( with the relevant parameters:

zoho books api

Upon this request, Zoho will present a user consent page. Clicking ‘Accept’ will cause Zoho to redirect to the given redirect_uri with the ‘code’ and ‘state’ parameters (which you’ll need to get the access token in the next step). Note that this code is only valid for 60 seconds. 

If you click ‘Deny’, Zoho will return a server error.

Step #3: Generate Access and Refresh Token 

Once you have your access token, make a POST request using this URL ( and the following parameters to generate your access token: 

zoho books api

This will generate both an access token (which will expire after a set period) and a refresh token. Be aware that Zoho limits refresh tokens to 20 per user. Earlier refresh tokens will be deleted by default if this limit is exceeded, whether or not they’re in use. 

Step #4: Generate an Access Code from a Refresh Token 

If your access token expires, use the refresh token to request a new one by redirecting to the following POST URL using the parameters below:

zoho books api

Step #5: Revoking a Refresh Token 

If you need to revoke a refresh token, use the following URL with the parameter below:

zoho books api

Step #6: Call an API 

Finally, call the Zoho Books API in header using the following values: 

  • Header name: Authorization
  • Header value: Zoho-oauthtoken 

Specific scopes available for the Zoho Books API include contacts, settings, estimates, invoices, customerpayments, creditnotes, projects, expenses, salesorder, purchaseorder, bills, debitnotes, vendorpayments, banking, and accountants.

Embarking on Your Zoho Books API Journey

  • API Documentation: Begin by acquainting yourself with Zoho Books API’s official documentation. This comprehensive resource elucidates endpoints, request parameters, authentication methods, and response formats.

  • Access Credentials: Your foray into the API requires authentication credentials, including the client ID and client secret. Obtain these by creating a client in the Zoho Books Developer Console.

  • Authentication: OAuth 2.0 safeguards API access, ensuring secure entry to your Zoho Books account and authorizing only designated actions.

  • Selecting a Programming Language: The API caters to various programming languages. Select the one aligning with your proficiency and project requisites.

  • API Requests: Engaging with the API involves crafting HTTP requests for specific endpoints. These requests facilitate data retrieval, record creation, information updates, and other tasks.

Top Tips for Using the Zoho Books API

Once you’ve set up, keep the following suggestions in mind as you begin using it:

Pay Attention to Your Limits

Generally speaking, Zoho Books API calls are limited in order to provide a better quality of service and greater availability to all users. As a result, the following limits on total requests per day for each plan are currently in place:

  • Free Plan: 1,000 API requests/day
  • Standard Plan: 2,000 requests/day
  • Professional Plan: 5,000 requests/day
  • Premium Plan: 10,000 requests/day
  • Elite Plan: 10,000 requests/day
  • Ultimate Plan: 10.000 requests/day

Carry Out Load Testing

One of the things we’ve noticed among ZBrains clients is that almost everyone hits their limits more quickly than expected. And because that can lead to unexpected shutdowns, we recommend carrying out significant load testing in advance to see how your requirements stack up against Zoho’s daily limits.

Increase Your API Limits 

Fortunately, if you do find that your business requirements exceed your API call limit, increasing your limit is relatively easy and inexpensive. The best way to do so is to email with your requirements, and Zoho will get back to you with specific pricing details and instructions on increasing your API call limits.

Sample Use Cases

  • E-commerce Integration: Integrate your online store with Zoho Books, triggering automatic invoice creation for each transaction. This eradicates manual data entry and ensures real-time financial record updates.
  • Expense Automation: Develop an app that captures employee expenses. Utilize the API to transmit expense data directly to Zoho Books, eliminating paper-based reporting.
  • Real-Time Reporting: Construct a custom dashboard drawing data from Zoho Books via the API. This dashboard could offer real-time insights into your business’s financial standing, enabling informed decisions on the fly.
  • Automated Reminders: Create an application issuing automated payment reminders to clients with outstanding invoices. This practice enhances cash flow by minimizing payment delays.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Zoho Books API:


Q: What is the Zoho Books API?

A: The Zoho Books API is an interface that allows developers and businesses to integrate Zoho Books with other Zoho apps and third-party software. It enables automation, data exchange, and enhanced functionality by allowing you to perform Zoho Books operations programmatically.


Q: How can I get started with the Zoho Books API?

A: The Zoho Books API may help businesses of all sizes optimize their financial processes, automate procedures, and increase data interchange between applications. Whether your company is small or large, the API can help you greatly improve efficiency and productivity.

Q: What are the key benefits of using the Zoho Books API?

A: The Zoho Books API improves integration and functionality, enabling businesses to automate activities, streamline workflows, and effortlessly sync data between Zoho Books and other apps. It offers real-time reporting, improves customer relationship management, and streamlines inventory management.

Q: What permissions do I need to grant to third-party applications?

A: The API employs OAuth 2.0 protocols to ensure safe data access. When integrating with third-party programs, you have control over the breadth of rights provided. You can control how much access each application gets to your Zoho Books data.


Q: Are there any limitations on API usage?

A: Yes, the amount of API queries per day is limited by your Zoho Books membership plan. The Free Plan, for example, enables 1,000 API queries each day, whereas the Ultimate Plan allows 10,000. It is critical to be aware of these limitations and plan your API usage accordingly.


Q: Can I increase my API call limits if needed?

A: You can increase your API call limits if your business requirements exceed the allocated limits. Contact Zoho’s support team at with your needs, and they will provide you with specific pricing details and instructions on increasing your API call limits.


Q: How can I ensure data security using the Zoho Books API?

A: Zoho takes data security seriously. The OAuth 2.0 protocols used by the API ensure secure access to your Zoho Books account. Furthermore, you have complete control over the permissions granted to third-party programs, allowing you to efficiently manage data privacy.


Q: Can I test the Zoho Books API before implementing it?

A: Zoho allows you to download and test the Zoho Books API beforehand. This way, you can experiment with the integration and ensure it meets your business requirements before fully implementing it.


Q: What kind of support can I get for using the Zoho Books API?

A: If you have any queries or require support using the Zoho Books API, the expert team at ZBrains is available to assist you. They can give you specialized advice on how to get started, integrate the API with your Zoho CRM, and make the most of this powerful tool.


Q: Is the Zoho Books API suitable for my business?

A: The suitability of the Zoho Books API for your business depends on your specific needs and requirements. The Zoho Books API could be quite useful if you want to optimize your financial processes, automate procedures, and improve data interchange between applications. It allows you to interact with other Zoho apps and third-party software to streamline your workflows and increase efficiency.


Need Help with the Zoho Books API?

Zoho makes it possible to download and test out the Zoho Books API ahead of time. But if you still have questions, the expert team at ZBrains can help.

Reach out to our team for personalized guidance on your top Zoho Books API questions, including how to get started and how to integrate the API with your Zoho CRM.