Tag : Zoho CRM

3 Reasons to Use a CRM Consultancy When Implementing Your CRM

3 Reasons to Use a CRM Consultancy when Implementing your CRM

crm consultancy

No matter what kind of business you run, implementing a CRM correctly is no small feat.  Sure, it may seem tempting to ease your way into any CRM by simply turning it on.  But then, the wealth of features you’ll probably see before you might just make you hang up your hat before you even get started.

Working with a product like Zoho, which advertises itself as DIY, we see this kind of thing happen a lot.

And, we get calls about it weeks, months, or even years after the initial projects start.  It’s still not off the ground, or No one is using the system correctly.  People lose faith in themselves at that point.

Well, I want to tell you not to give up.  Most CRMs are tricky to use correctly because they’re very powerful, and Zoho CRM is no exception to this.  Play around with Zoho One long enough and you might get really confused at the array of 45+ apps.  It’s not your fault.  And, I believe software as powerful as Zoho should come with sufficient resources to help you along the way.  Chances are you believe that too, if you’re reading this blog post.

With that in mind, let me tell you three ways using a CRM consultancy (like us!) helps greatly with proper CRM deployment.  You may get some ideas of your own from this.

#1: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you’re using your system in the best way possible for your business.

crm consultancy

Even with loads of documentation available, deploying a CRM and related business apps by yourself is at best a chore, and at worst a show-stopper.  And, with no one at your side to help, it can be pretty difficult to know if you’ve deployed your software the very best way.  Tech-savvy team members certainly do help, but unless they themselves are CRM experts, that’s only one piece of the puzzle.  Having someone on staff who has worked previously with the CRM you’re deploying is closer to what you’ll need – but, if they too worked with a faulty system in the past, they may not know the very best way to do things either.  Your best bet at a successful CRM implementation is with a CRM consultant at your side.  If you plan to deploy Zoho CRM, for example, you’ll want a Zoho CRM consultancy to assist you.

Ordinarily, using a CRM consultancy helps with figuring out the best way to use your CRM by exploring just how you do business. That can involve everything from a business process analysis, review of current software systems and purposes, and interviewing key personnel to gauge their responsibilities.  It also takes into consideration the business owner’s vision for the company moving forward, as this vision usually highly impacts how your business software is utilized.

Once this analysis is complete, your CRM consultancy will have everything they need to present you with a clear plan for moving forward, and you’ll have what you need to make an informed decision on what exactly you’d like to do, which parts of the plan make sense, and which parts need revision.  It’s not a simple process, but it’s necessary for you to get the very most out of your new system.

#2: Your CRM consultancy will make sure you have a high adoption rate so you don’t end up with another failed project.

crm consultancy

Even if your new CRM is set up correctly, that doesn’t guarantee your staff will use it the right way all the time.  We’re all human, but sometimes we find our customers’ Zoho CRMs set up in ways that actually hurt productivity.  And, it’s not their fault!  Those people just did what they thought was easiest and best, and no one was there to tell them yes or no.  And, of course, CRM usage (adoption) eventually dwindled because the CRM wasn’t deployed in a way that actually provided value to the users.

While a good CRM consultancy likely won’t recommend bending the rules of CRM to fit someone’s arbitrary desire, one can usually account for quirks by setting up additional reminders, workflow automation, and the like, to steer things in the proper direction.  Setting up the system the right way ensures the CRM works better without needing additional customizations that end up bloating the system and making things more confusing in the long run.

Your CRM consultancy will be able to figure out the extent of the “quirks” during the business process analysis and interviews, and make recommendations to set up workflow automation, reminders, or custom function that actually help your team’s performance and make them want to use the system more.

#3: Your CRM consultancy will ensure your system stays up-to-date and scalable, depending on your plans for the business.

crm consultancy

Aside from helping to solve your current problems and make sure your new CRM has a high rate of adoption, the next-most important thing a CRM consultancy can do is make sure your system can also solve future problems.  And, it’s not as if your system can anticipate problems before they come up all by itself.  Rather, the system needs to be configured to act that way!  And, the way a consultancy does this is simple in theory, but a little complicated in practice.

A good CRM consultancy will be able to predict what problems can come up based on how you already do business, and how you plan to grow your business.  To understand these parts of your business, a CRM consultancy will carry out interviews of key personnel to understand their current business responsibilities, current system duties (if any), and their trajectories in your business.  Then, based on business knowledge, the consultancy will put a plan in place that accounts for those future problems.

Future-planning like this can solve problems as large as a planned change in your business model in five years and as small as how to organize the departments in your website chat widget once you ramp up your website traffic to a certain number per day.

Looking to the future

crm consultancy

As proper deployment of your CRM can lead to success for years to come, it’s not something to be taken lightly.  You may very well have the time and ability to tackle your deployment head-on, but if you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to contact a certified CRM consultant.  Around half of IT projects fail to some degree, whether out-of-budget, working only partially, or a complete loss.  You stand a much better chance of succeeding by putting your own business sense together with someone who has CRM sense.  Together, you really do have the best of both worlds.

On that note, will our worlds collide anytime soon?  Contact us and let’s see if we’d be a good fit for your CRM system goals.

The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online has finally arrived.

ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online

Bridge the Gap Between CRM and ERP: The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online

Those who love the powerful accounting tools of Exact Online will appreciate the Zoho Integration for this popular ERP/Accounting suite. Zoho integration for Exact OnlineThe wait is officially over, Zoho can now communicate directly with this ERP. Any business owner can openly admit how much they love increased efficiency. But, the unfortunate truth is that Zoho and Exact Online have historically not communicated well. Efficiency is lost through double data entry, which creates errors and hampers the overall flow. The good news is that we at ZBrains completely eliminated this problem. The ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online joins our growing ranks of supremely useful Zoho integrations.

Save Time and Increase Efficiency with Bidirectional Sync

If you use Zoho CRM and Exact Online, odds are two elements of your business do not communicate effectively. No one likes extra steps or work, which is why the ZBrains Zoho Integration for Exact Online is so valuable. Save time, avoid the headaches, and enjoy the beauty of these two pieces of software working in sync. We anticipate an organization license of 100-499 (per month). The integration will operate as both a cloud-based and on-premise planning solution.

Create Invoices in Zoho to Push to Exact Online

When you combine the capabilities of Zoho and Exact Online, the most useful end product is the invoices. Create invoices with ease within Zoho and then push them to Exact Online. Enjoy the best of both worlds: the elegant simplicity of Zoho and the processing power of Exact Online.

Exact provides world class business software for Finance, ERP, HRM, and CRM processes. All fully integrated in one front and back office system across all locations, including business analytics and mobile applications. On-premise or in the private cloud.

Key Features of the Zoho Integration with Exact Online

Although the pricing of this integration has not yet been released, we can reveal the key features to expect. The Exact Online Integration boasts integrations with the following:

Zoho Applications: Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, Zoho Creator

                                            -Sales Orders                     –Invoices

                                            -Purchase Orders             -Customers

                                            -Payments                          -Items

                                            -Bills

The Bottom Line for Fans of Exact Online

Zoho integration for Exact OnlineExact Online gives sales people more access to valuable information, which adds to their sales arsenal. Not only can they discover the top, most profitable customers, they can also see when a customer last ordered. This detail is crucial, because it helps the salesperson better plan when to reach out for another sale.

Bottom line, the Zoho Integration for Exact Online is significant. It is such a useful tool that we are confident it will appeal to companies of multiple industries. From manufacturing and wholesale, to distribution, marketing, sales, logistics, and finance/accounting. This new bridge is bound to help companies of all these various industries.

Not sure if Exact Online is for you? Itching to learn more about Zoho CRM and what it can do for your business? Look no further, as our Zoho consulting team features a healthy roster of seasoned vets eager to help you make smart technology investments. In the end, we want to help you save time and money. Whether you will gain the most from a comprehensive Business Process Analysis, some Enterprise Resource Planning Consult work, Gap Analysis or CRM consulting, we are happy to help.

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 to Wordpress, Sage, TaxJar 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?

Zoho MarketingHub: Zoho’s Answer to HubSpot, Adobe & Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Zoho MarketingHub: Zoho’s Answer to HubSpot, Adobe & Salesforce Marketing Cloud

zoho marketinghub marketing automation

Unless you have some fantastic luck, you could say the beginning of every good sale starts with good marketing.  Zoho Corporation, as usual with their regular schedule of updates, is well aware of this fact, and have been putting together a very exciting new platform that aims to capitalize on this notion and give their customers more marketing power and control – and in that way increase sales and put more money back in their customers’ pockets.  

This brand-new addition to the Zoho marketing stack is designed to encompass every marketing tool they’ve built so far, combine those tools with elements of Zoho Analytics, then come with a very attractive, updated UI smacked onto it… The new tool’s name: Zoho MarketingHub.

Obviously, the implications of Zoho releasing such a tool in the context of its present suite of apps – not to mention the not-so-subtle jab at HubSpot itself in the app’s own name – are far-reaching.  

In today’s post, we’ll go through the new features Zoho Marketing Hub brings to the table, how the app can affect (and improve) use of Zoho CRM, and what the app’s existence means for other related Zoho apps.

zoho marketinghub collaboration

Solving a common problem: Lack of a Marketing Hub

Many of our customers already come to us looking for help connecting the various software components of their business.  The marketing “stack,” or suite of individual apps, is an important part of this – though with the sheer number of tools available to help, each with somewhat overlapping functionalities, your confusion over where to start and which ones to use would be forgiven.

And, Zoho has a reason for presenting all the tools to you in this way.  As businesses and commerce itself both trend toward being more digitized, it becomes more and more important to have all the digital tools necessary to market effectively to potential and current customers.  Previously, Zoho offered different apps to fulfill different marketing duties (like Zoho Campaigns for email marketing, and Zoho Social for social media posts and monitoring) – but even with integration between apps, it wasn’t the same as having everything controlled by a single app.  Zoho putting all these different tools together under one umbrella is their ultimate answer to the question, “how do I manage the entire marketing funnel effectively, from A to Z and beyond?”

What does Zoho MarketingHub bring to the table, then?

Marketing Hub covers all of a customer’s journey, not just some of it.

And, there are a lot of features to note here, so strap yourself in…

zoho marketing hub lead scoring

Lead tracking.  As with both Zoho CRM and Zoho Campaigns, Zoho MarketingHub provides webforms with which to funnel your prospects, leads, and contacts into different marketing “buckets,” each bucket with its own objective and type of content.  These webforms can be placed on your website, but they can also be integrated directly with services like GoToWebinar and EventBrite for a more unified experience. As far as features go, this is par for the course from Zoho, but this next one is downright exciting…

Web behavior tracking.  Once you’ve obtained a lead’s information via a webform, you can use Marketing Hub’s Web Assistant feature to tell you exactly where that person went on your website, how long they were there, and where else on your website they clicked.  This borrows a bit from services like Google Analytics, but, combined with information your lead already submitted, allows you to identify their path to becoming a customer. And, for everyone who didn’t submit information to you, Zoho MarketingHub still gives an aggregate page popularity map, page click-through likelihood tracker, and many other useful reports.  

zoho marketing hub website marketing

Custom email campaigns based on interest.  You can use behavioral data gathered by MarketingHub to send very targeted email campaigns based on the products or services your leads are most interested in.  Once they receive this info, you can give them lead scores based on how they interact with your content: did they skim or really read it?  Did they click a link and stay on the page for long? You can then choose to send leads who score the highest to your sales team automatically, ensuring the team doesn’t waste time reaching out to anyone unqualified.

Tailor the customer journey by persona.  You can also use Zoho Marketing Hub’s data to modify your website itself so leads convert more quickly and easily in general.  Modify your customer journeys not only by product or service interest, but by their very persona. This is one of those things that will make your potential (or current) customers more satisfied with your content and your company on the whole, though they may not know exactly why.  One of the few instances where mind games are okay to play!

zoho marketing hub lead nurturing

Continue engaging your customers long after they’ve bought from you.  When you look at a list of customers, you’re really looking at a list of people who already trust you.  If you have services or products that pair well with those that your customers have already consumed from you, you can use Zoho MarketingHub’s data to make decisions about sending more email campaigns, custom surveys, and other promotions to help you sell more and sell easily.  

Plan future campaigns based on your exact ROI.  Arguably the most important stat to a marketer, Zoho MarketingHub’s Marketing Planner calculates the ROI of individual marketing channels, and the respective campaigns within each channel.  This enables you to focus more of your effort on campaigns that deliver and kill off the ones that don’t produce.

These new features of Zoho Marketing Hub are sure to improve the lives of the marketers who plug it into their campaigns – not just by informing them of what’s working and what isn’t, but by telling them exactly how profitable they are to the company.  And from then onward, it’s incumbent upon the sales department to take all this great information that MarketingHub gathers, and run with it.

So, how does that look, exactly?

Zoho MarketingHub feeds Zoho CRM.  Then, the CRM beefs up your sales potential

zoho marketing hub dashboard

If utilized correctly, introducing MarketingHub to your suite of apps has the power to turn a fledgling sales department into a breakout team, and an already powerful team into a group of downright all-stars.  And, while it’s true that MarketingHub integrates with CRM and can sync a good deal of information directly into the hands of your sales team, it’s not the raw data that concerns them most.

Of course, there’s value in knowing things like:

  • The amount of time a lead has spent on your website
  • The number of pages they looked at, and their exact click path
  • Which email campaigns they acted upon and which ones they ignored

But, it’s even better to combine this data with the power of Zoho CRM – and some workflow automation programming – to inform your sales team:

  1. Exactly how to open the lead based on how long they spent on your website
  2. Just what products or services to pitch based on the exact combination of pages viewed
  3. How likely that person is to become a customer based on their email campaign interaction – and when they might say yes based on behavior of others in that persona category
  4. Which warm leads to go after, and exactly when to go after them

Of course, a well-seasoned salesperson can glean a lot of this information by looking at the raw data from MarketingHub, but any salesperson worth their salt knows time is money – and, why spend time figuring out yourself what Zoho CRM’s calculations and workflow rules can figure out for you in a snap?  You could even integrate blueprint into the mix and place hotter prospects into different stages in the Leads or Deals module, and save even more time.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to translating the data from Zoho Marketing Hub into actionable CRM data for your team. (And, if you’re confused about what exactly to do, our team of Zoho consultants can help you with that and anything else.)

So, does this mean I can throw away Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Social?

zoho marketinghub

It’s not a bad question.  Earlier, we mentioned Zoho Marketing Hub combines many aspects of Zoho Campaigns with Zoho Social.  And, essentially, it adds a lot of intelligence to those apps.  But, does that mean you should just stop using Zoho Campaigns or Social?  

My answer: If you’re afraid Zoho is just going to turn off your apps or delete your old campaigns, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.  Zoho’s usual MO when it comes to building apps that improve upon existing ones is to either allow users the option to use either app (or both apps) in question.  (A good example of this situation is in Zoho Books vs Zoho Invoice.) Or, they may even choose to merge Zoho Campaigns, Zoho Social, and Zoho MarketingHub formally into one app.  

But, I would guess the latter move would be very complicated and labor-intensive.  Not to mention, having only MarketingHub as an option might even be overkill for some companies.  We wouldn’t want Zoho to turn into Salesforce…obviously!

Another value add: look for MarketingHub in Zoho One

zoho marketinghub zoho one cloud

Zoho Corporation will very likely add Marketing Hub to the Zoho One platform, as Zoho One has included all of Zoho’s apps up to this point.  This just further cements Zoho as one of the best values out there, in my humble (and admittedly biased) opinion. Leveraging the power of MarketingHub and CRM, you have the opportunity to feed data already coming from your website through both apps and present your sales team with new action items.  Nothing could be better for a sales department.

In Summary

In 2019, getting through 1000+ words might be a little too much to handle, so I’m happy to provide a short synopsis of this article.

MarketingHub is Zoho’s answer to the big marketing automation competitors like HubSpot, et al, and it packs the features to go along with its punchy name.  Apart from tracking click paths and seeing how to best convert web traffic, you can also send email campaigns and launch social posts right from the app, which means you could theoretically replace Zoho Campaigns and Social with MarketingHub.  With Zoho MarketingHub, you’ll get just what you put into it, so as long as you connect it to your website and allow the engagement and traffic data to flow in, the resulting reports should be pretty easy to understand – and, if they aren’t, you can always contact us and we’ll provide some Zoho consulting to you.

As always, we’ll keep you informed of any MarketingHub, CRM, or other developments in Zoho.  If you have any questions about anything here, we’d love to hear from you.

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

As we fly headlong into the thick of tax season, 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 to be sure. 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, 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.

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!