Getting paid is one of the most important elements of running a small business. Unfortunately, creating invoices and managing payments from customers can be complicated. That’s where Zoho Invoice comes in.
Zoho Invoice is an online invoicing and payments tool built for small businesses. But it’s designed to scale with users as they grow as well.
The tool has been serving small businesses since 2008, constantly updating with new features through the years. Recently, Zoho announced a series of updates aimed at helping small businesses through a challenging time.
Zoho Invoice Product Expert Harikrishna told Small Business Trends, “We’ve been focused on helping businesses making the transition from traditional to online. We really wanted to get ahead and support our customers, especially small businesses that have been most affected this year.”
The invoicing and payments tool within the Zoho One suite, Zoho Invoice has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. And businesses across more than 160 countries have used it.
The tool is meant to be scalable. Freelancers can use it to send out simple invoices. And businesses can use it to automate various parts of the payments process. It’s popular with everyone from musicians to consultants to retail shops.
Features include invoicing, expense tracking, project billing, and even client communication. Basically everything revolves around the main goal of helping users get paid faster.
Zoho Invoice gives users the ability to customize their invoicing process. There are more than 15 invoice templates available. And you can customize each one further once you get started. Invoices are available for both goods and services. And you can set them up to send one time or to send on a recurring basis.
There are also custom project billing options for those who charge on an hourly or per-project basis. You can set up time sheets or even use timers within the Zoho app and customize the amount charged for time on each specific task.
Zoho also allows you to send estimates and collect payments at various parts of the process. For example, users can get an estimate approved, then send out an invoice for their initial retainer fee. Then they can later go back and collect payment for the rest once the project is complete. There are even options for setting up payment approvals to multiple stakeholders within a company. And of course, you can send these out via various channels like texts, email, or a customer portal so your clients can respond quickly.
Zoho Invoice users can also take advantage of features for managing expenses and other payments. There are options for tracking both billable and non-billable expenses. For example, you can include materials purchased for a project, mileage used to meet with clients, and even parking meter fees. The app even lets users scan receipts and mark up expenses by a given rate to bill clients accordingly.
Another unique feature is the customer portal. This gives end users all of their billing info, estimates, and statements in one place. They can also access contact info or chat with users right in the app. The whole experience is designed to make things as easy as possible for end users, so those sending invoices and estimates can get responses quickly.
Zoho Invoice Product Expert Sachin Nishil told Small Business Trends, “This lets customers chat directly with you within the portal. So if they have questions or want to discuss something, it simplifies that process for both sides.”
When it comes to payments, Zoho Invoice also offers plenty of customization. There are both global and local payment modes available. Options include direct deposit, credit and debit cards, cash, check, and various local platforms.
They’ve also added late and partial payment options. So if a client isn’t able to pay everything up front, they can still send what they have. And users can set up reminders or fees for late payments. This is also designed to save companies time on running down clients to collect on those invoices.
Nishil adds, “We often have customers say that the software saved me this many hours that I would have spent reminding customers about payments and doing other very simple tasks.”
There are several compliance issues to contend with when it comes to payments and communication with customers. But Zoho Invoice has thought of that too. The tool offers country specific compliance options for businesses that operate in a specific area. And there’s a global edition for those who operate internationally. These are made with compliance standards like ISO 9001 and GDPR in mind.
The self service portal and invoicing options also offer a wide array of languages and currency options to fit the needs of global customers.
Zoho Invoice is constantly taking input from customers into account. So trends like mobile payments and quickly pivoting to online sales have already made an impact on the platform.
To facilitate easier invoice payments on mobile devices, Zoho recently unveiled QR codes.
Harikrishna says, “The percentage of payments being made on mobile devices is on the rise. So when you send invoices with this option, the end customers can just scan the QR code and pay right through mobile. We’re not even a month in with this feature and many of our customers are already noticing results.”
Zoho also recently added payment links. This feature is designed to help those who want to simplify the invoicing process even more. It may be especially relevant for companies that sell products directly to consumers after pivoting online this year.
Harikrishna adds, “The traditional invoice process is not really designed with the B2C segment in mind. So we made it even simpler so you can simply send a checkout link and only then will the invoice be created. It eliminates the separate process of creating an invoice document so you can get paid faster.”
Other updates include:
- A chat feature directly in the customer portal
- Expected revenue and budgeting features for projects
- Volume based pricing for customers who buy in bulk
The company is also currently working on a few additional features that may become available in the coming months, including:
- HIPAA compliance
- Multi-currency support for customers that have to pay from multiple countries
- Custom modules and widgets within the app
More in: Zoho Corporation
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