Zoho launched Zoho Books, an application that is aimed at Intuit's QuickBooks franchise and rounds out its suite of applications.
Zoho, which has a series of cloud applications ranging from Zoho CRM to Invoice to Writer, has been developing its Books service for two years. Zoho Books was set to launch last year, but Raju Vegesna, evangelist at Zoho, said the software wasn't ready for prime time.
"We weren't happy with it and rebuilt it," said Vegesna. Now that Zoho Books has launched it can be summed up with one word: Integration. Zoho Books is integrated with the company's Invoice and CRM applications. Zoho already offers QuickBooks integration for its CRM application and will do the same with Books.
How will Zoho Books compete with QuickBooks? Vegesna said it doesn't really have to. Zoho Books will appeal to existing customers that have been asking for accounting software. Zoho customers typically start with one app and wind up with a handful. "This is a place we have to be if we're going to offer a complete set of apps to run a business online," said Vegesna.
"The real aim here is to create an accounting solution for people without knowledge of accounting," said Vegesna. "It's accounting for the rest of us."
Indeed, Zoho Books' tabs are clear cut. The screens boil down to money in and out. There's also a standard feature to share Zoho Books with an accountant. Zoho Books runs $24 a month with access for two users and $5 per user a month for additional folks.
Key features for Zoho Books include:
Email integration and a tab for customer correspondence;
The ability to accept payment from services like PayPal;
Automated reminders for invoice payments;
Unlimited usage for one price.
The big picture for Zoho is that Books builds out the company’s entire suite. Ultimately, Books will be integrated with all of Zoho's applications. The real move will occur when Zoho launches an all-you-can-use approach where all of its applications are accessible for one flat fee. That buffet-style pricing is being discussed, said Vegesna, who added that it would be at least a year for that flat-rate scheme to emerge. In any case, Zoho Books gets the company a bit closer to having the suite to offer potentially disruptive pricing.