Zoho Books Vs. Zoho Invoice Vs. Zoho Expense Comparison


Zoho Books Vs. Zoho Invoice Vs. Zoho Expense Comparison

Zoho has a great lineup of apps to help manage nearly every aspect of your business, including six separate apps for managing your business finances. In this article, we’ll focus on three of the most popular finance apps: Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Expense.

Zoho Books vs. Zoho Invoice vs. Zoho Expense: Comparison table

Zoho BooksZoho InvoiceZoho Expense
Primary purposeBookkeeping, including issuing and managing invoicesIssuing and managing invoicesManaging employee expense reports and reimbursements
PricingFree to $275 per monthAlways freeFree to $9 per active user, per month
Limitations of free planLess than $50,000 in annual revenue and one userNoneMaximum of three users
Issue customized invoicesYesYesNo
Accept online customer paymentsYesYesNo
Customer portalYesYesNo
Track time & expensesYesYesNo
Manage customer quotesYesYesNo
Track and pay vendor billsYesNoNo
Vendor portalYesNoNo
Manage inventoryYesNoNo
Connect bank and credit card accountsYesNoNo
Employees submit expense reportsNoNoYes
Visit Zoho BooksVisit Zoho InvoiceVisit Zoho Expense

Zoho accounting products comparison: pricing

Zoho Books pricing

  • Free: One user only for companies with less than $50,000 in annual revenue.
  • Standard: $20 per month for three users.
  • Professional: $50 per month for five users.
  • Premium: $70 per month for 10 users.
  • Elite: $150 per month for 10 users.
  • Ultimate: $275 per month for 15 users.

Additional users can be added to each plan for $3 per month per user. In addition to the number of users, the plans differ in the available features. Read our Zoho Books review for more information.

Zoho Invoice pricing

  • Free: Always free for all users with no ads or limits on features

Zoho uses Zoho Invoice as a way to attract new customers with the hope they will love Zoho and sign up for some additional paid Zoho apps. Learn more in our Zoho Invoice review.

Zoho Expense pricing

  • Free: Up to 3 users.
  • Standard: $5 per month per active user, minimum of three users.
  • Premium: $9 per month per active user, minimum of three users.
  • Custom: Get a quote for more than 100 users.

You learn about the different features available in each plan by reading our Zoho Expense review.

Feature comparison: Zoho Books vs. Zoho Invoice vs. Zoho Expense


Winner: Tie — Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice

Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice have all the same invoicing features, so we declare this feature a tie. However, we do favor Zoho Books as an overall solution because the invoicing transactions — like issuing an invoice and receiving payments — are recorded automatically in the accounting records.

With Zoho Invoice, you’ll have to record the issuance of invoices and receipt of payments in your bookkeeping software manually. This duplicate work not only requires additional time but can also result in errors, as cash payments applied against invoices won’t necessarily match cash payments deposited in your checking account. The only way to catch these errors is with a manual reconciliation.

Despite being free, Zoho Invoice is a heavyweight small-business invoicing solution with fantastic customization options and useful tools. Zoho Books and Zoho Invoice share the following invoicing features:

  • Issues great-looking customized invoices.
  • Creates recurring invoices.
  • Accepts online payments.
  • Provides customers a portal to view and pay invoices.
  • Tracks time and expenses by customer project.
  • Attaches receipts for billable expenses.
  • Manages customer quotes and estimates.
  • Includes quick response (QR) code on invoices.
  • Issues credit notes to customers.


Winner: Zoho Books

Unlike Zoho Invoice and Zoho Expense, Zoho Books is a complete bookkeeping software and even made it on our list of the best accounting software. Zoho Books will track all your assets, liabilities, income and expenses and produce financial statements often required by banks and other stakeholders.

As a complete bookkeeping software, Zoho Books has the following features not found in Zoho Invoice or Zoho Expense.


Connect all of your bank and credit card accounts to Zoho Books and classify your expenses as transactions are imported. Reconcile your bank statements easily with your books and print paper checks when needed.


Zoho Books will separate your total inventory costs automatically into the costs remaining in inventory at the end of the year and the cost of the inventory that was sold during the year. This is a crucial calculation for retailers and wholesalers and is very time-consuming to do by hand. Zoho Books will also track the quantity of your inventory, so you’ll know when to reorder.

Bill tracking

You can enter unpaid bills as soon as you receive them, and Zoho Books will help you track them until paid. When cash is tight, you can access a report showing all of your outstanding bills, so you can decide which ones should be paid.

Vendor portal

In addition to a customer portal — a feature shared with Zoho Invoice — Zoho Books has a vendor portal. Your suppliers can use the portal to upload their invoices to you and track their progress automatically until paid.


The culmination of all the features of Zoho Books is its ability to provide a balance sheet and statement of profit and loss. These are vital financial statements that every business needs to file tax returns and provide information to various stakeholders like potential lenders and investors.

You can learn more about the key features of accounting software like Zoho Books in our complete guide to accounting software.

Employee expense reporting

Winner: Zoho Expense

Zoho Expense serves a different purpose than either Zoho Books or Zoho Invoice by providing a workflow for employees to track expenses, attach receipts and submit expense reports. Administrators can then approve the employee expense reports and provide reimbursements.

Unique Zoho Expense features that are excluded from Zoho Books or Zoho Invoice are:

  • Employees create expense reports and upload receipts.
  • Employees can add per diem amounts to expense reports.
  • Admin approves expense reports.
  • Expense reimbursements are processed via automated clearing house (ACH) transfers.
  • Admin creates expense policies.
  • Admin sets travel policies and employees self-book travel.

Zoho Books pros and cons

Pros of Zoho Books

  • Is a complete bookkeeping system while Zoho Invoice is only invoicing.
  • Has the same invoicing features as Zoho Invoice.
  • Records invoice transactions automatically in accounting records.
  • Tracks expenses, assets and liabilities in addition to revenue.

Cons of Zoho Books

  • Is more expensive than Zoho Invoice, which is free.
  • Has additional features that make it more complicated to use.
  • Lacks a feature for approving employee expenses like Zoho Expense.

Zoho Invoice pros and cons

Pros of Zoho Invoice

  • Is completely free for any size organization.
  • Has very thorough invoicing features, including billing time and expenses.
  • Offers an approval process for invoices.
  • Integrates with Zoho Books and QuickBooks Online.

Cons of Zoho Invoice

  • Requires invoices issued and payments received to be entered separately in bookkeeping software, allowing for possible errors.
  • Does not tie expenses input to a payment account, so they cannot be reconciled and are subject to a higher risk of error.
  • Is not bookkeeping software, so it can’t produce financial statements.

Zoho Expense pros and cons

Pros of Zoho Expense

  • Integrates with Zoho Books, QuickBooks Online, Xero, Sage Accounting, Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle for bookkeeping.
  • Offers several ways for employees to import expenses: Take a picture of the receipt, select the receipt using a Chrome plug-in, email the receipt to a unique address, or import transactions from corporate or personal bank cards.
  • Allows receipts to be added easily to expense reports.


  • Requires expense reimbursements to be entered and reconciled in the bookkeeping system by hand — unless you have a bookkeeping integration.
  • Only tracks expenses paid by employees — not expenses paid directly by the company.
  • Does not track net income or assets of the company.

Should your organization use Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice or Zoho Expense?

Every business needs bookkeeping software to track profit and loss for income tax reporting. Zoho Invoice doesn’t track expenses, so I only recommend it in conjunction with bookkeeping software. If you can’t afford Zoho Books, see our roundup of the best free accounting software to find a solution that you can use alongside Zoho Invoice.

Choose Zoho Invoice if you have bookkeeping software and you . . .

  • Need customizable invoices.
  • Want customers to be able to pay online.
  • Require a customer portal.
  • Need to approve draft invoices before they are issued.
  • Seek to track time by project and add it to invoices.
  • Want to issue quotes and estimates to customers.

Choose Zoho Books if you want all Zoho Invoice features plus you . . .

  • Need to print financial statements.
  • Need to track company expenses.
  • Need to manage unpaid bills.
  • Want a vendor portal to communicate with suppliers.
  • Have inventory and need to calculate cost of goods sold (COGS).
  • Seek to import transactions from bank and credit card accounts.

Choose Zoho Expense if you . . .

  • Have employees who travel.
  • Have employees who incur company expenses that need to be documented and/or reimbursed.
  • Issue corporate cards to employees.
  • Have expense policies to govern employee expenses.
  • Want employees to book their own travel while following company travel policies.

Review Methodology

We reviewed the available features and best uses of Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Expense by visiting the Zoho website. First, we read the descriptions of each product and then signed up for free 14-day trials of each. In addition, we utilized the free demo account it provides for each software. The demo account is prepopulated with sample company information to provide a better understanding of all its capabilities once a company is set up properly.

Zoho has a great lineup of apps to help manage nearly every aspect of your business, including six separate apps for managing your business finances. In this article, we’ll focus on three of the most popular finance apps: Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Expense. Zoho Books vs. Zoho Invoice vs. Zoho Expense: Comparison table…