Zoho Books API Integration
Zoho Books API Integration

Everything you need to know about Zoho Books API integration and how NetworkAntics used it to solve a common bookkeeping problem. 

 

Zoho Books is a solid contender amongst other accounting service platforms. While Zoho’s focus is on creating solutions for businesses that are specifically cloud-based, Zoho Books offers its users flexibility, automation, and ease-of-use in standard bookkeeping.  

Even better, the platform offers an accessible API interface that users can take advantage of to get the greatest use and efficiency from the platform (for more information on API, see below). 

For those that need it, there are plenty of help resources available for Zoho Books. Recently, they’ve even expanded their plans to offer more features for larger businesses so that there’s something for everyone.  

In this article, we’ll review the positives and negatives of Zoho Books and how we created a basic API integration to connect it with our PSA. 

What is Zoho Books?

Zoho Books is accounting software that combines your businesses’ accounting needs and tasks into one platform. It allows its users to create and track invoices, manage inventory and online payments, generate reports, and automate billing tasks – all online.

Zoho itself was started India in the 1990’s with the goal of creating software to solve the efficiency problems of businesses – in other words, solving problems that businesses don’t even realize are problems. Zoho Books was launched in 2011, and has seen a lot of success and popularity, especially amongst microbusinesses. Since its start, Zoho has accumulated over 90 million users worldwide.

Who is Zoho Books best for?

Zoho Books is used by over 18,000 companies based mainly in the U.S. Of those companies, the majority of them are in the Information Technology and Services industry but also include other industries such as the Computer Software industry and Marketing and Advertising. However, there are also businesses such as Upwork and Investopedia that reportedly use Zoho Books.

While Zoho Books can be used for a range of businesses, its features can greatly benefit microbusinesses. Why?

With a limited number of employees, microbusinesses need to capitalize on efficiency. This means that software needs to be affordable, user-friendly, intuitive, and can ideally meet many different needs of the business.

Zoho teaser solutions or freemium software is a great way to catch low-hanging fruit. Who doesn’t like a free product that solves most problems for a micro business?

What are some drawbacks of Zoho Books?

Returning to our discussion of bookkeping software, Intuit Quickbooks is the industry standard. The reality is that it will be tough to find a bookkeeper that will be willing to track and categorize your expenses with Zoho Books.

We were able to get our Zoho Books expense categories to look the same as Quickbooks, but there are simply too many issues for most businesses to complete the full migration to Zoho Books.

Now, we simply record all of our receivables in Zoho Books. We also utilize BILL Spend & Expense (formerly known as Divvy), which has greatly reduced the need for many end-of-year expense inquiries from the bookkeeper. BILL, if setup properly, makes expense management painless.

Another thing to note is that there is a limit on how many invoices you can generate each month. This can really affect the scalability of Zoho Books with your business.

How to track business expenses while reducing credit card fraud – Network Antics

Pricing

Zoho Books offers a variety of pricing plans – six, to be exact.

Their free plan, specifically for businesses that have a revenue of less than $50k USD per annum, will get you one user and one accountant, plus the ability to manage clients and invoices, add multiple bank/credit card accounts, customize invoices, and more.

After Zoho Books’ free plan, prices range from $15 – $240 when billed annually. The plans differ in how many users you can invite, the number of custom modules, how many invoices you can manage, etc.

It’s also important to consider that different plans will offer different integrations, so be sure to check the list before you commit. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a good team of API specialists to make sure your apps and operations are all running smoothly.

How to track business expenses while reducing credit card fraud – Network Antics

NetworkAntics’ experience with Zoho Books

We started out approximately 10 years ago by utilizing Zoho Invoice. It fell short on bookkeeping, but hey, we left that up to the bookkeeper.

As our previous invoicing system post discussed, every business needs a solution to bring in the money. Zoho Invoice fit that need, and we eventually upgraded to Zoho Books for our retainer solution. Eventually, we outgrew tracking hours through the Zoho Books retainer platform and moved on to Autotask PSA, but Zoho did exactly what we needed for that stage of the early years of our business.

We are able to achieve a lot of third-party platform integrations through Zoho’s user-friendly API interface. API integrations like this save countless hours a week, let alone a year for AR alone.

It’s a challenge, though, to have the proper software development resources for performing the API integrations. Fortunately, we are able to circumvent this issue through our own in-house API development team.

What is API? 

API stands for Application Programming Interface, meaning that multiple apps can be exchanging data with each other, facilitated by an interface – the API. 

APIs are used everywhere now – examples of them include Paypal, Google Maps, and Uber. The API integration setup works by combining information from various apps to bring you the information you’re looking for; to schedule a Zoom call, you may have Zoom ‘talk’ to your Google calendar to check your availability. 

Many businesses use multiple APIs, in which case using an API integration platform is critical to synchronizing information from various APIs at once. 

If you’re interested in learning more about API integration and how it can drastically change the workflow of your business for the better, check out this article. 

What does Zoho Books integrate with natively? 

Zoho Books integrates with a wide variety of apps, payment gateways, and banking institutions such as Paypal, Square, and Avalara AvaTax. Integrating Zoho Books will ensure that you can receive payment as quickly and easily as possible. 

With their open API, Zoho makes integration with third-party platforms absolutely possible if you hire the right team for the job. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to assist you! 

How to Receive Payment with Zoho Books API Integration

If you have a website and e-commerce set up, you can receive payment by having an ‘Add to Cart’ button and a Stripe integration (which allows you to do merchant transactions).  

But even better, you can have it tied to your bookkeeping software. 

Going the traditional route involves more manual steps, which leaves plenty of room for human error and adds up to a ton of unnecessary man hours.  

In our case, we had to create an API integration to expedite this process, so receiving payment for our services is now smooth sailing. Want to see how we did it? Keep reading. 

Why we created a Zoho Books API integration 

API integration can solve a lot of problems, and it can especially shine in the area of payroll and bookkeeping. In our case, the problem that we wanted solved was getting something that usually takes using multiple platforms into a more efficient, streamlined workflow. 

The image above shows one of our services hosted by our chosen CMS, WordPress. However, the site only hosts the content and does nothing for the e-commerce side of business.  

Just for that simple ‘Add to Cart’ button to work, three different platforms are involved: 

  1. Website/Ecommerce: Networkantics.com 
  2. PSA: When a client decides that they want to buy our services, a contract needs to be created so that the terms and payment are clear. That contract is created in the PSA, but we have no way of getting this contract to our invoicing system. 
  3. Bookkeeping system – This is where you have a choice: you can either manually create the invoice, or you can create an API integration that will generate it for you. 
  • Note: Some companies offer native API integrations, but if not, you have to build out an API integration from scratch (as long as the platforms allow you to establish this connection). 

Without API integration, you would need to create the contract in your PSA, hop over to your bookkeeping platform to generate an invoice by copying and pasting all the information from your contract, then populate your bookkeeping system with the invoice. All before receiving payment. 

With API integration, you receive payment, get notified to generate a contract, then Zoho Books creates the invoice automatically. Much easier, right? Let’s review how we did it. 

How We Created a Zoho Books API Integration

  1. First, we run the Ruby script. It will then pull up the information it needs (contacts, contracts, clients, etc.) to find the contract that was created in Autotask in order to move it over to Zoho Books
  2. When prompted, ‘Do you want to create it in Zoho Books?’, click ‘Yes’ to create the invoice. 
  1. It will ask you to ‘Choose another Zoho contact’. Find the client or contact that you want to create the invoice for (Z – Dummy). 
  1. Is this a managed service invoice (a recurring invoice)? In this case, we clicked ‘no’.
  1. A new invoice number will be created. Copy the number.
  2. Go to Zoho Books –> Transactions
  1. Check out your newly generated invoice! From there, we can click on the invoice number to edit, send, or connect to Stripe. 

Now, when someone comes to our website and clicks on ‘Add to Cart’, all we need to do is generate a contract and Zoho Books creates the invoice for us.  

While this might be a smaller example of how API integration can be used, you can start to imagine the vast number of possibilities there are of using API integration to its fullest potential. These small changes add up incredibly quickly and can empower you and your business employees. 

Bonus API Integration Resources

Need more API IT Support? See our other articles on integration and optimizing your business’ workflow, or send us a message to talk to one of our professionals! 

Zoho Books API Integration: Our Review, Plus How We Simplified Invoices in 6 Steps Summary

Though Zoho Books has been known for providing accounting solutions to micro and small businesses, they have expanded their offerings to become an affordable and effective option for businesses with a variety of bookkeeping needs.  

With their API capabilities, Zoho Books can integrate with whatever apps or platforms you’re already using. To make these integrations as seamless as possible, it’s crucial that you make sure you’re working with a team of professionals to save on any potential costly mistakes.  

To find out more about what we can do for you, contact us here. 

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