Is Zoho Ready for Prime Time?

07.06.18 12:51 AM By Michael D'Amato, CPA

One Friday night in May, my son and I watched Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers triumph over the Boston Celtics in game 6 of the 2018 eastern conference finals. That was prime time basketball at its finest, and for me, the excitement was only the beginning as the post-game show pumped us up for what was to come in the deciding game 7 showdown between these teams. The excitement was further exacerbated by a Zoho One TV commercial. As the commercial aired, I turned to my son and said, “this is the software I have been working with and touting for the past 3 years”. He reacted by rolling his eyes, but then again, he is only 15 years of age. By the way, that’s not my son in the picture above. My son stares at his mobile phone during commercials.

 

During game 7 on Sunday, another TV commercial of Zoho One appeared and then 8 days later, Zoho placed a full-page ad in the New York Times and that was all I needed to realize Zoho was now a prime-time cloud solution. I am feeling good about the confidence I had in Zoho’s future 3 years ago and the time I had invested in their total solution since then. The Zoho name is gaining traction.

 

For those who are not familiar with the Zoho company, they develop a suite of integrated business and productivity cloud applications to run entire small to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s). Zoho One represents the name of the bundle of all the applications they offer for one low price of $30 per user per month. That means you can get over 40 cloud applications plus 40 or so mobile apps covering CRM to help desk, sales to marketing, recruiting to HR management, accounting to expense reporting and much more for less than $1 a day per user.

 

The Quickbooks, Xero and Zoho ecosystem

As a Certified ProAdvisor of Quickbooks Online (QBO), a Certified Partner of Xero, a Zoho Books Certified Advisor, and a CPA, I want it to be very clear that Zoho’s crazy low price does not in any way imply it is an inferior product. Both Quickbooks and Xero sync with over 500 other applications, so you can find a bundle to run your entire business with their product as well. But, pricing will be higher with Quickbooks Online and Xero. QBO, Xero, and Zoho are very good products and each has a unique fit for SMB’s.  I would be foolish to say one is better than the other for your business without a thorough evaluation of many factors including your processes.

 

The Journey

With many years of enterprise solution experience both as a user and an integrator, Zoho caught my eye 3 years ago as an ERP potential for SMB’s. Although I was more focused on QBO and Xero's ecosystem as a total solution, Zoho had the potential to be in its own league so I monitored Zoho for the following 12 months. Zoho was adding muscle and listened to the needs of their customers. I then started to invest more time in Zoho and took on some work. The one common complaint I heard was “why doesn’t Zoho offer Payroll?”

 

This may shed some light. A business I was part of years ago was growing at lightning speed with disparate and antiquated systems. It was impossible to upgrade all systems without disrupting the high growth, so it made sense to begin upgrading the systems that support revenue growth. Payroll was not even a thought. Payroll can easily be outsourced, but try to outsource marketing tools, the point of sales system and the customer management system. Zoho’s decision to focus on applications that support volume growth shows that Zoho was on the right track with helping SMB’s succeed.

 

The Power of Zoho

Zoho is not only about the 40 out of the box cloud applications and 40 or so mobile apps. Zoho helps businesses maximize efficiencies in marketing, marketing conversions, sales conversions and the cash conversion cycle components. They also help to track, measure and analyze these conversions as well as entire businesses. Businesses grow when they simplify and automate processes.

 

Most recently, Zoho added a business workflow app called Flow that builds multi-step flows with Zoho One applications along with a growing list of external applications. Zoho is also making great use of artificial intelligence in select applications which further adds to their commitment to innovation.

 

That is only a part of what Zoho can do for businesses and I plan to cover more in future posts which you will find at http://www.altocpagroup.com beginning on July 1st.

 

With Zoho One, you get 40 applications that talk to each other, like the Cleveland Cavaliers did in game 6 and 7 of the eastern conference finals last month to surprise the Boston Celtics.

 

About Michael D’Amato, CPA

Michael D’Amato is the founder of Alto CPA Group, LLC. and is a member of the AICPA. Michael has more than 25 years of enterprise accounting, finance, and technology experience to go along with his private practice experience. Alto CPA Group provides accounting and tax services and assesses, designs and implements solutions for SMB’s. Michael lives in New Jersey and loves to watch the NBA with his son. He can be reached at alto@cpa.com