The Lowdown on Zoho Invoice

If you're mainly just invoicing your clients, Zoho Invoice may be all you need by way of bookkeeping software.
If you’re mainly just invoicing your clients, Zoho Invoice may be all you need by way of bookkeeping software.

In a previous post we discussed Zoho and the range of turnkey solutions they offer small businesses. We specifically mentioned Zoho Books, which is the bookkeeping component of the Zoho Business Apps package and not that dissimilar to MYOB.

We offer training courses in MYOB, because it’s the market leader in accounting software and because it’s the preferred software of choice for most accountants. For start-ups or other small businesses, however, Zoho Books or Invoice might be all you need for your business, which is why we’re going to provide some videos on how to use Zoho.

Just What is Zoho Invoice?

For now, though, we’re going to look at the functions of Zoho Invoice. If you have recently started your own virtual assistant business or another business that really only requires you to invoice your clients, then Zoho Invoice is all you would really need.

The best thing about Zoho Invoice is that if you have 5 or fewer customers and only need access for one user, it’s completely free — forever. After that, the next step up is the standard plan, which allows you to have up to 500 customers and 3 users for $USD15 a month; the professional plan costs $USD30 with unlimited customers and unlimited users.

Even if you use the free plan, you can still access all of Zoho Invoice’s features, including time tracking, recurring invoices, expense, tracking, multi-currency, payment gateways and automated overdue payment reminders; you can even customise your invoices with your company logos and branding.

As your business grows, you can upgrade your plan to the standard or professional versions of Zoho Invoice, or even upgrade to Zoho Books if you’re in need of a more comprehensive piece of accounting software. There’s also an iPhone and Android app for Zoho Invoice, which allows you to create invoices on the go.

While Zoho is an American owned and operated company, you’re still able to customize the settings for an Australian business. This means you’re able to charge in Australian dollars, add GST, and you’re able input information like ABNs.

The downside is that there isn’t a local number for their customer service team, so you have to get in contact via email. That being said, Zoho has an online forum where you can ask and answer questions and they also provide a number of videos to help you with troubleshooting.

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Overall, Zoho Invoice is a good piece of cloud-based invoicing software that is both inexpensive and highly functional. For a virtual assistant or a start-up that only needs to invoice customers, it sure beats the hell out of that tired, old Excel invoice! Stay tuned for more on Zoho and the Zoho Office Suite.

The Start-Up Incubator: Pollenizer

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We’re often talking about start ups, starting a new business, what it takes to succeed, and we cover many of the practical aspects of owning and operating your own business in our Small Business Management course. We’ve also touched on prepaid legal services for bookkeepers who have completed our online MYOB training course and the latest provider to enter the prepaid legal fray: LawPath — which is also the latest venture of start-up incubator, Pollenizer.

Pollenizer: How it all Started-Up

Based in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Pollenizer, which was founded by Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle — the former chief technology officer of infamous file sharing site, Kazaa — aims to co-found companies and grow them to a point where the founders can then exit for a profit.

Pollenizer’s most recent success story is that of group-buying site, Spreets, which was sold to Yahoo for $40 million dollars after only 12 months.

When Morle and Liubinskas spot a start-up they’re interested in, they invest up to $150,000 to help get what is often just an idea scribbled on a napkin off the ground.

Pollenizer’s Start-Up Science

How do ideas make it to some kind of fruition? This involves employing what Morle calls the Pollenizer “start-up science” where each start-up is dragged over Pollenizer’s so-called technical and marketing coals.

Discovery, Validation and Efficiency

Starting with discovery, the Pollenizer team looks into whether a particular start-up solves an existing problem and whether customers will pay for the solution. Next, is validation — testing whether real people will actually want to pay for the product. The last stage is efficiency: ensuring the business is capable of operating when more customers come on board.

But about half of the start-ups don’t make it past the second stage.

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But one of the most interesting aspects to the way Pollenizer operates occurs before you’ve even opened your doors for business, so to speak: Pollenizer’s “start-up science”.

By methodically looking at your business idea and what your business aims to do, you’ll discover any pitfalls you may encounter, giving you the chance to modify and refine your business idea.

We all like to think we have a great business idea that could change the world. But as Pollenizer shows, for half of us it’s just an idea.

That doesn’t mean give up; it means research, reassess and retry.