The business landscape is ever-changing, with companies continuously innovating to stay ahead. New pricing models, diverse business strategies, and novel payment methods are becoming the norm. To navigate this complex environment, businesses require a billing solution that is not only robust but also future-proof.
The recently launched Zoho Billing, an expanded version of its current Zoho Subscriptions application, serves as this much-needed solution, expanding upon the capabilities of the popular Zoho Subscriptions application.
“When it comes to business models, businesses get creative. But they are often handicapped by the lack of flexibility of their back-end systems like billing platforms,” says Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist, Zoho. “Whether a business goes with a subscription-based business model, or with a one-time billing model; whether it is project based or time based; no matter how a business chooses to mix and match their pricing and business model, the billing platform should adapt to that business, instead of the business adapting to their billing platform. This flexibility is where Zoho Billing stands out.”
Zoho’s Dedication to Streamlined Billing
Zoho’s commitment to providing streamlined billing solutions has been evident since the company’s early days – in large part by adapting to changing market demands.
Launched in 2008, Zoho Invoice aimed to serve small businesses seeking a quick and efficient way to create quotes, send invoices, and manage online payments.
2011 brought the introduction of Zoho Books, a full-fledged accounting application, followed by Zoho Subscriptions in 2014. The latter was designed to address the complexities of managing recurring billing and tracking new metrics, as businesses increasingly adopted subscription models.
After all, the billing landscape was changing; companies that once focused on one-time sales were exploring tiered subscription plans, while subscription-based businesses were considering traditional sales methods.
“Around the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, mobile subscriptions really shot up after the introduction of the App Store,” explains Ramraj Sivagaminathan, Zoho Billing lead product consultant. “So everyone was moving to a subscription-based economy, and businesses started to explore if they could monetise their billing through a subscription model”
Sivagaminathan continued: “So Microsoft, which previously gave away perpetual licenses, changed to a subscription-based service for Office, and then Adobe brought in subscriptions for its suite of applications, and eventually, every software that you see right now was charging through a subscription based billing model.”
Fast forward to 2023, and Zoho unveiled its latest offering: Zoho Billing.
The expanded product is a multifaceted billing solution built specifically for growing businesses. It allows users the flexibility to experiment with pricing and enables them to go to market swiftly.
Why Small Businesses Need Zoho Billing
The modern business landscape is undergoing a transformation, driven by evolving customer expectations and technological advancements.
In response, companies now are adopting a variety of innovative strategies to stay competitive and meet the demands of this dynamic environment, including:
- New Pricing Models – Businesses are moving away from traditional pricing structures to more flexible and customer-centric models. For instance, flat-rate pricing has evolved into tiered or consumption-based pricing, allowing companies to offer a more personalized pricing experience.
- New Business Models – The shift from one-time sales to subscription-based billing is significant. Companies like Microsoft and Adobe have transitioned from offering perpetual licenses to subscription-based services, providing a steady revenue stream and enhancing customer retention.
- New Sales Strategies – Innovative sales strategies like offering free trials, premium plans, and coupon discounts are being employed. Such strategies not only attract new customers but also incentivize existing ones to continue their engagement with the brand.
- New Ways to Charge – Companies are exploring various billing methods to suit their diverse product offerings. For example, project-based billing allows for time-tracking and approval workflows, enabling more accurate and transparent invoicing.
- New Payment Modes – The payment landscape has also seen significant changes, with an explosion in online payment methods. Apart from traditional card payments, businesses are integrating local payment methods and mobile payments to offer a more comprehensive payment experience to their customers.
How Zoho Billing Elevates Billing Operations
Navigating today’s ever-changing business landscape requires a billing system that is both flexible and robust.
Zoho Billing serves as a crucial tool in this journey, offering an array of features to simplify and enhance all aspects of your billing procedures.
The user-friendly software boasts essential functionalities that set Zoho Billing apart as a comprehensive solution for contemporary businesses, from versatile billing models to customer experience improvements.
Zoho Billing even includes a feature-rich mobile application available for iOS and Android devices, making it easier for businesses to take care of their billing operations on the go.
Flexible Billing Models
Zoho Billing offers an extensive range of billing models, catering to the diverse needs of modern businesses.
Whether you are a service provider billing clients for one-time projects or a SaaS company with a subscription-based revenue model, Zoho Billing has you covered.
Its flexibility allows businesses to adapt quickly to market changes, thereby ensuring they are not left behind as consumer preferences evolve.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction lies at the heart of any successful business.
Zoho Billing enhances the customer journey by offering an intuitive, user-friendly interface.
Features like quote approvals, timesheet approvals, and a dedicated client portal make it easier for customers to manage their accounts, subscriptions, and payments, thereby elevating the overall customer experience.
Robust Platform Capabilities
Zoho Billing is more than just a billing software; it’s a comprehensive platform designed to meet all your billing requirements.
With robust analytics integration, extensive customization options, and a wide range of extensions, Zoho Billing serves as a holistic solution.
Its capabilities extend beyond billing to offer a platform that can adapt as your business grows.
Integral Business Insights
In today’s data-driven world, actionable insights are invaluable.
Zoho Billing offers a variety of customizable reports, providing a 360-degree view of your business metrics.
From net revenue to customer lifetime value, these insights enable businesses to make informed decisions, thereby driving growth and profitability.
How Zoho Billing Benefits Small Businesses
How can small businesses enhance their billing operations with Zoho Billing?
Consider a company that offers a range of services with diverse billing requirements. Let’s explore how Zoho Billing can adapt to such complex business needs.
Adaptable Billing Options
In today’s fast-paced business environment, flexibility in billing options is more crucial than ever.
Zoho Billing offers a range of adaptable billing solutions designed to meet the diverse needs of businesses, from one-time projects to ongoing subscriptions.
Simplified One-Time Billing
For one-time projects like logo design, Zoho Billing’s price lists allow companies to adjust their prices, while multi-currency support caters to international clientele.
By utilizing the software’s quotation and retainer invoicing features, small business owners even can negotiate pricing terms and collect payments in advance.
Meanwhile, the software’s automated payment reminders and acknowledgments ensure that both the agency and its clients are always on the same page, thereby streamlining the billing process.
Comprehensive Project Billing
When it comes to project-based billing, Zoho Billing provides for multiple billing methods, time tracking, and approval workflows.
The software’s granular invoicing control and billable expenses features make end-to-end project billing efficient and transparent, allowing the agency to focus more on delivering quality service and less on administrative tasks.
Streamlined Subscription Billing
For small businesses that offer subscription-based services, such as ongoing website maintenance, Zoho Billing’s recurring invoicing, pricing schemes, and calendar billing features make managing subscriptions effortless.
Other popular elements include discounting options, consolidated billing, website acquisitions and checkout pages.
Likewise, its Dunning settings are particularly useful for handling failed payments, ensuring that service delivery remains uninterrupted.
Elevated Customer Experience
Zoho Billing takes customer interaction to a new level by offering a range of features designed to simplify the customer journey while reducing administrative hassles for businesses.
From account overviews to live chat support, Zoho Billing aims to make every touchpoint a positive experience.
The account overview feature provides customers with a comprehensive snapshot of their interactions with your business.
The data includes a history of invoices, outstanding payments, and subscription details, all accessible in one centralized location.
The account overview feature empowers customers to manage their accounts more effectively and fosters transparency between the business and its clients.
Zoho Billing streamlines the quote approval process by allowing customers to review, accept, or reject quotes directly within the system.
These abilities eliminate the need for lengthy email exchanges and speeds up the sales cycle, making it easier for both parties to move forward with projects.
For businesses that bill based on time or tasks, Zoho Billing offers a timesheet approval feature.
The function allows customers to review and approve time entries, providing an additional layer of transparency and accountability.
It ensures that customers agree with the billed hours, thereby reducing disputes and fostering trust.
Managing subscriptions is made effortless with Zoho Billing.
Customers have the flexibility to upgrade, downgrade, pause, or cancel their subscriptions directly through the client portal.
This self-service capability enhances customer satisfaction and reduces the administrative load on the business.
Customer queries don’t have to wait with Zoho Billing’s live chat feature.
Whether it’s a question about an invoice or a technical issue, customers can get real-time assistance, enhancing their experience and increasing their satisfaction with your service.
Transparency is key in any business relationship. Zoho Billing’s customer statements feature allows clients to view a detailed summary of their account activity, including invoices and payments.
This not only keeps the customer informed but also minimizes the chances of misunderstandings or disputes.
In Depth Business Insights
Zoho Billing equips businesses with a robust analytics suite designed to offer comprehensive insights into performance metrics.
The platform’s reporting capabilities are not just limited to financial data; they extend to operational insights, customer behavior, and much more.
Business Performance Insights
Understanding the health of your business is crucial for long-term success.
Zoho Billing offers detailed metrics on key performance indicators such as net revenue, monthly recurring revenue, revenue per user, and customer lifetime value.
These KPI insights allow businesses to identify trends, assess the effectiveness of their strategies, and make informed decisions for future growth.
Finance and Operational Reports
Financial and operational data are the backbone of any business.
Zoho Billing provides more than 50 reports that offer detailed information on the lifecycle of a customer, from sign-up to payment completion.
Whether it’s sales by plan, add-on, customers, or country, the software enables businesses to slice and dice the data in various ways, providing a comprehensive view of financial and operational health.
Every business is unique, and so are its reporting needs.
Zoho Billing’s customizable reports feature allows businesses to filter reports based on specific custom fields, reporting tags, or date ranges.
These reports likewise can be exported as CSV or Excel files for further analysis or sharing. Such a level of customization ensures that businesses can focus on the metrics that matter most to them.
Expansive Platform Capabilities
Zoho Billing goes beyond mere invoicing and payment processing to offer a comprehensive suite of platform capabilities.
The online tool’s capabilities range from customization and automation to seamless integration with other Zoho applications and third-party services.
Such adaptability ensures that businesses can tailor their billing processes to meet specific needs, thereby enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Customization and Automation
Zoho Billing offers an array of customization options to suit the unique requirements of each business.
With features like custom templates, custom functions and custom reports, the platform allows a high degree of personalization.
LIkewise, Zoho Billing provides automation features that can handle tasks such as sending reminders for due invoices or automating credit notes for cancellations, thereby reducing manual effort and minimizing errors.
One of the standout features of Zoho Billing is its seamless integration with the broader Zoho ecosystem, including applications for sales, marketing, finance, and reporting.
Whether it’s generating subscriptions directly from Zoho CRM or syncing all transactional data with Zoho Books, the platform ensures that all your business processes are interconnected for maximum efficiency.
By integrating Zoho Billing with Zoho Analytics, small businesses gain access to advanced-level analytics and valuable insights into how to best grow their organizations.
Zoho Billing offers out-of-the-box integrations with multiple payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and 2Checkout, as well as email collaboration applications like Gmail and Outlook.
It also supports tax automation through Avalara, making it easier for businesses to handle complex tax computations.
These integrations simplify the billing process and offer businesses the flexibility to choose the services that best fit their needs.
The platform also supports more than 40 extensions available in the marketplace, including custom payment gateway integrations and SMS sending applications.
If a particular application is not part of the default integrations, businesses have the option to build their own extensions and offer their solutions to the entire Zoho Marketplace.
API and Webhooks
For businesses looking for even more customization, Zoho Billing provides robust API and webhook capabilities.
The feature allows businesses to push invoice, quote, payment, and subscription details to any third-party system of their choice.
It offers the flexibility to integrate Zoho Billing with other platforms, thereby creating a fully customized billing solution tailored to specific business needs.
Zoho Billing Pricing
Zoho Billing offers a transparent and flexible pricing structure designed to accommodate businesses of various sizes and needs.
Launched Sept. 12, the platform is available for immediate use and comes with four distinct plans to suit different business requirements:
- Standard Plan – For $20 a month, the standard plan is ideal for small businesses or startups, providing essential billing features that enable users to manage their financial transactions efficiently.
- Professional Plan – Designed for growing businesses, the $50 per month Professional Plan offers advanced features, including multi-currency support and automated payment reminders.
- Premium Plan: At $100 each month, the plan targets medium-sized businesses with more complex billing needs, and it includes advanced analytics and customizable reports.
- Elite Plan: Enterprises with extensive billing requirements can choose the Elite Plan for $300 per month. It provides the most robust set of features, including API access and extensive customization options.
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