Keeping on top of your business accounts can be difficult. There are various accounting software choices available, all offering different types of packages. It can often be confusing knowing which is the best for you and your company.
Online reviews are useful. In that regard, ZarMoney has been doing very well of late, with a lot of positive feedback. So much so we decided to give their introductory offer a go in order to see how the service holds up to scrutiny.
What follows is an in-depth look into the ZarMoney cloud accounting services, plus some of my thoughts on the good and bad points of using them for your business.
Who is ZarMoney?
The company was established in 2006 in Los Angeles, California, as a provider of accounting software that could be tailored to the needs of a client firm. Its accounting software was built from scratch by a talented team of coders and programmers, and the company worked to price the software affordably so that small business could benefit from it.
With the adoption of cloud technology, this accounting software was migrated to the cloud and new powerful features were added so as to build a powerful standalone accounting solution that could be accessed remotely, and be used to meet accounting needs.
Currently, the company provides 24/7 support for its clients that use this cloud accounting solution, with the support staff being based in Los Angeles.
This accounting solution is formally marketed as ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software.
A Quick Overview of ZarMoney Services
ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software (ZCBAS) is a smart accounting system designed to run as a webware that is deployed on a public cloud (that is) run and maintained by ZarMoney corporation.
This cloud accounting solution is provided as a SaaS, and this service model allows for this stable and secure double-entry accounting software to be used by a single user – or a team of users – to process accounting data, analyze bulk data, and rapidly compile accounting reports.
Relatedly, this suite offers rock-solid reliability and is programmed to provide for invoicing, online payments, billing, and advanced inventory management.
Likewise, this suite is designed to improve workflow and accounting efficiency at minimal costs. Its value-based pricing ensures that pricing is done in a simple and transparent fashion to yield 3 service plans – the Entrepreneur, Small Business, and Enterprise service plans.
Each service plan comes bundled with technical support and operational extras such as bug fixes, software updates, automated data backup, and provisioned data security, as well as backend services like backup protocols, system maintenance, and hardware upgrades.
Moreover, ZarMoney Corporation complies with regulatory protocols, industry regulations, and security standards that must be upheld by providers of cloud accounting services.
Additionally, ZCBAS supports 5 key integrations: Shopify, Stripe, mailchimp, Zapier, and Authorize.net; and there are plans to add 2 more integrations: Gusto and AutoEntry.
ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software Explained
Because the client is not sold the ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software (ZCBAS) as software but is rather given access to it, then ZCBAS can be accurately be defined as an accounting service solution rather than accounting software.
As expected, ZarMoney Corporation ensured that porting their accounting solution to the cloud satisfied the 2 key requirements for creating a cloud application:
An accounting software suite was already available to meet accounting needs.
This software suite can be hosted in a remote server, and be accessible at any time and anywhere via the internet using an internet protocol (IP) address.
As an application software, this Accounting Software is designed to allow the user to perform accounting activities, including electronic recording and processing of transactions, invoicing, billing, and inventory management.
Currently, the main clients of ZCBAS are accountants. About its cloud operation, data is first sent to the server where it is processed by ZCBAS running on this server, and then the data output is sent back to the accountant.
Therefore, the accountant does not need to install accounting software in his/her computer, and neither does (s)he needs to maintain, update, troubleshoot, nor reinstall the software.
Therefore, ZCBAS provides the full functionality of desktop accounting without the need for the accountant to install, maintain, and update the accounting software.
The server that ZarMoney Corporation (ZC) uses to host ZCBAS is designated as a public cloud or multitenant cloud because it can be accessed by any member of the public who has been authorized to access ZCBAS.
This server is part of a cloud infrastructure maintained by ZC and is regularly debugged and appraised so as to ensure that there is consistency in service deployment to the various clients (regardless of the service plan they have purchased), as well as ensure that data protection is provided using a multi-layered security protocol that guarantees that privacy and data security is persistently maintained and appropriately updated.
Expectedly, ZCBAS uses the processing power and memory resources of its server to process the data loaded into its applications by the accountant.
This also means that the accountant can use a non-powerful computer, for instance, a notebook personal computer (PC) to do lots of accounting work because this work is being done by a remote server receiving and sending data to the client terminal (the notebook PC).
One can even use an iPad or tablet to do accounting work as long as it is connected to the internet and one is subscribed to a ZCBAS service plan.
In software lingo, ZCBAS is a closed-source application. This is because the client does not get the ZCBAS software, nor can one review its proprietary source code.
Inability to access its source code carries the advantage of keeping at bay software pirates who can clone the software, and append it with malware, and thereafter sell the malware-laden program to unsuspecting clients who will then suffer massive financial loss after the malware exfiltrates sensitive financial, corporate, confidential, and proprietary information to the pirates.
This form of hacking can cause a business to go under. Therefore, the on-demand ZCBAS software protects the user from hacking by eliminating the need to install software, which can be cloned or cracked.
ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software – Features and Capabilities
ZCBAS is built to provide accounting solutions depending on the need of the user. Hereby, the user can refer to the business or its owner or the accountant using ZCBAS.
This on-demand software suite comes with 5 main features that can be designated as accounting, invoicing, reporting, productivity, and inventory management.
As mentioned, ZCBAS is an accounting software suite, and as expected it must come with a full-featured accounting capability. This capability includes the following functions:
Importation of Bank Transactions – ZCBAS has the ability to import bank transactions, and this allows the user to have up-to-date information about the current status of his/her account. It also allows one to approve pending transactions or edit them.
Bank Connection – To import any bank transaction, ZCBAS must first connect to the bank and be granted access to its privileged financial information where it can query and locate the account of the user and then retrieve his/her bank data.
Relatedly, ZCBAS can connect to over 9500 banks in Canada and the United States of America (USA). On the downside, this limits its usage to these 2 nations, and hence cannot be reliably used in Europe or Asia.
Bank Account Reconciliation – The ability to import bank transactions allows the user to check for discrepancies in transactions, as well as know his/her current financial standing which helps in making better decisions about how to manage and use existing funds. It also allows the user to reconcile cash outflow and inflow into the account based on sales made and expenses paid for.
Bank Deposits – To provide for cash inflow, ZCBAS allows the user to deposit cash, cheques, and payments from credit cards into the bank account.
Funds Transfer – ZCBAS allows for funds to be transferred from the bank account of the user to another bank account or credit card.
Journal Entries – ZCBAS allows the accountant to post entries, as well as adjust details about financial transactions so that they reflect valid facts.
Chart of Accounts – This is the list of all accounts operated by the user (business or business owner). ZCBAS allows this chart of accounts to be categorized so as to streamline financial reporting.
Classes – ZCBAS allows a business that has multiple branches to assign each branch a unique class (or division) identity, under which its accounting data is compiled, reconciled, and used to make reports. This allows the owner to assess how each branch is performing, as well as assess whether each branch is meeting its set goals or if the goals need to be reviewed. It also allows the business to compile a new set of goals and objectives for each branch based on existing accounting information.
Tax Calculation and Filing – ZCBAS allows the user to calculate sales tax that is payable to the tax authorities in the locality where the business is operating.
For a business with multiple branches, each branch can be assigned a tax zone based on its location so that sales tax can be calculated automatically based on the location of the branch. Likewise, ZCBAS provides for automated preparation of tax filing reports.
ZCBAS allows the user to create and send invoices, with its cloud automation feature allowing for instant feeding of information to invoice fields based on data in the customer database associated with the user account.
It also comes with an easy-to-click Pay Now option that pays the invoice balance with just a single click.
As expected, this functionality is supported by a key integration – a payment processor that allows for funds to be deducted from the account of the company receiving the invoice, and then these funds are deposited into the account of the user (or the business that issued the invoice via ZCBAS).
Additionally, ZCBAS provides for structured storage of invoices, and this allows one to easily search and locate invoices from the invoice stash, as well as retrieve a required invoice.
Its invoicing feature has been portioned into 2 distinct partitions:
This is dedicated to dealing with customers, and it allows the user to create a sales order, track it, and notify the customer about the order through text or email messages, as well as set payment terms and even discounts for some customers.
Moreover, it comes with an order management system along with a Quick Sales system that streamlines the invoicing and receiving of payment of both carry and cash orders.
Apart from order status tracking, it also allows the user to enforce a credit limit and credit hold on specific customers so that these customers cannot place an order that exceeds their credit limit.
This minimizes the number of bad credits, which makes ZCBAS useful for small businesses that provide their products to their customers on credit.
Also, this capability to configure options about customers is extended by the ability to organize customers into personalized entry fields.
Each field needs to be labeled and this allows for customers to be grouped into clusters. The business can then tailor a strategy to approach and deal with each cluster of customers. This also helps in bettering organizational control.
As expected of any invoicing system, ZCBAS must allow the user to create a customized logo to be included in the invoice. Also, the user can create customized contracts that include professional quotes and cost estimates.
Moreover, ZCBAS allows the user to receive payments online using debit cards and credit cards. It also allows the business to receive deposits, among other types of prepayments.
The order management system of ZCBAS is complemented by the customer statements module that generates weekly statements on the order status and account status of applicable customers. These statements can be emailed to the relevant customers.
This is dedicated to dealing with vendors who provide products to the business. As expected, it provides a purchase order system that manages the order process including tracking orders made by the business, as well as sends out an email or fax about the order to the vendor.
Likewise, it can approve a bill and track the bill status. In addition, it can record expenses and discounts attached to each expense, besides attaching a receipt to each expense.
The ability to approve bills is complemented with automatic matching that allows the user to monitor and manage transactions related to bill and purchase payments, as well as printing checks that are sent to the vendors.
There is also a payable center that comes with a calendar used to match the payment of each purchase to the deadline of respective payments. This is supported by automatic expense recording and the ability to link transactions to bills, sales orders, and purchase orders.
Reporting and ZarMoney Insight – the Report Creation Tool
This Insight tool is an advanced analysis and reporting tool that can create reports and charts, which can be posted in the dashboard.
ZCBAS comes with a comprehensive reporting system that can create advanced and customizable professional reports, including income statements (i.e the profit and loss reports), balance sheets, and trial balances.
It can also perform 1099 reporting whereby the 1099 information of a particular vendor is tracked and captured in a report. Also, as expected, ZBCAS supports reportage of account receivable and account payable reports.
ZCBAS comes with an advanced inventory management system that supports real-time tracking of inventory, as well as the organization of the available products into product categories.
It also supports the transfer of goods between warehouses through its 2-step warehouse transfer functionality. Moreover, it supports a barcode functionality which makes it easy for one to locate goods.
Additionally, ZCBAS allows one to compare the received inventory with the purchase order so as to confirm that what was requested is what was received in the warehouse.
Relatedly, this allows for real-time updating of stock data as the received goods are immediately added to the inventory. For a firm that has multiple warehouses, these inventory features allow it to manage all the warehouses from a single system.
To support inventory valuation, ZCBAS provides for a first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory cost method, as well as supports split transactions so that the firm can receive a partial amount of goods requested through a purchase order.
This split transaction feature is complemented by an automatic bill splitting module that assigns partial payment to the goods received depending on the amount received. Likewise, ZCBAS allows for inventory tracking.
ZCBAS also allows the firm to customize its units of measurements, e.g, it can accept goods from vendors as boxes that contain 12 items each, while when selling these goods to the end customer, they are measured as being sold per item.
Also, it allows for product fields in the inventory database to be customized and labeled with a fitting designation.
As mentioned, ZCBAS allows the firm to notify its customers through email or SMS text about the status of their orders. Likewise, it provides for internal notes, and file attachments to orders and invoices.
ZCBAS comes with a customizable dashboard and allows the system administrator to set permissions of each and every user who is going to use the system. It also allows for team collaboration and provides for 24/7/365 access from anywhere.
It also features a scheduler that allows the firm to schedule deliveries, user tasks, and customer callbacks.
To prevent unauthorized access, ZCBAS allows the business to restrict the number of IP addresses that can access a particular user account.
This prevents employees from using ZCBAS when they are outside the firm, or even accessing it from home.
ZCBAS is suitable for the following clients:
Small companies whose budget supports acquiring ZCBAS as a SaaS.
Specialist accounting service providers who offer accounting-as-a-service (AaaS) to different clients. Such a provider can use ZCBAS to perform accounting tasks and enable team collaboration for different accounting projects.
A business whose employees are required to work remotely, especially in these times of COVID-19 lockdown.
Small companies cannot afford to secure their accounting data.
For an enterprise that wants 29 users to use ZCBAS, the firm is charged USD203 per month.
Moreover, ZCBAS provides a free trial plan that allows a business to try it before purchasing a plan.
Why Choose ZarMoney Cloud Business Accounting Software?
The main reasons why a business should consider ZCBAS as their one-stop cloud accounting solutions are:
1. Stable, Reliable, and Secure Accounting Suite
ZCBAS is stable accounting software that is hosted in secure servers, and client data is secured by world-class encryption protocol.
Likewise, one can reliably access his/her ZCBAS account at any time and form anywhere. Moreover, any bug in the accounting suite is fixed quickly by ZarMoney technical team.
2. Cost-efficient means of focusing on business while minimizing accounting costs
Each business has its core focus, which is usually optimization of product sales, with an added priority on customer satisfaction.
As expected, providers of specialist services such as plumbing, home repair, and radiology services will find it taxing to maintain a full-fledged IT department to manage their automated business solutions, including accounting. A simple alternative is to purchase a ZBCAS service plan and then hire an accountant to do the accounting tasks.
Preferably, the business can take advantage of the tutorials provided by ZarMoney Corporation on how to optimally use ZCBAS, and thus a single in-house accountant can help a firm with several branches to manage its accounting tasks well.
This reveals the multiplier effect of ZCBAS as it is an affordably-priced SaaS that saves the firm money be eliminating the need to purchase software for each of the business PCs the company has, as well as eliminating the need to hire many accountants.
For small-scale and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and businesses that cannot afford cloud business solutions deployed as a pricey platform-as-a-service (PaaS), they can go for the affordable SaaS.
This is quite useful for an SME that only needs the accounting software and does not want to install this software in each and every PC in their office or branches.
3. Technological Agility
Business technology is changing rapidly, and if a firm has invested in costly hardware and proprietary software, then the firm will find its hardware and software out of date when new technology is adopted in the market.
However, if the hardware and software are provided by a cloud service provider, then the provider will update both the hardware and software to stay in tune with technological trends and all at nearly zero costs to the clients.
Relating this to ZCBAS, this means that the SME will always get up-to-date on-demand software that has integrated avant-garde accounting technology, as well as runs on modern (current) hardware hosted in a well-maintained cloud computing center.
It also means that ZCBAS is frequently debugged and reviewed for errors and bugs that can affect the accounting productivity of a firm. Likewise, the firm does not need to invest capital in hardware, manpower, time, and software resources because a new accounting technology has been introduced in the market.
4. Updated and Automated Conformance with Tax Rules
Tax regulations and accounting rules do change frequently, and there is a need for the accountant to keep abreast with these changes. For standard accounting software installed on a PC, the accountant must wait for the software maker to release an update capturing the new rules and regulations, and this can take time.
However, with cloud accounting provided by ZarMoney, these new rules and regulations are updated as soon as they are enacted, and the end-user simply logs into his/her portal to find an already updated accounting system ready-for-use.
5. Reduction in Capital Expenditure
As explained above, using ZCBAS eliminates the need for a business to invest in computer hardware, specialist labor, and software resources, as well as time so as to have a business accounting solution to meet the needs of the business.
One just needs to purchase a service plan and then get the full spectrum of benefits associated with a business accounting solution.
In case a firm that had bought a lower-tier ZCBAS plan such as a Small Business plan expands and its accounting needs increase, it can simply purchase a higher-tiered plan so as to meet its increased needs.
This ability to scale the accounting needs to match the service plans offered for ZCBAS allows the business to grow without investing much in their accounting solution.
Likewise, if the business has seasonal peaks of trade, then it can purchase a high-tier plan during that peak season so as to meet the associated increase in accounting needs, and then dial down to a low-tier plan during the off-peak season.
This level of scalability suit SMEs that trade in seasonal goods such as grocery and winterwear.
7. 24/7/365 Access
As explained earlier, ZCBAS is an on-demand SaaS accounting suite that can be accessed using any internet-connected computer from anywhere in the world, and at any time; unlike business software installed in computers which can only be accessed during business hours when one is in the office or in the business premises.
Moreover, some workers may fall sick and request a sick off while others are entitled to a mandatory holiday. Remember, the servers hosting ZCBAS do not need time off, nor do they ask for sick leave!!!
8. Data Security
Storing the account data in a hard drive of a PC in the business poses a data security risk because the PC can be stolen, or the storage device stolen, or an authorized personnel can access the running PC and copy the data (or even change it or delete it entirely).
For this reason, one should consider cloud data storage as a viable alternative to unsecured data storage in local drives.
ZarMoney operates stable and secured servers that store the financial information of its clients. Its data security architecture is based on the authentication-authorization model to prevent unauthorized access to privileged client information, as well as prevent data manipulation by malicious actors, especially hackers.
Authentication means that each user is given a unique pair of username and password that allows (or authenticates) them to log into ZCBAS, and this prevents a person without the correct credentials from accessing the user data.
Regarding authorization, the users are assigned roles and privileges on which accounting information they can access and manipulate, and if an authenticated user is not allowed (or authorized) to access specific privileged financial information, then his/her ZCBAS account will not have access to that information. This ensures that accountants only access the information that they need to work on.
9. Data Integrity, Antimalware Protection, and Automated Backup
Hard drives do age and get corrupted, and this causes corruption of data stored in them. For this reason, accounting data stored in local hard drives in the PC are liable to data corruption when hard drive failure occurs. To prevent this, there is a need for one to back up each bit of accounting data and this introduces hardware costs.
An alternative is to rent cloud storage which comes with automatic data backup, but this attracts storage and backup charges.
ZarMoney corporation has bundled storage and data backup services in its ZCBAS service plans, and this means that the client benefits from automatic data backup and protection against disk failure.
Normally, cloud storage devices are constantly monitored for signs of failure so as to prevent hardware failure from causing data corruption, and in this way, data integrity is assured.
Another threat to data integrity is a class of malicious software collectively designated as malware, and they include viruses, trojans, backdoors, and rootkits.
This malicious software, once they have infected a PC, can cause data corruption; and to prevent this, the business must invest in acquiring premium anti-malware solutions, including antivirus program, internet security suites, and antimalware solutions.
Acquiring these antimalware solutions costs money, and they add to the cost of owning and managing accounting suites installed in PCs.
On the other hand, ZarMoney corporation handles antimalware protection by securing its servers and preventing malware from infecting its storage drives. Therefore, each ZCBAS service plan includes free antimalware protection.
Even so, there is a need to also recognize that the user can be a source of a data breach if his/her credentials are stolen or captured by hackers.
In case this happens, one must immediately inform the company, and the company must relay the information to ZarMoney which will propose a set of remediation measures, including changing the credentials of the hacked account, as well as highlighting the changes made to the accounting data by the hacked account so as to allow the company to perform some accounting forensics if necessary.
10. Real-time Information Updating
In the standard accounting software installed in the PC, to update an entry in its data tables, one needs to update it in each location where the previous data to be substituted is found.
For example (e.g), to update a figure from x to y, there is a need to manually update all the forms in the software where the figure x exists, and this creates the possibility of one missing out on filling this update in some forms hence having a not-fully updated accounting information.
Fortunately, in cloud-based ZCBAS, one just needs to replace the old figure x with the new figure y, and all forms that contained the figure x will have this old figure x automatically replaced with y, hence keeping the information up-to-date.
ZCBAS comes bundled with tutorials that take the users through steps and processes on how to use its different features, as well as optimize its functionalities with integrations. For large enterprises, custom training for the users is provided according to the accounting needs of the business.
As mentioned earlier, ZCBAS obviates the need for a firm to have an IT department that is run by IT specialists. This is because that task is outsourced to the technical staff managing the servers hosting ZCBAS. Thus, a small business just needs one accountant running ZCBAS to handle its accounting needs.
13. Support for Team Collaboration
Another advantage of a cloud accounting solution like ZCBAS is that it allows users logged into the cloud accounting platform to communicate and work with each other.
This collaboration among different users creates a team that can solve existing accounting problems, besides helping to complete existing workloads in a short period of time.
This support for team collaboration by ZCBAS allows a business with different branches to have its accountants in each branch collaborate with accountants in other branches in real-time, and this helps to quickly complete accounting tasks.
Moreover, this collaboration is scalable as new users can be added to the team as long as the new users are given the authorization to access the same data that the team is working on. This team collaboration optimizes accounting productivity.
Need for Consistent High-Speed Internet Connection
The main downside with using any cloud accounting solution is that one must have a consistent high-speed internet connection, and the same applies to ZCBAS.
Therefore, the business planning to acquire ZCBAS must ensure that it has a reliable internet connection.
Other important factors about the service
As mentioned, ZCBAS is hosted remotely and the software runs on a cloud infrastructure. This means that the accounting data it processes needs to be stored in its cloud storage.
This creates concern about the availability of its IT resources, and for these resources to be reachable at any time, its servers need to be running throughout the day, every day.
The duration when the server is up and running is called uptime, and it allows one to access ZCBAS on demand, and when this access is lost, then a server downtime is said to have occurred.
As expected, the servers hosting ZCBAS and its related software resources must have an uptime of 24/7/365 (or uptime of 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week, which translates to persistent uptime throughout the 365 days of the year).
To mitigate chances of downtime, ZarMoney corporation uses multiple servers to create hosting redundancy. This means that multiple servers host the same data so that if one server suffers a downtime, the other servers will automatically provide data to the client hence mitigating the risk of downtime which can cause financial losses.
Deployment of ZCBAS
For a business with multiple branches in different cities, this accounting software suite offers a unique advantage in terms of deployment as compared to traditional accounting programs which require the business to install the program in each of the computers to be used in the accounting departments in its head office and branches.
Using this cloud-based accounting SaaS, the business only needs to give the accountant in each branch the login credentials so as to use ZCBAS. Hence, the deployment of ZCBAS as a SaaS minimizes the costs of deployment of accounting solutions for a business running multiple stores or branches.
The account uses the client to access ZCBAS. This client terminal is usually a web browser, a mobile app, or a thin client.
BAS is double-entry accounting software that provides an accounting information system that can be virtualized in the cloud so as to create ZCBAS. ZCBAS features a secure, scalable, and reliable document management system (DMS).
The utility of ZCBAS can be expanded by adding program codes to it. These small programming codes that can be integrated into ZCBAS so as to extend its functionalities are called integrations.
ZCBAS also plans to add the following 2 integrations:
- AutoEntry – It provides for automated data entry.
- Gusto – It provides for human resource management for small businesses, and it integrates payroll and worker benefits into ZCBAS.
Overall, ZarMoney provides a comprehensive accounting cloud software package that is secure and easy to use. The interface is sophisticated and intuitive, and the fact it can be used by a number of users, with real-time updating via the cloud is a real bonus compared to offline packages. Highly recommended for both small and large companies.