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Software review – CannyBill

5th March, 2010

This is a re-post of an article from a previous incarnation f this blog that was lost to the mists of time. Now replicated here for eternity!

CannyBill is a great bit of kit designed specifically for freelancers and those running small businesses. Made by Geordie’s (so made in the UK), this is one of the most user friendly and well tough-out billing systems I’ve seen.

The key tenets of their design approach seem to have been simplicity and functionality, as everything is well laid out and easy to access.


Image stored via Flickr

Registration and setup

It has everything you’ll need and getting started is a breeze. The registration process is quick and easy, meaning you are up and running in a matter of minutes. The free package is perfect for a new startup, which is the version I currently use, giving you up to 5 active clients, to which you can send a maximum of 10 invoices.

Additional licence types mean you can make the system grow with your client base and the cheapest is still a very reasonable £4.99 per month, giving you 10 per month invoices to 3 clients.

Setup is done off the back of registration and involves nothing more than entering your detailed business and preferred payment details. Simple customisation allows you to add a company logo to all invoices allowing that personal touch.

Built-in templates are available as standard that give you good flexibility for the admin pages, invoices and order forms, but can be extended either through downloading third party ones or making you own.

To be honest the almost unlimited flexibility of templates could put some people off and you could spend a very long time editing in order to design you very own billing experience – something I personally don’t feel the need to do. A logo and pre-defined colour scheme will suffice for me, but knowing you could get down and dirty with the design is nice to know.

New customers and invoices

Client setup is a simple process of adding their details to the system. Invoices are equally easy – choosing payment terms, type of payment, VAT and login information for their client portal. The latter of these is a very powerful feature, meaning that your client can basically login to see their invoices and payment details at any point. It’s all secure and again carries through your template/design choices.

The only downside that I can see is the inability to add multiple contacts against a client. It assumes that you only ever have one person to deal with at a given company. Not a show-stopper, but the option to link to contacts under one company would be a useful feature.


Not a feature I’ve used very much or need to at this stage, however if you have many clients and lots of active invoices each month the reporting system can provide a quick snapshot or detailed view of outstanding invoices, payments received, outstanding payments and suchlike.


Simple is the way I started and simple is the way I will finish. This is a very easy to use and simple system – but don’t let the simplicity fool you. It’s high grade, professional and more than capable of matching your business’s immediate and future needs. My advice – try CannyBill now.

If you’re interested I did a audio version of this post on AudioBoo.

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