Accounting 2.0 at CloudAve
In an ongoing series of reviews and analysis pieces, CloudAve will be taking a deep look into accounting software for the new world.
See the other posts at this tag
Introduction & Background
From their site, CannyBill class themselves as a “complete web-based billing and invoicing system, perfectly suited to any size of organisation…” I have to say that this statement got my back up a little – perhaps my idea of what a “complete” billing and invoicing system needs is different from there. What CannyBill is, is a nice add on primarily of value to Web designers and the like.
CannyBill is a division of dpvision.com, a UK based design and development company. Visitors to CannyBill are not only exhorted to use that product, but pushed to visiting the development company website as well as the e-commerce/cms that dpvision also do – whether prospective users will be put off by a company that doesn’t seem to “stick to its knitting” only time will tell.
The user experience
CannyBill was created by a web development company, presumably for their own in-house use at first. This shows – there are lots of features that would prove useful to web companies – things like the ability to on-sell domain names, SSL certificates, web hosting packages and the like. This functionality CannyBill handles well – the dashboard gives users a good overview of the services and products being sole by the business as well as some basic client statistics.
In an interesting business model, CannyBill has negotiated buying arrangements with it’s hosting, SSL and domain name suppliers giving them the ability to (I assume) provide users with attractive pricing on these services and make some margin from a non-software supply avenue for themselves.
Again not unsurprisingly given the direction their product seems to be headed, CannyBill integrates with payment gateways to allow Designers to extract payment from their customers.
This however is pretty much where CannyBill leaves off – any higher level bookkeeping services need to be performed on a true accounting application and as such CannyBill is, at best, an add on to another application.
In something of a novelty for SaaS financial applications, CannyBill is available in six different languages. Apart from English, users can select from English (yes, humorously CannyBill regards English US as a different language from English UK). French, German, Spanish and Italian.
The security issue
For a new-ish application, CannyBill has a reasonably comprehensive security page. They’re hosted by Rackspace and have a good level of monitoring, backup and data recovery systems in place.
APIs – connecting the dots
CannyBill is integrated with a number of different business applications including;
- Plesk for on-selling web hosting
- GeoTrust for on-selling SSL certificates
- enom for on-selling domain names
- Basecamp (time tracking)
- CampaignMonitor for on-selling newsletter campaigns
- sage (back end accounting
- QuickBooks (back end accounting)
While CannyBill tout their product as being suitable for any size organisation selling products, services or time-based work – there wasn’t much I found during my trial usage that would recommend it beyond being an adjunct to another SaaS accounting system for companies that on-sell lots of web related services. For those companies CannyBill may make sense (so long as they’re happy on-selling from the providers that CannyBill has already partnered with).