Rated #2 Best UK Accounting Software
Ease Of Use = 9.9
Value For Money = 9.7
Customer Support = 9.2
Features = 8.4
- Free plan available for sole traders & limited companies
- Has most of the key features you’re likely to need
- Can be used even if you don’t bank with ANNA
- You’ll need the paid version for Corporation Tax returns
- Doesn’t offer any more advanced features or reporting
- Not suitable for large corporations
Hours Of Research:
ANNA Business Tools Review[Updated For 2023] – More famous for the online bank accounts, does their accounting software offering live up to expectations or is it just too simple?
Of course, that depends entirely on what you’re looking for. However, if you want to keep things streamlined and not have a steep learning curve or have to commit to monthly fees, ANNA business tools offer an interesting proposition worth considering.
At a Glance
By far the biggest plus point for the ANNA business tools software (other than the fact there’s a 100% free plan) is the simplicity it offers.
It allows you to do all the key things such as connecting your bank account to explain transactions, upload receipts and other expenses, create invoices to send to clients, and even run payroll.
Yet, it keeps things very easy to use so you don’t get bogged down in features and functions you don’t really understand.
Essentially – It’s a slimmed down version of full accounting software but it comes with a completely free plan.
The biggest downside is that you won’t be able to automatically calculate VAT or submit tax returns unless you upgrade to one of the paid plans which start from £6 a month.
Think of the free plan then as more of a bookkeeping software than full accounting software. It keeps all your records in order so you can cut the amount of work your accountant needs to do, but it won’t allow you to get too involved in the figures yourself.
Which Accounting Software Is Right For You?
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What Features Does ANNA Business Tools Support?
Our ANNA business tools review has found this software focuses on doing a few key things, but doing them well – without adding extra complications.
If you choose the free plan you’ll benefit from:
- Connect your bank account to explain transactions
- Upload expenses and receipts and export them to Excel
- Create branded invoices with automatic payment or overdue notifications
- See when all your important company deadlines are approaching
- Run payroll and create payslips for one employee
- Use the app to do your bookkeeping ‘on the go’
It’s worth pointing out that the ability to link your bank account and have transactions automatically explained on the free plan is quite unusual. Most other software we’ve seen only offer this on a paid plan.
However, while you can use the free plan and export data into Excel to calculate VAT and other tax returns, if you want to use ANNA’s automated VAT features, you’ll have to pay for the VAT upgrade which comes with a small monthly fee.
If you want to also be able to calculate Corporation Tax returns, submit annual accounts, and file your annual confirmation statement, you’ll need the premium plan.
Is ANNA Business Tools Hard To Learn?
Running a small business can be very exciting, but we know that dealing with all the legal obligations and accounting is what fills many business owners with dread.
What we like about ANNA Business Tools (and one of the main reasons we rate it so highly) is just how easy it is to ‘pick up and play’.
After logging in, you’ll get a really simple overview of what you should do next. Typically this starts with connecting your bank account so you can unlock the full power of the tool.
Many of the suggested actions have a ‘Find Out More’ link that help to explain exactly what it means and why it’s important. This all makes it really easy to follow.
Plus, because it’s a simplified version of a full accounting software, it all feels very intuitive. There’s only a limited number of things you can do in each area of the platform, and that means there’s very little you can do wrong!
There’s also Live Chat available should you encounter any problems. Though you’re unlikely to need it much as it’s definitely one of the easiest tools we’ve ever used.
As we mentioned earlier in our ANNA Business Tools review, there’s a free plan that contains all of the basic key tools most businesses are likely to need, particularly when just starting out.
The free plan doesn’t come with any strings attached. It’s available to everyone, even if you don’t bank with ANNA Money and it has no end point – it’s free forever.
How can they do this? Simple, they hope that as your business grows, you’ll find a need to upgrade to one of their paid plans. But there’s no obligation to.
So, what do you get if you agree to pay for an upgrade?
Firstly, there’s a VAT upgrade which automates VAT return calculations, guides you on what VAT you can reclaim, and helps extract necessary information from invoices and receipts. For this, you’ll pay a very reasonable £6 a month.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to have corporation tax returns calculated for you, the ability to submit annual accounts to Companies House, and file your annual confirmation statement, the Premium plan covers you for £24 a month (paid annually).
The Premium plan also has the added benefit of being able to get your tax return checked by tax experts before submission.
You also get 24/7 live chat bookkeeping support, access to custom tax resources and access to ANNA Tax Experts who provide guidance on the most common questions for new business owners such as working from home expenses, how to pay yourself, what you can expense, and more.
To summarise, the free plan gives you basic bookkeeping functions that you or your accountant can use to manually submit your returns.
The VAT upgrade helps to automate this process a little further if your business is, or becomes, VAT registered.
The Premium plan doesn’t give you any more accounting features, but it does give you the ability to submit tax returns yourself. This is where you can really save money on your accountancy bills (some may even find it replaces their accountant entirely – especially with the tax experts on hand to help).
Is ANNA Business Tools A Good Idea?
That depends a lot on where your business is at. If you’re just starting out and cashflow is tight, ANNA Business Tools allows you to keep on top of your bookkeeping requirements easily, and without any fees.
If you’re a more established business, or want the benefit of more features and reporting, you’ll have to consider whether the paid plans are worth signing up to.
Either way, we feel that ANNA Business Tools is a great simplified software that most small businesses will be happy with and it’s a great alternative to the more feature-rich dedicated accounting software.
ANNA Business Tools Explainer Video
Let’s take a moment to look at ANNA or ‘ANNA Money’ as they sometimes called as they offer much more than just their business tools.
In fact, they are primarily known for offering online banking services to businesses. You may have even seen them advertised on TV.
The bank account offering is actually very good too and the business tools software was developed as an ‘add-on’ for their banking customers.
Yet, they decided to offer the tools to everyone, even people who don’t use ANNA for their banking. The advantage of this is that because the software forms part of their overall offering, it’s likely to be continued to be developed and improved.
So, in addition to the ease of use, simplicity, and the fact that there’s a free plan available (all things we have already discussed in detail during this ANNA business tools review), you can add the support and backing of a well-known large brand into the mix too.
All in all, we feel there are many advantages of ANNA Business tools that will appeal to many entrepreneurs, but particularly those just starting their journey.
No ANNA Business Tools review would be complete without an honest admission about the negatives and disadvantages of the offering.
Firstly, for all it is focused on providing a fast, easy way to keep your books in order, that comes at the cost of more powerful features you might find in full accounting software.
The biggest missing element for us is the lack of clear reporting. While you get a top-level overview, you don’t get the range of reporting you do elsewhere that allows you to drill down into cashflow, year on year comparisons, benchmarking, and so on.
Of course, if you’re not into crunching the data or have other solutions in place, you might see this as an advantage!
The other major negative is, of course, the fact that some features have to be paid for. That’s not entirely unexpected, to be fair, but it is something to factor into your decision making.
That’s especially true when you consider the Premium plan isn’t that much different in price to some of the other accounting software, yet still lacks some of the reporting and other accounting features you can get elsewhere.
However, we must say the paid plan does come with a lot more support than you often get, even with the paid plans of other accounting software. This makes it more likely that the Premium plan can replace your need for an accountant.
Overall, the disadvantages are few and far between, providing you accept ANNA Business Tools for what it is – a free way to simplify your bookkeeping and invoicing.
From Idea To Successful Business…
- Step-by-step framework to plan, establish and grow any type of UK business
- Mark steps as complete to track your progress
- Create powerful PDFs (including business plans)
- Use AI to generate new ideas & website copy
- FREE to join and get started
- Created by the Business4Beginners team
+ Free Company Formation
+ Free Bookkeeping Software
+ Free Bank Account
+ Free Domain Name
+ Free Email Platform
+ Discounts & Deals
ANNA Business Tools Review – Summary
So, let’s consider what we’ve discovered during our ANNA Business Tools review…
Firstly, this is a genuinely free platform that will cover the needs of most businesses that are just starting out.
You can link your bank account securely then easily explain and categorise transactions while recording receipt and other expenses.
You can also quickly generate professional-looking invoices that include your logo and then store contact details to easily create new invoices in the future.
You can even run payroll and generate payslips so you have all your employees covered.
Everything is super simple to use and there are suggested actions when you login to the account so you can make sure you don’t miss anything.
There’s plenty of support and help available if you get stuck, including Live Chat which takes much of the pressure away. In fact, ANNA Business Tools is made for people who don’t have extensive accounting knowledge and don’t want to have to learn it either.
The downside is that the software is lacking in some of the more advanced features and reporting that more established businesses may require, and you have to pay for some features such as automatic VAT calculations and annual tax returns.
Still, these are fairly small negatives, especially if you just want a simple to understand tool that does all the basics without over-complicating things. For that reason, we fully recommend ANNA Business Tools.
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