Freelancers and new small business owners often struggle when it comes to dealing with the financial admin that comes with running a business. It can be difficult to know how you need to approach your first tax return, what paperwork you need to submit when, and how much your company has spent over the previous year. To help manage this process, there are several app-based solutions. In another review, we covered Coconut, an account that gives you tax reporting and more with your account. Another similar provider is ANNA, and we’ve got the lowdown on what they have to offer.
Quick Look – Pros & Cons
Before we drill down into the finer details of the ANNA service,
we’ve outlined some of the main advantages and disadvantages of the account and
A useful app-based account that helps you to
manage your invoices and banking.
Free three-month trial of the service available.
Mastercard offering free transactions and ATM
withdrawals in your home country.
Easy application process.
Once the free trial is over, it costs £11 per
Fees for foreign transactions.
Not a complete bank account, meaning you’ll
likely need another provider in addition.
You can’t access credit or an overdraft using
This is a fairly balanced set of pros and cons, and, as
we’ll see, whether the positives outweigh the negatives depend on your
situation and needs.
What is ANNA?
ANNA, an acronym for ‘Absolutely No Nonsense Admin’
ANNA, an acronym for ‘Absolutely No Nonsense Admin’, is a
mobile-based business account that’s focused on the admin and tax side of
managing your finances. The company isn’t a bank – they don’t provide credit,
loans, or interest. Instead, they offer business accounts complete with a sort
code and account number. Along with a mobile app that helps you stay on top of
everything, ANNA also provide customers with a Mastercard debit card.
The service uses both artificial intelligence and human
insights, making paying and sending invoices easy and convenient. ANNA launched
in the UK at the end of 2018, after beta testing the app via 2,000 initial
How Does ANNA Work?
It’s really easy to get started with ANNA. Signing up with
an account takes just 10 minutes, and your card will then be dispatched on the
same day. In the meantime, you can begin using the app to manage your money.
You can also create an account through the ANNA website. There are a few
documents that you’ll have to provide when you’re applying for your account:
Identity documents, such as a driving license or
Proof of your current address, such as a bank
statement or utility bill from the last three months.
Details of your company, including the names and
addresses of any shareholders owning more than 25% of the business.
It’s worth noting that you have to be the company director
in order to apply for an ANNA account, whether it’s for a limited company,
partnership, or as a sole trader.
It takes around five days for your new Mastercard to arrive,
and from there you can use it to make payments and ATM withdrawals. You’ll also
be able to transfer and receive money and create invoices using the ANNA app.
As we’ll see, there are many other features the account provides.
What Features Does ANNA Have?
There are several notable elements of the ANNA system that
make it a useful tool for your business:
app. The beating heart of ANNA’s service is the app. From here, you can
manage just about every aspect of your business finance. It makes it super easy
to organise your money and account for your spending.
The app will send you alerts to notify you when you have upcoming tax deadlines
or invoices that are overdue.
ANNA creates, sends, and chases your invoices, so you don’t have to. This can
save you a lot of time and help you keep on top of your cash flow.
support. You can contact ANNA through the app at any time. They will get
back to you within ten minutes. If not, they’ll refund your monthly
withdrawals. You can take money out of an ATM in the UK without incurring
fees from ANNA.
With these features, you have a fairly comprehensive way of
managing your business finances. The addition of the Mastercard debit card, you
can also make purchases for your company.
What Are the Fees for Using ANNA?
Unlike other similar services, such as Coconut, ANNA isn’t a
free account. There is a monthly fee of £11. However, you do get an initial
three-month free trial. This gives you the chance to try out the service and
see whether it’s the right fit for you.
There are other fees associated with the account. For
example, if you make a purchase or ATM withdrawal in a currency other than GBP,
you will incur a charge. For those who travel a lot on business, this is far
from ideal. Plenty of other ‘challenger banks’ are free of these restrictions,
so it’s a shame to see this one charging.
Who is ANNA For?
Anyone who is a director of a limited company, as well as
those in partnerships and sole traders, can apply for an ANNA account. This is
very much the target demographic, although it’s maybe hard to see how those in
medium-sized enterprises would utilise these tools above others.
Those who are trying to reduce the amount of admin-related company work they have to do will find plenty of the features useful.
For new freelancers and small business owners, there is a
lot that is appealing. Having reminders to pay taxes and chase invoices is
especially useful, as it can take some time to get into the habit of doing
these things. The AI chatbot assistant is also helpful, allowing you to have a
hands-free way of working. If you have multiple accounts, you can connect them
all to the app and keep a better eye on your funds.
Those who are trying to reduce the amount of admin-related
company work they have to do will find plenty of the features useful.
What are the Drawbacks of Using ANNA?
ANNA is by no means a perfect service, but then again very
few are. Here are several drawbacks that count against ANNA accounts, as we’ve
currency transaction fees. If you travel a lot for business, the withdrawal
and purchase fees that you’ll be charged can seem prohibitive. This is
particularly true when you compare ANNA to other companies such as Monzo and
fee. After the free trial, you’ll have to start paying a monthly fee of
£11. For some, it may be hard to justify the spend, particularly if the
features aren’t saving you that much each month. Competitor service Coconut is
comprehensive service. ANNA isn’t a bank. They can’t loan you money, give
you an overdraft, or provide a credit card. As such, it’s highly likely you’ll
need another bank account to get comprehensive financial coverage.
Of course, these drawbacks could be only minor annoyances
depending on your situation and what you’re planning on using the service for.
How Safe is ANNA?
ANNA isn’t a bank and therefore doesn’t need a banking
license or any regulator’s deposit protection in place. However, it is
regulated by the FCA, giving customers some peace of mind when it comes to
using the ANNA account. The Mastercard is issued by Wirecard Card Solutions,
and they have a licence to issue electronic money.
ANNA isn’t a bank and therefore doesn’t need a banking license or any regulator’s deposit protection in place.
The ANNA app is also secured with a PIN, and if your card is
lost or stolen, you can deactivate it using your mobile. Overall, ANNA seems
like a safe service for consumers.
Ultimately, there are plenty of features that make ANNA an
intriguing prospect, especially for freelancers and those who’ve just started
their business. The admin tasks of managing finances can sometimes be a little
annoying, and ANNA does well to minimise the hassle of these simple tasks. The
invoicing and reminder features allow you to keep on top of your money, and the
app is simple to use.
The £11 monthly fee seems a little steep, particularly if
the features aren’t saving you that much each month. Thankfully, the
three-month free trial gives you the opportunity to test out the features and
see if they’re beneficial.
If you travel a lot with business, the fees for transactions
abroad can soon mount up. Other services may provide a better experience here,
and it’s likely you’ll need one. ANNA is by no means a comprehensive banking
Overall, there are many positives, and for certain people,
this tool could be a lifesaver.