Working in the creative industries means thinking about money. A lot. A new financial service aimed specifically at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industries. Anna — which stands for Absolutely No Nonsense Admin — has been brought to life by a team including Michael Wolff, illustrator Alice Bowsher and NB Studio, and claims to “provides an entirely digital platform that addresses the unique needs of SMEs for whom creativity is integral to their business.”
Using cutting-edge financial AI technology, Anna’s team says that it’ll combine a business current account, debit card, and what they describe as an “intelligence assistant,” as well as providing the user with a good old-fashioned card you can stuff into your wallet alongside the unstamped loyalty cards of the five coffee shops. Anna, we’re told, has been designed specifically to suit the needs of creative professionals at all levels — from sole traders to established agencies.
It’ll also automate both sending and paying invoices. “No gimmicks. No chat. No nonsense. Just straightforward and efficient 24/7 assistance and support for business and admin needs,” is the official line of the service.
Daljit Singh, chief design officer at Anna, tells us that our educational institutes should do more to educate future creative workers about the financial side of the industry. “When I was a graphic design student I didn’t’ get that kind of help and advice. We’ve definitely seen a shift over the last couple of decades from ‘a job for life’ towards a situation where work and ideas come at your own pace, you define the way you want to work and younger people are setting up their own studios or freelancing straight out of college rather than getting a job in a big company.”
He proposes a kind of “business 101” class that could be offered to third-year students, outlining the basics of how to set up a company. “If you can’t run your company, and if you don’t get paid, you simply aren’t able to do the things you love,” Daljit tells It’s Nice That.
It isn’t just universities and colleges that can help, according to Daljit. If students are able to find a good mentor, “chatting to them for an hour over coffee can save you several hours spent reading management books,” is how he puts it.
From a visual perspective, Anna takes a leaf out of Monzo’s hot coral playbook, with a playful identity that puts a horn-blowing bear, a cape-clad monkey, and cocktail-sipping canine centre stage. “The identity we created features illustrations by Alice Bowsher, whose charming, playful drawings help make Anna an approachable and relatable brand,” says NB Studio’s Nick Finney. “The warmth of the terracotta orange throughout the website, digital platforms and collateral stands in sharp contrast to the traditional cold blues of banks, corporations and traditional fintech.”