What does a Production Accountant do?
Production Accountants do all the things accountants do, but they do it on film and television productions amidst the buzz and creativity of making a movie. They calculate finances, work out the cost of a production, talk to the completion guarantor (an insurance policy to make sure the film is delivered on time and on budget) and control the cash flow, or spending.
In pre-production, Production Accountants help the Producers and Production Managers prepare budgets and estimated final cost reports. During production, they oversee all payments, manage payroll and provide daily or weekly cost reports. They also produce cost forecasts to evaluate the impact of any production changes.
Production Accountants prepare a statement of account showing all income and expenditure for the Producer or production company and the financiers. They may also have to arrange an independent audit. Depending on how the film is financed, they may also have to deal with bank finance and completion guarantors.
On larger productions, Production Accountants may work with Finance Controllers, who are often permanently employed by studios and broadcasters. Production Accountants are usually freelancers.
What’s a Production Accountant good at?
Keeps records meticulously, knows and understands Canadian revenue regulations and insurance. Using finance software: be able to use Movie Magic Budgeting or other budgeting packages
Knowledge of film production
Have a thorough understanding of how film dramas are made and a love of the industry
Be able to listen to and be understood by everyone from producers, financiers, finance controllers and cashiers
Be trustworthy with personal and production information
Who does a Production Accountant work with?
If the production has a Finance Controller, the Production Accountant works closely with them. If it doesn’t, then the Production Accountant heads up a team that may comprise an Assistant Production Accountant, and an Accounts Trainee. They may also work closely with the Production Manager and Assistant Production Managers.
How do I become a Production Accountant?
Some Production Accountants have a degree in accounting but by no means all. Some get into the accounts department having worked in other roles in the industry. A good route is to start as a Cashier and work your way up to an Assistant Production Accountant role before becoming the Production Accountant.
Get a degree: A degree in accountancy will be immensely beneficial, but it is not essential. Some people get qualified as bookkeepers then work their way up without a degree.
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