PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT

DEPARTMENTS
ANIMATION DEPARTMENT | VFX DEPARTMENT | SUPPORT

OVERVIEW

  • Managing finances and keeping records up-to-date during film productions
  • Preparing schedules and budgets with the production team
  • Handling everyday accounting and checking spending against the budget

For this role, you will need to:

  • Have bookkeeping and accountancy skills
  • Know about the processes in film production
  • Be very organised
  • Have strong communication skills
  • Be able to prioritise and work under pressure
  • Learn quickly and take the initiative
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • skilled in accountancy, scheduling and finance software
  • Understand guild, tax, union and other relevant regulation

WHAT DOES A PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT DO?

Production Accountants calculate finances, work out the cost of a production, communicate with financiers (companies or individuals who provide the funding) and control the cash flow, or spending.

They must make sure that payments are made on time and correspond with agreements and approved budgets. They must also make sure the production meets all legal requirements and that the company is a legal trading entity.

In pre-production, Production Accountants help the Producers and Production Managers to prepare budgets and Estimated Final Cost Reports.

During production, they oversee all payments, manage payroll, petty cash and foreign currency and keep accurate financial records. They help monitor budgets, analyse spending and provide daily or weekly cost reports. They also produce cost forecasts to evaluate the impact of any production changes.

Production Accountants are responsible for the health, safety and security of the Accounts department, as well as working as part of the wider film production team. They set up and maintain accounting systems and supervise Assistant Accountants and Accounts Trainees.
Depending on how the film is financed, Production Accountants may also have to deal with bank finance and completion guarantors. They need to keep track of all the relevant paperwork to produce cost reports.

Production Accountants must prepare a Statement of Account showing all income and expenditure for the Producer or Production Company and the financiers, and finalise all financial records relating to the production. They may also have to arrange an independent audit.
On larger productions, Production Accountants may work with Senior Accountants, known as Financial Controllers, who are often permanently employed by production companies.

When a Studio is involved, either through a distribution deal or by funding the production, Production Accountants also work with Studio Finance Executives and must keep to their financial guidelines. Individual studios may have their own Film Production Accountant Manual, which Production Accountants must follow.

Production Accountants usually work on a freelance basis.

Will I need a qualification?

You will need to have a BA in Accounting and a number of years’ experience in the film industry. The exact level of qualification and experience required depends on the size and scale of each production but you will have to have a proven track record.

WHAT’S THE BEST ROUTE IN?

You may start as Accounts Trainee in the Accounts team, advancing to Assistant Accountant, then eventually Film Production Accountant.

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