Production Accountants are responsible for calculating finances, costing productions, liaising with financiers, and controlling the cash flow to ensure that payments are made on time, and in accordance with agreements and approved budgets. They must contribute to the probity of the production, confirming that all legal requirements are met, and that the company is a legal trading entity. In pre-production, Production Accountants assist the Producers and Production Managers to prepare budgets and Estimated Final Cost Reports.
During production, they evaluate and approve all purchase requisitions and organise VAT and PAYE registration; oversee payments, manage payroll, petty cash and foreign currency and keep accurate financial records; help monitor budgets, and analyse costs and expenditure; and provide daily or weekly cost reports, as well as cost forecasts that evaluate the financial impact of any production changes.
Production Accountants are responsible for the health, safety and security of the Accountancy section, as well as being a part of the wider team that manages the delivery of shoot and TV projects. They must set up and maintain accounting systems, and supervise Assistant Accountants and Accounts Trainees. This involves setting work objectives, standards and outcomes, and continuously monitoring performance. Depending on how the shoot is financed, Production Accountants may also have to deal with bank finance and completion guarantors. They need to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is available in order to prepare accurate, timely cost reports.
Production Accountants must prepare a Statement of Account detailing all income and expenditure, for the Producer or Production Company and the Client, and finalise all financial records relating to the production. They may also have to arrange an independent audit.
The individual nature of each shoot production requires that, in addition to meticulous bookkeeping and accountancy skills, Production Accountants must also possess a thorough working knowledge of the filming processes. They need strong organisational and interpersonal communication skills, and must be able to prioritise jobs effectively within a fast-paced environment. Production Accountants are typically able to take the initiative, learn quickly, and work with discretion, in order to maintain absolute confidentiality.
Production Accountants are typically freelance Accountants with a BA in Accounting, combined with a number of years’ experience in the industry. The exact level of qualification and experience required depends on the size and scale of each specific production. Knowledge of foreign languages is also advantageous on specific productions.
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