What does a production accountant do?
Production accountants do all the things accountants do, but they do it on film locations 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?
- Accountancy: keep books meticulously, know Inland 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
- Communication: be able to listen to and be understood by everyone from producers, financiers, finance controllers and cashiers
- Discretion: be able to maintain confidences