About Production Accounting
Production Accounting is a niche area of Finance. Production Accountants are a vital part of film and television production management. They are responsible for managing and maintaining the finances and records for film or TV productions. It is important the Production Accountants have both strong bookkeeping skills, a sound knowledge of the film or TV production process and strong communication skills. It’s a collaborative role and you’ll be working closely with Producers, Line Producers and Heads of Departments to work out the most cost effective way of staying true to the Director’s creative vision. The ability to build strong working relationships with producers, heads of department and the rest of the production office is as important as being able to produce timely, accurate and informative cost reports.
Production Accounting Job Profiles
There are many levels in the Production Accounting department, including:
- Financial Controller
- Production Accountant
- 1st Assistant Accountant
- Payroll Accountant
- Accounts Payable
- Cashier / Pcards
- Accounts Trainee
Details of the National Occupational Standards can be found here
An outline of the core skills and knowledge required for production accounting in film and television is detailed in the link below.
The route into and onwards from Production Accounting is varied.
Production Accountants come from a range of backgrounds:
- Qualified Accountants a variety of sectors changing industries
- Graduates starting as trainees and progressing through the cashier and assistant roles
- Production Co-ordinators or Production Managers making a sideways move
- Media finance or corporate workers looking to move into production
- Or a career change for people who have always enjoyed working with numbers
The Production Accountant role equips people with sought after skills which can open other doors in the industry. Production Accountants can move onto careers as:
- Production Manager or Line Producer
- Post Production Supervisor
- Production Executive
- Finance Manager
- Head of Production Finance
- Financial Controller
Entering the Industry
The film and TV drama industry are continually looking for more people to train and work their way up through the accounts department to become Production Accountants and Financial Controllers.
Once employed in the industry the opportunities for reliable, personable and thorough Production Accountants and Assistant Accountants are plentiful.
Many production companies and broadcasters employ Production Accountants on staff roles
Even if no roles are currently advertised there may be an opportunities for work experience or shadowing. Personal contacts are very useful for building a network and getting considered for future opportunities.
Top 100 Production Companies in the UK:
Most Production Accountants in Film and High End TV Drama are self-employed. The Production Guild Availability Service is a resource for members to advertise their availability:
To become a member you need credits and nominations from existing members. Getting these is often the hardest first step.
How to find a career in production accounting for film and television
Hear first hand how the Production Guild’s Assistant Production Accountant Training Scheme (APATS) launched the career of this former trainee.
There are courses available for new entrants to gain qualifications, contacts and experience to take that first step on the ladder
The Production Guild – Sign up to join our mailing list to be kept up to date with new training opportunities
The National Film & Television School run a number of Production Accounting courses, including the Diploma in Production Accounting:
and introduction to production accounting
Other courses available include: