What Is Production Accounting?

By Amit Jagwani  | 

Many things need to go well in order for a successful film or television production to finish on time and within its allotted budget. Sounds easy enough, until you consider the myriad of daily expenses that keep your shoot running smoothly. You’ll need someone to cut checks, deliver petty cash, talk to banks, understand the demands of unions, and manage purchase orders. You’ll also need a person in charge of daily budget reporting and scoping, as well as estimating expenses and payroll. Some costs are recurring, some are one-time, and sometimes costs go over on a given day or a week. So, you also need a good auditor — that person who can analyze a budget and give the Line Producers an honest report of what’s happening and what they can spend.

In film production, these jobs are all typically managed by just one extremely valuable person:  The Production Accountant. Beyond knowing that daily “hot costs”, like labor, construction, and amenities are covered, the Production Accountant tracks all upcoming costs. Often this person manages a small team, including a Payroll Accountant, Assistant Accountant(s), and an Accounting Clerk, who all help deliver and forecast payments to keep everything on track.

Luca is the game-changing Production Accounting Software from Extreme Reach Payroll Solutions that finally delivers what the industry demands: a 21st-century production accounting experience. Luca replaces the industry’s outdated annoyances (like rented, software-specific computers or the need to connect to servers with other operating systems) with an entirely cloud-based platform that can be accessed securely from anywhere. This means you are not bothered by any Citrix logins and timeouts.  This means you can sit down at your computer and pick up right where you left off on your phone. Or have multiple collaborators on one budget simultaneously. You can visualize budget KPIs at a glance, and see other projects or line items across budget history to evaluate costs on a current production. A streamlined experience improves the ease of scalability and dashboards simplify reporting.

The requirements for every production are different, and budgets and shoots tend to be an ever-evolving challenge. I came to Extreme Reach from a background in production accounting, and it’s true that the elaborate balancing act can be a stressful and unenviable one. I was drawn to it by my love of film and TV and my knack for numbers. This is a role that puts you square in the center of the industry. I learned firsthand the importance of having the right team in place to make your job easier. Reliable, smart, and organized accounting teams are critical. The same is true for technology and that’s how I landed at Extreme Reach. Our Payroll Solutions team grew up in this industry and we’re bringing much needed change to all aspects of production payroll and accounting. Production accountants need modern solutions designed and built for productions. Extreme Reach and Luca provide technology that adapts to your needs, whatever your job, which is exactly the way it should be.

Amit Jagwani
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