Accounting System Software

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Without some form of accounting system software, your production office may be left to juggle thousands of scribbled notes and loose pieces of paper. There's no better recipe for disaster on any show than out-of-whack finances, from major expenditures such as camera equipment and lighting all the way down to PC (petty cash). Unfortunately, many productions simply give up on a balanced budget almost from the get-go, leaving the miserable task of tidying up balance sheets to a team of production accountants.

It's not just the bean counters who benefit from accounting system software, however. Shows that keep tight watch over their expenditures and manage their bids scrupulously often have a trickle-down effect on the cast and crew. When budgets are well managed, the entire show seems to run smoothly. The personnel in each department know exactly how much money is available, how much is set aside for overages and contingencies (O&C), and how long it will take to burn through the balance of funds.

Specifics of Accounting System Software

One of the primary tasks of any accounting system software product is the production and management of bid forms. These sheets are used to track allocated dollars in each department. To the uninitiated, it may sound funny to refer to a movie's "departments," but there are in fact clear demarcations between the lighting crew, sound team, art department, camera squad, catering, craft services, and so on.

Once a figure has been reached that represents a given department's total spending need, that number is entered into the budgeting software's bid form. As funds become available (or less available, as the case may be) these bids are subject to change. It is therefore imperative that any accountant or production manager have a great accounting system software package to handle these fluctuating figures. Without this, the job of production accounting is left to everyone from the show's truck drivers to lowly PAs.


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