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Step up to Production Accountant

The training

Advance your career in TV and film production accounting and gain skills to lead a department.

  • Location: Online
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Sessions: 8

Ready to step up to a more senior role? Gain the knowledge and confidence to advance to production accountant or financial controller.

Get trained up in the essential skills every financial controller or production accountant needs to master, from managing the finances of a production through to the indispensable leadership skills that win you trust and respect.

This professional development course is an intensive deep-dive into the roles, systems and purpose of the accounting team on a UK film or TV production. Take part in real-world scenarios with input from people actually doing the job.

Work with a small group, an expert tutor and leading industry guests. You’ll finish the training well prepared to apply for a more senior role and with a network of trusted peers to support you as you move through the industry.

This advanced course is for those with at least two years of industry experience. If you’re a beginner interested in what production accounting entails, please see our introductory course, Introduction to Film/TV Production Accounting. 

ScreenSkills bursaries

You may be eligible for a ScreenSkills training bursary for this course.

View ScreenSkills' bursary page

Our team

Meet the experts

Lucy Drake

Lucy Drake

Course Director

Lucy is an experienced freelance financial controller who also provides consultancy and training in the film and TV industry. She started working as a Drama Production Accountant at the BBC, where she progressed to Senior Production Accountant. Since then, she has worked on numerous HETV dramas, films and documentaries in the UK and worldwide. Her recent production credits include The Witcher: Blood Origin and Our Girl.

More about Lucy

John Yorke

Course Consultant

John is widely acknowledged as the UK’s foremost expert on story and Into the Woods is the bestselling book on the subject in the UK. John’s worked on some of the world’s most lucrative, widely viewed and critically acclaimed TV drama, from EastEnders to Shameless, Life on Mars and Wolf Hall.

More about John

Maria Carranza

Course Moderator

Maria Carranza is a Mexican writer, script consultant, development executive, historian, and translator with 12+ years of international experience in film and TV. She’s worked as a script and book reader for Original Film Netflix UK, Austin Film Festival, and the Athens Film Office, amongst many others, as well as a script consultant for dozens of projects in the UK, USA and Mexico.

More about Maria

Things to know

This CPD training is for people with experience in TV or film production within the accounts team. It’s suitable for:

  • Anyone who has worked as an assistant production accountant for at least two years
  • Those who are considering stepping up to a more senior role
  • Returners to work looking to refresh their skills
  • People who would like a realistic career-progression plan
  • Those who know they don’t have all the knowledge they need and would like help
  • Anyone who can devote 6 hours per week to the course

This professional training allows you to:

  • Gain greater awareness of your potential as a leader, and industry expectations and processes
  • Manage the finances of a production and understand the cost implications of production decisions
  • Identify gaps in your accounting, production and management skills, and plan how to fill them
  • Practise producing accurate cost reports and managing income, asking those burning questions in a safe space
  • Learn compassionate leadership and how to get the best from a team, including communication flow, diplomacy, and team-building skills
  • Think on your feet and respond to the unexpected
  • Network with others working at your level, and with the tutor team and industry guests

Our training is taught 100% online in small groups with a designated tutor and moderator on-hand throughout. Each course is divided into sessions. These sessions are released one by one on a weekly basis.

There’s no need to log on at a set time. You can work through the learning materials whenever suits you, day or night, wherever you are in the world. Just allow 5-7 hours per session to complete the assignments and join forum discussions by the deadline.

Our teaching method is based on the science of active learning, where you’ll read, watch and practise exercises in your own time before submitting assignments for peer and tutor feedback. You’ll then review, share, reflect, and refine your work.

It’s both flexible and structured. Social and yet gives you space. You’ll emerge with an industry-standard toolset you can apply to real world projects and a new network of professionals you can trust. Find out more about how we teach.

Session 1: What is Production Accounting?

We’ll look at the responsibilities of a head of department and the role’s requirements, from accounting and production expertise to soft skills. How can production accountants best support producers and ensure a production can afford to be completed? Where does the money come from, and what do funders want in return? You’ll assess where you are now in a personal development plan.

Session 2: Tax Credits and Working with the Budget and Schedule

Deep-dive into budgets, cashflows, schedules and tax credits. Essentials of Master Movie Magic budgeting. Checking budgets for the Producer/Line Producer. You’ll complete a cashflow for GBP and USD, and reconcile with a total budget.

Session 3: Setting up the Finance Office

Everything a head of department needs to know at the start of a production: crewing, systems and procedures, software options and effective ways to work with the production office. Recruiting your team. Smooth running of the accounts office. Controls, when to delegate (and when not…).

Session 4: Management and Leadership

The hardest part of the job, but also the most rewarding. What makes a good manager and effective leadership models. Asses your leadership style and approach to management. Which leadership skills do you need to work on? Compassionate leadership and other practical ways to get the best out of your team. Monitoring performance and delegation. Assess your performance profile.

Session 5: AP and Petty Cash

Back to basics on Accounts Payable and petty cash, pulling apart common issues and how to communicate with and monitor the work of your team. An overview of tax and VAT, with common errors to be aware of. Free field flagging, descriptions and controls. You’ll practise producing a tax return.

Session 6: Contracting, Payroll and Union Agreements

Including the legal aspects of contracting, IR35 and controls. A look at crew payroll and PACT/BECTU agreements. You should have good experience in this area, so the focus is on dealing with common areas of confusion and errors, and ways to help your whole team feel more confident in their knowledge and skills.

Session 7: Cast Payroll, Balance Sheets and Foreign Filming

You should be well versed already in these payroll, so we’ll identify gaps in your knowledge to fill and ways to ensure your team is secure in their own knowledge. Differences between PACT/Equity contracts for film and TV. Next-level complexities of filming internationally. Foreign etiquette, fixers, the bribery act and moral issues when filming abroad. Finally we’ll look at trial balance and balance sheets.

Session 8: Forecasting and Reporting

Pulling together everything we’ve looked at over the past two months. How to keep on top of all the information and give an accurate picture of how/whether the production can be delivered on time and in budget. Insurance. Forecasting the estimated final cost of the film or TV programme using information gathered from the production. Cost reports and how they are used by producers and funders. What to do when things go wrong. You’ll revisit and finalise your personal development plan.

See our full list of UK-based funding opportunities and application guidance.

ScreenSkills –Production Accounting is an industry skills shortage area and so you may be eligible for a training bursary – apply direct to ScreenSkills here, at least four weeks before the course start date.

As this counts as CPD training, you may also be able to get funding from your employer to do it.

Join our alumni – After your course, you can join our online alumni community where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. You’ll be able to.

  • Rejoin your classmates in a private forum
  • Meet alumni from other courses and share work for feedback
  • Join discussions about production accounting and the industry
  • Attend live chats with guest writers and industry folk

Enter your email below to receive our full course prospectus and find out more.

How it Works

Our training’s taught 100% online in small groups with a designated tutor and moderator on-hand throughout.

It’s an active learning experience where you’ll read, watch and practise exercises in your own time before submitting assignments for peer and tutor feedback. You’ll then review and refine your work as you get better and better.

Fit the course around your work and time zone – just allow 5-7 hours to work through each session.

It’s both flexible and structured. Social and yet gives you space. Find out more about how we teach.

John Yorke Storycon

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