Accounting. A word that often brings to mind long, boring days in front of an old-fashioned ribbon calculator and stacks upon stacks of receipts. While this image may be amusing to contemplate, it’s actually quite inaccurate for many professionals within the field. Accounting can be broken down into numerous different professions, each responsible for their own particular brand of numerical data. Perhaps the most interesting of these subspecialties is entertainment accounting.
What is an Entertainment Accountant?
Entertainment Accountants are responsible for a wide variety of tasks specific to the entertainment industry. You might even say that the subspecialty has subspecialties itself. Primarily though, entertainment accountants are responsible for all of the same things that a regular accountant is responsible for only rather than working with the general public, they work with the stars.
What subspecialties exist in the field of Entertainment Accounting?
There are a multitude of opportunities that exist within the exciting field of entertainment accounting. Employment can be found working directly for a celebrity, in a film or music production studio, or as a corporate accountant for a company that handles various behind-the-scenes aspects of Hollywood.
Corporate Accounting: Entertainment accounting jobs in this field are perhaps the easiest to find. Employees might be responsible for assisting with budgeting, planning, and expenses for a portfolio of entertainment projects. Take album releases, for example. An entertainment accountant at a record company assesses and contributes information to the release team in order to determine how much can be spent on things like album art, promotional media, wardrobe, and more. Similar opportunities exist in the field of filmmaking.
Financial Advising: Perhaps a more exciting opportunity within the field of entertainment accounting is financial advising. Individuals employed in this subspecialty often work directly with celebrities and their representatives. They are frequently part of a special team that assists the celebrity in making smart, responsible financial choices based on current and projected income and expenses. Financial advisors must keep detailed track of a celebrity portfolio, and consistently evaluate and adjust monetary strategies in order to ensure the celebrity maintains a net worth consistent with their lifestyle.
Financial Producer: Slightly more non-traditional than the other career options listed above, those with a strong background in project management and a great reputation as an entertainment accountant tend to be excellent financial producers. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that the production budget for a film or tv show remains on track — a difficult task when there are so many individuals and expenses to oversee. Financial producers must ensure that the enterprise can pay for sets, employee salaries, celebrity fees, props, and craft services like digital effects without going over budget.
What does it take to become an Entertainment Accountant?
Contrary to popular belief, becoming an entertainment accountant is not that different from becoming a public accountant. Applicants should possess a firm understanding of the fundamentals of accounting, as well as some experience in each of the following categories:
- Rules and Regulations
- Risk Management
- Strategic Planning
- Operations Management
- Tax Preparation
They should be prepared to split their time between the computer and their clients. Strong communication skills and a little bit of backbone are also highly recommended.