There are two types of Financial Controllers:
A large production company, studio or broadcaster may employ a Production Accountant or qualified Accountant as a Financial Controller, to manage the finances of all of the company’s activities, including those of individual productions.
On larger productions, a freelance Senior Production Accountant may work as a Financial Controller to oversee the work of the Production Accountant and Accounts team.
The role of a Financial Controller is very challenging. They are responsible for controlling the accounting, taxation and financial analysis for all of the work a company does, including development, production and distribution.
Financial Controllers may supervise one or more full-time Assistants. On individual productions, Financial Controllers normally help Producers and Executive Producers to prepare budgets and raise finance, taking into account any relevant Government tax Incentive schemes.
Financial Controllers may undertake some or all of the Production Accountant’s activities. This can include tasks such as controlling cash flow so that payments are made on time and setting up and managing the Accounts team.
Will I need a qualification?
You will need a BA degree in Accountancy to become a qualified Accountant and then to have a number of years’ experience, ideally within film production, media or film finance.
To become a Financial Controller in permanent employment in a production companies you will usually need to be a Chartered Accountant with a solid grounding in company and commercial accounting. Freelance Senior Production Accountants who work as Financial Controllers on large films must have an excellent track record on large film productions.