Follow the Numbers: Film Production Accounting for the Entertainment Industry
Entertainment companies are challenged with extremely complex film production accounting processes because they manage multiple projects across many markets. For their accounting teams, that means there is a lot to keep track of at all times. Accurate data is not only necessary for reporting back to stakeholders, but for the public at large, and ideally, that data needs to be in real time. There are intricacies in film production accounting, such as when to start and stop capitalizing costs, and how to conduct impairment reviews of film assets. In addition, the costs of projects in the entertainment industry can vary wildly between productions. Accurately capturing all of the time and expense that go into a creative project like a film production, stage show, or television broadcast can be challenging.
Telling the right story through film production accounting
While the creatives handle the “entertainment” factor, CFOs and other financial managers must be sure that the company can continue as a viable player in the industry. However, far too many companies in the entertainment industry use tools that miss the mark, or give incomplete information. Following the numbers becomes overly complicated, and an ineffective means of determining success.
Film Production Accounting: Transition from spreadsheets to real-time reporting
Legendary Entertainment was in that position at one time. They’ve produced more than 40 feature films, including hits like “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover,” and “Jurassic World.” In addition, Legendary Entertainment produces for television, digital content audiences, and the graphic novel market.
From their beginnings as a small start-up in 2004, accurate financial tracking had been a struggle. They relied on Excel-based reporting that was manageable for a while. However, once the company grew to include more than 20 entities they needed a better solution. They made the move to Intacct and rely on the cloud financial report writer to give the management team insight into all aspects of the business. Through the customization options available, they are able to create new types of reports as well.
“We now have real-time financial reporting, something that was impossible before,” says Dino Gioia, senior vice president of finance for Legendary Entertainment. “And we can easily format the reports ourselves to match the way each business unit operates.” There are over 60 custom reports that the company relies on today to tell the right piece of their story.
Working with Arxis Technology, Legendary Entertainment has been able to find and use an accounting solution that meets the challenges of the entertainment industry.