Name: Raquel Rampersad
T/A : R & N Financial & Tax Consultant
Linked in : Raquel Rampersad
- Tell us about yourself and how you became a film accountant?
- I began working as a part-time accountant with Caribbean Music Group Limited and Maturity Music Limited in 2001.
- 2013/2014 Maturity Music produced a documentary, “Pan! Our Music Odyssey. I was employed as the only Production Accountant for the film.
- The company produced a number of short documentaries, in which I was responsible for all the accounting and financial aspects.
- Maturity Music Limited is associated with Ms. McCarter Lewis also known as Calypso Rose, the Calypso Queen. Her vibrant and influential videos were produced and directed here in T&T and all the accounting and financial management for these videos were spearheaded by me.
- In 2017/18 – I was given the opportunity to lead as Production Accountant with Riddums Productions (Mrs. Lorraine O’Connor) on the international reality show “Amazing Race” This project was directed and filmed in the beautiful isle of Tobago.
- Riddums Production had the pleasure of collaborating with the international television powerhouse, CBS.
- This experience allowed me to gain knowledge in various avenues of the field of film accounting.
- What is the difference between accounting for a regular business vs a film?
Regular business accounting will entail the basic accounting such as data entry, check payments, taxation, bank reconciliation and the list goes on.
Whereas film accounting is completed in a shorter period, but it is extremely detailed There are different stages of accounting in the production of a film as follows:
- Post Production
It is recommended after each phase an interim report should be completed and presented to the Producer. This will then indicate where the progress of the film.
- What is the average cost of hiring an accountant for a film?
- This depends on the size of the production and the total budget. It can vary. An accountant is a key person in the budget should be paid on par with key roles
- How should sponsorship money be processed and documented
In some film/production funds for the production are from sponsors which will be documented as sponsorship.
The expenses from this should be documented in detail with all paperwork attached and sent to the sponsor for their records, it also shows transparency and accountability. This report will show exactly where and how the funds were spent.
- What are some key business practices that filmmakers should adopt in developing the budget?
Monitoring and approving the film production budget
Recruiting the best crew for the film within the budget.
At the end of each phase, an interim report should be presented by the accountant, this will give a clear view as to where the film along with the budget is at.
- When is the right time to enlist an accountant for a production?
An accountant can be included in a meeting prior to the final decision in the going ahead of starting a film. This meeting should be between the Producer or Filmmaker and the Accountant. They should discuss the type of film, the financial allocation of funds and the estimated timeline The role of the accountant comes in effect immediately from the start of the pre-production.
- What is the role of the accountant on a film?
The role of an accountant in a film production is responsible for managing all finances and maintaining all records for the film. Interim reports should be given to the Producer during and after each phase. These records should be updated on a daily basis making sure nothing is omitted. The Accountant is responsible of all pay-out to suppliers and crews/staff.
- Do you think the tax deduction for Sponsorship of Audio, Visual and Video Productions is underutilised and how would you motivate filmmakers to actively access this financial incentive?
The films which I worked on I think it was underutilized, but all Producers/Filmmakers should take full advantage of the tax deduction. Here in Trinidad the length of time the company takes to get the refund back can be lengthy.
- What are hard NO’s when financing your film?
Finalize development of the project
Don’t invest your own money into the film, seek sponsors first
- What is the difference between an accountant and a film auditor?
My view is an accountant works for a specific company preparing all the routine accounting and bookkeeping and doing monthly reports, whereas a film auditor will work specifically on the film/production working closely with the budget and cash flow for the film and making sure all expenses are posted in the necessary categories and the company is within its budget.
- What accounting advice would you give filmmakers?
Firstly, ensuring all proposed phases are well documented and have all backup quotations, invoices and payments are attached for records. Try to stay well within the budget. Take advantage of any tax incentives which will benefit the company financially in future projects. Ensure comprehensive reports are completed at the various stages so that the producer is fully updated as to how to manage his budget.