17 Oct 2018
Job title: Assistant Production Accountant
Industries: Film and high-end TV
A place on the Production Guild Assistant Production Accountants Training Scheme (APATS) – a programme supported by ScreenSkills – allowed 2018 Production Guild Spotlight Award-winner Ruby Avards to shift her career focus from leisure and tourism to film and TV.
After obtaining an accounting qualification, Ruby started working for a holiday park company. On a rainy Sunday she spotted the words ‘production accountant’ whilst watching the credits of a film she had just enjoyed. It opened her eyes to the possibility of working in screen, an industry that she thought would fit both her skills and personality.
“Everything I read about getting into production accounting was pointing towards knowing someone who could get you in the door,” Ruby says. “APATS gave me the opening that I needed. It was also great to go in with five other people, giving me a mini professional network right from the start.”
During her APATS training Ruby was able to work on three productions under the tutelage of experienced and highly skilled production accountants. “Each of them taught me best practice and gave me great exposure”. At the end of the programme her new professional network enabled her to quickly find new jobs.
Without APATS I don’t think I ever would have found a way into the film industryRuby Avards
Since graduating from the APATS scheme Ruby has worked as an assistant accountant on Disney’s Cinderella before becoming payroll accountant on Marco Polo 2 (Netflix). She has also worked as first assistant accountant for On Chesil Beach (Number 9 Film/BBC Films) and as construction accountant on Aladdin (Disney).
Maxine Stanley, Production Accountant of On Chesil Beach says: "I have found Ruby's dedication to her work outstanding and her unstinting support for her team second to none. I strongly believe that one day Ruby is going to be one of the high-profile financial controllers in our industry.” Her ability and willingness to learn were also acknowledged by the sector in September 2018 when she won the annual Production Guild Spotlight Award.
Ruby recommends anyone interested in working in production accounts to just do it. To learn about the industry, ask questions and work hard. “If you’re prepared to put in more than your average nine-to-five then you’ll get much more back than a nine-to-five job,” she says.