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03/09/2001 - Accountants and Business Managers

How to Produce Movies for Television

"What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous."

-- Thomas Merton

Accountants and Business Managers

Many successful artists are on the road working or so immersed in their careers that they find little time to attend to their own finances. As a result, they often look to a certified public accountant or a business manager to oversee their income and to disburse checks on their behalf.

Very often, your obligations in life will increase in direct proportion to your income. Be sure to choose very carefully and wisely when it comes to interviewing and selecting an accountant or a business manager. Interview with more than one accountant. Don't jump at the first person you meet. For many artists, finances are one big headache. People who don't have a head for business are often too anxious to get it done and over with. Hiring an accountant without taking necessary precautions is an open invitation to disaster.

We've all heard the horror stories about stars whose business managers have wiped out their checking accounts. How were they able to do this? The answer is very
simple. The client was foolish enough to allow his or her accountant to sign corporate or personal checks in order to pay bills or to take care of any emergencies.

Since many artists travel and spend much of their time filming on location or performing on the road, they find it more convenient relying on others to handle
their business affairs.

Rule Number 1. - Never allow anyone to sign your checks. Remember, you're in control. Keep it that way.

Rule Number 2. - Accountants and business managers are for hire. You don't work for them. They work for you. You have the final word. What you say goes.

Rule Number 3. - Don't be lazy. Allowing someone else to monitor and pay your bills without your supervision and the proper controls in place is asking for big trouble.

Rule Number 4. - If you have a corporation, make sure that your accountant files and pays your quarterly returns in a timely manner. The same applies to any other tax or financial obligations that you may have. In the end, you're responsible.

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Rule Number 5. - In the event that you're working on the road a great deal consider investing in a laptop computer. You'll be able to pay many of your bills on-line.

Rule Number 6. - Never allow your business manager or accountant to invest your money for you. While it's O.K. to listen to their advice, the final decision should be yours.

Rule Number 7. - Retain an attorney who has your best interests at heart. Make sure that your attorney interfaces on your behalf with your accountant or business manager.
Never, ever allow your attorney to recommend an accountant or business manager to you or for an accountant to recommend an attorney to you. Very often, the recommendation is based on referral fees. It's better to hire an accountant and a business manager who are not already doing business with one another.

Heed the words of Thomas Merton: Make sure that you're able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves. It is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.


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