After a short career as a dancer, I realised that I'm much better at being behind the screen rather than on stage. I took an MA in Management of the Performing Arts, during which I obtained an internship in the Finance department of the Public Theatre in NYC, where I finally understood that Finance was the path that that I would follow. I then moved to London where I interned at the Shakespeare's Globe, and started studying accounting and bookkeeping. I am now Finance Assistant at the Park Theatre, and a freelance bookkeeper, and I manage Pinecone Performance Lab with Amy Clare Tasker.

I called this session because in a few years I hope to achieve my full ACCA qualification, and to set up my own business where I would be able to advise artists in a way that would be accessible both financially and in terms of their understanding of their own finances.

We talked about how to bridge the gap between the admin staff of an organisation and the artistic/creative staff, as often the two worlds are separate and there isn't much understanding of what the other does. Specifically, people working in the Finance department are perceived as 'critics' or 'realists', antagonists of the more poetic and soulful 'dreamers'. Within bigger organisations, the leadership should encourage staff to engage with other departments in a way that is organic, and gives an understanding of how much 'admin people' (bleh!) actually contribute to the work, breaking down the perceived hierarchy of roles (artist = admirable, finance = boring). Someone defined themselves a s 'just' the Admin Assistant and then quickly corrected themselves - office creatives are as important as anyone else!

It was pointed out that the best artists / artistic directors are the ones who know how to look at their company accounts, understand them, and therefore take sound strategic decisions about the future. If they don't feel they are capable of learning how to interpret finance documents, they should be able to recognise this, and engage constructively with an exec director or other collaborator which a sound finance head who would be able to effectively communicate to them about the financial position of the company.

People in finance should claim back their role as passionate human beings with a soul, rather than boring nerds, enemies of the artist.

We talked about my personal goals as a wannabe finance advisor for artists. Thoughts that came out:

- I should start asking what are the accounting/finance questions that artists need to be answered
- Define how I impart that knowledge / provide that service: is it a chat for a one-off consultancy? Is it a subscription for more practical bookkeeping tasks or end of year submissions? Is it Q&A sessions for 10 people at the time?
- Offer something cheaper than ITC courses, that individuals / sole traders would be able to afford
- A suggestion to create a twitter account and/Facebook group where I'd answer questions to start building a client base and start relationships ('ask me a question')
- Ask the UK Producers group what are the questions that people need answering

I still need to think about the best format whereby I could help artists while also making a living. As I continue accumulating experience and studying, I will think about how to offer my services as an artist-friendly accountant in a way that is efficient, effective, and financially viable for all parties involved.

I'm really grateful to everyone who joined me. If anyone reading this would like to have a chat with me, please contact me on [email protected]