No one said running a film festival was easy. So many different strands, and so much to worry about. And OMG! The money! Where does it all go? There’s never enough. But thankfully, thanks to a brand new way of event organisation there is an app that ensures that your event, your film, or in my case, your film festival made easy.
Here’s the deal: Nightmare One is VAT
Do you want to run an event? or a film festival? Or make a film? Whichever is your poison, there will come a day, roughly every three months, when your accountant or book keeper is going to want to fill in a sales tax return . In the UK, where I reside, it’s called Value Added Tax, or VAT. Every single thing you buy, or every single invoice you create will have VAT.
Here’s how VAT works
When your event, festival or film has an annual turnover in excess of £85,000 you need to register for VAT.Here is the official UK Government rules:
There is no obligation if you are trading less than £85,000.
Here’s what that means:
Every time you buy something that has a VAT element, you can reclaim the VAT element. In the UK, the current VAT rate is 20%. Which means, if you spent £100,000 on your project, you could reclaim £16666.67!
Use this nifty tool to calculate the VAT on any purchase.
Aha: The rub: But you also have to pay VAT on any income you receive. Hopefully the income will exceed the expenses, but it will come into your project over several years.
You really need professional tax planning advice. Raindance uses PGLemon – a brilliant firm of accountants.
Here’s the truth: For me from planet Raindance, I used to dread the quarterly VAT deadlines. Because our book keeper would say things to me like: Do you remember the £14.99 you spent at the stationary shop? I need the VAT invoice because you could get £2.50 back!”
And more often than not, I would have lost the receipt. In Q3 2019 I misplaced over £5,000 ($6,7000). No receipt. No VAT reclaim. And in this case I lost, through shear stupidity £833.33. My problem was I didn’t have a solution to managing my spend.
Here’s Nightmare Two: Expense management
Here’s the Raindance Film Festival business model: We have about a dozen different heads of department. Everything from hospitality to travel, venue decor to festival branding to speaker fees and PR expenses. The issue for me, as festival founder, and to David Martinez, festival producer, is this: How do you track all of the expenses and create a simple paper trail so your book keeper can apply the appropriate VAT and local tax requirements?
It’s a giant headache. Whether it’s sorting through a shoebox full of receipts or trying to balance the bank account – this process can easily consume day after day after day.
And let me tell you! Managing the money for a major international event with hundreds of international guests and thousands of festival attendees is no easy task. The number of times I have had to discretely check by account to see if I could splurge and buy a drink for a celebrity is a painful experience. A pain easily avoided with an easy-to-use and transparent expense management system.
Sleep Easy: Your Film Festival Made Easy
Enter SOLDO – an expense management system, and, like Raindance, a disruptor brand. A brand, like Raindance, that challenges the norm and who offers practical and no-mess solutions for any film festival (or event, or film) seeking a painless and efficient way to track expenses. SOLDO makes the quarterly tax reporting as simple as 1,2,3. And, it allows me, as producer and chief financial advisor, a real time expense management system.
How Expense Management works
In broadest terms, when you festival (or film) budget is agreed, everyone knows how much money they have to spend. The reality is always different. emotions run high, and its really easy to add a tenner onto an object of desire. And before you know it, there isn’t enough cash left to finish the job.
The festival ends and you file your accounts. Meanwhile your book keeper is literally screaming at you: “Where are those invoices? I can save you £833.33!
Soldo is a bank and a credit management system. They have devised a simple-as-simple app that works like this:
- You agree the budget with each Head of Department
ie: travel, hotels, speaker fees
- SOLDO issues each individual a debit card.
- You use the SOLDO dashboard to allocated to each person’s budget
You pay in the cash to each person’s SOLDO debit card.
- Each expense payment is backed up by the VAT/tax receipt and exported to a central SOLD reporting arm.
- Quarter end (or film end) your book keeper will see the Magic of Soldo – every receipt, with a simple user-friendly database, is downloaded into the SOLDO digital data processing department.
Are you ready for SOLDO?
If you want to use SOLDO, you can Join SOLDO Here. You will help support Raindance who will get a small referral fee for your business.
Raindance has a very successful film school where students learn the necessary craft skills through project based practical filmmaking projects. Each project has a budget. In the olden days, we had a petty cash box from which we would reimburse expenses. Can you imagine the emotional stress and trauma of balancing the petty cash? And also deciding which of the 40+ films per year were under or over budget?
Bingo! You are a winner if you use SOLDO – because each film, regardless of size, can use SOLDO to track expenses down to the penny. And a super bonus is that you are able to prepare your quarterly tax reports at a click of a button!
Have a look at the 29th Raindance Film Festival report to SOLDO.