This week we get to know Tina Sunderland, Director – Music & Entertainment Team at SRLV.
SRLV is one of the leading specialist accounting firms in the industry representing clients including performing artists, record companies, music publishers, production companies, actors, film stars, TV personalities and many more.
Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at SRLV and how you work with music managers.
I joined SRLV just over 7 years ago, a London based accountancy firm which has been specialising in the music and entertainment industry for over 30 years. As a director in the music and entertainment team, I work with clients such as musicians, songwriters, managers and record labels, which has given me a good understanding of all aspects of the music industry itself. We work with our clients to help them achieve their financial goals by essentially acting as their internal finance function and trusted financial adviser. We provide accounting, vat and day to day business management services whilst also providing general business structuring and tax advice where needed. I tend to have a hands on approach, working closely with managers as well as specialist lawyers and bankers advising on contracts, tax planning, budgeting and cash flow planning. As a result, I always find that I am involved in all aspects of my client’s financial affairs.
What new music releases are you enjoying currently?
My ‘go to’ artists during lockdown, who have all had new releases over the last few months, have been Mahalia, H.E.R., and Jorja Smith. Jorja’s performance of ‘By Any Means’ on BBC’s live lounge a couple of months ago was amazing and Mahalia has just been nominated for three MOBO awards, as well as a Grammy, which is very much deserved!
How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Any significant challenges? How are you are adapting your services?
Some of our clients have been affected more than others and with so many new government measures that have come into play, we still seem to be really busy. We have been supporting our clients with advice and cash flow management to ensure they come out the other side of this as best as they can, or simply carrying on with the day to day accounting and tax function of our clients businesses, where the reporting requirements and filing deadlines unfortunately haven’t gone away (albeit they have eased slightly).
There has of course been a slowing down in tour related work which we are usually heavily involved in i.e. tax planning, budgeting and tour reporting. We are hopeful touring will resume next year and we are looking forward to the day when we can get back to some sort of normality within the live industry. The ethos of SRLV is very much centred around people and we pride ourselves on having strong relationships with everyone we work with. One of the biggest challenges we have faced is not being able to have that personal/face to face interaction with colleagues and clients. Although we managed to have a fully functioning remote office with very little notice and without any real difficulty, admittedly, we have had to focus much more on reaching out to maintain communication with our clients and colleagues to ensure they feel looked after and our staff stay motivated. The likes of zoom and teams have made this much easier but I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to say ‘We can’t hear you, you are still on mute!!!’ and of course, when I can see everyone in person.
The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities. Has this influenced the way you work with managers at SRLV?
Managers now having that 360 approach falls in line with how we work with them. We really enjoy being part of all aspects of the artists business and being a sounding board for managers. It is really important for artists to have that support system of key advisors and the manager is at the forefront of this. MMF are doing great things with their Accelerator programme which prepares and develops young managers for this role, educating managers in areas that they may not necessarily have much experience in. I feel privileged that I often get to speak on the Accelerator panels, sharing my knowledge on the finance side and SRLV are a huge advocate of the programme.
Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?
We work with so many brilliant managers and I can honestly say I love working with them all. One manager who I have worked closely with for a long time is Jackie Davidson MBE, a manager the MMF knows very well. She is truly inspiring not only in what she does as a manager but also with what she has achieved. Jackie has been a massive support to young, up and coming artists and has always been passionate about driving change within the industry in regards to diversity and transparency. Having just been elected a PPL Performer Director (congratulations Jackie!), I am looking forward to seeing what she does next!
Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?
The live music industry has come to a halt which is extremely sad but during this time, we have all had a chance to reset and perhaps unknowingly, this has given artists an opportunity to get even more creative without being pulled in different directions. Some of our clients have been working on livestream concerts which has been a great way to stay in touch with audiences but I can’t wait to hear the new music that will be released and performed after this is all over. Once we are through the other side of the pandemic, 2021 will be an exciting year for the music industry I am sure and our appreciation for music will be more prevalent than ever.
Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at SRLV or finding out more about what you do?
We are here to help! As mentioned above, managers do have increasing responsibilities and we can support them whether it be by looking after the artists from a financial perspective or even assisting the managers themselves with their accounting and tax affairs. It is extremely important to have the correct set up from the beginning otherwise it can prove costly and often messy to unravel. If a manager has any questions regarding business structuring, accounting, vat and tax compliance, or just needs some general business advice for them or their artist, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone or drop me an email.
Thank you, Tina and SRLV for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associate’s programme.
You can email Tina at – Tina@srlv.co.uk