The F3 System is a document management platform that was designed by a production accountant to allow the piles of paper we collect in the accounting office to be digitized so we can work from any screen in the world. The kernel of the idea came from the question: “How can I get my work done and still be home to put my young daughter to bed without schlepping home 50 pounds of paper every night.” From that question came the F3 System.
It first started with building a place to store the same W9s that we collected from one show to the next, over and over again. I can’t tell you how many times I have filed a W9 for Warner Costumes, CRC, Hand Prop Room, ISS and Universal scene dock, etc, etc, etc, in a filing folder inside a filing cabinet. On every bloody project we picked up the phone and called the vendor accounting office and asked for the same document: “hi this is Tim from accounting on The Fan, can I talk to your accounting department – (put on hold) – Hi this is Tim from the accounting department on The Fan, Can you fax (yes fax) me over a copy of your W9 so we can issue a payment. You know the call and you know the email. Over and Over again. Email made it a little better, buuuuuut we are still filing the same stuff over and over again.
Storing W9s led to tracking what version the IRS wanted us to file. Which led to digital Check Requests, which led to digital POs, which lead to digital PC envelopes and ultimately lead to 100% digital document management and NO MORE FILING. All hung on the cloud, sent around for a digital signature and then entry into, PSL, Vista or Media Web. I have not had to buy a file folder or type out a folder label in over 5 years. Saving money on office supplies on a a picture does not even amount to a rounding error over 10s of millions of dollars, but it is fun not to see that crap in my office.
The F3 System allows us to work from anywhere, using accounting crew I trust and have worked with in the past. I don’t have to roll the dice on local labor in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta or Orlando. All have good crews, but unless you have worked with someone local you have no idea what you are getting. I can park 3 people in LA who I have worked with, have a local PA doing the scanning of all the paper that lands in the production office inbox and me on the ground with the UPM and producers on location.
All the processing, approving and accounting system entry are done remotely and I can see everything that is going on from a terminal in any wifi enabled location.
It has changed my life and changed the fact that I get to have fun with my daughter each night before I go back to work to complete the work I need to get done for the financier and my boss every day. It really has changed the way I work and the people I get to work with.