Providing relevant reliable information to a modernised Inn of Court
Lincoln’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court, nestling in a quiet enclave across 11 acres in central London, with a history dating back to the 15th century. Today it is a diverse organisation, a collegiate and educational institution playing a fundamental role in preparing students for Call to the Bar, a membership organisation, a professional body, a landlord, a custodian of historic buildings, a banqueting venue and a tourist attraction.
It is perhaps not surprising that the finances across a historic institution with such disparate business elements were complex and in need of improving to provide cohesive, accessible and meaningful management information.
At the beginning of 2013 the Director of Finance left; the Lincoln’s Inn Council decided that an interim solution would give them the opportunity to have a completely independent review of how their financial information was structured, managed and reported. There was a real need to improve the efficiency of legacy systems and none of the management accounts were in any sense ‘joined up’. A further requirement was for mentoring, support and guidance to a recently appointed No. 2, helping her to develop and grow into her role.
Mary Kerr, Under Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn, explains: “I knew that I was looking for a more flexible solution than appointing just one person to replace the Director of Finance. I made enquiries and was recommended to FD Solutions for their flexible part-time FD capability. What really appealed was that we had access to an entire team of specialists across the spectrum. Nine months later we are about to implement our new systems. As with any major change it hasn’t been without some growing pains – we restructured the finance department and made some redundancies that will save us £130,000 per annum. Today the management information we have is transformational. We removed inefficiencies and improved accuracy. I am very pleased with FD Solutions. We were able to have complete flexibility in service level over this period; there were times when we needed more support and times when we needed less. To complete the story’s happy ending, our No. 2 has successfully transitioned into the role of Head of Finance.”