Case Studies

Investigating financial concerns and bringing stability

Background

Our client is a trade union with members throughout the country. Their auditors came to us with an urgent request: their client’s head of finance had departed and the union required a suitably experienced person at short notice to assume the head of finance role.
Within a day of the call from the auditors, FD Solutions’ client finance director Tony Eve had met with the General Secretaries and found that in addition to the absence of the head of finance, there were considerable concerns about the union’s finances. Within a further day, Tony had summarised the urgent issues, agreed these with the General Secretaries and the auditors and agreed a detailed plan of action.

Stability required

There was immediate need for stability in the finance department following prolonged uncertainty there and with some union officers generally. Tony met all interested parties and provided assurance that he would deal with the specific issues that they raised as well as get the union’s finances under proper control. This was urgent as there was a meeting of the executive (representatives from around the country) within a week at which issues were to be debated.

Urgent work required

There was a need to assist the auditors with their work on the union’s year end accounts, produce current management accounts and review the union’s current financial position. Tony brought in a financial controller from our resources and within a week all of these objectives were met. Accordingly, the auditors were able to present the union’s accounts to the executive, the executive formally requested Tony to prepare an independent report on the union’s finances and the concerns about management roles were withdrawn.

Improve management information

The first key issue was to integrate information from the accounting system into an excel management accounts model (including income and expenditure account, balance sheet and cash flow) which would provide regular management information in a format that was both informative and appropriate to the union’s needs. Using ODBC links, this exercise was completed and provided a high degree of integrity for periodic reporting of results.

Develop budget

There was a need to develop the existing budget, an income and expenditure spreadsheet, into a model incorporating monthly income and expenditure accounts, balance sheets and cash flows for internal management reporting purposes and to provide a basis for proper comparison to actual figures with full variance analysis reporting. After consultations with management and budget holders, the revised model was completed and forms an integral part of management information.

The report into the union’s finances

As agreed with the executive, following the completion of these tasks, Tony prepared his report into the union’s finances, including the issues surrounding the year end process. This report was presented formally, on time, to the next executive committee meeting.

Handing over the reins

Given the flexible nature of the services offered by FD Solutions, we were made aware that the union would be seeking a new full-time permanent head of finance. In the meantime, following the initial period of very intense activity and support for the union, we continued to assist with monthly reporting and helped with the appointment of an interim part-time financial controller. We remain in contact with the union and have offered assistance on an as-required basis.

A satisfied client

Tony received highly complimentary messages both from the auditors and the union, with the Deputy General Secretary saying that he was “extremely grateful for your work in preparing figures on a timescale which meets the needs of the organisation”.