Managing profitability for architects
Robin Partington & Partners is a 50-strong firm of architects based on New Oxford Street, London. The company’s flagship projects include Park House on Oxford Street, spanning an entire city block with frontage only seconds from Selfridges; the Merchant Square masterplan comprising four new buildings on a 1.6 hectare site in Paddington, was completed late 2013; and schemes such as the regeneration of historic Shepherds Bush Market and adjoining land, which will provide 200 apartments and mews houses alongside an additional retail and market area.
FD Solutions has been providing a part-time finance director for 1-2 days per week since May 2013 when RPP’s senior management team decided that they needed additional expertise to help them further develop and manage their financial strategy.
Over this period, the company has rolled out new financial reporting systems. FD Solutions understood that to get ‘buy-in’, financial information needed to be visually impactful and in a format that would appeal to architects. A dashboard using charts, graphs, colour wheels and traffic lights was developed and incorporated in a ‘fun’ context. Given the adage ‘you can’t manage what you do not measure’, financial information is now highly visible, accessible, and on everyone’s radar.
So exactly how has this helped the company?
Charlotte Henney, RPP’s company secretary said, “Our forecasting and planning has improved dramatically. We had some financial cogs missing. We can now make more accurate projections about how we will grow and the resources that we are likely to need. We are able to be more proactive, knowing how many people we require and where to make investment as our work involves some pretty expensive consumables. Additionally, our finance director from FD Solutions, helped to train our project leaders and our young architects. We have benefitted enormously from his ‘fresh approach’ and wealth of experience. We are great believers in the value of outsourcing and using experienced specialist consultants, who we think of as wizards, to drive our business forward.”