Finance chiefs share their resolutions for 2023

What are finance chiefs planning to achieve in 2023? Raconteur asked CFOs in a range of businesses how they’re planning to tackle the challenges facing them over the coming 12 months
Kim Coles 
Global Finance Director, Lush 

Accelerating our progress towards becoming a global living wage payer is top of my list for 2023. We’re incredibly grateful to the Living Wage Foundation for its work in calculating a real living wage in the UK, but we’ve struggled to find similar organisations to help us do so in our other markets. Lush has also built a profitable business model in this country that enables us to back our commitment to paying a living wage rate. One of my resolutions is to help put our businesses in other territories in a similar position.

Minimising our impact on the planet has always been a core objective and can often minimise our costs too

As part of Lush’s ambition to leave the world lusher than we found it, we remain focused on our net-zero goal. Minimising our impact on the planet has always been a core objective. We’ve learnt that pursuing this can often minimise our costs too. To this end, we’re resolved to continue with our climate and nature plan. We hope that more customers will return their plastic packaging to our stores as part of our ‘Bring it back’ scheme, so that it ends up in our closed-loop recycling system and they receive money back for helping us to cut waste. 

I’m also looking forward to a year in which our finance teams can focus on dynamic growth opportunities, having spent the past couple of years in cash-preserving survival mode.

Lisa Shirtcliffe 
CFO and partner, BrandOpus 

With the cost-of-living crisis at the forefront of everyone’s minds, finding ways to enable BrandOpus to support its employees where it can, while maintaining its profit levels, is a huge focus for the company. It’s been important for us in recent months to review all discretionary spending to ensure that we’re allocating resources in the most efficient way. 

We are finding ways to support our employees through the cost-of-living crisis where we can

An aspect of our employee-owned business that works well both culturally and creatively is its provision of shared office space five days a week. This is something that we’ll continue with. We find that using the space is good for communication, enabling us to motivate team members and foster a creative environment. We also invite clients to use our office, which has been a great way to connect with them face-to-face and build stronger partnerships. 

I have two main areas of focus for 2023. The first is driving efficiency by ensuring that we deliver what our clients need as effectively as possible, in turn improving our analysis and reporting. The second is reskilling employees, building the wider team and organising external resources so that they’re available whenever we need them.

Luke Beavon 
CFO, SumUp Payments UK 

The tech downturn of H2 2022 has rendered the fintech market more competitive than ever, making the battle for investment and custom incredibly fierce. 

Although my company managed to raise capital during the tech slowdown, with a €590m (£520m) funding round in June, fintech firms and the wider tech sector have started to focus more on achieving profitability and financial independence, rather than fast growth. Consequently, breaking even will be the prevailing metric for success in 2023.

It’s becoming ever more important for fintech providers to keep innovating 

As the banking sector expands its technological offerings, it’s becoming ever more important for fintech providers to keep innovating. They will need to prove their worth to their user base if they’re to stay at the forefront of the industry. A strong product base is key to a firm’s strength in these uncertain times. For SumUp, this is all about providing solutions that best meet the needs of small businesses and their customers. Making life easier for a diverse range of SMEs is a top priority for us this year.

Kate Vacovec 
CFO, Pizza Hut Europe & UK 

Bringing with it energy price inflation, supply chain disruption and the cost-of-living crisis, the past year has been incredibly tough for many hospitality businesses. Despite the ongoing challenges, Pizza Hut Europe & UK will continue to focus on driving profitable growth for our franchise partners and, of course, ensuring a fantastic customer experience.

I am adopting an approach to leadership that will instil a growth-focused mindset in our teams

Part of our strategy to deliver profitable transactions is to transform the business into a more everyday brand that holds greater appeal for younger consumers. We plan to do this by focusing more on product innovation and continuing our ‘digital-first journey’, capitalising on the scale of the Yum! Brands group. 

For me, this means adopting an approach to leadership that will instil a growth-focused mindset in our teams, inspiring and energising them while also supporting them to fail fast and learn quickly. This is set to be another turbulent year for our sector, so ensuring that our people feel valued and have a strong sense of purpose will be key in realising the company’s ambitious vision for growth in 2023.

Tamsin Ashmore 
CFO, Ultima Business Solutions 

Having navigated the Covid crisis, I’ve resolved this year to continue building the human connections that have developed between Ultima’s employees and its leadership team.

A sense of community is indispensable to us

The pandemic has changed my leadership style and those of other board members. Faced with great anxiety and personal struggles, we have had permission to become more human and ‘heart-based’ at work, while keeping the business healthy as we’ve handled curveball after curveball. I don’t want those connections to weaken in the downturn. 

I’m looking forward to expanding my role in 2023. It was very much led by the balance sheet before, but now my work is woven into the practicalities of Ultima’s daily operations. In this economic climate, I need to be adaptable, create collaboration opportunities, analyse the data, uphold the truth and make key decisions. 

Ultima isn’t alone in advancing towards a more connected, empathetic and human leadership style. But the pandemic experience and the inclusion of more women on boards have normalised this approach and given it more definition. It’s what employees desire in 2023. 

A sense of community is indispensable to us. If people don’t buy into the company, its purpose, values and leadership team, the business won’t connect with most people in this world. That would have a disastrous impact on its ability to attract and retain the best employees as the recession bites.