The new year brings new focus, says CFO Averen Deonanan

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Averen explains that 2023 will see FCTG focus on elevating the business and navigating new challenges.

The new year brings new focus areas for a lot of leaders. For Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) South Africa it means focusing on elevating the business to provide an improved product and service offering through its various channels, says CFO Averen Deonanan. This will be buoyed by the implementation of various investments in both technology and operations.

“For most, 2022 was a tough year. Be it from the effect of Omicron [a Covid-19 variant], the impact of the war in Ukraine, or the severe bouts of loadshedding, we have all felt the pinch. South Africans and the finance community are resilient, though, and many have found a way to overcome the various challenges,” he adds.

Averen explains that loadshedding has affected their business (like many others) in various ways, resulting in increased costs, inefficiency and lower disposable income in the hands of customers. “We have overcome some of the challenges with early decisions like installing inverter systems in our stores, remaining flexible in the way we work and procuring an extremely large range of diverse products to meet the needs of our customers.”

FCTG’s highest consumption of electricity occurs at its head office in Johannesburg, and the company is currently in the process of installing a sustainable power system to minimise the operational cost increase from tariff hikes.

“We are also trying to eliminate the use of fossil fuels for back-up electricity generation in line with our global company initiative to become carbon neutral,” Averen adds. In addition, the company is placing more focus on promoting the recycling of plastic and paper products.

Averen explains that, in 2023, the environment will remain volatile. “I have no doubt, however, that the CFO community will continue to play a key role in enhancing the value of the businesses we lead and thereby helping grow the economy, ease unemployment and promote South Africa to again be seen as an attractive investment destination.”

On a personal note, using the wisdom of Robin Sharma, Averen hopes to move closer to a more sustainable work-life balance, with a focus on health.

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