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Acorn winners 2017: Florence Macfarlane

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Acorn winners 2017: Florence Macfarlane

Finance director, the Genuine Dining Co

Nominated by Kirstin Leigh, sales and marketing, the Genuine Dining Co

Proudest moment “This has to be becoming the finance director of Genuine Dining at the age of 26. The past two years have been a huge learning curve for me and no two days have been the same.”

Greatest inspiration “My grandmother. Not only has she supported me through every step of my life, she has to be one of the strongest modern women I have met. My childhood baking lessons with her are the reason I love food so much.”

Ambition “To never stop learning.”

Armed with a degree in mathematics with business and management, Florence Macfarlane’s first job was at accountancy firm BDO. Here, she studied for her ACA qualification, advised hospitality businesses with turnovers hitting £600m, and managed teams of up to 12. Her clients included Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Soho House.

So it’s no surprise that she has been driving change since becoming finance director at Genuine Dining in 2015. Indeed, she controls a number of areas, including all financial reporting from management accounts to flash reports, IT and systems, HR and legal.

To improve communication, for instance, Macfarlane has implemented a company intranet to share news. Displaying her commercial acumen, she has even designed training programmes for managers on how to raise GP percentage, lift profits and improve financial reporting. The result is greater efficiency, letting managers spend more time on the restaurant floor and less time in the office.

Her other initiatives include launching a company-wide apprenticeship training scheme and founding a company charity to allow employees to help charities close to their hearts.

One of Macfarlane’s more remarkable qualities, however, is her can-do attitude. She is happy to help in all areas of the business, even donning an apron at Christmas to help serve dinner to prestigious clients in London.

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