I think we can look back on 2023 as a welcome break from the rollercoaster of ups, downs, wild turns, and sudden stops that have characterised the last few years.
Today, the UK economy isn’t looking too bad: worries about a deep recession have subsided, the rate of inflation has reduced and real terms pay is up. This may sound like damning with faint praise, but compared to last year, the situation is positively rosy as we approach 2024.
At Duncan & Toplis, we have our own reasons to be hopeful and excited for the future.
This year, we secured investment which will enable us to start the biggest period of growth in our group’s 98-year history. Essentially, this means we can achieve what we hoped to accomplish much earlier than before. We’ll be growing in a controlled way with a focus on improving our services, investing in the skills, talents, and aspirations of our team members, and having a more positive impact on the local economy and the wider world.
And speaking of that positive impact, this year has also seen the first anniversary of The Duncan & Toplis Foundation; our philanthropic arm which provides support to local charities and social causes. Each year, the foundation will support small to medium-sized organisations in our local communities, to amplify the charitable fundraising that our whole team gets involved with every year. The foundation has already donated to many brilliant organisations that offer respite for carers, support victims of domestic abuse, run youth centres, help to fight cancer and care for children who’ve lost a loved one. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the real difference we’re making in our communities.
As well as supporting other good causes, we’re making real progress to make our business more sustainable, launching our NetZeroNow scheme and building our first ESG impact report and sustainability action plan. Our team members are now helping other organisations to become more sustainable too.
We also opened our newly built office in Louth, which gives us a larger, more future-proof, accessible hub located in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
For me, the opening of our new office, the launch of our new strategy for the future, and the success of our charitable foundation are especially poignant because, whilst not my last year in Duncan & Toplis, this is my last year as managing director. As I make way for my successor, Damon Brain, in the spring, I will do so with my head held high, confident that the company I’ve led since 2012 will continue to do right by our people, our clients, and our communities for generations to come.
The last (nearly) 12 years have been turbulent, but it’s a real testament to every business leader and community member who has weathered the storms to pursue their goals.
I’d like to say a particular thank you to my colleagues at Duncan & Toplis, who’ve played a vital role in helping thousands of businesses to grow and thrive. As a testament to this, our team even won yet another award last month, winning Professional Services Firm of the Year!
No doubt, 2024 will bring its own challenges, and we’ll get through it together; evolving and adapting to succeed, despite the odds.
So, for the last time as managing director of Duncan & Toplis, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.