A driving force for positive change
By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International
We are all in business for a purpose. Businesses exist to create and sell products or services and, by doing so, to make profit. A business that does not make money will not be a business for very long.
But having a profit motive is not the same as being a purposeful business. Certainly, purposeful businesses exist to make money, but they also have a wider motivation that informs everything they do.
Put simply, purposeful businesses do not put profits before everything else. They operate with positive social, environmental or corporate goals in mind (and often all three).
SOLVING PROBLEMS – NOT CREATING THEM
Purposeful businesses make money from solving problems and never from creating them. They identify a challenge and focus their efforts on doing something to help customers overcome it. They work to minimise any negative impact those efforts may have on wider society and the planet.
In short, they see their products or services, and also their behaviour as corporate citizens, as a means for positive change. Some brands, alongside their products or services, might position themselves as ambassadors of environmental or social change. Other simply offer solutions to the everyday needs that people face.
Purposeful businesses aim to be good corporate citizens. That might mean minimising the environmental impact of supply chains, or putting employee wellbeing at the heart of their human resources strategies. It also means abiding by local and international regulations at all times.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF PURPOSEFUL BUSINESSES
The British Academy1 has produced a set of guiding principles by which purposeful businesses should operate. It states:
“Measurement should recognise impacts and investment by companies in their workers, societies and natural assets both within and outside the firm. Performance should be measured against fulfilment of corporate purposes and profits measured net of the costs of achieving them.”
This sounds a little like an ESG strategy, and meeting ESG criteria can certainly be one of the goals of purposeful business. But a company that integrates these principles ‘will organise itself on all levels according to its purpose’. That will involve areas like corporate governance, shareholder obligations, financing and investment too.
A NETWORK FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
In the UHY network, our member firms aim to make informed decisions for the benefit of their own business and to support their clients. As well as core accountancy skills, our members offer consultancy and business advisory services that not only help to make organisations compliant with regulatory standards, but also help them to become fitter and more efficient. Many of our members offer specific services around ESG, technology adoption and corporate social responsibility.
In short, our member firms seek to add value to client businesses. By working together and sharing expertise across borders, they also help multinational companies expand more seamlessly into new territories. By sharing knowledge, ideas and innovations across our network, UHY professionals are able to offer clients the most up to date support on technical, regulatory and organisational issues and standards.
1British Academy https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/publications/future-of-the-corporation-principles-for-purposeful-business/