Francesca Polidori: "We help ensure the management bases its decisions on reliable, solid and truthful data"

Francesca Polidori
Administration, Budget and Tax Manager
Administration, Finance and Control Organisational Unit


Life is like a journey, even the professional one. How was yours, until now?

If we talk about journeys, that’s a field I’m comfortable with. I’ve travelled a lot, both for pleasure and for work; I’ve contributed (for the administrative part) to the birth of many branches around the world: in Qatar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Poland and Turkey. I also had the luck to work in Great Britain for six months and it taught me a lot.
As a matter of fact, every voyage teaches us something and, at the end of every adventure, we bring home new experiences that enrich and allow us to grow wiser and face life with more awareness of ourselves and our surroudings. This also happens on a professional level: I imagine my path as one long sailing, with quiet periods when time is enough to think, organise the ship, restock the galley and find the most suitable sailors for the work to do, and stormy periods when decisions must be taken quickly, otherwise the ship is in danger of running aground on the rocks. If you made the right choices in becalmed weather, you can face storms successfully.
The first time I boarded this ship I was taken on a tour and quickly explained how everyone’s work contributes to the general balance. Then, all of a sudden, I was asked to take care of a part of it. I recall I didn’t sleep for weeks because of the sea-sickness and, docking from one port to another, I managed to board a bigger and more complex ship: at the end, my greatest satisfaction was to be able to keep the helm in the right direction and to be respected by the crew.


What’s the “secret charm” of your field, “Administration, Budget and Tax”?

I don’t think it’s a matter of “secret charm”, because my unit activities are in plain sunlight and clearly governed by laws, rules, regulations and procedures that shape their functioning. Surely, they are often quite difficult to understand, there’s a lot to study and put into practice from mere theory, but anyway nothing is secret. Often, Administration is considered a boring function, with repetitive tasks that seemingly bring no added value to the achievement of the company's business goals. Nothing could be more wrong. We help ensure the management bases its decisions on reliable, solid and truthful data so as to have a clear 'sailing' direction and adjust its course if necessary. Administration, in fact, manages accounting systems and resources in order to guarantee the adequate administrative, fiscal and financial control of the Company. We may seem strict, at times even too taxing (after all, we deal with fiscal matters how could we not be?), but we have to make sure all the data disclosed internally and to third parties are exact: we cannot afford to make mistakes so we must minimise them. One of the features that fascinates me the most is that, at the end of the day, we interface with the whole Company. We are a defined group of people, but we are very open as we deal with anything within the firm or interacting with it, from the most important businesses down to the simplest ones. We serve the other units and everyone sooner or later has to deal with our group: all roads lead to AFC.



Which considerations for future development?

It is always budget time for us! We practically prepare one every three months and by reading the ones written so far we understand a lot. I have always considered the balance sheet as a proper history book: the history book of our company. It is said that you have to be a great connoisseur of the past to understand the present and drive the future. Our history let us know how corporate life changed over the years, what the winning innovations were or the mistakes not to be repeated. A lot of information can be read between the lines, and a lot has changed since I came here: we have all grown up and learnt to go at a different pace, facing ever greater challenges. It is rewarding and extremely stimulating to work for a company that is growing at an ever-increasing pace. What I always ask my team is: 'how can we try to make this process more efficient? What can we come up with to make sure we eliminate as many errors as possible?" In my opinion, robotics is one of the most interesting solutions to achieve small daily goals and lately we are trying to introduce it in the company. That will allow us not to repeat past mistakes, with the advantage of working less in quantity and more in quality!


A message to share.

Always be curious, try to understand what comes before and especially after your work and respect other people’s job. This has always been the spirit I have faced my work challenges with every day. We are one big team and we all win together: if your phone rings or you receive an e-mail from us, don't turn up your nose, we are trying to solve a problem and give you the right information to make the right decisions.