Suvi Lehikoinen has worked at University Properties of Finland (SYK) from almost the beginning of the company. Suvi, who moved from Turku to Tampere, started as a controller at SYK in the spring of 2010.

Suvi heard about the job through a recruitment consultant. She was interested, and saw SYK as a good alternative for a new career. Suvi felt this was a unique opportunity, because she saw a rare opportunity to start in a budding company like SYK.

Her previous experience was gained in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The real estate sector was a leap into the unknown for Suvi. Although the transition to the new sector was a major change, the journey has been worth it.

“SYK’s operating environment is awesome. The university world has a major impact on society, and we can be part of it. It is interesting to have a vantage point to follow the development of premises at the campuses,” Suvi says.

Becoming a manager through the organisational reform

In August 2020, SYK was reorganised, and this also affected Suvi’s job description. Through the organisational reform, the internal financial team was reformed and Suvi became a Financial Manager and Team Leader. Suvi is responsible for implementing and developing the company’s internal and external accounting in cooperation with service partners and the rest of the organisation. She is also involved in actions related to funding.

The exceptional year of 2020 posed a challenge to managerial work, as most of the reformation of the team took place virtually. In the autumn, a new controller was recruited to the team during the remote work period. This meant that induction training and introduction to the work community had to be reconsidered. Towards the end of the year, SYK’s new values were integrated as a natural part of the team’s operations.

“The economy is a function serving and helping the entire organisation. We ensure that all SYK employees have the financial information needed to support their own work so that decisions can be implemented responsibly. The information-by-management project started in the autumn will also help to better combine the information on different functions so that it is better visible to the entire organisation. I am looking forward to developing the team and my own duties with enthusiasm and a positive spirit,” Suvi says.

Economy as part of sustainable business

Although the financial sector is carefully regulated, it leaves room for creativity and different options when planning business operations. One concrete example, and the most memorable task for Suvi, is the Green Bond issued by SYK in 2018.

“The issue of the Green Bond was really great, and it was also a case of learning something new for me. It was an important financial transaction related to responsibility and a practical example of the participation of financial services in sustainable business. Responsibility is important for SYK, and this was a concrete example of linking the economy to it. Fortunately, sustainable funding has developed significantly in recent years, which means that we will certainly be able to use responsible funding instruments in the future,” Suvi says.

Small and close work community

2020 was a year of changes for SYK. The company renewed its strategy and organisation, developed its culture of operations and produced new values. In spite of all this, being together and working has been close, and the SYK spirit has been strongly present.

“The reforms made the autumn an exciting and busy time, but it was nice to be working. SYK has had a good work community for a long time. We’re a small team and we work independently, but there’s still the support of the entire organisation and service partners behind us. You don’t have to do things alone. It’s easy to approach colleagues, because everyone knows each other. Since the autumn, the operations have found their course, and we will be able to develop it in the direction we want,” Suvi says.


© Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy 2020