Owner, Graham Shapiro tells us more about his business ‘hood

Graham Shapiro, a chartered accountant, owns Shapiro Advisory, which offers outsourced or part-time CFO (chief financial officer) services to small and medium enterprises. His offices are in Melrose Arch.

How did your business start?
I had left my previous job to start my own business, but while I didn’t quite know what I was going to start, I attended interviews for small companies looking for a qualified accountant. There were always two common denominators: they weren’t quite sure what they needed and they didn’t want to pay the asking price. That’s where I saw the gap in the market, that Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) needed professional accounting help on a part-time basis. So I launched Shapiro Advisory in May 2015.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Melrose Arch is close to my home and a great place to bump into people. Opportunities often can come your way just by taking a walk through the centre. I was previously in an area with no action, and I was bored, so I needed to be in a busier place.

How did you find your premises?
Friends of mine had taken a lease in the old Travail building which was a nomadic workspace, but had too much room, so they decided to sublet. I heard about this, and the rent was marginally more than I was paying elsewhere, so it was a no-brainer for me.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
I’m currently a one-man show and have the perfect office size. I have a shared boardroom and so can host meetings in my own office. People are always happy to meet at my offices. There are a few young businesses in the area, so there is positive energy which makes for a good working environment.

Who are your neighbours?
My direct neighbors are a tailor, four property companies, and fintech start-up. Across the road from me is a Seattle, and right behind me is Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant Jamie’s Italian.

What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
My rent is very reasonable. I feel I’m getting good value for money in a shared office environment.

How many people go through your office each day?
Since there are a few businesses sharing our office, there’s always at least two to three meetings directly happening in our office area.

Do you have any expansion plans?
Definitely. Not in the short term, though. However, on expansion, I may have to leave Melrose Arch for larger premises.

Do you operate online as well?
I aim to operate mainly online. I hope to move all clients to cloud accounting systems, which can be accessed remotely, allowing myself and future staff to work from anywhere. Client contact would be only for strategy and reporting meetings.

What’s your most popular service?
The most attractive thing offered to clients is the cloud accounting and real-time reporting. Small businesses are used to giving a show box or file to accountants once a month, and seeing financial statements once a year. With the cloud and real-time accounting, business owners will be able to access their accounts without delay and be privy to information which they have never seen before.

See for yourself:
Shapiro Advisory
shapiroadvisory.co.za

Words: Georgina Guedes | Images: Supplied

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