Fidem Property Group (Fidem) is a medium-sized property and construction company based in Sydney. Founded in 2009, Fidem delivered a variety of projects in the North-Western corridor of Sydney before establishing a dedicated construction arm in 2017 working with private and commercial clients. Emmanuel Ghobrial, Fidem’s Development Manager, started the business with his brother Michael to leverage each of their unique skillsets and build upon their experience within the sector.
Michael had previously worked for a variety of large property and construction companies and Emmanuel had a wealth of experience in the finance and economic sector. They started small to test the concept and gradually increased the project size as experience and appetite for risk grew. Today, they have built networks of mobilised teams enabling them to service external clients and internal projects across the state.
Fidem was growing at a steady rate and at a point in their business journey where they needed to find suitably qualified professional services partners that could help facilitate this growth and provide sound strategic advice in critical areas. They needed a good accountant, law firm, and financier – these were the three critical pillars identified in their growth strategy to help the business move forward.
RSM was recommended to Michael through his contacts in the property and construction industry and a mutual acquaintance of Adam Crowley, National Head of Property and Construction. They started a conversation and this formed the beginning of the current relationship. “After meeting with Emmanuel and Michael it was apparent that they had big plans for their business. They knew the property industry inside and out and could clearly articulate the direction they wanted to take their business and how they were going to get there” - Adam Crowley, RSM Australia.
“We wanted to start small and think big and RSM helped us with that philosophy. We were comfortable with Adam’s approach from the beginning. He focused on generating efficiencies and is an expert in all things structuring and tax in the property sector. He made promises and then delivered on those promises. We felt we had now found an accountant that could take us to the next level.” – Emmanuel Ghobrial, Fidem.
Along with the strategic business advisory work, RSM helps Fidem in a range of other areas, “We do tax planning one to two times a year to understand where we may end up and this helps us with efficiencies. Sometimes, the bookkeeping and ledger management can get quite complex and RSM steps in to support us with this process and hold our hand. They’re not afraid of getting down to the day to day stuff, if and when required.”
Emmanuel notes that the close relationship between Fidem and RSM is critical to their success, “We run things past Adam and the team before we make a move – they flag any potential risks and concerns. The strategy and advisory point of view they provide is excellent and always well thought out and considered for us.”
As with any industry, sometimes unexpected things can occur and this leads to situations where responses are more urgent and timely advice is critical. “One of the main reasons we value and enjoy the relationship with RSM is their responsiveness. Sometimes things can be urgent and they are always available to get back to us on call and emails, including after hours when necessary.”
The industry is going through a number of changes, not only as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but additional challenges exist around cost, feasibility, increased regulation, and negative press around some horror stories in the property and construction industry.
This has created an amount of uncertainty and when asked about the future and what lies ahead for Fidem Property Group as a result of the current environment, Emmanuel said, “It’s not only about how do we survive but how do we thrive. The current stimulus measures have supported the sector up until this point, but it will be interesting to see what happens when this tapers off. We are looking at moving ahead with our pipeline and property plays but it has become increasingly challenging to win new projects due to the uncertainty. It’s all about timing now. We need to make sure we are ready for the next cycle – that could be two to three years away.”
Adam Crowley states, “It has been a great experience working with Emmanuel and Michael. They are clever operators and every business decision is well researched and calculated. I have no doubt they will succeed in meeting their goals, and we look forward to continuing to work with them along their journey”.
“We see a lot of value in our relationship with RSM - they are not just accountants. They support our business, provide access to great professional services networks, and are a great sounding board. That is vitally important when it comes to aligning yourself to a good accounting firm.”
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