As a registered pharmacist for 26 years and pharmacy owner for almost two decades, Sam Moufarrej knows that surrounding yourself with skilled accountants and advisers is key to success.
He and his business partner, Robert Herodotou, have now been RSM clients for almost 20 years and Sam says the relationship has provided invaluable support across budgeting, cashflow, forecasting, tax planning, strategic advice, and more.
On a mission to improve health and wellbeing in the community
Running a pharmacy certainly isn’t easy – the hours are long, the regulations are strict, and the competition is abundant.
Sam Moufarrej would know. For almost 20 years he, together with Rob Herodotou, have been the Proprietor Partners of both Priceline Pharmacy and Sydney Compounding Chemist located in Carlingford Court in Sydney. Through the pharmacies, Sam, Rob and their team provide a variety of services to the general public including dispensing prescriptions and compounded prescriptions, selling scheduled medicines, and retailing health and beauty products.
“I’ve always had an interest in health and wellbeing,” says Sam.
“I decided to open a pharmacy because it meant I could have an impact on the lives of people in the community. "
"I also wanted to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my family and enjoyed the fact that I could be actively involved in the business as a dispensing pharmacist, but also inactively involved while working on the business. To have had partners I can really work with along the way has made it a smoother ride.”
Navigating the complexities of pharmacy ownership
It was 2003 when Sam joined forces with Rob and (retired partner) Garry Scott to establish what is now known as Priceline Pharmacy Carlingford Court. It was a new business partnership at the time, and the partners knew they would need help with everything that would entail.
After seeing an advertisement in a pharmacy magazine, one of Sam’s partners reached out to RSM’s National Leader of Health Services, Peter Saccasan.
“From what I had heard through word of mouth, and my experience at our first meeting with Peter and his team, I knew we were in the right place,” says Sam. “Almost 20 years later and our relationship is still going strong which speaks for itself. Peter and the entire team at RSM are trustworthy and dedicated. They have a responsive culture and are very committed to doing right by their clients.”
And the team is growing. In the Sydney office, Peter is joined in the pharmacy space by Partner, Kian Ghahramani, Principal Emma Brown and Managers Rhys Fowler and Anne Seah. RSM’s national partnership also has a team of pharmacy advisers who are able to support the corresponding national pharmacy network.
Sam Moufarrej - Priceline Pharmacy and Sydney Compounding Chemist (Proprietor Partner)
Making a difference with strategy
Over the years, Sam and Rob have relied on RSM for a range of accounting and tax planning services including budgeting and cashflow, forecasting, and driving their pharmacies through close monitoring of key KPIs.
“There are many challenges when you’re running a pharmacy – such as pharmacy location rules, heavy discounting, PBS price disclosure, and finding and retaining quality staff,” says Rob. “The pandemic and lockdowns created many challenges too. It’s so important to always know where you stand from a cashflow perspective so you can make decisions and stay profitable.”
Strategic advice has also been important to the partners – particularly when they decided to establish their second pharmacy.
“We wanted to complement and grow our more well-known traditional type of community pharmacy,” says Sam. “This has now evolved into a stronger retail offer with our Priceline Pharmacy, and now we have a compounding pharmacy in the same shopping centre. This strategy of two distinctly different models in the one centre has positioned us to meet a wider range of needs in the community and has proved to be one way of future-proofing our businesses.”
“If I had to grade my experience with RSM and their entire team it would be an A+. When you’re looking for a business adviser, you need someone with a strong reputation who you can trust.”
Robert Herodotou - Priceline Pharmacy and Sydney Compounding Chemist (Proprietor Partner), Kian Ghahramani - RSM (Partner of RSM in Sydney), Sam Moufarrej - Priceline Pharmacy and Sydney Compounding Chemist (Proprietor Partner)
Networking: an unexpected benefit
You expect your accountant to be great at numbers, but what Sam didn’t expect were the industry insights and networking opportunities he has gained from working with RSM.
“The relationship really adds value to us. It allows us to focus on the day-to-day pharmacy operations and ensures we’re always up-to-date with industry changes that could impact us. We’ve also met valuable connections through RSM which is something you wouldn’t expect from your accountant.”
Sustainability and growth
Peter Saccasan, who has over 20 years of retail pharmacy experience, says “Sam and Rob continue to challenge us in and around their business model."
Strategy is regularly reviewed and we help by digging into the numbers and identifying the key drivers. By sharing KPIs with staff and gaining a good understanding of cashflow, Sam and Rob have been able to build sustainable pharmacies. COVID put them and their staff to the test and they passed with flying colours.”
Moving forward, Sam and Rob are focussed on maintaining the profitability of both pharmacies to ensure they can continue to keep staff engaged, meet community needs, and be able to adapt. Sam’s advice to other pharmacy owners who wish to grow their business is to remember that it is an ongoing process that requires out-of-the-box thinking.
“The best advice I have ever received was to get ‘uncomfortable’ and invest in a point of difference. This is why we established the compounding services in addition to our Priceline pharmacy, and it has been hugely rewarding professionally and financially.”
“Our relationship with RSM can be summed up in 3 words: trust, knowledge and responsiveness. It has been a near 20-year relationship which speaks for itself.”
How can RSM help your pharmacy?
RSM have a team of accountants and business advisers who can talk directly to the issues and opportunities you face in your pharmacy. We work with you in a lasting partnership to strengthen your pharmacy, so you can face the future with confidence. For more information on our Pharmacy services, click here.