A member of the Access to Experts initiative, Mohammed Shafeek answers the Hub's Q&A so you can get to know him better.
Mohammed is a Chartered Accountant and a leading financial advisor. He is the Founder and CEO of M S Accounting & Tax Consultancy (MSATC), a boutique Tax and Accounting Consultancy firm headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
When founding MSATC in 2017, Shafeek found a growing demand from entrepreneurs who at the start of their careers are often in great need of advice and mentorship to help them solve problems and to set the right course for their ventures.
Over his career, he has executed various financial due diligence engagements that provide critical analysis for clients in the form of risk and issue identification, assessment of the impact on value and development of structuring and mitigating strategies across various industries.
Can you summarize your role in one sentence?
I am the founder and CEO of a boutique tax and financial advisory firm called M S Accounting & Tax Consultancy.
What are two facts and one myth about your sector?
Fact #1: You don’t need to be a number cruncher to understand your financials.
Fact #2: Every single Dirham in Accounts Receivable (AR) is a Dirham less in cash.
Myth: You need a lot of money/capital or loans to grow a business. This belief is what kills millions of unique companies. Business is about people. If we’re able to understand people's problems and meaningfully solve them, then a brand will thrive. As the saying goes, “Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” Mend your business, and the funds will follow.
Who would benefit the most from your expertise?
I closely work with founders and SME entrepreneurs as a business partner, so I am sure that I can support entrepreneurs with starting a business and doing it right.
Tell us about your experience working with a startup/entrepreneur, and one successful result following this collaboration.
There are many ways where we add value to our clients, but I will share one recent example. It was a startup and the founder had prepared a budget herself based on her company’s requirements like product development cost, legal cost, marketing expenditure, etc.
What we were able to do was to validate the scope of requirements from all the vendors and service providers and also negotiate the price on behalf of the founder. We were able to save money for the startup and also helped the company start right. We were able to do this because we know what the standard marketing offerings and pricing are, as we review the books of hundreds of businesses every year across industries.
What is a common challenge you've noticed entrepreneurs face, and why is it important for entrepreneurs to seek mentorship on this topic?
I have met a lot of passionate entrepreneurs. They are excellent at finding market gaps and identifying a solution or tapping an opportunity. But unfortunately, for some, they do not really know what their financial position is. They have a dream. They have a destination in mind. But they do not know where they stand. Imagine you have a map with a destination in mind. But you do not know where you stand.
Messy financial records can leave you in the dark about how your business is performing and this would also delay in taking corrective action.
The solution is simple: Maintain proper financial records, hire a professional accountant, and realize that financial management is key to keeping your business on the right track. Do not view whatever you spend on this as an expense, but rather as a means to save you a lot of money.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received? What about one piece of advice you would share with your younger self?
The best professional advice I have received: Show up every day. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride. There are good and bad days with lots of ups and downs. No matter what – show up every day.
My advice to the younger self would be: Trust people, but verify.
I am really excited about this initiative. Find me on the Abu Dhabi SME Hub, and let's grow your business together.
Mohammed is part of our Access to Experts initiative, providing mentorship and support to prospective and existing entrepreneurs looking to grow in Abu Dhabi. Connect with him and other industry thought leaders here.