Howard Shwiff is the co-founder of Shwiff, Levy, and Polo, a CPA tax and financial services firm established in 1996. He is also a real estate advisor and investment manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Howard Shwiff also holds a Master of Business Administration (Real Estate and Urban Development) from Georgia State University. Additionally, he has several professional certifications, including a Certified Property Manager (CPM), Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), and a California Real Estate Brokers License.
Howard and his wife, Elizabeth Shwiff, have managed to grow Shwiff, Levy & Polo into a reputable brand in tax and business consultancy. He has over 30 years of experience in real estate investment, portfolio management, and brokerage.
He capitalizes on his vast industry experience to provide small to midsize businesses with business-advisory and financial management services, including real estate management and transaction administration. Previously, Howard Shwiff managed investments across the United States at the Asset and Portfolio Management level at Johnstown/Consolidated Capital.
He also worked for The Landsing Corporation and Fox & Carskadon Financial Corp. He was in C-level management in all these firms, handling tasks that called for high-level responsibility. For example, he was the Senior Vice President at Johnstown/Consolidated Capital, managing 18 REITS and public limited partnerships with over $1 billion worth of assets countrywide.
Howard also prides himself on founding Shwiff Real Estate Management Consulting to manage multifamily properties in Atlanta, Georgia. He also established a niche brokerage of medical inside TRI Commercial Real Estate Services and Feher Young and Associates (FYA).
Howard Shwiff is also a passionate philanthropist dedicated to giving back to the community. He is a former president of the American Technion Society that supports the Technion-Israel University of Technology. He also served as the treasurer of the Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco between 2008 and 2017.
Howard loves to spend time with his wife when he is not working. The two met in 1989 through the Jewish Federation & Endowment Fund, where they are both members.
How did you get started in this business?
The idea for my role at Shwiff, Levy & Polo, LLP was born from my years as a real estate investor and portfolio manager. I felt it was time to establish my real estate brokerage firm and figured with my wife that it was best to integrate my real estate services into the financial side of Shwiff, Levy & Polo, LLP.
SLP already had many clients with interests in the real estate industry. These clients needed an expert they could trust to help them get deals done. We also realized that these clients needed professional help managing their real estate portfolios to complement their financial plans. That’s where I came in.
How do you make money?
I provide small to midsize businesses with business advisory and financial management services. The most notable services are real estate investment and transaction administration. As the “CFO on call,” I help guide business owners in their investments and financial issues.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
When we established SLP, we started delivering quality services immediately. That means the company started generating revenue from the onset. We became increasingly profitable as the firm grew to one of the country’s most trusted accounting and financial services providers.
When you were starting, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
We researched widely before establishing our company. This research and extensive industry experience helped boost our confidence that everything will work according to plan.
How did you get your first customer?
My first client was a friend. We had worked together previously at my first consulting employer.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I’m strategically honest. I believe in telling my clients the truth and advising them accordingly. I am confident in “selling” myself to the next client and the next because I’m not carrying any luggage of untruths.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed us to make tough decisions, like trimming our workforce to stay afloat. However, things are improving tremendously, and we should soon be operating at full capacity again.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Diligence, decency, and commitment to delivering high-quality services to our clients. We also hire the right people for every job.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Nothing can be more gratifying than helping clients find a lasting solution to their problems. One of our most satisfying moments was when we conducted a comprehensive audit that saved an international financial services company from closure by federal regulators in 1995.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We plan to expand our business beyond California and explore the international market.
What business books have inspired you?
I would advise everyone to invest in American Heritage Dictionary. A good vocabulary is integral to meaningful communication and understanding others.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Mistakes and challenges are part of growth. Learn from them and use them to shape your future decisions.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes. I love working with the community, and people can reach me through HShwiff@slpconsults.cpa.