Auria group FM Gary Vidergauz on finance, senior living and competitive edge

Upmarket property developments specifically designed for retired citizens are set to grow at an impressive rate.

Chartered accountant Gary Vidergauz is group financial manager at Auria Senior Living, where he administers the broader finance function of the Auria Group. But while he works in finance today, accountancy wasn’t his first pick of career paths. It wasn’t until he attended a careers evening in matric that he decided this was the route for him.

“I didn’t even have accounting as a subject in high school: I did science and computer programming instead,” he says. “The thought of becoming a CA never even crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I’d had a few discussions with some auditing firms at a careers evening, that my interest started to pique.”

Auria Senior Living is a business that develops, owns and manages a portfolio of senior living facilities in South Africa. It offers independent residential assisted living and care options to senior citizens, providing a range of care options to their residents and ensuring that families have the comfort of knowing that, should their loved ones’ health needs change, there’s no need to move them from the community. Other services include 24-hour security, housekeeping and gardening.

While the South African assisted living market isn’t at the level of its international counterparts, the demand for prestige senior living in South Africa continues to grow, says Gary. “There has definitely been an increase in the demand for upmarket retirement housing in South Africa. This is due to a consistent rise in life expectancy over the past 10 years. Projections show that there will be around 12 million South Africans over the age of 60 by 2050.”

He adds that the demand continues to outweigh supply in this market, and that the country is short of quality facilities.

Auria Group is an industry leader and one of their properties, San Sereno in Bryanston, was recently awarded a prestigious Argentum 2020 Senior Living by Design Award. Argentum is the leading national association dedicated to the senior living industry in the US. Of the five winners, San Sereno was the only entry from outside the US.

Running a growing business isn’t easy, and some of the biggest challenges Gary experiences are the long hours and tight deadlines. For him, each day presents different, demands and expectations.

When he isn’t crunching the numbers, he enjoys spending time with his family and he also has a passion for travel, which he developed while working in London after completing his articles.

He encourages the youth to pursue a career in accounting as it gives you the opportunity to gain great exposure both during and after you complete your articles. Gary emphasises that in order for you to have a fruitful career in finance, you have to differentiate yourself and constantly be expanding on your skills. He adds that being able to take on new things and learning different aspects of the business enables you to stand out from the rest.