TaxAssist Accountants is the largest network of accountants in the UK specifically servicing the needs of small businesses and self-employed individuals.
The role of a TaxAssist franchisee is fundamentally business development, which is why we consider commercially experienced individuals as well as qualified accountants to become franchisees. In order to work on the business rather than in it, franchisees must be able to build a team of staff to assist with work production. As the principle of the business, franchisees will spend their time networking, managing staff and meeting with clients.
TaxAssist Accountants is a Full member of the British Franchise Association.
How much does a TaxAssist Accountants franchise cost?
The franchise fee to join TaxAssist Accountants is £36,950 + VAT. Total investment figures will be dependent on location, working capital and level of personal drawings required, which will vary from person to person.
TaxAssist works closely with each individual throughout the business planning stage to establish the level of investment required and has strong working relationships with the major banks who are very supportive of the franchise, and they will typically lend up to 70% of the total investment required.
Interview with Lloyd Evans, TaxAssist Accountants - West Midlands
Name: Lloyd Evans Location: Kingswinford, Halesowen and Wolverhampton. West Midlands Franchise:TaxAssist Accountants
What made you decide to join TaxAssist Accountants?
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young in 1990, working primarily within their small business team. As well as gaining valuable experience in practice post-qualification, I subsequently spent more than 20 years in industry working in a number of small businesses across a variety of industry sectors. One of these sectors was franchising with ChipsAway, where I joined as Finance Director in 2006.
I became Chief Executive in 2007 leading them through the acquisition of IPR, from the American originator, and the subsequent sale to a PLC. I was involved in a later buyout which saw the business (along with other franchise brands) being bought into private hands.
In 2012, I moved on following a wish to build a business of my own where I had the majority stake. I was looking for something where I could use my skills and experience gained over many years. I knew the benefits of being involved with a quality franchise, so I turned to that sector for my inspiration.
I looked at a variety of businesses within franchising but none of them gave me that spark until I looked at TaxAssist Accountants. I felt I could use my experience gained from working within a professional accountancy practice, and I very much enjoyed the buzz associated with helping small businesses. Additionally, I felt I could provide added value to my clients through my experience of being involved with, and running small businesses.
In addition, I knew of the high reputation of the management team, the strength of the brand and business model. This was supported by many awards, gained from both within and outside the franchise industry. I carried out a high level of initial research before committing to a Discovery Day. After meeting the team on that day I was convinced this was the right opportunity for me – that’s where the excitement and hard work really started!
How is the training and support?
The initial six-week training course was intense and helped prepare me for a life back in the accountancy practice world. I also met other likeminded people who I got to know and develop a friendship with, which still continues. The initial course was as much about getting to know, and build relationships with the support team in Norwich as it was about the technical and practical aspects of owning and operating a TaxAssist Accountants franchise.
Ongoing technical training courses are available across a variety of topics, which help to ensure technical knowledge is enhanced. This is supported by a technical helpdesk.
Marketing support has been excellent with practical guidance being available at the end of a telephone. They were particularly helpful when we were setting up the shop – first class! Since then we have picked their brains a number of times for marketing ideas and guidance.
What have been the highlights of being a TaxAssist Accountants' franchisee?
Working for myself with the challenges, flexibility and excitement that brings.
Being part of a team which includes our shop team, fellow franchisees and the support team in Norwich
How are things going? Have you learnt from any mistakes?
After training I moved into serviced offices, when it quickly became apparent that I needed some administration support. Sarah Noott joined me in February 2012 initially on a part-time basis (two days per week) to provide that support. Sarah is now full time and progressing very well through her bookkeeping exams, which I am part funding.
We moved into a shop in September 2013 and have not looked back since, another part-time employee will be joining us shortly. In October 2015 I expanded my business further by moving into a second area, Wolverhampton, when I purchased my neighbour's business when he was looking to retire. This acquisition gave me the opportunity to develop the team working with me and used the skills I had gained over many years in business. During the acquisition the TaxAssist Support Team were always on hand to bounce ideas off and to sense check the approach being adopted to ensure fairness on both sides.
Financial and personal targets are being met, and exceeded, however Rome wasn't built in a day, patient growth is far better and will provide a stronger business going forward! The team continues to grow and develop their skills.
There is much hard work ahead for anyone staring in business and just because you join a franchise that does not mean it is any easier, however you do not have to re-invent the wheel, and you are part of a team!
What would your advice be to anyone looking to join TaxAssist Accountants?
If you have a desire to work for yourself and have an interest in small business then look no further. Ensure you carry out research about your target area and visit/speak with existing franchisees to pick their brains. During this process you should find out whether this is the business for you. Just because TaxAssist Accountants is a good business doesn’t make it the right business for everyone!
What are your development and growth plans for the future?
We aim to continue to develop the business and would look at more shops in the future but the timing and location of each shop must be right. We are building an asset for the future while helping to develop the next generation of owners.
In this video, hear from Steven Frost, CEO of Smith & Henderson, as he explains why TaxAssist were awarded a Five Star Franchisee Satisfaction award.
Find out why franchisees rate TaxAssist so highly within the following 5 key areas: Training and Support, Franchise System, Relationships with Franchisor, Leadership, and General Satisfaction.
Exclusive interview: "Franchising helps to minimise the risks and pitfalls"
Franchisors name: Karl Sandall
Position in company: CEO of The TaxAssist Group
Name of franchise: TaxAssist Accountants
Tell us a bit about yourself including when and why you joined the company and your past employment within or outside of franchising
I spent 26 years at a senior level with a major clearing bank before joining TaxAssist Accountants on 1st January 2000 as Operations Director – taking on the role of Chief Executive in 2002.
I’m a 'fellow' of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, a member of the Financial Industry Group and of the Committee of the IFS School of Finance for the East of England. I have been recognised by the British Franchise Association as a QFP (Qualified Franchise Professional) and am a trustee of the bfa's charitable trust helping disadvantaged individuals benefit from franchising.
I oversee the running of the company and the whole network on a day to day basis and ensure the company continues to expand rapidly in both the UK and Internationally.
When was the business established? And what were the factors for deciding to go down the franchise route?
It was whilst working in practice in 1995 that the founder saw an opening in the market place, when he figured out that small businesses were being over looked by larger practices and over charged by smaller practices. He anticipated that the demand for such a service would be ideal for a franchise network, and TaxAssist Accountants was formed.
"Through franchising we knew we could maximise growth potential to the mutual advantage of both TaxAssist Accountants and our Franchisees. Franchising helps to minimise the risks and pitfalls usually associated with business start-ups, by providing specific guidance for franchisees newly into business."
The founder made use of his experience and knowledge of how to build up a successful accountancy practice specialising in looking after small businesses, having himself built up a client base of 500 with a turnover of £300k, to develop the TaxAssist Accountants business model and support infrastructure.
I think winning the BFA Franchisor of the Year Gold award in 2010 stands out as the main highlight. It was such an honour for our successful business model to be rewarded by our industry figurehead. Indeed, we have now won this award in every available colour Bronze this year, Silver twice and Gold.
Additionally, for three years in a row, TaxAssist has been awarded ‘5 star Franchisee satisfaction’, as part of the Franchise Benchmark surveys and Awards run by Smith & Henderson, who wanted to recognise excellence and encourage greater transparency in UK Franchising. TaxAssist Accountants were amongst the first franchisors to be recognised with this accolade and is an award only given to the best franchisors.
Another highlight would be two particular franchisee success stories that come to mind are the first franchisee to hit £100,000 sales in one month, and the first £1million resale.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Something which stands out for me, is when I think of what TaxAssist has managed to achieve despite the economic climate. The last few years have witnessed a number of global financial events which have challenged many businesses.
However, TaxAssist has continued to perform well in all areas, racking up double digit growth year on year, and most Key Performance Indicators, a growth rate which has in fact outpaced many larger firms.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow TaxAssist?
TaxAssist Accountants continually strives to be at the forefront in terms of marketing and technology and we are proud of the initiatives we have instigated to allow our franchisees to flourish.
We provide franchisees with a marketing toolkit containing everything they need to run topical campaigns throughout the year, social media presence, PR, advert templates, initial and ongoing training, telemarketing and an unparalleled internet presence. These and other initiatives generate inbound leads (business opportunities) for our franchisees.
What differentiates TaxAssist from the competition?
TaxAssist is the UK’s largest network of small business accountants, with over 20 years’ experience of operating a substantial national network of branded offices that is well recognised and respected.
"We have a highly visible presence with over 270 shops and offices around the UK. Traditionally, accountants lack visibility, positioning themselves behind a door with a brass plaque. What makes TaxAssist stand out is the way we ‘retail’ our services through our shops."
These are designed specifically to appeal to the small business market in terms of accessibility and visibility, positively encouraging walk in trade and are a breath of fresh air in the accountancy world.
Our franchisees offer their clients fixed fee pricing, paid monthly to spread the cost and speak in clear and jargon free language, proactively looking to save money wherever possible – perfect for our small business clients.
With our bespoke in house training and support, CCH software, marketing techniques, as well as a raft of bolt on business services our franchisees can offer their clients at significantly discounted prices, means in our opinion, we are market leaders, whose offering far outweighs the competition.
What qualities do you look for in a TaxAssistfranchisee? What makes a successful franchisee?
We take on franchisees from a range of ages and backgrounds, but they have the following traits in common: Plenty of energy, a friendly persona, are technically competent and have a desire to succeed and reach their goals. Fully and part qualified accountants as well as those from the finance, corporate, banking and insurance world have all made successful franchisees.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how have you adapted to them?
Of course over the years, I have witnessed wholesale changes in the way we all do business. Technology has had a huge impact on our business and will continue to do so. Cloud computing has allowed our franchisees to manage multiple offices more easily and access data, anytime, anywhere.
"Online marketing has provided our network with millions of pounds of new business. Emerging technologies have revolutionised the way we work and will continue to do so. As a franchisor we have researched, evaluated, recommended and trained the network on new innovations that we believe will be of benefit."
These are exciting times for TaxAssist in the UK as we expand our Support Centre in order to keep up with the growth of the network of franchisees and their staff who are sometimes operating from multiple premises.
We will continue to work hard to deliver a first class service to our franchisees who can in turn offer a first class service to their clients.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
The advice I would give would be to do your research very thoroughly. Speak to the BFA, franchise consultancies, and the franchise department of your bank and they can confirm that you have the right sort of business to franchise, and can ensure that you do things right both professionally and legally.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I’d make sure I did everything when I was much younger!
With TaxAssist Accountants, your business will have the marketing power of a global brand. Our proven lead generation service delivers the right prospects to grow your fee bank, while your own responsive website and AdWords campaigns increase your visibility locally.
Our Training Academy keeps you and your staff ahead of the curve. Bespoke training and technical support is delivered when you and your team need it to help ensure your business remains the local market leader, operating to the highest professional standards.
Download franchise prospectus
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