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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: The Benefits of a Trusted Brand When Starting Your Accounting Practice
James Mattam has spent his entire full-time career with TaxAssist Accountants, working his way up from managing the IT and Business Development teams to his current role on the Board of Directors.
With a solid track record delivering results, James joined the Board of Directors in September 2016 and is responsible for generating new business, brand development, shop fronts, marketing, practice management and business development strategies for our accountants.
James provides his insights and thoughts about TaxAssist Accountants, franchising and the accountancy industry.
TaxAssist Accountants is a very successful franchise. Can you talk about franchising and the benefits to franchisees and clients?
Franchising as a business concept is well established around the world and has proven time and time again to remove risk where possible when starting a new business. The success rate of franchised businesses far outpaces those who go it alone in business.
Franchising often brings about trust in a well-known name or brand to give comfort to both the franchisee, who may be investing, and the client, who may be engaging in the services of a franchise.
Why should somebody choose to join the TaxAssist Accountants network?
At TaxAssist Accountants, we’ve built a very well-supported and structured business model that has succeeded in all parts of the UK, Ireland and in Australia. We’ve spent years perfecting the systems, support and advice we give to our franchisees.
We never stop enhancing the model to suit our environment and are going through some large scale digital changes within our practices to be ready for Making Tax Digital, as well as enabling practices to become much more efficient in their operations to increase profit margins.
How has your experience working in IT and Business Development informed your role as a Director at TaxAssist?
I understand what it means to be on the frontline supporting franchisees with whatever they need to move their business forward – whether it’s technology, marketing or sales support that’s required.
We have a ‘roll up your sleeves and get involved’ attitude towards supporting our franchisees and always have done, which I see right across the Support Centre teams. The success of any franchisor depends on its franchisees, so we share the problems and we share the successes.
“We’ve spent years perfecting the systems, support and advice we give to our franchisees.”
What is your proudest achievement while working at TaxAssist Accountants?
I’ve always enjoyed delivering new business leads to the network so I’m proud to see the volumes of new clients which come through our sales team in Norwich and still get a buzz smashing the previous target – it brings out my competitive streak! It’s always a team effort in everything we do here and seeing the first shop open in Sydney, Australia was a proud moment. To think we’ve taken a business concept from the UK and make it a success with on the other side of the world has been a real highlight.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals are to continue to raise the TaxAssist Accountants brand which is quite topical as we embark on our first adventure in to the world of TV advertising. Our brand is loved by those businesses who use our accounting and tax services, so by using TV advertising we can potentially reach millions more people. Our aim is to drive much more awareness of our 200 TaxAssist shopfronts and show the public there is a better accounting service out there for their businesses, they just haven’t met us yet.
How do you see the future of accounting firms in the UK?
Technology is beginning to affect accounting firms and those who are open to this can grow a very exciting and profitable business. The beauty of our positioning in the shops means we can help clients who aren’t heavy users of technology but also those who love to run their business operations online including online accounting.
Our toughest task at the moment is keeping on top of all the different apps and services as they appear, so we’ve created a digital team in the Support Centre to assist and guide our franchisees. Our aim is to save franchisees time and money researching and paying for different technologies although we always involved our network in trials and many are keen to volunteer.
How will developments in accounting software and the advent of Making Tax Digital affect the small business clients that TaxAssist Accountants services?
All of the commentary from various business groups has shown the increases in reporting means that businesses will need their accountant more than ever before.
Overall, business owners will have better access to information about their finances as it happens rather than 12 months after the event. The accountant’s role will involve advising their clients rather than chasing receipts, which has always been the dream for any practice owner. The reality is, you can do this right now with the technology we already have in place and many franchisees are putting all new clients on to the cloud from the start.
While we accept change can prove challenging, we provide the necessary support and training to ensure the network can make the most of the opportunities these changes bring. Many practices have also joined our Digital Ambassador programme, which keeps employees of franchisees up to date with the latest developments in digitising the tax system and give them a thorough sense of responsibility in the workplace.
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.
TaxAssist Accountants celebrates first anniversary in Bury St Edmunds
Eliott Betts and Lili Huang, celebrated their first anniversary of their TaxAssist Accountants office on 70 Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, on Thursday, 14th June, with a party for the local business community.
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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