TaxAssist Accountants helps women balance work with family
Joining the TaxAssist Accountants franchise network has enabled business women to enjoy the perfect balance between their family and work life, while building a valuable business asset for their future.
Sarah Robertson, group operations director at TaxAssist Accountants, is passionate about the opportunities and benefits the franchise can offer ambitious female accountants and finance professionals.
Dreams To Reality
“Many women have become TaxAssist franchisees to realise their dream of having a better work/life balance,” Sarah says. “They may want to work closer to home or just wish to be their own boss and enjoy the freedom to run their day as they wish.
“We have mothers with young children join us and franchisees who have decided to start a family. Striking the right balance between family commitments and running a business can be challenging, as this is not a part time franchise and we do expect our franchisees to be 100 per cent focused on the business from day one.
“As a Mum myself, I know first hand about how tricky juggling these responsibilities can be. However, running a franchise gives you the freedom to take the time you need out of the day to do the school run or attend special events.
“Our franchisees who are Mums - or Dads - enjoy this flexibility as they concentrate on delivering a first class service to their clients, while in many cases they will have a team to complete their clients’ accounts.”
A franchisee’s time within the business is primarily managing staff, reviewing work and meeting clients, as well as networking and marketing the business. Many franchisees achieve a good work/life balance and often work three or four days in the office each week.
“Two of our top 10 performing franchisees are women,” Sarah says. “They have both built highly profitable practices in a relatively short space of time, while simultaneously growing a valuable asset for their future, as accountancy fee banks have highly desirable resale values.”
Escape the Rat Race
One TaxAssist Accountants female franchisee success story is Cheryl Hopkins FCCA from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, who joined the franchise in July 2009 when she realised she needed to escape the corporate rat race and work for herself following the birth of her first child.
Another child and seven years later, Cheryl and her staff of six now look after the small business needs of more than 300 clients from her two shops.
She says: “Before I invested in a TaxAssist franchise, I was a senior accountant in a manufacturing company in Leicester. I was involved in the weekly accounts and costing products, so I’d never previously had dealings with personal tax returns.
“Returning to work after maternity leave, I realised it was difficult juggling home and work life with the pressures of working overtime and monthly deadlines. I thought: ‘I need to work for myself to have more flexibility and freedom’.”
Cheryl chose the franchise route, rather than setting up her own business, as she felt she lacked the necessary practice, sales and marketing experience needed to establish a business from scratch.
“I wanted the support I would get from a network of accountants, a working model and best practice guidance,” Cheryl says. “I thought the franchise would give me a good grounding to start the business off - and it has.
“TaxAssist was by far the best franchise I looked at and attending one of their discovery days confirmed that the support centre team were genuine and open, which gave me confidence that they would deliver the assistance they promised. It was a very relaxed day, had a real family feel to it and the staff truly cared that you were making the right decision.
“As part of my research, I spoke with several franchisees, who were all consistent in their messages - the TaxAssist model worked and the support centre does what it says on the tin. Basically, it’s down to you and the results will depend on your effort, approach and investment.
“The support I have received has also played a significant part in the growth of my business. Having this support means I have more time to spend on servicing my clients and working on my business.”
TaxAssist Accountants provides all its franchisees with solid foundations upon which they can build their businesses, including a comprehensive training package, as Cheryl explains:
“Even coming from an accounting background like myself, there was so much to learn. Selling and marketing were skills I never had before, but were covered in the initial six weeks’ training and gives you the confidence to go out there and achieve.
“I still feel I am learning something new every week and to have the knowledge base and experience from the support centre and the franchise network is great and a major benefit of joining TaxAssist.
“Seven years since starting, I have a stable business. Walk-ins still occur daily in the shops, mainly selfemployed tax return clients, but over time these clients’ businesses grow and with that so does their need for our services. I am also finding that referrals happen more and more, as satisfied clients are recommending our services to business associates, friends and family.
“Being part of the TaxAssist network has also meant many of my clients remain with me, as the support team can assist with technical updates for both my staff and clients. We have access to business partners, to whom we can refer clients to, and, most importantly, the high regard and profile of the TaxAssist brand has been and continues to be a real draw.
“I now work closer to home, I open the shop 9-5, rarely have to work overtime and don’t work weekends. It’s just so much easier to juggle home and work life. I’m having so much more time now with my family.”
Cheryl’s future plans include investing in another franchise territory and recruiting more staff: “Eventually I would love to sell my business to one of my staff and then retire. But that won’t be for a long time yet.
“I love the variety of clients I get to meet and work with and have benefited so much from the input and support that the Norwich-based team have given me. I definitely could not have done this without being part of the TaxAssist franchise network.”