Franchisees in Sidcup, Kent purchased an existing TaxAssist business in April 2012
Paul had worked in industry since leaving university with a degree in Accountancy until 2008. He then moved into consultancy to venture capitalists and is an FCMA.
Carol trained as a Chartered Accountant with Thornton Baker, later Grant Thornton. She was one of the youngest people to become a member of the ICAEW (on 1 January 1987) – partly because of her summer birthday. She worked in practice until leaving to join Paul at TaxAssist Accountants. She spent 8 years running her own practice when her boys were little and is now an FCA. They each have 32 years of accountancy experience.
“We chose TaxAssist because we wanted to become masters of our own destiny, Paul had become unemployable having worked for himself, and I was faced with a glass ceiling in my then job. We looked around for a business and realised that we had to stick with what we knew. TaxAssist was the only accountancy franchise that really seemed to work. Both of our Discovery Days went well. We thought about starting from scratch but needed an income straight away – so a large bank loan was the result. Within a few weeks of Paul taking over the practice we realised that he couldn’t run it solo – the choice was either I joined or he recruited a manager. It seemed silly not to keep it in the family so I joined less than 5 months after Paul took over having had to give three months’ notice.
Taking on an existing business is difficult and building it further is very hard work. Not everything has gone to plan, but, within 4 years, we have exceeded our own expectations by nearly doubling our client numbers, more than doubling the fee base that we bought and increasing profitability. From a franchise point of view, the franchisor has delivered everything promised, lead generation is good, support is good, training is there when needed but not forced upon us when not. Also, the autonomy to run our practice as we want to, is the right thing for us. Norwich is a support not a restriction.
We have grown the business by doing a good job, being proactive and showing we really care. We have improved the quality of the work carried out here and make sure that our clients are well supported. Paul does one network event a month and we have one monthly advert in a local A5 booklet, otherwise we don’t need to advertise. Our clients find us approachable, friendly, knowledgeable and always available. They bring us their problems and we resolve them. They then refer others to us! We now employ four times the “employee days” that the practice did when we bought it. That includes a full-time practice administrator to deal with our admin and an apprentice. We treat our staff well, keep them informed, support them and nurture team spirit.
Over the last year we have expanded into the rear of our shop to create three new desks, and promptly filled them. We are expecting to take on an additional book-keeper/VAT/payroll/CIS person and a second apprentice this year bringing forward our decision on whether to open another shop front, if our area can sustain it, or move into bigger premises more locally.”