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TaxAssist Case Study: Dream into reality

TaxAssist Case Study: Dream into reality

TaxAssist Accountants has prime territories and resale opportunities available for the right candidates

Are you an accountant working in industry or practice? Perhaps you’re working in finance and dreaming of breaking free and working for yourself? Then read on. TaxAssist Accountants can turn that dream into a reality.

TaxAssist is the UK’s largest network of accountants servicing the needs of small businesses and the self-employed and is looking to expand its network further. There are prime territories still available, as well as resale opportunities for those wishing to buy an established business.

Overcharged and underserviced

The company was established when the founder realised that small businesses were often overcharged by the larger practices and underserviced by the smaller ones and that catering for this market would be ideal for a franchise network. Services offered include year-end accounts, tax returns, bookkeeping, VAT returns, payroll and cash flow projections.

After consistently winning awards in both the franchising and accountancy sectors, TaxAssist has grown to become the 24th largest network of accountants in the UK, servicing over 59,000 clients from over 250 shops and offices. Franchisees operate from modern, welcoming and nonintimidating shops designed specifically to appeal to the small business client.

Olivia Palios, 21, became the youngest franchisee TaxAssist has taken on when she established TaxAssist Stoke on Trent in February 2015.

“I have always been ambitious” Olivia says, “and I believe that with hard work, determination and the guidance and support of TaxAssist I will make a success of running my franchise. Things are certainly going well so far. A year into the franchise and I have smashed my target business plan figures.”

Olivia previously worked for another TaxAssist franchisee, where she honed her technical knowledge and love of providing first class customer service, as well as a greater understanding of franchising and the business support on offer. She soon realised that running a franchise was something she could do.

“I knew the key to success would be to open a TaxAssist shop as soon as possible. Although I had the option to operate from an office initially, I wanted to start as I meant to go on with a statement that here I am, open for business from my well located, welcoming, visible shop.

“I made sure I gained competitive quotes from tradesmen and that the fit-out was of the highest quality, as you only get one chance to make a first impression. From the day the shop opened, I have been inundated with client walk-ins. So successful has the shop been, I have now opened a second shop and a virtual office, which I will run in tandem with my existing shop. I am one of only 28 TaxAssist franchisees to operate from two shop premises.”

After Olivia’s initial training course, she was keen to take all the advice given to her and follow TaxAssist’s business model closely.

“I have concentrated hard on working on my business, rather than in it,” Olivia says. “This means I have focused on business development and managing my staff effectively. TaxAssist produces a month by month marketing toolkit, which I follow to the letter and the results have been fantastic.

“I follow up every lead thoroughly and make sure every client is signed up on direct debit to ensure my cash flow stays positive, as I know how important this is to keeping the business running efficiently. I’m pleased with my new client sign-up rate - I’ve taken on over 150 clients in my first year. Indeed, TaxAssist tell me I’m one of their highest performing new franchisees.

“I was concerned that my youthful looks would be a barrier when dealing with older business people, but knew I could communicate confidently with people and I have used this skill, in combination with TaxAssist’s USPs, to sell the value of TaxAssist to potential clients.”

Clearly happy with her decision to leave employment, Olivia adds: “I am loving running my own business and hope I have now set myself up for life.”

The British Franchise Association is keen to promote franchising to those under 30. The organisation advises that: “Young people are making serious waves in franchising. In the last two years, almost one in five new franchisees launching their own business has been aged under 30.”

Fantastic opportunity

Kavan Tankard also progressed from TaxAssist staff member to franchisee.

“What a fantastic opportunity,” was the thought that ran through Kavan’s mind when his former employer first spoke to him about buying his successful TaxAssist franchise, as he planned to retire. It was 2010 and Kavan was 28 at the time. He had been working in the Halifax-based TaxAssist shop for three years, learning the ropes of running a business as he went.

“I have always worked in accountancy practices,” Kavan says. “I obtained my AAT qualification and worked my way up from office junior to junior and senior accounts clerk, management accountant to senior accounts manager and finally senior practice manager at TaxAssist. My boss could see I was ambitious and together we realised that despite me only being 28, I was more than capable of running the business myself.

“I love the mix of meeting with new and existing clients, carrying out and checking work and managing my team of staff. It feels like a natural progression for me, gradually having built up my experience and knowledge base in an arena I am suited to and fit into very well.”

Confidence and belief

Kavan adds: “Although I was relatively young when I bought the franchise, I knew I had the confidence and belief in myself to make a go of it. The business I bought was already successful, I liked the business model and I knew that with the excellent technical and marketing support offered by TaxAssist for myself and my staff, I could continue to expand.

“In 2010, when I took the business on, there were 200 clients. I’ve now taken on an additional 300 clients. With time on my side, I’d like to think I can double this.” Kavan says he would encourage anyone to consider a franchise: “I am fortunate that I’ve found the perfect fit for me. Look around and do your research, as there are so many different franchises to appeal to all sorts of people.

“Consider your experience and what interests you. The banks were happy to lend to me based on my business plan and now at 34 I am my own boss with a business I can take a good income from and which is also a great financial asset for my future.”


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