“Clients have really taken to the concept of a ‘drop-in’ shop, where they can get all their tax returns, payroll and bookkeeping needs taken care of as they walk in to work or at breaks and lunchtimes,” said Vince. “It means they can concentrate on running their business and increasing their own income and profitability.”
Debbie Corbett adds: “Being so accessible on the high street, means clients feel free to call throughout the year, not just when the end-of-year accounts are being prepared. In contrast to nearly every other accountant hidden away in back offices, we’re in a prime position.
“We attract a real breadth of clients, including IT contractors, consultants for insurance and investment banks, graphic designers and illustrators. We’re particularly attracting barristers and solicitors from local practices and established sole traders and limited companies in the financial services and media sectors. UK tax returns for foreign business men and women working over here are also in increasing demand.”
Vince, previously a senior product controller in credit derivatives for the Royal Bank of Canada, is a qualified accountant who also worked for Deutsche Bank, supervising and training teams on corporate and government bond work and for JP Morgan, as a team leader on USA Swaps and latterly as Vice President of structured finance.
“I was a very small cog in a very big wheel and thought there must be more to life,” said Vince. “I didn’t think there would be a franchise model which matched my skills set so well, but TaxAssist Accountants enables you to build your client base, with the back-up of a national brand and the high visibility of shop-front premises.”
Debbie had spent more than 20 years in customer service, sales executive and human resources roles in the competitive travel and leisure industry. Responsible for creating new packages and customer service policy, she at one stage managed a team of 70 staff, including tour managers, guest lecturers and expedition staff for premium cruise and tailored travel specialists Noble Caledonia.
“Personal service and close business relationships were fundamental to the success I had in the travel industry and have translated well into our accountancy business,” said Debbie. “As part of a national network you also get an extremely experienced support centre as well as extensive training, marketing and communications, IT and business development support.”
With a team of 20 and three shops in Holborn, London Bridge and the latest in Victoria, opened together with fellow accountant Martin Thomas, they are looking for more partnerships to grow the thriving franchise.
“We’re definitely planning to open more shops in Central London, probably one this year and more next year and are looking for more accountants keen to grow their own accountancy practice to work with us,” said Vince.
“We’re a small business ourselves, so have a very strong connection with and understanding of the small business and independent professional adviser community here. We want to team up with other accountants who see the value of building their own practice, within a business model which is tried and tested and has a proven track record.”
Debbie and Vince are the only current franchisees to win the TaxAssist Accountants ‘Franchisee of the Year Award’ twice, having already picked up the award at the 2006 Awards Ceremony.
They joined TaxAssist Accountants individually but took the decision to combine forces in 2005. They now have two shops and are partners in Martin Thomas’ Victoria franchise.
In August 2013 Debbie and Vince were nominated for the BFA Franchisee of the Year award, in the Long-serving franchisee section and won through as finalists.