New TaxAssist Accountants shop opens in Saffron Walden

January 19, 2020

Tasnuva Tina has opened a new small business walk-in tax and accountancy practice on 54 High Street in Saffron Walden.

Tasnuva Tina is an ACCA qualified accountant with over 10 years’ experience managing small business clients. She joined TaxAssist Accountants in April 2019 after purchasing an established practice from retiring accountant Jonathan Berks, who had operated the business for 22 years.

 
“I have always wanted to operate my own practice, and a large part of why I chose to join the TaxAssist Accountants network was the impressive shop design which really makes the practice stand out from the crowd,” explained Tina.

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“Jonathan had built up a very well run practice, and the new shop is ideally positioned to cater for our existing clients, but alongside my fantastic team of staff, I am looking to grow further, so I would like to encourage anyone interested in finding out more about the services we offer to pop in for a free initial consultation. The shop is very visible, well located and has plenty of off-street parking nearby.”

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As well as covering Saffron Walden, the new shop covers an area from Royston in North Hertfordshire to much of South Cambridgeshire.

Tina’s shop joins a network of over 227 TaxAssist Accountants shops nationwide.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining the TaxAssist Accountants network, call Nikki Haythorne on 0800 0188297.

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Karl Sandall celebrates 20th anniversary at TaxAssist Accountants

January 10, 2020

Chief Executive Director Karl Sandall celebrates his 20th anniversary at TaxAssist Accountants.

On 1st January 2020, Karl Sandall not only celebrated a new year and a new decade but also the 20th anniversary of him joining the TaxAssist Accountants franchise.

 
Karl Sandall TaxAssist

Having previously worked for 26 years at Midland and subsequently HSBC Bank at a senior level, Karl was approached by his friend and the founder of the franchise John Westgarth, who could see in Karl the potential to drive the growth of the franchise with his professionalism, integrity, warm personal style and solid work ethic. He initially joined as Group Operations Director, before taking on the role of Chief Executive Director in 2002.

Karl was presented with a celebration cake and card on 7th January to a rapturous reception from the TaxAssist Accountants Support Centre team in Norwich, who enjoyed speeches from Karl and his fellow directors including reflections and anecdotes from his time at the helm.

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An emotional Karl, looking back on his time with TaxAssist, said: “It has been a tremendous honour to lead the company for the last 20 years. When I looked around the office today at the fantastic support team we have built up, now numbering over 60 and knowing that more than 2,000 people now make their living from the TaxAssist brand, it makes me incredibly proud.

“It was always my intention to lead from the heart as well as the head while driving the company forward. I think the ‘family feel’ I’ve helped to nurture at the Support Centre has not only created a warm environment in which staff can feel valued and supported, but has extended out to our fantastic network of franchisees who can benefit from the stable and happy workforce.

“There have been a number of highlights over the years – way too many to mention, but among the moments that stand out include our 200th shop, our management buy-out in 2014 and our successful expansion to Ireland and Australia.

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“I continue to be heavily involved in many exciting projects both on a national and international level and am looking forward to many more years of success ahead.”

James Mattam, Group Business Development Director, said: “It’s an amazing achievement to have steered TaxAssist Accountants for the past 20 years. Karl has inspired us all over the years to buck trends by staying focused on what clients want and need from their accountant.

“His many years of experience managing in retail banking environments was a major factor in the complete transformation of our business model 18 years ago, when we first launched our shopfront concept. Since then we’ve never looked back, seeing the success it continues to bring to hundreds of franchisees throughout the UK, Ireland and Australia.”

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2020 is a year of special anniversaries for The TaxAssist Group, which also marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the franchise.

TaxAssist rolls out guaranteed client lead incentive

January 10, 2020

TaxAssist is now guaranteeing 25 qualified leads to all new joiners within the first 12 months of joining the franchise.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the small business tax and accounting franchise, and, confident in its business model and its increased strength in brand across the UK, TaxAssist Accountants is rolling out a new client lead guarantee incentive.

 
Karl Sandall, Chief Executive Director of The TaxAssist Group said, “As part of the package we offer to new franchisees, we are now happy to guarantee 25 free qualified leads within 12 months, from our unique national lead generation activities. The qualification process maximises efficiencies for franchisees, who currently report a high one-in-two conversion rate. If for any reason we do not deliver 25 leads, we will refund £200 per lead for reinvestment to the business. No quibbles.

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“Having helped hundreds of franchisees to build accountancy practices, we know what works and we have the systems and processes in place to help facilitate strong growth for our accountants. With our proven and effective lead generation service, we are confident and pleased to be able to offer a guarantee which we hope will attract new accountants to our network and reassure them regarding any concerns they may have on new client attraction.”

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To help kick start a franchisee’s business, the TaxAssist Support Centre provides a comprehensive initial marketing campaign in addition to the client lead generation service. This encompasses national marketing, both online and via TV, a variety of client acquisition activities through paid search engine advertising and social media, as well as support and guidance for local marketing within a franchisee’s territory.

Karl added: “These national activities managed by our in-house Business Development team, combined with a visible and welcoming shop have consistently generated new client sign-ups for all franchisees. We are also making further developments and enhancements to the process that will see an ever-increasing number of leads being generated delivering significant new business each and every year to the network”.

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If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of joining TaxAssist Accountants, we are holding a discovery day on Saturday, 18th January. To book your place, please call Nikki Haythorne on 0800 0188297.

Four new franchisees join TaxAssist Accountants rounding off very successful year of growth

January 3, 2020

14 new accountants have joined the small business tax and accountancy franchise in 2019, with an additional six purchasing a resale and two joining as partners in existing practices.

 
TaxAssist Accountants continued to buck industry trends with a bumper year of franchisee recruitment in 2019.

Billy Ahaouari (Canterbury), Abdallah Bello (Barnes & Putney), Ritesh Goel (East Barnet) and Maneet Singh (Greenford North & Hayes East) have all graduated from the final course of the year.

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Karl Sandall, Group Chief Executive Director, said, “We have had a very buoyant year, with good levels of interest in the franchise, discovery day visitors and joiners. TaxAssist Accountants has always recruited well, but it is especially pleasing that in a year which has witnessed such economic and political turmoil, we have been able to maintain our consistently high level of growth.”

Chartered Accountant and Business Advisor, Ritesh Goel ACA MBA, has over 17 years’ experience in financial management, banking, accountancy and consulting. He explained his reasons for joining the franchise: “I wanted to find a franchise model that would enable me to build an independent business using my commercial skills, while still providing the necessary support.

“After speaking to my friends in the accountancy industry, I decided to attend the Discovery Day in June 2019 at the Norwich Support Centre. I was really impressed by the presentations and transparent approach of the directors. Positive feedback from other franchisees and the reputation of the brand in the marketplace further reinforced my decision to join the TaxAssist network.

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“Although I could have started an accountancy practice or an advisory business on my own, joining the TaxAssist network will accelerate my growth and I will be able to realise my ambition of building a significant business faster. I am confident that joining TaxAssist will prove to be a good commercial decision. I intend to grow my franchise area and am also keen to buy a TaxAssist resale in the coming future.”

With more than a decade of experience working in the accounting and finance sector, Abdallah Bello, decided he wanted to achieve his long-term goal of running his own business.

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“I have always had the mindset and the desire to manage my own business,” explained Abdallah. “After examining the possible options available to me, TaxAssist was the one that really stood out and fit my profile. The decision to invest in TaxAssist Accountants was made easy on the Discovery Day and reaching out to existing franchisees only reassured me further.

“The assistance I have received from the Support Centre throughout my initial start-up period has been superb, and more than justified my decision to choose becoming a TaxAssist franchisee rather than setting up on my own. Whether I need help with my marketing or IT, it is reassuring that I have a team of experts just a call away.”

The next TaxAssist Accountants training course will start on 17th February 2020.

TaxAssist bucks industry trends with double digit franchise growth

December 23, 2019

Karl Sandall, Group Chief Executive Director of TaxAssist Accountants, offers his take on a highly successful 2019 for the leading small business tax and accountancy franchise.

 

Network growth

Despite the political and economic uncertainty which has marked much of 2019, I am very pleased to report continued strong growth across all KPIs. We now have over 226 franchise areas in the UK, looking after more than 76,000 clients with a collective fee bank of £50 million, as well as a growing network in the Republic of Ireland and Australia.

We are also happy to report network client growth of 7%, fee bank growth of 8% and sales growth of 9%, a higher rate than one of the Big 4 accountancy practices.

In 2019, we recruited 23 new franchisees, including 15 new franchisees, six successful resales (with good multiples due to practice efficiency) and two new partners. This is a growth rate of 13% on 2018, which is very much bucking current franchise industry trends.

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I put this down to a number of factors: our well-established brand including a network of 226 highly visible high street shops, 136 offices, our support teams and systems, the banks’ willingness to lend to new franchisees because of network successes and our increasing dominance in the small business accountancy arena. I strongly feel that the benefits and additional security that franchising provide will gain in popularity as a business model for future investors.

Software

Over the last few years we have seen increased pressure to keep pace with the biggest technological revolution the profession has ever seen.

Principals of accounting practices have a huge amount of challenges to manage, including regulatory, technological and cultural shifts. As a leading and dedicated franchisor, we see our role as taking as much of this burden away from our network as possible.

We have invested a huge amount of time and resource to research, evaluate and train the network on our market-leading software estate, which includes Quickbooks, TaxCalc, Practice Ignition and Receipt Bank and the level of support and guidance will increase throughout 2020. It is always uppermost in our minds to help each TaxAssist Accountant run an efficient, profitable practice and to ensure our software estate attracts and retains every kind of small business client.

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Awards

Earlier in the year, following an independent survey carried out by research company WorkBuzz, it was a great pleasure for me to read franchisees’ feedback on levels of training and support, our franchise system, culture and relationships, leadership and general satisfaction. The feedback provided led to us receiving ‘5-star franchisee satisfaction’ for the 7th year running, one of only four franchisors to have received the accolade.

Recognising just how important it is to have happy, engaged and experienced staff to support the network, we also asked WorkBuzz to carry out an independent survey for the staff at our Norwich-based Support Centre.

We received above average benchmark results in a number of key areas which saw us also receiving ‘5-star staff satisfaction’.  It is my hope that recognition such as this will reassure both existing and potential franchisees that they are being well looked after by a stable support team.

Our network performance remains strong and we rose one place to 21st in the highly regarded Accountancy Age Top 50+50 industry league table.

Anniversaries

In 2019 we congratulated our Business Development Director James Mattam on his 20 years with the franchise, an anniversary which is fast approaching for myself! I am also looking forward to celebrating 25 years of TaxAssist Accountants in 2020. How time flies!

David Ingram, our franchisee in Newcastle, and Keith and Katherine Loader, a brother and sister partnership in Northampton, also celebrated 20 years as TaxAssist Accountants. Six franchisees celebrated 15 years and 12 celebrated 10 years with us. Many congratulations to everyone and long may your success continue.

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National TV Advertising on the Sky AdSmart platform

We launched our TV advertising campaign last year as part of our national marketing package and we have maintained a structured marketing campaign throughout 2019, showcasing our brand and the locations available to small business across the entire UK.

We are very pleased with the increased level of brand awareness, enquiries and walk-ins to our shops as a result.

This level of coverage for our brand has meant client lead generation for our franchisees remains strong, with us due to hit more than 9,000 qualified leads in December.

Recruitment videos

Our franchisee recruitment team were very busy throughout the year organising the filming of a new tv commercial which was broadcast in September through to November across targeted advertising in Leeds, Coventry and Ipswich, where there are currently vacant territories. We believe we may be the first franchise to use this medium to reach out to potential new franchisees both in the UK or elsewhere.

We actually filmed seven separate campaigns to assist with franchisee recruitment and these can be viewed on our website. These include five case study videos, in which franchisees were interviewed and filmed about what led them to consider franchising and the benefits of being a part of the TaxAssist network.

An ‘Introduction to a Discovery Day’ video was also produced following feedback from franchisees on their initial training course regarding any concerns they may have had about attending a Discovery Day. We decided to produce an educational video highlighting the informative, non-sales nature of the day and we are very pleased with the final results which reflect the friendly, family feel of the Norwich Support Centre.

Training Academy

We continued to roll out more technical, business development and software training courses through the year, both at our Support Centre and regionally. We held forums, masterclasses and regional meetings and produced a series of webinars, all of which were well received.

It was a pleasure to congratulate 13 franchisees and senior practice staff who graduated from our second two-year LEAD course. The course develops the skills required to be a leader and to help build and manage an effective team, all part of our support package we offer to help with sustainable growth within TaxAssist practices.

International Growth

Terry Murphy and Celeste Godwin continued their success in Australia, as did Alison McGinley in The Republic of Ireland, with both countries seeing double digit growth for sales, client and fee bank growth in the last 12 months.

This year, we met with parties interested in developing TaxAssist in Canada and the USA. Both of these countries offer massive opportunities for the TaxAssist brand and we are at a very exciting stage in our negotiations for both countries. Watch this space.

So, in conclusion, 2019 has been a solid year in which TaxAssist has continued to perform well despite the disruption in the profession, but I strongly believe that being part of TaxAssist gives franchisees a massive head start offering an indispensable service to the future of the small businesses around the UK. Our brand, our scale, our breadth of services, our local relationships and our expertise mean that we are truly unique in the market.

I’d like to thank all our franchisees and their staff for their fantastic efforts in 2019 – it’s been a pleasure to work together to make TaxAssist Accountants the success story it is, and as we head towards our 25th anniversary year there is much to celebrate.

Ali Redwood celebrates 10 years of success with TaxAssist Accountants

November 29, 2019

Clifton and Portishead-based Ali Redwood reflects on her decade of business building

For Ali Redwood, it was her desire to leave corporate life that inspired her to join TaxAssist Accountants.

 
With a background in banking and finance and experience of running a family business, self-employment held no fear for Ali, who relished the opportunity to establish her own practice.

“The experience of running my family business equipped me with a sound knowledge of accounting and the finance skills required to run a small business,” explained Ali. “It also gave me a real passion and joy.

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“As I grew tired of corporate life, I started to look at my options and owning a TaxAssist Accountants franchise appealed to me as I valued the on-going support and readymade systems which would fast track my business.

“I didn’t want to be ‘just an accountant’. I recognised that with TaxAssist, I would be building a team, allowing me to be the principal of the business, meeting new and existing clients, managing staff, supervising work, networking and managing the customer experience.

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“The support from the franchisor and fellow franchisees over the last 10 years has been fantastic. My neighbouring franchisees are not in competition with each other, due to our exclusive territories, and it gives us a real opportunity to work together and support each other. You have your own business but you are not on your own. My staff get great training from the courses provided and I get the benefit of on-going great marketing and operational support.

“The business has grown well, and I now have an exceptionally good team in place. I opened a shop in Clifton in Bristol in 2011 and an office in Portishead in 2016 and I am hoping to open a third premises within the next three years.

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“I feel that I am now building an asset for a comfortable retirement, which I would not be in a position to do, had I remained in employment. If you asked me if I would do it all again – the answer is definitely yes!”

New TaxAssist Accountants shop opens in Bury, Greater Manchester

November 26, 2019

Balaji Krishnamurthy launches small business tax and accounting service from 91 Bolton Road, Bury

 
Balaji Krishnamurthy, joined the TaxAssist Accountants network in September, and has already sourced and fitted out his welcoming shop ready to meet with clients.

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“I was very lucky to spot the ideal shop, in the ideal location so quickly,” explained Balaji. “It ticks all the boxes in terms of being highly visible and accessible and offers plenty of parking. I would encourage all small businesses owners and individual taxpayers in the area to pop in for a free initial consultation to learn more about our services.”

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Balaji worked in the financial services sector for a number of years, initially in investment banking, before moving onto audit work with a Big 4 company where he qualified as an accountant.

“I extensively researched opportunities available to me for the next step in my career,” stated Balaji”. “I was keen to operate my own practice and found TaxAssist to be the perfect match for my aspirations. I am able to run my own accountancy practice while at the same time being a part of one of the largest accountancy groups in the country with a well-established brand name.

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“I have a broad range of experience working with companies of all sizes, but it is small businesses that I am passionate about and I am looking forward to adding value to these businesses in my local area.”

Balaji’s shop joins an established network of over 225 TaxAssist Accountants shops nationwide.

TaxAssist represents voice of small businesses at meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer

November 26, 2019

On Thursday 21st November Karl Sandall, Chief Executive Director of The TaxAssist Group, met with Sajid Javid and raised a number of issues concerning the small business community.

 
Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was in Norwich on 21st November and took the opportunity to visit the TaxAssist Accountants Support Centre to meet Directors and Senior Managers to learn more about the concerns of small businesses.

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“It was a very worthwhile meeting, during which we discussed a number of really important issues”, said Karl.

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“The TaxAssist Accountants network of over 350 shops and offices looks after the needs of more than 75,000 small businesses across the country, and we used the time we had with the Chancellor to highlight a number of key concerns on their behalf:

  • IR35 and the changes scheduled for April 2020
  • The disproportionate costs and impact of compliance on small businesses
  • The advantage online businesses have compared to the high street as a result of the business rates system which is in need of a review to ensure a more even playing field
  • The lack of tax incentives for small businesses and the proposed cap for Research & Development tax credits which will hit innovative small businesses
  • The future for inheritance tax following ministers’ comments surrounding it’s future
  • The lack of support available to small businesses to help them comply with Making Tax Digital, such as access to compliant software and good internet speeds
  • The current arrangements for apprenticeship funding, which don’t help small business owners nurture new talent

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“We are proud to represent small businesses, the ‘lifeblood’ of the UK economy and we will take every opportunity we get to speak up for their needs and concerns,” added Karl.

TaxAssist Accountants awarded 5-Star franchisee satisfaction for 7th consecutive year

November 21, 2019

TaxAssist joins a select group of only four franchisors in receiving the award for seven years running.

TaxAssist Accountants has once again been awarded 5-star franchisee satisfaction from WorkBuzz following positive feedback from its network of more than 200 franchisees.

 
This led it to receiving above the average benchmark results for key areas of the survey which inform the final Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark report. These include training and support, franchise system, culture and relationships, leadership and general satisfaction.

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The satisfaction benchmark is provided by WorkBuzz, a leading independent franchise consultancy. It works by inviting existing franchisees to participate in an anonymous online survey, which asks them 29 questions about their franchise ownership experience.

Using a consistent methodology, the franchise is assigned an overall satisfaction benchmark score and the highest performing franchisors are recognised at the Best Franchise Awards.

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Karl Sandall, Group Chief Executive Director at TaxAssist Accountants, said: “It was a pleasure to once again read so many positive comments from our franchisees, which allowed us to achieve this prestigious accolade for the seventh year in a row.

“We are extremely proud of the successful TaxAssist business model and the support we provide and receiving 5-star franchisee satisfaction is testament to the hard work of our dedicated team, which has now grown to 60 at the Support Centre in Norwich.

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“We will not be resting on our laurels as we have read all of the comments in detail and we will consider and address any issues or suggestions made.”

For more information about WorkBuzz and the Best Franchise Awards please visit www.bestfranchiseawards.co.uk

TaxAssist Accountants continues impressive rate of growth

November 21, 2019

Six new franchisees plus one new staff member have recently graduated from the TaxAssist Accountants training course.

Leonard Woodbridge (partner at Paignton), Raza Syed (Southall), Balaji Krishnamurthy (Bury West), Samir Gosrani (New Malden), Michael Sidon (staff member at Chiswick), Daniel Wu (Welling) and Mark Dhillon (partner at Shepherds Bush) are the latest to join the TaxAssist Accountants network.

 
Daniel Wu worked for 11 years in the Big 4 accountancy firms before deciding that he needed to make a positive change in his life.

“I wanted to get out of corporate life, do something local and be part of my community,” explained Daniel.

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“I searched for opportunities on the internet and nothing appealed to me until I came across TaxAssist Accountants. I decided to attend a Discovery Day in December 2017 to find out more. On the day, I was pleasantly surprised that people at the support center were genuinely warm, welcoming and friendly. There was no hard sell about the business model. They were open, honest and transparent. I had the impression that TaxAssist is like a family run business where there is encouragement to grow and be successful. I knew that I had found the right place. There was no doubt that I wanted to join and start my business with TAA in a shop front.

“I did my research and gathered feedback from the existing franchisees. Every one of them that I spoke to was friendly and helpful. It was very apparent that they enjoyed working in their TaxAssist businesses and there were no regrets.”

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Leonard Woodbridge decided to work for himself in 2005, building up a small client base and sub-contracting to a few Chartered firms.

“After several years being extremely busy and not having much opportunity to think about it, I realised this business model was working very well for the firms I was sub-contracting to, but not so well for myself,” explained Leonard. “I was spending the majority of my time servicing clients for other firms, who were becoming more demanding. Spending the majority of my time out at clients also meant there wasn’t much time to build my own client base.

“I was aware of how time consuming it was to keep up to date with the work, legislative, technical changes and systems as well as undertaking marketing. Hence, rather intrigued, I came along to the Discovery Day in May this year. I really enjoy meeting people and helping them but I wanted somebody to help me with the operational side of things, this would enable me to develop and grow the business. The TaxAssist model fitted perfectly and thanks to the support office, this has already proved to be the right move for me as I go forward in the next stage of my journey!”.

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Karl Sandall, Chief Executive Director at The TaxAssist Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome another fantastic group of franchisees and staff to the network and look forward to helping and supporting them with all aspects of the running of their practices.

“This year has been very successful in terms of recruitment. We are currently running our last course of 2019 and we already have interest in our first course of 2020 which starts in February.”

If you would like more information about becoming part of the TaxAssist Accountants network, please call our Franchise Recruitment Manager Nikki Haythorne on 0800 0188297.