- Premises Based
- Accountancy Services
TaxAssist Accountants is the UK’s largest network of accountants specialising in servicing the needs of small businesses and self-employed individuals.
Based in welcoming, conveniently located offices and shops, TaxAssist Accountants offer a friendly, non-intimidating, walk-in tax and accountancy service to this buoyant sector.
Tax and accountancy services are always in demand, and with their fresh and innovative approach, TaxAssist Accountants stand out from the crowd.
The franchise was founded in 1995 and now has over 279 franchises operating in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and North America.New central London areas have been made available and many opportunities, including resales, exist in prime areas.
In February 2022, TaxAssist Direct Group Directors Karl Sandall and Phil Sullivan, stood down as executive directors and sold a large percentage of their shares. As a result, TaxAssist franchisees now own almost 60% of The TaxAssist Group Ltd. Over 170 franchisees are now investors in the company, alongside over 40 members of support staff.
This is not the first time that franchisees have had the opportunity to purchase shares in The TaxAssist Direct Group. In 2014 when the founder and chairman retired, around half of the network were offered the opportunity to invest in a Franchisee Assisted Management Buyout – the first of its kind in the franchise industry – which saw franchisees owning 32% of the Group. Since then, following the creation of an internal share site which all eligible shareholders have access to, they have been able to trade shares, access company accounts and the group strategic plans for the future.
Our initial training course is delivered by qualified in-house experts, working alongside selected third party specialist training partners.
The 7 week residential course covers:
– Accounts production and taxation for sole traders and partnerships
– Case studies
– Practice management and social media
– Sales, marketing and recruitment
Further training is provided at months 3,6, 12 and 24, as well as ongoing regional courses and CPD.
You will be the principal of the business, networking, managing staff and meeting with clients.
The role of a TaxAssist franchisee is fundamentally business development, which is why we consider commercially experienced individuals as well as qualified accountants to become franchisees. In order to work on the business rather than in it, you must be able to build a team of staff to assist with work production.
Cheryl Hopkins FCCA joined TaxAssist Accountants in July 2009, after the birth of her first child made her realise she needed to escape the corporate rat race and work for herself.
After ten years, she has built up her practice to over 350 clients from her shop in Nuneaton and office in Tamworth, has a team of four staff and has given birth to her second child. She shares her inspiring story here, about the new independent life taking on a franchise with TaxAssist Accountants has given her:
“Before I became a TaxAssist Accountants franchisee, I was a senior accountant in a manufacturing company in Leicester which made pies. 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 very difficult juggling home and work life with the pressures of working overtime and monthly deadlines, and I just thought no, I need to work for myself to have more flexibility and freedom.
"Why did I choose the franchise route rather than setting up on my own? I lacked practice experience and had no knowledge of sales or marketing myself or a business. I wanted the support that I would get from a network of accountants, a working model and best practice guidance. I thought the franchise would give me a good grounding to start the business off and it has.
"TaxAssist Accountants was by far the best franchise that I looked into. When I attended a Discovery Day, the team at the Support Centre were genuine and open which gave me confidence that they would provide the promised level of support. It was a very relaxed day and had a real family feel to it, as they really cared about you making the right decision for you. It was not pushy and there were no sales techniques to force you into the franchise route.
"As part of my research, I spoke to several franchisees and all were consistent in their messages – that the model worked, 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.
"I opened my first shop in Nuneaton in February 2010. My initial business plan consisted of me working from a serviced office for approx 2 years prior to moving into the shop front location. I wanted to get a hold of the business from quieter surroundings prior to launching into employing staff and having business walk-ins. All this changed after being in the business for six months.
"Through my regular contact with the teams at Norwich, I quickly realised that 50% of my potential clients did not even know that I was there, as there was no clear visibility. This made me realise that it was time to start the search for the 'right' shop. It didn’t take me long and within a space of three months I had moved into one.
TaxAssist Accountants gave a good base to my business with the comprehensive training package which continued over the first six months of the franchise. Even coming from an accounting background there is so much to learn. Selling and marketing was not anything I had ever had to do before so took me out of my comfort zone, but it is all covered in the initial six weeks’ training and gives you that confidence to go out there and achieve.
"I still feel that I learn something new every week and to have the knowledge base and experience from the Support Centre and also the network as a whole is great. A big benefit of joining TaxAssist Accountants.
"Now ten years into my franchise, I have a stable business. Walk-ins still occur daily in the shops, mainly self-employed tax return clients, but over time these clients’ businesses grow and with that so does the requirement of our work, therefore the potential of increased fees.
"I am also finding that referrals happen more and more, as clients are recommending our services to business associates, friends and family. I love the variety of clients that I get to meet and work with. I have benefited so much from the input and support the Norwich-based team have given me and I definitely could not have done this without them.
"Will I be staying with TaxAssist? Absolutely yes! TaxAssist are a huge resource for client retention as they assist us with technical updates for both us and clients, business partners to whom we can refer clients to and most importantly make the brand known with the growth of the network and internet presence.
"I now work closer to home, I open the shop 9-5, I very rarely have to work overtime, I don’t work weekends and it’s just so much easier to juggle home and work life. I’m having so much more time now with my family. Taking on this franchise has just worked for me.
In the future I’m hoping to buy another franchise territory, build up my staff, whom I could potentially sell the business to and then retire! But that won’t be for a long time yet!”
Mike Melling became a TaxAssist Accountants franchisee in 2012, after purchasing a franchise resale covering Harpenden and St Albans – the first £1m+ resale for the network. Pleased with the results he was generating, he bought a second franchise resale covering the High Wycombe and Beaconsfield area in 2015.
Keen to continue growing the practices, Mike invested in staff, technology and client acquisition marketing, to build his practice to a growing 20-person team. He now serves nearly 2,000 small businesses, Directors and individual clients from seven shops and offices, with the combined businesses being one of the largest TaxAssist Accountants practices in the UK.
On his reasons for deciding to join TaxAssist, Mike explains, “having completed significant due diligence, including meeting with the Directors, I was impressed with the growth of the business and development of the TaxAssist brand and the potential to build a substantial family owned business asset for the longer term.
“The more I found out about the success of the TaxAssist Accountants model and the more I talked to people at the Norwich Support Centre and around the network, I became convinced that this was the business I wanted to buy into, invest in and grow. I had every confidence that the comprehensive franchising package would be very effective, which it has proven to be.”
Prior to joining TaxAssist Accountants, Mike had developed extensive international business expertise through a 35-year career as a senior financial services executive in the UK, USA and Asia for American Express, GE Capital and Marsh & McLennan including board-level roles for subsidiary companies. He also served as UK President for operational consultancy Alexander Proudfoot Company serving large and mid-capitalisation businesses.
When Mike learnt of the franchisor’s plans to expand to the USA, he was keen to be involved and is now one of the Directors of TaxAssist Direct USA Inc, which launched Area Representative and single-unit franchise rights to selected states in May 2020.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my International career and knew I could leverage my many years of corporate business experience with that as a TaxAssist franchisee in the UK to build a substantial business asset, supported by a terrific team of colleagues. I am now in the position where I have the time to assist with the launch and development of TaxAssist Accountants in the USA while continuing to oversee my growing franchise in the UK.”
Mike was also appointed as Group Development Director, on the TaxAssist Direct Group Board of Directors on 1st February 2022, becoming the first TaxAssist Accountants franchisee to serve as an Executive Director. He retains ownership of his franchise in conjunction with his director responsibilities.
Before he joined TaxAssist, Vince, a qualified accountant, was a senior product controller in credit derivatives for the Royal Bank of Canada. He had 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,” explained Vince.
“At the time I was mid 30s, fearless and looking for my next challenge. I had no sales experience, I'd only worked in a corporate environment as an accountant in investment banking and that's why I turned to franchising.
“I didn’t think there would be a franchise model which matched my skillset 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. I wish I'd done it sooner. It's definitely something that comes with huge rewards.
“I've found the support of TaxAssist Accountants invaluable. They have given me the tools, the experience, the knowledge, the software and the confidence to go out and do it.
“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. It means they can concentrate on running their business and increasing their own income and profitability.”
He added: “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 established sole traders and limited companies in the financial services and media sectors. UK tax returns for foreign businessmen and women working over here are also in increasing demand.
“Seventeen years on, I have a business that's worth a lot of money I'm earning more money now than I've ever earned before. I work hard, it comes with its challenges but it's very rewarding at the end of the day.”
With over 1,000 clients to service, Vince has now built up his team to 17 and is currently considering opening more shop across his square mile territory.
Prakaash Manivannan is a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) with extensive global finance experience spanning more than 25 years.
After relocating back home to the UK with his family, Prakaash felt the timing was right to step away from corporate life and international travel.
“After deciding to move back to Preston from Europe I saw my son reinvent himself as a bass guitarist and become part of a rock band at the age of 14. This brought increased involvement with the local community which made me realise that there was more to life than airports and meeting rooms.”
“I knew I wanted to start an accountancy practice but I was wary about starting out on my own. I discovered the TaxAssist franchise model in January 2018. This offered the best of both worlds - I could run my own business but also have the infrastructure and support that I was accustomed to within the multinational corporations where I worked.
“After going through a number of options regarding which territory to take, it dawned on me that there was no better place than the area which has been my family’s base for the last 18 years - Preston.
“I am looking forward to using my affection and knowledge of the city to become an integral part of the business community in Preston East, while building a successful practice following the tried and tested TaxAssist franchise model.