Andrew Twynam, a qualified chartered accountant of more than 10 years standing, was previously finance director for a big City firm and looking for a better quality of life. He opened the doors to his first shop in Chesham in March 2012 and his second in Hemel Hempstead soon after. Here Andrew talks us through his experience:
"It's a familiar story, I had four-year-old twin boys and was leaving home before they were up and getting home when they were in bed. I was really only seeing them at weekends, which put a lot of strain on the family.
"I was in a taxi on my way to a charity function in London and I passed a TaxAssist Accountants shop which had recently opened. It looked incredible and, already aware that TaxAssist Accountants are a franchise, I started some research the next day. I was looking for business opportunities and although at the beginning I was very sceptical, I spoke to lots of franchisees who corroborated what I'd been told and this seemed like the right opportunity for me.
"My plan was to find a shop from the outset but the perfect property didn't come along immediately and it was important that I didn't rush and risk taking the wrong shop. I operated from a serviced office for 6 months until the right property came along. When it did I jumped at the opportunity and was in this shop within another 3 months.
"We had a celebration shop launch in May of this year. The idea was to wait for better weather rather than officially opening in winter. The mayor of Chesham, Mark Shaw was the guest of honour and cut the ribbon. Phil Sullivan [network operations director] was also in attendance as well as staff, clients and other supporters of the business. We had food and bubbly - a great afternoon.
"Leaving a well-paid job was a big risk but it has absolutely paid off. I haven't looked back. We now have 170 clients and with my first two shops up and running and growing fast, I can even start to think about a third shop on my territory sometime in the future.
"While I still work late, I can always finish outstanding work at home in the evening as I'm my own boss. Most importantly, by cutting out the two-hour daily commute I can now be home in time for dinner and to put my boys to bed."