TaxAssist Accountants: Ian Aiken

Name: Ian Aiken
Age: 55
CompanyTaxAssist Accountants
Staff numbers: 1
Company description: Ballymena territory for independent accountancy firm Tax Assist
Tell us what the franchise brand does:

TaxAssist Accountants is the UK’s largest national network of independent accountants working specifically for smaller businesses.

What’s the business model?

TaxAssist Accountants wanted to dispel the traditional accountant image and instead offer a welcoming, straight talking approach, with accountants who will meet the client in their own premises and who understand what it is to be running your own business.

Why did you decide it was the right one for you?

After nearly 30 years working as an accountant I decided to start my own accountancy practice, using my experience to advise small and medium sized businesses and help them look after their hard earned income.

I liked the company’s ethos and the support they were able to offer.

How popular is the franchise already and how long has it existed?

Established in 1995, TaxAssist Accountants now has more than 200 offices and over 43,000 small business clients across the UK.

What were you doing before buying the franchise?

I have nearly 30 years experience working as an accountant in senior financial roles for PLC’s and SME’s in a variety of industry sectors.

Why did franchising appeal to you?

I am a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and hold an IOD Diploma in Company Direction. As part of the franchise network I have access to the experience of the network and a highly experienced and qualified helpdesk. I also like TaxAssist Accountants’ trademark friendly and personal approach, which is professional and jargon free.

How much did it cost and how did you arrange the finance?

The Franchise Fee was £34,950+VAT which I have financed from my own resources.

What challenges do you have in establishing the franchise in your region?

Having spoken to local businesses before setting up, we knew there was a real appetite for the specialist small business services we were offering. It’s fair to say in December people were more interested in Christmas than their accounts, but since then things have really picked up and I am have acquired several new clients each month. As clients see the results I achieve for them I hope they will spread the news.

The main challenge at the moment is to spread the word about the services we offer and to build up the practice at a steady and sustainable rate. I have wanted to set up my own business for a long time and I am passionate about ensuring we offer only the highest levels of service, so that we become recognised and recommended for the friendly useful advice we are offer.

What advice would you give to others looking at franchising?

Do your research. Talk to as many franchisees as possible in the particular franchise you are looking at and choose carefully who you speak to. Consider the competition in your own area and ask yourself whether you can compete in terms of quality and price. Be prepared for hard work, but also the rewards of being your own boss.



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