This exciting young franchise explains why becoming a franchisee will boost your chances of success.....
Company Name: TaxBuster Accountants
Business Description: TaxBuster Accountants is an exciting new franchise with a growing network of accountants servicing the needs of the small business owner, (sole trader, partnerships and companies).
Started in: 2015
Founder: Michael Flanagan FCA, CTA
No. of franchises: 8
Average cost per franchise: Franchise fee is £7,000 & working capital
It was whilst working in practice over fifteen years, in 2014 that TaxBuster Accountants’ founder Michael Flanagan saw an opening in the market. He figured out that small businesses would need help with their accounts and tax affairs, in the wake of HMRC on-line self-assessment and anticipated that the demand for such a service would be ideal for a franchise network. And so TaxBuster Accountants was formed…
Moving into franchising
So how did TaxBuster Accountants move into franchising?
After taking specialist advice from experts in the franchising arena, Michael made use of his experience and knowledge of how to build up a successful accountancy practice to develop the TaxBuster Accountants business model. Having worked for both PwC, (the largest accounting firm in the world) and also small practice, he decided to utilise his experience of both to develop a model for the small business sector, utilising the best in modern technology.
Through franchising Michael knew he could maximise growth potential to the mutual advantage of both TaxBusters and franchisees. Franchising helps to minimise the risks and pitfalls usually associated with business start-ups by providing specific guidance and training for franchisees setting up their new business.
Where did the business open its first franchises?
The first franchisee joined TaxBuster Accountants in 2014, in Middlesex, London when the franchise was very different and franchisees were able to work from home. A few months later, another franchisee opened an office in Finchley Central, London. We now have 8 franchisees in the UK and one in the Republic of Ireland.
How successful were those original franchisees?
Our franchise is continually evolving, in terms of support, training and marketing. This will continue to happen as we evolve and grow.
The franchise opportunity
What makes the franchise different / unique?
We are a young franchise business. Our franchise fee is much lower than our competitors, because we recognise that people starting out in business do not have a lot of cash to spare. However, it takes money for a business to be successful. Bearing this in mind, we have kept our fees to a minimum. We are passionate for the success of franchisees.
We advise our franchisees to operate via a shop front as soon as possible, as this has proved to be a conducive way of attracting clients.
In light of our target market, our fees are kept competitive. We go the extra mile for our clients. In light of this fact, we offer clients additional, non-core services, to make their business life easier. This has the added effect that we are more competitive.
Client fees are typically paid by direct debit or standing order. This spreads the annual fee over the year. It makes it easier to budget for both the franchisee and their clients.
Training requirements will be dependent upon previous experience. We try to develop training programs matched to the needs of our franchisees. Although, in theory, no prior accounting / bookkeeping knowledge is necessary, previous experience in either industry or practice is definitely an advantage.
What services do you offer?
TaxBuster Accountants work with small businesses and the self-employed with a turnover of up to £2.5m. We can offer audit services, as a bolt on. Other services include tax returns, year-end accounts, tax back services, VAT returns, Sub- Contractor returns, wages, and start-up services for new businesses. As indicated above, we also offer other bolt on services.
How big is the market opportunity?
The market is getting larger all the time! More and more people in the United Kingdom are becoming self-employed, as the nature of work changes in the 21st century. Being an employee in one company, for life is no longer realistic. Job security is a thing of the past. People recognise this and realise that if they have a good chance of succeeding in being self-employed, they will be much more content and happier. Having an accounting practice in a good location, with adequate training and back-up, means that the chance of success is much higher!
We are a small franchise business, with a huge hunger to grow. So are our franchisees. So come join us! We will provide you with the initial training and all the necessary back up as your business grows.
How many franchisees do you have today?
At this point in time, we have 8, most are in London. Now that we have found our feet, we intend to aggressively pursue growth.
How is the brand marketed?
TaxBuster Accountants recognise that traditional advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be. Being in the 21st Century, we recognise the importance of internet communications, social media, e-mail databases, effective value for money advertising, the importance of selling and satisfying client needs. Through these and other means, our franchisees gain new clients. There is still a role for more traditional sales, marketing and PR.
How do you divide the regions?
Each franchisee operate in an exclusive territory, based mainly on post code.
The perfect franchisee
What do you look for in potential franchisees?
As indicated above, franchisees can come from a variety of backgrounds and experience. That said, from a technical standpoint, they ideally should have a background in accounting or bookkeeping, gained either in industry or public practice. They could come from banking, insurance or general industry (ideally with a back office background). Qualified or part qualified accountants might also have the necessary background to succeed. But you do not need to be an accountant to join.
From a personality viewpoint, they should be outgoing, like engaging with people, eager to learn and to listen. They should also be driven, practical and ambitious to succeed. Age and sex is irrelevant.
So do franchisees work from an office, or are they home-based? Is it part-time or full-time?
We expect our franchisees, after an initial period, to work full time in their franchise. Initially, you can work from home, but should move to an office as soon as possible and a shop front location as soon as possible after that.
How are franchisees vetted?
We are a young franchisee business. Essentially, we are looking for drive and determination. Relevant experience is a bonus. We get to know our franchisees better, (and they get to know us), through interviews initially and face to face meeting later. The process is kick started by sending us a CV.
How much do franchisees pay and what are the ongoing franchise fees?
The actual franchise fee is £7,000. However on top of this, working capital is required to open an office or shop front, as well as advertising costs etc. In addition, there are software costs, insurance costs etc. You should budget this to be around another £5,000. Much less if you wish to work from home initially. Banks finance may be available.
After this, ongoing fees will apply, to cover training, support, marketing and client services.
Success and growth
How successful are some of the franchisees today?
One of our most successful franchisees who operated from Finchley Central. They are only a few years old and have around 300 clients.
The success rate at attracting new clients really does depend on whether or not the business is operated via a shop front, office or home location. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Generally a shop front operation is the best solution, an office location second and being home based third. However people have to start somewhere. The key point is to aim to have a shop front when they can afford it. With all the ingredients in place, potential size, is not just down to knowledge, but personality, work ethic and drive to succeed.
How is the brand looking to grow?
Although a very young franchise, we are looking to expand quite quickly over the next twelve months. Our franchise fees will be kept to a minimum, much less than our competitors. Yet our training and service offering to our franchisees is comparable and sometimes maybe better than our larger competitors.
We see most of our growth to be in the UK for the foreseeable future.
What is the potential of the business?
The potential is really big! But let’s focus on growing the UK business for the time being.
What awards has the business won?
TaxBuster Accountants has not won any awards…yet! We are too small. However we are growing fast and have big ambitions. So watch this space!