Group Chief Executive - Karl Sandall FCIB, QFP
Karl spent 26 years at a senior level with a major clearing bank before joining TaxAssist Accountants on 1st January 2000 as Operations Director – taking on the role of Chief Executive in 2002. A 'fellow' of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a member of the Financial Industry Group and of the Committee of the IFS School of Finance for the East of England, Karl oversees the running of the company and the whole network on a day to day basis and ensures the company continues to expand rapidly. Karl is recognised by the British Franchise Association as a QFP (Qualified Franchise Professional) and is a trustee of the bfa's charitable trust helping disadvantaged individuals benefit from franchising.
Karl's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Group Operations Director - Sarah Robertson MSc, Dip M, MCIM FIDM, Chartered Marketer
Sarah previously founded a successful Brand Agency in 1994, with offices located in Norwich and London. Sarah was the Managing Director of the group and it became one of the foremost marketing communications agencies in the Eastern region with billings in excess of £4.5m. Sarah has over 30 years' experience in the marketing and advertising industry, working with a broad range of national and regional brands, specialising in financial services. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing. Sarah joined the TaxAssist Accountants Board on 1st September 2004 and for twelve years was responsible for marketing strategy, brand development, shop fronts, practice management and business development strategies for our accountants. In 2016 Sarah was appointed as the Group Operations Director and has overall responsibility for the operational overview of the UK network, the recruitment of new franchisees and the TaxAssist Training Academy. She has a vast working knowledge of the network and is fully focussed on the future needs of the business including the utilisation of technologies to improve practice performance and profitability.
Sarah's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Group Business Development Director - James Mattam (BSc. Hons)
James has spent his entire full time career with TaxAssist Accountants since completing his honours degree in Business Information Systems. After spending 5 years as our IT Manager building many websites and providing support to the franchisees, he then took on the role as our Marketing Manager in 2004 to face a new challenge.
James went on to become Senior Business Development Manager driving a team to deliver thousands of leads to the network and ensure brand consistency was maintained through online, printed literature and the hundreds of retail outlets within the UK accountancy network.
His recent achievements involved a national partnership launch with Intuit QuickBooks and Sales and Communications courses to help the franchisees and their staff win more business and improve communications to clients and partners. James joined the board in September 2016 and is responsible for marketing strategy, brand development, shop fronts, practice management and business development strategies for our accountants.
James' LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Group Finance Director - Phil Sullivan (BSc. Hons), ACIB
During a 26-year career with HSBC Bank plc Phil achieved Executive Management status and undertook roles covering a wide range of disciplines including retail banking, corporate and commercial banking, credit control, strategic planning, human resources and training. Immediately prior to leaving HSBC Phil was Area Director for Leicestershire, a role with responsibility for all aspects of the bank's retail banking & commercial business in the county and corporate banking activities in East Midlands. He was responsible for 400 staff operating from 36 offices.
Phil established his own business in 2006 providing corporate and commercial advisory services to selected business clients. He specialised in assisting with the creation of strategies for large transactions (including business expansion, sales, acquisitions and exit/succession planning) and business financing solutions (bank and non-bank borrowing, raising unquoted equity and re-financing). His main business interests lie in corporate finance and management/leadership theory and practice.
Phil was appointed as an Adviser to the Board in 2007 and became an Executive Director on the 1st October 2008. Phil's main responsibilities include UK and International finance, internal financial control, company secretarial responsibilities and a major input into strategic planning. In addition, he has a remit to develop our relationships with the banks and other lenders in order to enhance the services available to our business overall.
Phil's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Group Technical Director - Ray Clarke FCCA, CTA
After serving in the Royal Navy for 5 ½ years, Ray first entered the world of tax and accountancy with the Inland Revenue. He then moved over to the accountancy profession and spent 26 years working in practice on the affairs of owner managed businesses in the small and medium business sector. Ray joined TaxAssist in September 2014, straight from a specialist London tax practice where he was Senior Corporate and Business Tax Manager. He is both FCCA and CTA qualified. Ray has responsibility for all Technical aspects of our business, primarily support and training, the visit & audit programmes and being the main contact point for our technical partners, including CCH.
Ray was appointed as the Group Technical Director of TaxAssist in January 2016.
Ray's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Non - Executive Directors
John has specialised in franchising for over 20 years. He thinks of himself as a business man first and a solicitor second. His "no nonsense, practical, commercial approach" is appreciated by clients as much as is his unrivalled knowledge of the franchising sector.
He read law at University College London and worked in the City of London for Mitsui, a Japanese trading company, and in the Middle East for Turner & Newall Plc.
John then worked in sales and contract management roles in the oil industry, first in the UK and then abroad before deciding that he could provide more commercially focused and practical advice than he was receiving from lawyers. He re-trained as a solicitor and worked for two leading international law firms prior to setting up Chambers & Co in 1998. After establishing himself as one of the UK’s leading franchise lawyers and acting for 20% of the franchisors in the UK, Ashton KCJ acquired the practice in early 2012.
John is a former member of the now disbanded British Franchise Association Legal Committee, and regularly speaks on franchising law both at home and abroad.
John joined the board in August 2014.
John's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.
Mark Fordham, Franchisee representative
Mark’s career has been spent entirely in the Financial Services industry. He spent the early part working for NatWest Bank in Retail, Corporate and Investment Banking including spells in Corporate Lending and the Training department where he taught Financial Analysis (Balance sheets, cashflow forecasts, profit and loss accounts and bookkeeping). He also taught Investment Management including personal tax at degree level for 14 years. The latter part of his banking career was spent qualifying as an auditor and then planning and managing a team of 150 auditors to run audits across the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Mark was awarded his TaxAssist Accountants franchise is 2003 and built up a client base in St Albans and Harpenden in Hertfordshire. He won the TaxAssist Fastest Growth Award 3 years in a row, as well as Accountant of the Year and the British Franchise Association Bronze award in 2009. In 2012, 9 years after starting his franchise, he sold the business with 900 clients to an incoming franchisee.
Mark joined the board in January 2015.
Mark's LinkedIn profile can be viewed here.