Whilst working in practice in 1995, John Westgarth FCA saw an opening in the marketplace, realising that the small business sector was often over charged by larger accountancy practices, and poorly serviced by smaller practices.
Business owners were not always proactively supported in looking for ways to reduce their tax liabilities and in helping them to develop their businesses. He anticipated that the demand for such a service would be ideal for a franchise network and TaxAssist Accountants was formed.
Following a period as a partner in a national firm of Chartered Accountants, John went on to build up and sell on a number of accountancy practices over a 20-year period. He made use of his experience and knowledge of how to build up a successful accountancy practice specialising in looking after small businesses, having himself built up a client base of 500 with a turnover of £300k - to develop the TaxAssist Accountants franchise model and support infrastructure.
Growing through franchising
Franchising is a proven, tried and tested route into self-employment and the banks are supportive in providing funding, as there is a lower rate of failure than going into business alone.
Through franchising we knew we could maximise growth potential to the mutual advantage of both TaxAssist Accountants and our franchisees. Franchising helps to minimise the risks and pitfalls usually associated with business start-ups, by providing specific guidance for franchisees newly into business.
Franchisees pay an initial investment to us, the franchisor, which covers the initial set up requirements. This includes initial training, marketing, identification of premises and IT equipment, amongst many other things, which enables a franchisee to hit the ground running (a full break down can be viewed in our prospectus here).
Franchisees then pay a percentage of their monthly turnover to the franchisor, in return for ongoing business support. The support of a franchise removes many of the hurdles of starting and growing your own business, as highlighted by research by the British Franchise Association (bfa): around 90% of franchisees have independently reported a profit annually for well over 20 years consecutively.
TaxAssist is a ‘Full’ and long-standing Member of the bfa and adheres to their Code of Ethics.
Franchisee Assisted Management Buyout
John Westgarth retired as Chairman and Director in 2014 after a Franchisee Assisted Management Buyout, which is believed to be the UK’s first such deal of its kind. Since then, following the creation of an internal share site which all eligible shareholders have access to, franchisees have been able to trade shares, access company accounts and the group strategic plans for the future.
In 2022, with the TaxAssist brand covering five countries operating from more than 280 locations and servicing over 85,000 clients, 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, which represents the co-operative relationship we have in place. This is a unique relationship and even though the majority of our franchisees are shareholders, there’s no compulsion to purchase shares from The TaxAssist Group.
Evolution of services
In recent years we have launched a number of additional services for our franchisees to offer to their clients. These new service lines offer an enormous opportunity for future growth of the TaxAssist brand with recurring income streams.
These include advisory services, in-house payroll and tax consultancy services and in 2022, we launched TaxAssist Financial Services, offering financial services to franchisees’ clients, ranging from mortgages, personal protection, relevant life cover and business protection. Wealth planning and pensions advice will be offered shortly.
TaxAssist Financial Services is headed up by Managing Director, Matthew Tyerman ATT DipPFS, who also owns and operates a TaxAssist Accountants franchise in Hove. Matthew has built a team of experienced and qualified advisers at TaxAssist’s Support Centre, who deliver the service by phone or video meetings, to all corners of the UK.
This now represents a huge opportunity for franchisees, with an extended range of services, providing a competitive advantage over local firms.
Interested in finding out more?
To find out more about owning and operating a TaxAssist Accountants business, take a look at our Franchise Prospectus. You can discover more about our franchise model, marketplace, franchise package, Initial Training Course, and much more. Click here to download our latest version.