“When people say ‘Actually you’ve made an impact, you’ve made a difference to my life’…that’s fulfilling. That encourages you to go back the next day and do more, push yourself… I’m extremely proud of my network, I’m proud of who we are…a network that genuinely cares for its clients.” – Bukky Shonola, TaxAssist Hitchin & Letchworth

Ed Coton

"I have had a very positive response from the local business community"

Ed in tune with success after joining the TaxAssist network

TaxAssist Accountants hit the right note for former professional singer Ed Coton when he decided to start his own practice.

And, with a helping hand from a fellow franchisee, experienced accountant Ed has seen his business ambitions flourish after opening his Taunton shop in September 2016.

Prior to this, Ed had been working at John Mayer’s Weston-Super-Mare practice for four years as a certified accountant.

Impressed with Ed’s skills and rapport with clients and wishing to expand the TaxAssist network across the West Country, John suggested Ed should become a franchise owner in his own right.

“Having my own TaxAssist practice wasn’t even on my radar when John mentioned it, but when he explained that franchisees receive marketing support, ongoing training and inbound leads, I was intrigued,” explained Ed.

“As I had never considered franchising as a career path, I didn’t have the necessary funds myself. However, when John offered to pay my franchise fee and invest in a 30% stake in my business, that convinced me how confident he was in both in myself the TaxAssist business model.”

John, added: “When I employed Ed four years ago, I knew he was a real professional with a wealth of experience in accounts and tax. I have never regretted that decision.

“There are certain things I value from those I employ – dedication, being prepared to go the extra mile, using their initiative, and above all loyalty.

“If people give me this I like to give back and that is how I came to suggest to Ed, rather than work for me until he retired, he invest in his skills and set up his own business. I assured him that if he took this route, I would support him. I know clients will gain great confidence in Ed, and come to trust him as my clients have. They will certainly receive excellent value.”

Ed’s career has hit some unusual notes, as he spent many years as a professional classical singer first at Canterbury Cathedral and then Wells Cathedral.

“I loved singing but needed another job to help supplement my income when I was at Canterbury Cathedral,” he said “By chance the music school needed someone to look after its accounts and various bursary trusts so I found myself combining accountancy with professional singing! I decided to continue this combination when I moved to Wells, and supplemented my cathedral stipend by looking after accounts for clients in the area.”

With his TaxAssist shop in Bridge Street already attracting attention in Taunton, Ed is concentrating on building his client base and promoting his accountancy services to the small business in the area.

“My shopfront office benefits from a prime location on a busy junction, good parking and thriving local small businesses and I have had a very positive response from the local business community so far,” said Ed.

“The main challenge for me right now is attracting new clients so I have been doing a lot of networking, including joining the local FSB and Chamber of Commerce. This part of the country doesn’t have much in the way of industry, so there are plenty of opportunities for me to increase my client base.

“Instead of the hurdles faced by accountants starting standalone practices, I have a national brand and network behind me, as well as additional expert knowledge I can call upon at the Support Centre in Norwich.”

Once he has laid firm foundations for his TaxAssist practice in Taunton, Ed plans to expand his services into neighbouring Bridgwater and grow his business into a valuable asset over the next 10-15 years so he can retire in style.

“I think I’m going to be very busy when they start building the power station at Hinkley Point as I am confident there is going to be a lot of demand for my TaxAssist service from sub-contractors,” added Ed.

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