Alex Chidlow initially learnt of TaxAssist Accountants after seeing an advert for a TaxAssist franchise resale within his region and jumped at the chance to find out more. After attending a Discovery Day and speaking to several franchisees, he felt reassured that this was a great route to achieving his dream of owning his own business.

The resale he was initially interested in did not progress, but instead, having witnessed first-hand the abundance of technical and operational support available at the Norwich Support Centre, Alex decided to start a practice in a new TaxAssist territory in Horsham in 2019. 

Just three years later, he has built a flourishing practice for himself with over 175 clients.

Before joining the TaxAssist Accountants network, CIMA-qualified Alex had been an accountant for 18 years and held positions at a range of levels in a wide variety of companies, including Finance Director for two SMEs, providing him with a broad commercial and financial knowledge. Most recently he worked as an Independent Finance Contractor.

On his decision to leave the corporate world behind Alex explains: “I started my accounting career and qualified while working in retail banks, but escaped as soon as possible into the world of owner-managed SMEs to gain more breadth of experience and get close to where the actual ‘business’ was taking place.

“I’d always wanted to work for myself, but I never got around to doing anything about it, instead pursuing a career in accountancy. However, over the course of a few years I’d been nurturing a plan to move on from corporate life, where I’d focus all my energy on just one company, pursuing a career as an owner/manager of a small accountancy firm whose purpose is to help and support local small businesses. I felt – and still do feel – this change would give me greater job satisfaction and more control over my time, allowing me to spend more time with my family.”

Alex operates his practice from a shop in Horsham and an office in Haslemere, and has been impressed with the new client lead generation and support provided by TaxAssist to help him grow his practice.

“I always felt that taking on a franchise would provide the best base available to kick start my new business and although there have been some challenges along the way, this has more than proven to be right.

“Most of my new client leads come from being part of TaxAssist and the training and technical support, which provides that extra layer of comfort to me and my clients, has been fantastic.

“I’m proud of overcoming staffing challenges and have now built a great team. It would have been easy to have got stuck on client delivery and not push on, but I’ve adapted my role to ensure the practice can grow to its full potential.

“I’m keen to build on my success by opening a second shop in Haslemere, and to take on a second franchise territory too.”

When asked what advice he’d give to someone looking to buy a franchise he has some sound advice. “You need to make sure it’s the right thing for you as it is a big lifestyle change, and it’s essential that you have the resources to cover your cashflow needs in the initial stages of operation when you are setting up the business. But go for it, back yourself and have the confidence to make the change.”

For Alex, building a practice with TaxAssist Accountants has worked. “It really has changed my life,” said Alex. “I am far more relaxed and I have much more control over my daily lifestyle. I was made to be self-employed!”

May 2022

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