Janet Mclean joined TaxAssist Accountants in 2015 and operates from a shop in Dunfermline where she looks after over 600 clients.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why TaxAssist Accountants?

I became aware of the franchise whilst working in Edinburgh at a TaxAssist branch. What quickly became apparent to me was that it was an extremely well-established franchise with significant training and support available to start ups as well as long established businesses and therefore the risk element of going out on my own felt like it was significantly reduced.

What did you do before joining the TaxAssist network?

I was the accountant for a firm that held the lease on eleven pubs in and around Edinburgh, so that gave me a good grounding before eventually taking over one of the pubs myself which I loved but very hard work! I really do have that feel for what it’s like to run your own business which really helps with customers. I moved back into the accountancy world after four years with the pub and quickly became a franchisee thereafter.

What is a typical day for you?

This is like a trick question as there isn’t really a typical day, which is what I like most. There are seasonal variations so obviously very busy around December and January for tax returns (though I try and spread that load over the year where possible). But you really don’t know, from networking to secure clients and raise the profile to that fascinating customer that walks through the door and a whole new experience opens up. It’s dealing with individuals and supporting their businesses that I really enjoy and the variety never ceases to amaze me as well of course as client appreciation, which means the world to me.

What challenges have you faced?

Well, I’m still here so nothing that couldn’t be overcome with determination, creativity and TaxAssist support! I am running my own business just like my clients and so we all face the same challenges; staff, burst pipes in the office! The printer / scanner machine broke down and that was disproportionately stressful… Just the daily grind I would say, but it does let you relate more that’s for sure. Personally, I feel like a bit of an IT dinosaur especially when I see my children and their gadgets, so staying on top of IT and system developments is something I really have to try and focus on. I know it’s essential for efficiency and my challenge is to be better at that side of things.

What have been the highlights of being a TaxAssist Accountant?

Just seeing my business grow far in advance of even my most ambitious business planning. That’s the goal, we are also in business after all, I’m very proud of that as a personal achievement. But honestly and equally it’s also the enjoyment I get from dealing with such a varied clientele.

What has the training and support from the TaxAssist Accountants Support Centre been like?

It’s first class, from that initial start up to putting in a ticket for that quirky question that I haven’t encountered before. As I said earlier, IT is not my strong point, so the support there is invaluable also.

Has joining our network changed your life, if so, how?

I’ve always thrived in the self-employed arena and this has let me live my work life just how I have always wanted it. The choices are mine to make and that’s all I have ever really asked for. Thankfully most (not all) have been good ones and are allowing the business and in turn, me, to thrive. I suspect not everyone can say this, but I really enjoy getting up and going to work and that’s a key lifestyle achievement thanks to being a TaxAssist Franchisee.

In your opinion, what differentiates TaxAssist from the competition?

It’s the brand security and longevity. Well known on the high street, long established so no flash in the pan and an informal model when dealing with clients rather than the stereotypical accountants office that people may expect.

How has being a part of a franchise helped you to grow your practice?

That takes me back to the support we receive and proper business planning. You can always look at other practices and see how they have developed, but it’s a personal choice as to how big and how fast you want to develop.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a TaxAssist Accountant?

I personally think some sort of background in accountancy is invaluable, the training is excellent and so it’s not compulsory, but I think it would make the first year in business far less daunting. Maybe consider working somewhere for a year just to get the feel of things first.

What are your plans for the future?

That’s the big discussion just now with my other director and partner, maintain steady growth as we are? or look to step up another level? Pros and Cons to both and work life balance is a consideration.

February 2024

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