Sharon Neal, CerTax Accounting, Wakefield
As a CerTax Accounting franchisee I can work the hours that suit my family, and I have bought an Audi TT - something I have always wanted. It's a good life and I wouldn't change it. In fact I'd find it very difficult working for someone else.
Previously working as an accountant for a large PLC the hours were long. When I got home at 8pm my son would be in bed. Leafing through The Franchise Magazine I saw CerTax Accounting. They are different from other accountancy franchises because they are not target driven, it is your business and they will hold your hand for the duration of the franchise; there's no pressure.
Before launching the franchise I was put through a very intensive five-week training course. I obviously knew a lot about accountancy but had never produced a self-assessment tax return other than my own, which was not very complicated. CerTax Accounting taught me everything I needed to know and with the six monthly seminars they are always keeping us up to date with the latest legalisation which is vital to our practice. Even now, six years on I can pick up the phone to the helpline. You can come across all sorts of unusual situations and it's nice to run things by a colleague.
They even marketed my list of prospects then, when I went out to meet the contact, they wanted to talk with me. Many of those clients are still with me. The business has spiralled through recommendations but very little marketing. I have 162 clients, have recently moved into premises and employ two members of staff part-time.
This business is great fun and I'd recommend it. Even in the early stages when I was working by myself it wasn't a lonely business. When you meet with clients you chat with them about their business and their families. You need good communication skills and you need to be good with figures.