Question and answer with Alex King

Chief Executive Officer Alex King explains how his company has combined three services under The Financial Management Centre umbrella to provide franchise owners with an even more efficient and profitable business model.

Malcolm Porter: Why has the company changed its name from The Local Bookkeeper to The Financial Management Centre (TFMC)?

Alex King (pictured right): TFMC found that as our range of services has increased over recent years, it has become more challenging to promote all three services consistently on a national scale. Therefore, The Local Bookkeeper hasn’t disappeared, but become a service of TFMC alongside The Local Accounts Department and The Online Bookkeeper.

As a result, having one encompassing parent brand has helped us to achieve a number of benefits. Firstly, it has improved the management of the three brands in all marketing and communications and, therefore, will increase our rate of client acquisition. It also means our franchise owners are now better positioned to facilitate future growth, enabling them to gain a higher resale value and charge a premium price for their services. Finally, it gives TFMC a more competitive stance in the market, by being able to offer services to all sizes of organisation.

Malcolm Porter: How would you describe the TFMC franchise opportunity?

Alex King: It is an opportunity to build a successful and profitable financial management consultancy in a local area that is supported by the model, expertise and marketing of a national brand. TFMC franchise owners gain the satisfaction of being able to control their own work/life balance and receive the rewards of their hard work for themselves as well as the saleable asset that is their business.

Malcolm Porter: Describe your target market and the potential for your business across the UK.

Alex King: The target markets for our services are the small to medium sized businesses with up to 250 employees. The market is huge with more than 4.7 million businesses falling within this category. The potential at TFMC is endless, as our service structure means we have a service that will be specially designed for businesses at every step along their life cycle.

Malcolm Porter: Has the current economic uncertainty affected your business?

Alex King: Franchise owners have benefitted immensely and have enjoyed record levels of client acquisition. This has been brought about as the banks have become tighter in their criteria and asked for more financial reporting within businesses to gain finance and also by businesses realising that they need to better manage their finances to succeed.

Malcolm Porter: What differentiates TFMC from its competitors?

Alex King: We provide qualified financial management professionals with a wealth of high level and varied experience at affordable prices and have a proven track record in all types of business across the UK.

Our company follows a quality control programme aimed at making our work error free. This ensures our clients will never be penalised by giving incorrect information to HM Revenue & Customs and which could result in lower accountancy fees. Such is the confidence we have in our quality control, we offer a ‘money back guarantee’ so should any of our clients were ever to miss a deadline or receive a penalty from HM Revenue & Customs as a result of a mistake made by us, they would have their fees refunded.

As a result of our diversity of services and expertise, TFMC will become a ‘financial cornerstone’ that delivers a proactive service where we not only provide regular and up to date information, but also communicate the information to our clients in a way that is easy to understand.

Malcolm Porter: What support do you provide your franchise owners with?

Alex King: Every franchise owner is allocated a Development Manager who is dedicated to supporting the network and guides each franchise owner through every aspect of running their company including business development, sales, marketing, technological and technical support. Our head office team also offers support including initial and ongoing training courses, the franchise owner extranet, regional development meetings, personal development visits and other outlets.

Malcolm Porter: What are the most important characteristics you look for in potential franchise owners?

Alex King: We look for individuals who have experience in and/or are qualified in accountancy and possess communication skills that will allow them to explain financial matter to an individual who is not financially minded. Our franchise owners must also have excellent business acumen to enable them to give sound financial advice, are capable of building relationships with their clients and are able to be credible and trustworthy, both in their initial contact and on an ongoing basis

Malcolm Porter: What are TFMC’s goals for the next 12 months?

Alex King: We will be concentrating on growing the network to more than 100 franchise owners and securing further national accounts from which our franchise owners can benefit.