TaxAssist Accountants opens in Ireland

Despite the economic downturn business is going strong for TaxAssist Accountants with the launch of its first Irish shop front franchise

With 13 years of successful growth under its belt and a nationwide network of over 160 franchisees, small business accountancy and tax franchise TaxAssist Accountants is celebrating the launch of its first Irish shop front franchise - which is its 71st shop front. The new shop front is situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland and is operated by Jim Andrew. To mark the occasion Jim, his two staff and the TaxAssist Accountants Support Centre have organised a celebratory luncheon.

Before becoming a franchisee Jim worked as a chartered management accountant for 25 years and had also held the position of Managing Director before he decided it was time to take the leap and work for himself. 'I think it is every accountant's dream to run their own accountancy firm,' enthuses Jim. 'Investing in an accountancy franchise was the best way forward for me, because I could be my own boss and benefit from a tried and tested business model and ongoing training and support.

'I found TaxAssist Accountants online and was intrigued so signed up for one of its discovery days. While there I was introduced to the Support Centre team, who recommended that before I made my final decision I talk to a selection of existing franchisees. Instead of being provided with a shortlist of suitable candidates, I was given the direct line to all of its franchisees, which showed that the company was confident that it had a good relationship with all of its franchisees and that all were doing well. The ones I spoke to confirmed my thoughts and the rest is history.'

Jim launched his franchise in March earlier this year and his shop front premises opened mid-October. Since the launch, Jim has had a steady stream of work, despite the economic downturn. He says: 'As the credit crunch bites, self-employed people and small businesses turn to accountancy firms for business advice and for ways to save money on their taxes. In my opinion now is the ideal time to launch an accountancy franchise and capitalise on the situation.'

TaxAssist Accountants provides franchisees with an initial five-week training programme, which covers taxation, accountancy to computer systems, marketing and the basics of running your own business. This is followed by further training at months two, three and six and ongoing update courses. 'The training course boosted my confidence,' says Jim. 'I left feeling I would be able to run my own business effectively.'

As the first TaxAssist Accountants franchisee in Northern Ireland, and in fact the whole of Ireland, Jim does not feel alone because of the support. 'The support has been first rate,' Jim says. 'Staff from the Support Centre have visited a couple of times to see how things are going, for urgent problems I have access to a variety of help lines including marketing, software and technical advice and I regularly attend refresher training courses at TaxAssist Support Centre in Norwich.'

Each year Jim is aiming to obtain a minimum fee bank of £80,000. While he is working all hours to establish his business, he is prepared to make sacrifices now in order to reap the rewards later.

Interview by Jess Sturman