Excellent support and training

After just four months of trading, TaxAssist Accountants franchise owner James Sheard is already realising the benefits of becoming his own boss. Now not only is his commute to work shorter, he also has more free time to spend with his family and to pursue his hobbies

"In my previous line of work as a Finance Director of a logistics company, I spent most of my time on the road travelling up and down the country," reflects James Sheard. "I hated being away from my family so often and grew tired of driving long distances, so I decided to look into becoming my own boss.

"As I did not have any experience of running my own business and had a young family to support I could not risk starting up a business completely on my own - so becoming a franchise owner was the ideal solution. Franchising would enable me to be my own boss, while using a tried and tested business model and established brand name. My wife Julia and I are chartered accountants by trade and had heard positive things about small business accountancy and tax franchise TaxAssist Accountants through other accountants, so we decided to research its franchise opportunity in more detail."

Established in 1995, TaxAssist Accountants began franchising in 1996 and to date has over 160 franchise owners operating across its nationwide network, 85 of which operate from a shop front office. "Although I did investigate other accountancy franchises, the TaxAssist Accountants franchise package was without a shadow of a doubt head and shoulders above the rest," enthuses James.
"I attended a discovery day at the head office in Norwich, which gave me the opportunity to meet the company directors who were both open and knowledgeable. I also received presentations which explained the contents of the franchise package, the training provided to franchise owners and the franchisor's commitment to providing ongoing support."

James launched his shop front office franchise in Stalybridge in March this year. The opening day was attended by the Chief Executive of TaxAssist Accountants Karl Sandall, who cut the ribbon and generated a lot of free publicity in the local press. "The training and support so far has been brilliant," James reveals. "Before the launch I completed a five-week course at head office, which helped to refresh and update my memory on tax legislation. Since the launch I have returned to head office for further training and to compare notes with my peers.

"The support office is excellent - it has designated departments to help with marketing, and technical or employment queries so if you have a problem you know you are talking to someone with the right qualifications and knowledge to point you in the right direction.

"I love running my own business and being in a position to make the decisions gives me a great deal of job satisfaction. It is a great feeling knowing I am in a position to help alleviate the stress of my clients. As my own boss I also have control of my timetable, so I can work around any family commitments and I am able to ensure my weekends and evenings are free to see my family and to go running or mountain biking."

Interview by Jess Sturman