From Employee to Jet Setter

Franchise owner Sarah Ferguson is excited about the prospect of renewing her franchise agreement after five years of successful trading, which has enabled her to indulge in her passion for travel

Holidays abroad have become a regular occurrence for TaxAssist Accountants franchise owner Sarah Ferguson since she joined the franchise network five years ago. Last year alone, the mum of one enjoyed 10 holidays including skiing trips to Colorado and a month long break travelling around Dubai and South Africa.

'I love travelling,' exclaims Sarah (pictured, left, with TaxAssist Accountants Chief Executive Karl Sandall), 'so I try and go abroad at every available opportunity. Already this year I have taken a relaxing break to St Lucia. The great thing about being your own boss is you are in control of when you go on holiday and how many holidays you take. This is a novelty for me because before I joined TaxAssist Accountants, I was a Finance Director for a chemical company so had to be in the office Monday to Friday nine-to-five and had to request any time off.'

Fed up with her job, Sarah decided to leave in search of a new challenge and came across the TaxAssist Accountants franchise. Established in 1995, the business specialises in providing a range of tax and accountancy solutions to small businesses. 'Finance was all I had known, as I am a Chartered Certified Accountant,' reflects Sarah. 'So it made sense to try and find a new career path where I could use my existing skills. I was intrigued with the TaxAssist Accountants business proposition and so decided to book myself onto one of the discovery days.'

Three weeks later, Sarah had signed the franchise agreement for the Kensington territory and was put on a five-week initial training course, which taught her everything she needed to know in order to run the franchise effectively including ways to market her business, which proved invaluable. 'I love being my own boss,' she enthuses. 'Initially I was at the office 15 hours a day seven days a week to get the business established. I'm pleased that I dedicated my time to the business back then because now, five years on, with 451 customers on the books which includes companies, sole traders and partnerships as well as tax return clients, I am able to reap the rewards of my success.'

With a great group of properly trained staff, Sarah now plays a less active role in the day-to-day running of the business. 'I go into work two days a week after I have dropped my daughter off at school,' says Sarah. 'I have been able to cut my hours in the office because my staff are capable of running the business by themselves now and I know if they have any queries they can contact the TaxAssist Accountants support helpline for advice and guidance.

'This year I am due to renew my franchise agreement and cannot wait! My business is already on target for a £200,000 annual turnover. A couple of years ago I bought out a neighbouring franchise owner, and I'm now looking at taking on another territory and opening a shop front too in the near future.'

Interview by Jess Sturman