My franchise is so successful I bought a bank!

So impressed with the growth of his first TaxAssist Accountants shop-front was Phil Marriott, he recently opened a second premises - a large former bank in Shepshed, Leicestershire

I wanted the comfort of a hand-held approach and some solid back-up support, particularly as I was not a chartered accountant,' says Phil Marriott (pictured right), who joined TaxAssist Accountants as a franchisee in December 2002. With previous experience in banking, insurance and finance, coupled with knowledge gained in setting up and running a group of limited companies with some fellow directors, Phil felt he had some preparation for running an accountancy/business advisory practice. However, he comments, 'the obvious integrity, willingness and openness of all the team at TaxAssist Accountants struck me right from the outset, making the decision much easier.'

Over the last six years Phil has helped small to medium sized business clients with tax returns, accounting, bookkeeping, cash flow projections, PAYE and VAT. 'I was attracted to TaxAssist Accountants because our services are in demand,' he reflects. 'Tax and accountancy are complex areas and as legislation is always changing, small businesses often need technical support. The brand support from TaxAssist Accountants is excellent and allows me to portray a big practice feel but with a small practice price structure - a real winner with the clients! Ongoing training is excellent through BPP and I have to say that TaxAssist Accountants seem to have their support structure with franchisees just right - there when you need them but giving you space to run and develop your business when you don't!'

Phil has worked from a shop-front office in Loughborough since March 2005. 'Despite my reservations over the cost and disruption, the overriding outcome has been excellent,' he reports. 'My net fee income, client growth, profitability and cash flow have all benefited dramatically over the last three years, improving month on month. New business enquiries are plentiful with word of mouth being the best source and referrals from local professional sources (banks and solicitors) second. There is little other marketing I need to undertake and the brand building activity of the Support Centre is sending welcome leads my way.'

Phil made the decision to invest in his second location because 'it was too good an opportunity to miss.' He continues: 'It is at least three times the size of the current office, which I will retain, and will provide substantial scope for further growth. The fact I have been confident enough to buy and that my bank has been so keen to support me is continuing testament to the strength of the business model.'

Phil used the services of the recommended TaxAssist Accountants shop fitters Hemera Workplace Solutions. He comments: 'Hemera completed the new shop-front in just over three weeks from start to finish, which is a brilliant achievement given the size of the building and the nature of the work undertaken. The building had been empty for over a year and was bringing down the street scene. The fact that it was completed so quickly has added to the 'wow factor' with locals, who cannot resist peering into the large windows when they pass (and calling in too). Everybody comments that the transformation lifts the street! I have no doubts I made the right decision and can confidently recommend TaxAssist Accountants.'

Interviewed by Hannah Westgarth