Ongoing Success with support from TaxAssist

One of TaxAssist Accountants' most successful franchise owners, Mark Fordham continues to drive his business forward to an annual turnover of £600,000 with ongoing support from his franchisor

In his sixth year of trading, franchise owner Mark Fordham is celebrating the prospect of a £600,000 annual turnover and the fact he is a finalist for this year's bfa Franchisee of the Year award. "My business has come a long way," enthuses Mark. "I could not have achieved this level of success this quickly without the ongoing support and guidance from TaxAssist Accountants. I now have two offices operating in my territory, which covers Harpenden through to St Albans, and over 600 businesses on my books."

Mark was prompted to consider becoming his own boss when the bank he was working for restructured. "I was offered redundancy and saw an opportunity to do something for myself - so I took the cash!" he recalls. Armed with 19 years of experience advising small businesses and franchises about their finances, he decided to look for an opportunity that utilised his skills. Tax and accountancy franchise TaxAssist Accountants fitted his requirements.

Established in 1995, the company began franchising in 1996. The role of a TaxAssist Accountants franchise owner is to provide small and medium sized enterprises within their designated territory with a professional tax and accountancy service. To date there are over 160 franchise owners operating across its nationwide network, 90 of which operate from shop-front offices.

All franchise owners are provided with an initial five-week training course at head office before the launch of their franchise. On an ongoing basis they have access to support and guidance from the support office. "I have enjoyed valuable support in my sales, marketing and adverting, as well as technical support in producing accounts," Mark reports. "Having this support has freed up my time so that I can focus on building the business following the prescribed business model.

"At the end of July, I moved one of my offices into a shop-front premise in Harpenden and already I am noticing a difference. The volume of business continues to increase week-on-week as people walk in off the street looking for advice and guidance with their accounts. Moving to a shop-front was a long term goal of mine - I took some time to find the right location and price before, surprisingly, the recession made the move affordable when the premise came on the market at a competitive rate.

"I really enjoy running my own business. The best thing about being your own boss is being able to make the decisions and see them push the business forward. It is also very satisfying knowing I am running a business that helps people. While cutting out the long commute to London has meant I have more free time to focus on developing the business and to play a more active role within my local community...including the odd game of cricket!"

For the past three consecutive years TaxAssist Accountants has presented Mark with the Fastest Growth award and this year Mark was put forward for the bfa Franchisee of the Year award. "I am flattered that TaxAssist Accountants have put me forward for the award and I am amazed that I am one of the 10 finalists!" he reflects. "The award theme for this year is Success in Challenging Times and I think TaxAssist Accountants chose me because I am not only one of their most successful franchise owners but I also quite involved with the network. I am more than happy for prospective franchise owners to call me to talk things through and attend the bi-annual regional meetings without fail."

Interview by Jess Sturman