Paul Hampson had a wide ranging career in recruitment and consultancy before turning to franchising as the optimum route to opening his own accountancy practice. Here he describes his successful journey with TaxAssist Accountants.

I had many years’ practical business experience and was familiar with working with clients and selling a service, but I needed the expert systems and technical and marketing back up provided by a franchisor, to help me get the business established, to support my staff and really grow.

I attended a few discovery days with different franchises, but TaxAssist Accountants stood out from the crowd and I knew this was the right opportunity for me.

I opened my first shop in Orpington in 2009, during the recession. Looking back, this had many advantages for me, with clients starting businesses following redundancy and needing the services of an accountant to help and guide them, as well as established businesses looking around for a new accountant.

The practice has built up consistently over the years, and myself and my team now look after around 700 clients. I’m very fortunate, my wife manages staff and procedures and we have a fantastic team who have been with us long term and have made a massive contribution to the success and the stability of the business. This means I can take a step back from day to day work, managing the growth of the business and meeting with clients. In fact the team works so efficiently, that we had the capacity to expand and take on more work without the need for additional staff.

I’d been on the look out for a second shop for a number of years in neighbouring Bromley, and in 2021 spotted the ideal unit. Owned by network rail, its right next to a station, a pub and a bus stop, and was available at a very affordable rate. We opened in February 2022 and I’ve just been blown away by its immediate success. Bromley has a different client market to Orpington, but the joy of TaxAssist Accountants is that it appeals to many different types of client.

The TaxAssist Support Centre undertake marketing campaigns on our behalf, and we’ve had many client walk-ins, and clients coming along holding a letter they’ve received to promote our services. We’ve also done very well from in-bound client leads. The combination of the visibility and accessibility of the shop, plus the local and online advertising undertaken by the franchisor means things have just really taken off. We’re also ideally placed to benefit when competitors close down, with many accountants retiring due to MTD and we’ve certainly had walk-in clients as a result of this too.

For me, embracing technology has made a massive difference and has enabled me and the business to stay ahead of the curve and to work incredibly efficiently. TaxAssist has been excellent at ensuring that as a network we are all fully supported and trained on the latest technology, and they never stand still. The branding, technical and marketing initiatives are continually evolving and I genuinely feel I get the same amount of support as a large accountancy practice would.

That’s not to say it’s all been plain sailing. We lost clients due to IR35 and our growth plateaued in 2020 due to the pandemic, but we stayed open, supported our clients and I’m pleased to report that revenue in 2022 is so far up 10-15% on last year. We have two prime locations, good staff and I’m considering opening a third shop at some point in the future.

My advice to anyone considering joining the franchise is to listen to the advice given by the team at the Support Centre and follow the model. It’s certainly worked for me.

March 2022