Prior to joining TaxAssist Accountants, Dermot Kane had been working in practice for 13 years as a Finance Director in a plant and machinery company. When the recession hit, he was forced to consider alternative options as his company could no longer afford a dedicated accountant.
"I had always been an employee of a company," explained Dermot, "and I felt a little nervous about starting on my own as I had a feeling it just wouldn't work. TaxAssist offered the technical support I needed, but more importantly, knowledge of how to sell in the marketplace. This covers things like shop location and design, as well as sourcing me leads to get going. It seemed like a perfect fit."
Having been made redundant, Dermot used the funds he received to invest into the franchise and open a shop on Camden Street in Dublin.
"Certainly, the first two to three years leave you fairly tight on funds, depending on how you started off. I started with no clients, and it takes time to make the business work from this starting point", said Dermot.
"You need to make sure you go into the franchise well-funded. I understand the banks are supportive of the TaxAssist franchise, which is important as there are times when some extra capital is required. In fact, my main advice to a new franchisee is to have the finance in place so you can get a shopfront and get off to a flying start and not be afraid to recruit someone early, so you can get on with the job of winning business."
TaxAssist Accountants provides a six-week initial training course for new franchisees, which Dermot is full of praise. "The training and support I have received, and continue to receive, have been excellent", he said. "Courses are run to suit the needs of the franchisees, and picked based on what is being suggested from questions to the Technical Helpdesk. Initially, the training on sales and marketing gave me a real boost in terms of the process involved, and the confidence and tools to use that process. It was an essential element at the start of my business.
"Day-to-day what I love about being a part of the TaxAssist Accountants network is the way we operate. We are available to our clients; our doors are open. We want to be the friendliest accountants out there, with an approach that makes potential clients happy to do business with us. We want to give the best service possible all of the time, because we are not just representing our own business, but representing and flying the flag for TaxAssist."
On becoming self-employed, Dermot said: "Being your own boss – it does give a lot of satisfaction. I find I can be slightly flexible in my hours so I don't need to miss things like the kids' sports matches or shows. There are plenty of hours in the week to get the work done. Knowing that when you put in the work, you get the rewards. That is a great feeling.
"I've enjoyed becoming financially self-sufficient again after leaving a pretty good job. It took time, but every time we win a new client, it gives you a real boost. And due to the nature of the business, it happens often, which is great. Hearing a good report of our business from a client or someone calling in because they were told we did a great job – that's always a buzz!".
Having made a success of his business, Dermot offers this advice to budding franchisees: "If you were to ask me what makes a successful franchisee, I would say: someone who likes to work hard, who relates well with people and wants to do their best for the clients. They should be outgoing and happy to develop a good relationship with staff. There is no harm to have sufficient funds at the start so that life outside of work is not too difficult. A good marketer will be a good franchisee, although that is an area I am not too good at. I have survived without that particular skill, though it is easier to push yourself in that direction. I would also say: listen to the franchisor. They advise well. The service is there for you to use. You are paying for it.
"Looking to the future, I am happy where I am as part of the TaxAssist Group. I've been with TaxAssist for six and a half years, and continue to grow every single month. That's 78 months of growth and it feels like a secure business now. Down the road, I may look at opening another shop in my area".