Whilst working in practice in the UK in 1995, John Westgarth FCA saw an opening in the marketplace, realising that the small business sector was often over charged by larger accountancy practices, and poorly serviced by smaller practices. Business owners were not always proactively supported in looking for ways to reduce their tax liabilities and in helping them to develop their businesses. He anticipated that the demand for such a service would be ideal for a franchise network and TaxAssist Accountants was formed.
Following a period as a partner in a national firm of Chartered Accountants, John went on to build up and sell on a number of accountancy practices over a 20-year period. He made use of his experience and knowledge of how to build up a successful accountancy practice specialising in looking after small businesses, having himself built up a client base of 500 with a turnover of £300k, to develop the TaxAssist Accountants franchise model and support infrastructure.
In 2009, John and the TaxAssist team awarded its first Master Franchise License to the Republic of Ireland (ROI). In 2017, the original Master Franchisee retired, and the rights were acquired by The TaxAssist Direct Group Ltd. TaxAssist Ireland is now operated by Managing Director Alison McGinley backed up by the Irish Support Centre team.
Franchising is a proven, tried and tested route into self-employment and the banks are supportive in providing funding, as there is a lower rate of failure than going into business alone. Through franchising we knew we could maximise growth potential to the mutual advantage of both TaxAssist Accountants and our franchisees. Franchising helps to minimise the risks and pitfalls usually associated with business start-ups, by providing specific guidance for franchisees newly into business.
Franchisees pay an initial investment to us, the franchisor, which covers the initial set up requirements. This includes initial training, marketing, identification of premises and IT equipment, amongst many other things, which enables a franchisee to hit the ground running (a full break down can be viewed in our prospectus). Franchisees then pay a percentage of their monthly turnover to the franchisor, in return for ongoing business support. The support of a franchise removes many of the hurdles of starting and growing your own business.
According to a recent Irish Franchise Association survey, there are more than 4,000 active franchises units in Ireland with an estimated €2.5bn turnover. TaxAssist is a ‘Full’ and long-standing Member of the Irish Franchise Association and adheres to their Code of Ethical Conduct.
Growth of the brand
Our intention, through the growth of our brand across Ireland, is to establish ourselves as the natural choice for small businesses. Since 2009, the brand has grown to a network of over 22 franchise areas nationwide, serving more than 6,400 clients.