Specialist Franchise accountant? Not available on the high street!

Choosing an accountant can be hard; you might ask for recommendations from friends or family, you might go by gut instinct, a good place to start is by asking a prospective franchisor who they suggest

Specialist Franchise accountant? Not available on the high street!

Choosing an accountant can be hard; you might ask for recommendations from friends or family, you might go by gut instinct, a good place to start is by asking a prospective franchisor who they suggest, but whoever you end up with its important you’ve made the right choice, as ultimately an awful lot of trust rests on your accountant’s shoulders. They’ve got a big task ahead of them and you need to know they’re right for you. 

To start with, you need the right kind of accountant. Accountancy firms within the UK may seem ten a penny, but they all come with various pros and cons which is why doing your research first will put you at an advantage. You’re a franchise business with specific needs…ideally you need a Franchise Accountant. 

An accountant who has experience within the industry is an absolute must. You are unlikely to find that with a local High Street Accountant as they don’t tend to have the repeat detail that a more specialist accountant would have.   

Don’t be tempted solely by the promise of bespoke services tailored to individuals as most accountants will offer some kind of bespoke package for those who need it, instead look for quality and experience; what franchise businesses have they worked with before? Generally most high street accountants will lack in this area – unless they are specialist in franchise business, they will not usually be in a position to have the industry experience that is right for you. You need a firm you can trust and who knows Franchising inside and out. 

Ultimately you want an accountant who can save you time and money, someone dependable and trustworthy; in theory that sounds like most accountancy firms, although in practice, recent surveys suggest that as many as a third of UK’s businesses, would not recommend their own accountant to another business. With 5.6 million UK businesses, that almost 2 million unhappy business owners, paying month on month, year on year for an inadequate service, so make sure you’re not one of the minority.

So what is the difference between a high street accountant and a specialist Franchise accountant?

A nice analogy is ‘would you ask an outfield player to play in goal?! No, normally of course you wouldn’t, as that wouldn’t make sense when a goalie is available and this is no different. As much as a high street accountant can do general accountancy work, they may not be experienced within franchise businesses, they may not know what a specialist knows or have the direction that only someone involved in franchising can have and it is this experience that you want to utilise, knowing that decisions are educated ones and not based on theory.

A Franchise Accountant will live and breathe franchising as much as you do! Someone who has the benefit of knowing the industry and its people and therefore is someone who can alert you to any potential red flags before they arise. They have experience of similar brands, so they can offer advice on the appropriate formation of your business, any issues with HMRC and in particular, any contractual requirements imposed on your accounting records. They are Sector Specialists.

A high street accountant with all the integrity in the world, is unlikely to have the franchise specific knowledge and expertise you will need.

d&t has over 20 years’ worth of franchise experience; there isn’t a sector within the world of franchising that we haven’t worked alongside, from coffee vendors to care homes, wheel specialists to amateur dramatics.

Understanding the industry that you’re in is crucial and could potentially save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Yes, a high street accountant can do your books and submit tax returns but a specialist franchise accountant, know the common pitfalls, reliefs, credits and breaks that are available within certain sectors and the advice that a specialist accountant can give is worth its weight in gold.

Everyone’s experience is different of course, but at the same time, some will opt for a high street accountant because they believe their services to be cheaper, however they soon realise that this may not be the best solution. Lack of expertise may lead to frustration on your part and if the relationship breaks down then this could be hugely detrimental to your business.

So what about those businesses that already have an accountant in place that simply aren’t happy with the service they provide? 

You should be confident when it comes to switching accountant; you’re making a positive business decision. If you feel as though your accountant is ignoring your emails, not answering or returning calls, failing to explain things in plain English, and you still end up with that niggling feeling at the back of your head about HMRC, deadlines, paperwork then don’t sit back and accept it. Your accountant should be engaged and transparent, an extension of your business; the one to put your mind at ease, not give you sleepless nights.

Time to make the switch

Finding a franchise accountant who is passionate about delivering a friendly but professional approach to help you reach your business goals will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made! 

Look for a franchise accountant with plenty of industry experience and that has the personal touch. You want an accountant that understands your needs and is always looking ahead, thinking about how they can make a difference to your future and the future of your business, someone who is in contact as often as you are comfortable with, someone who is clear and explains everything in detail without baffling or patronising, and even better if they come highly recommended by the franchise network. A franchise accountant at the heart of British Franchising like d&t. 

Phil Archer
Phil Archer