Following successful expansion to the Republic of Ireland and Australia, the U.K.’s largest network of small business specialist accountants is now launching in the U.S.
Having proven that the franchise concept can be successfully replicated in the U.K., the Republic of Ireland and Australia, TaxAssist is now offering area representative and single-unit franchise rights to selected states in the U.S.
Karl Sandall, group chief executive director, said: “After years of careful research and planning, I am pleased to advise that we have completed the formation of TaxAssist Direct USA Inc. This has been a long-held wish of mine personally and always the company’s long-term aim, with our successful franchise model offering massive potential.”
The shareholders are TaxAssist Direct Group Ltd (85 per cent), Hal and Jamie Gross (7.5 per cent), and Mike and Penny Melling (7.5 per cent).
Hal Gross, based in New Jersey, holds the role of president, with Mike Melling as director. Karl Sandall, Phil Sullivan and John Chambers, who are all directors of The TaxAssist Direct Group in the U.K., will also act as directors for the U.S.
Gross is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with extensive experience in risk, audit, and regulatory leadership roles at major global financial institutions, including most recently at UBS’ Investment Bank and Citi, where he held senior positions in the corporate and investment banking operational risk teams. Earlier in his career, he also held management roles in the American Express audit after starting his career in public accounting at Main Hurdman (KPMG).
“Hal recognized the huge opportunity that TaxAssist Accountants would offer to develop and grow accounting and advisory services for small businesses in the U.S.A.,” explained Sandall, “and with a strong corporate and financial background, in Hal, we saw the ideal candidate to partner with, to launch, build and mature the TaxAssist Accountants brand across the U.S. through the area representative model.”
Mike Melling has had a 35-year career as a senior financial services executive in the U.K., U.S., and Asia for American Express, GE Capital, and Marsh & McLennan, including board-level roles for subsidiary companies. He also served as U.K. president for operational consultancy, Alexander Proudfoot Company, serving large and mid-capitalization businesses.
As well as having extensive international business experience, Melling is also a successful TaxAssist Accountants franchisee in the U.K., having purchased a large single location practice resale for £1m in 2012, followed by a further resale purchase in 2015.
Sandall explained: “Mike brings with him a huge amount of energy, experience, and expertise. He will be able to share best practice, having successfully invested in staff, technology and client acquisition to build his practice up to a 20-person team, serving nearly 2,000 small businesses, directors and individual clients from seven TaxAssist shops and offices.”
TaxAssist is expecting a surge of interest in franchising in the U.S. during and post the coronavirus pandemic, as people re-think their lives.
“These are unprecedented times for everyone, but we have a very sound business model, and our services have never been in more demand, as people look to their accountant for advice and guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, hence our confidence in continuing with our plans to launch the franchise in the U.S.
“Our business model is going to appeal to CPA-qualified accountants working in the industry, individuals with a strong financial services or banking background, as well as those that already own an accounting practice and wish to develop as part of a global brand. We are looking for people who are capable of setting themselves up in business, but see the value in the brand, training, support and systems that investing in a franchise with TaxAssist Accountants brings,” added Sandall.
David Paulson, senior vice president, franchise development, will be seconded to New Jersey later this year, where the U.S.A. support centre will be based. Paulson is working behind the scenes with the TaxAssist international team and investors to do as much preparation as possible in readiness for the official launch which will take place at the 2020 International Franchise Online Expo later this month.
The global TaxAssist network supports more than 265 franchised areas with 425 shops and offices, servicing more than 86,000 small businesses and self-employed individuals. Global annual billings are in excess of £56m.