Accounting Firms: Figure Out which Franchise is Best for You

24/11/2018 08:00 | Start a business

accounting firms

Though the franchising system was once restricted to a handful of industries, it has now been adopted by a diverse array of businesses. One of the key areas of growth for franchising in recent years is accountancy services. Here, we take a look at the big players in the UK accountancy sector and then examine franchise alternatives that are likely to make for a remarkably profitable investment.

Accounting firms UK

In the UK, accountancy businesses can adopt a number of different business models. However, the vast majority opt to operate as a privately owned company, a limited liability partnership, or a franchised business. Within the sector, some firms specialise in serving start-ups and SME, those who assist larger businesses, and a few notable organisations that can handle work form multinationals. However, the most prestigious UK accounting firms are collectively known as the Big Four.

Big four accounting firms

1. Deloitte

Deloitte is the worlds largest professional services network in the world and offers audit, tax, accounting, advisory, and consultancy services to some of the UKs largest companies. The business was founded in London over 170 years ago and has risen to become the most famous example of a global accountancy firm.

It now operates in a large number of important international markets and is gaining market share in many valuable countries, including the US and India. It has offices in many of the worlds major cities and is well known as one most prestigious and respected employers in the entire accounting industry.

2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Headquartered in London, PwC is another global superpower that operates in more than 150 countries, across approximately 750 locations and that employs more than 236,000 staff members. It is second only to Deloitte in terms of size and prestige and is often voted as the top firm to work for as a young professional.

The companys total revenue reached almost $38 billion in 2017, and it secured its position as the principal provider of accountancy and financial services to the United States most successful companies. PwC serves a remarkable 422 businesses included in the Fortune 500.

3. Ernst & Young (E&Y)

Though the firm recently rebranded and shortened its name to EY, the companys component parts can be traced back to 1849, making it the second youngest of the Big Four. It has a reputation for being more diffuse than the other three accountancy firms on this list, with global operations being managed on a more local level, by member firms on the ground and regional supervisory structures ensuring standards are maintained.

While the company offers assurance, tax, risk advisory, and transaction advisory services, the assurance department is its biggest earner, generating 38% of all revenue in 2016. This year, the business was also voted as one of the top 100 companies to work for in the US. This has ensured that E&Y continue to develop young talent and remain a popular employer amongst a new generation of skilled professionals.

4. Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG)

KPMG is the only one of the Big Four to be headquartered outside of London, preferring to base itself in the Netherlands. This gives it a more continental feel than the other members of the Big Four, which is reflected in its organisational structure, too. The company is registered in Switzerland as a co-operative, under which all of the national KPMG firms operate. Each national firm is a distinct and separate legal entity that is supported by the overarching cooperative organisation. This ensures that liability is quarantined in each national firm and the overall business protected.

The Big Four franchise alternatives

Though the Big Four may be the most prestigious accountancy firms in the world, none of them offers franchising opportunities. Consequently, if you want to start your own accountancy franchise unit, youre going to have to look elsewhere. Fortunately, there are plenty of franchises to choose from.

1. Certax

Certex now boasts more than 100 franchisees across the UK and have grown into one of the countrys leading tax and accountancy advisors. Offering a wide range of services, including bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing, they have begun to build an extensive portfolio of high-profile clients.

A Certex franchise costs approximately £20,000 to open, and this amount entitles the investor to use of the brand name and trademarks, enrolment on a month-long training programme, and assistance making good use of marketing, customer service, and sales technology and materials.


2. Rosemary

Rosemary specialises in providing bookkeeping services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. All franchisees are provided with their own exclusive territory and given access to a comprehensive support system. A franchise unit costs around £20,000 (including working capital) to get started and a large percentage of this can be financed by an agreement with one of many major lenders.

Rosemary charge franchisees a monthly management service fee (MSF) that equates to 10% of gross turnover (with a minimum of £150) from the seventh month of business onwards. This covers the cost of the support they provide franchisees.


3. The Financial Management Centre

The Financial Management Centre (FMC) also specialise in providing SMEs with accountancy services. The FMC has a global focus and hopes to expand in both domestic and international markets over the coming years. It also benefits from a technologically-orientated approach in which it welcomes the integration of new tools and technologies wherever possible. An FMC franchise requires a minimum investment of £15,000, though additional working capital will be necessary to sustain the business.

4. TaxAssist Accountants

The final entry in our list of the big 4 accountancy franchises is TaxAssist Accountants. This firm prioritises accountancy services for small businesses and the self-employed. It advertises itself as the countrys most extensive network of accountants dedicated to the financial issues surrounding start-ups and smaller enterprises. The franchise boasts an established client base of more than 65,000 customers and continues to expand its operations. A single franchise unit requires an initial investment of £36,950 +VAT, though the total investment needed will depend on the franchises location and size.

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