Introducing CheapAccounting.co.uk and its franchise options
CheapAccounting.co.uk is a market leading national accountancy practice offering competitively priced accountancy services to businesses across the UK through its innovative use of Cloud accountancy solutions.
Widely recognised as a trail blazer in the use of social media within Accountancy, Elaine Clark, Managing Director of CheapAccounting.co.uk, is described as a ‘thought leader within the industry and a trusted adviser’. She was named Woman in Finance by the Network of Aspiring Women in 2011. She has made several appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box with Paul Lewis and is frequently asked by newspapers, magazines and websites to provide expert comment about tax, finance and other issues relevant to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.
Vital Information – June 2013
CheapAccounting.co.uk has nearly 2,000 clients serviced by 20 sole practitioner franchisees across the UK.
In the six months to March 2013:
- Average of 120 new enquiries each month to web site / central pool
- New enquiries shared between franchisees taking referrals (average of 10 at any time)
- Between 6 and 15 new enquiries allocated to franchisees each month
- Average new enquiry conversion rate is 50% to 60%
- On average 15 – 30 new clients a quarter per franchisee, 60 – 120 clients / year, average 80
- Highest number of clients acquired in a month by a franchisee – 24
- Average monthly fee per client £38.50 to £43.50
An on line accountant (silver franchise option, see below) should comfortably achieve in excess of £120,000 fee income in three years. Gold and Platinum franchisees (see below) should far exceed these fee projections.
An opportunity for an additional 30 new enquiries a month scaling up to 100 / month has been presented to us; there is absolutely no shortage of marketing and new enquiry opportunities available.
Franchisees must be qualified accountants and members of Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA or FCCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ACA or FCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (CA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (ACMA or FCMA).
Three franchise options are available:
Silver – On Line
On line is the backbone of our brand; it was the very reason that CheapAccounting.co.uk was founded back in 2007. Small-businesses have been demanding lower prices and better value in all areas – including accountancy. Many simple accounting tasks can be made much more efficient by using software, with data stored online using cloud-based solutions.
This makes the whole process much more efficient and time-savings can be passed on to clients in the form of reduced fees, which are more affordable. Time saved can also be used by the accountant to provide advice to the client based on current data. Many businesses operate in the on line space; it is normal for them to engage service providers who do exactly the same.
Initial Outlay £6,999 one off, no renewal fees.
Ongoing Management fees – £100 per month for the first year, £250 per month in year two onwards.
On this basis, the cost over three years to achieve in excess of £120,000 fee income would be £6,999 (initial outlay), Management fees (100×12+250×24) £7,200 and Referrals fees, see below (£200×12+£420×24) £12,480 = £26,679.
This is far cheaper than buying a block of fees, purchasing a Practice or the cost of your own marketing efforts to achieve the same result.
Gold – On Line and Location (town)
To leverage our on line brand the CheapAccounting.co.uk model is being rolled out to locations nationwide. We have recently announced office openings in London, Omagh and Preston and have more planned for later this year.
Initial outlay £9,999 Renewable every three years at £7,500
Ongoing Management fees – £150 per month for the first year, £350 per month in year two onwards.
Platinum – On Line, Prime Location and / or Vertical Market
Platinum covers both prime locations (Cities) and vertical markets. We are seeking accountants with specialised industry knowledge to champion the CheapAccounting.co.uk model and develop a leading, industry specific accountancy practice. Opportunities exist specifically in, but not limited to, IT contracting, Freelancers, IFAs, Estate Agents, Trades and CIS, Authors and Property.
Initial outlay £14,999 Renewable every three years at £10,000
Ongoing Management fees – £200 per month for the first year, £450 per month in year two onwards.
Monthly referral / new enquiry fee
For franchisees taking new enquiries from the central pool referral the fees are:
£200 per month for the first year, £420 per month in year two onwards (only payable whilst taking referrals from the web site).
CheapAccounting.co.uk and Clear Books have a strategic working partnership delivering a unique entry level version of the Clear Books Cloud Accountancy solutions to all CheapAccounting.co.uk clients; the system is called Clear Books Entry.
Accountants Business School
1st July 2013 marks the launch of our Accountants Business School (ABS) specifically aimed at franchisees joining us who know they need to operate in the Cloud but are not sure where to start. Taking on Cloud and making it work well is not just a case of bringing a new Accountancy system into the Practice. They need to negotiate their way into the Cloud bringing their staff, systems and processes along with them. This involves major change in their Practice and that is not an easy task.
Every new franchisee will attend our ABS training course where we take them through their journey into the Cloud. Exploring the changes required in the areas of people, processes as well as systems they are left with a road map that they can take back to their Practice and tailor to suit specific needs. Equally important we look at how a Practice can increase its fees through operating in the Cloud; no doubt this will be of interest to franchisees looking to get an immediate high return on their initial franchise outlay.
- 1 to 3 partners firms, including sole practitioners
- Likely to have seen fee erosion during recession
- Need to enter Cloud Accountancy space but not sure know where to start
- Feel threatened by new cheaper entrants to the marketplace
- Are suffering fee pressure on their “bread and butter” compliance work
- Prepared to look at organic growth taking a longer term view that this is a better way to grow than acquiring a block of fees or buying a Practice
- Have appetite to change and capability to undertake hard work to achieve it
- Want to be shown the way rather than learn by trial and error
- Are capable of “soft marketing” (no hard selling or cold calling)
Why choose an accountancy franchise option
Accountancy Franchises do have a place in the accountancy practice market place. They may not be for everyone and clearly due diligence needs to be carried out as anyone would do when making any significant business decision or investment.
Why an Accountancy Franchise could be for you
Whether in Practice already or just starting out, there may be areas of operating the Practice where you just need some help. Any intelligent business owner will question their ability to be able to do everything; bridging the gap of things that you are not able to do for whatever reasons, be it funds, ability or time, just makes plain business sense.
A logical approach to accountancy franchise assessment
Any savvy business owner would ask themselves a few simple questions to see if an investment in an accountancy franchise is worthwhile for them. The questions to ask are:
Are you able to cover all areas of marketing, selling, delivery of services and operations including regulatory adherence, CPD and keeping up with new developments such as Cloud accountancy, laws & changes? What is your “business gap”?
- Where do you need help?
- Who can help?
- How much will they charge?
- What will your ROI be for their help?
- Would a franchise address the identified business gap?
- How much does the franchise cost?
- What would the ROI be on the franchise investment?
- Which route is best for you?