“Investing in a franchise? Consider a British Franchise Association Accountant!”
If you are looking to invest in a franchise it is important that you have the right team behind you. Your choice of accountant will affect your franchise business from day one. Your chances of being successful can depend on the advice, knowledge and level of service you receive from your accountant.
Before signing your franchise agreement, you should appoint an accountant who has experience within the franchise industry so they are able to offer you advice on the business formation, any issues with Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue, and, in particular, the franchise contractual requirements for your accounting records.
Here is a checklist of questions you should ask when choosing your Accountant.
Do they provide a free initial consultation?
If you can clarify the main issues of business formation, tax, VAT, accounting software and record keeping at this initial consultation for no cost, it will greatly reduce your setup costs.
Are they affiliated members of the British Franchise Association?
If your accountant is an affiliate member of the BFA, then you have the assurance they understand the concept of franchising, the contractual relationship between franchisor and franchisee, and the accounting requirements and obligations imposed on the franchisee.
Are they members of a recognised accounting Institute or Association (Charter or Certified)?
If your accountant is a member of a recognised accounting institute or Association they will work to industry standards , giving you added peace of mind.
Do they provide business formation advice?
How you setup and form your business (sole trader, partnership or limited company) can have serious implications and effect on obtaining funding for the business, past and future tax liabilities of the business, and the future structure of the business.
Do they have a dedicated franchise team that has experience in the franchise industry?
How many franchise companies (franchisors) do they deal with? Do they have experience of franchising within your chosen franchise business and can their accounts team comply with the accounting requirements as laid down in your franchise contract.
Can they provide a free helpline for all their services?
Backup and support over your entire accounting and financial requirements can be so important and helpful, to leave you with time to concentrate on growing your business. However such backup and support can become expensive so a FREE HELPLINE is invaluable.
Do they provide additional services such as payroll, book keeping, VAT accounting and stock control?
Check the various services offered, as some accountants will prepare annual accounts and provide taxation advice but do not necessarily provide the additional services such as monthly management accounts, book keeping, VAT accounting, payroll and stock control.
Can they provide remote online accounting services?
With online accounting services, you can have complete flexibility as the amount of processing you carry out and how much your accountant carries out. Transfer of data, backups and restoring data are no longer required and you have the security of offsite daily backups.
Are their fees good value and fixed where possible?
Try and obtain fixed quoted fees whereever possible to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of the year.
Can they provide the accounting services required by your franchise agreement, i.e. monthly management accounts? Many franchise agreements now require franchises to submit monthly management accounts in an agreed format to the franchisor.
By completing the above checklist you should ensure you get the right advice, at the right time, at a competitive cost, and comply with all your accounting, payroll and taxation requirements.
Editors update 15th January
It’s still great to use a BFA accountant but many franchises offer both accounting and bookkeeping services as well such as TaxAssist accountancy & financial franchise, Rosemary bookkeeping, DNS Accountants franchise and several more. The BFA has also been joined over the last few years by the Approved Franchise Association or AFA that provides an alternative franchise association for businesses that are either existing franchises or wish to franchise their businesses