An Interview With Wirral Franchisee, Tom Cowley Back
We caught up with Tom Cowley, The Financial Management Centre’s Wirral franchisee, to see how his time at The Financial Management Centre has been and if he can share his experience of the franchise.
Tom is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Certified bookkeepers and has over 30 years of accountancy experience. From his centrally located office in Moreton, Wirral, Tom provides accountancy and bookkeeping services to various business sectors including car dealerships, construction, manufacturing, retail and telecommunication, to name a few. His office is growing and he now has an impressive portfolio which includes companies that have turnovers in excess of £2 million.
How long have you been a TFMC Franchisee?
I've been with TFMC (The Financial Management Centre) for 7 years now. Initially I signed up for 5 years but once my 5 years were up I renewed for another 5 years.
What was your background prior to The Financial Management Centre?
I am a qualified accountant, I’ve worked 30 years in the industry in a number of sectors but primarily in the construction industry. The time came when I started to look at doing something myself.
What made you choose a franchise over starting your own business?
I looked at starting my own business but quite frankly I didn’t know how to do it! It wasn’t so much the accounting work it was all of the peripherals; how do you look after a website? How do you market (your services)? The franchise route offered the answers I was looking for.
Did you look at many other franchises before choosing The Financial Management Centre?
No I didn’t. I saw TFMC advertised, which in those days it was called “The Local Bookkeeper”, which is what initially caught my eye. I knew nothing, originally, about franchising so I made some enquiries, (firstly about) franchising generally and (then) The Local Bookkeeper and it was beginning to tick boxes for me. The upshot is that we met up, I liked what I was hearing (and) they liked what they were hearing, and the result was I signed up in August 2010.
What was the deciding factor behind your decision to choose The Financial Management Centre?
The deciding factor for me was the support mechanism offered centrally. I mentioned just before about website support, marketing support, those sorts of things. For somebody like me who is not necessarily an expert in those fields that was a very very big plus.
How did you find the help and support when you first started?
Very good, I can honestly say what I saw on the tin is what was delivered, and to be perfectly honest with you the ongoing support is good so I’ve got no complaints in that direction.
Has the franchise met your expectations?
As an experience it’s been good, it’s been hard work. I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were when I set out, it was a bit of uncharted territory for me but having done what I’ve done I can look back and say it has been a good period and I’ve enjoyed it.
How many offices do you run?
Initially when I signed up I had a small territory which was at the top corner of the Wirral. Just as I resigned after 5 years I took over the rest of the Wirral, so my official territory is now Wirral (but) it was originally made up of 2 territories.
Do you have any plans to expand into more areas?
I’m undecided at the minute. The area I look after is quite a big area but outside of the area there’s quite a large catchment for me potentially. I haven’t really looked into the possibility of formally taking over another territory.
Have you achieved a good work/life balance?
On balance, yeah. It was harder in the early days but as time moves on you’re able to manage your situation, you know what you are expecting and you can work around that so it’s something that just develops as you develop the business.
Would you do it all again?
Yes, I would do it again, as I’ve said the overall experience has been good. I don’t have any complaints so if anyone was to come and ask me I’d tell them exactly what my experience has been and potential franchisees can judge by that, I’ve certainly go no complaints
What advice would you give a potential franchisee?
If you’re a brand-new franchisee and you’re starting out afresh without any clients you’ve got a fresh sheet of paper, you can’t expect the world to come running to you just because you’ve announced your presence. It needs some dedication, it needs you to get the trust of potential customers, it doesn’t happen overnight but over time it will happen.
You can watch the full interview below
If you are thinking about setting up your own accountancy/bookkeeper business, like Tom did, and would like the help and support of an established franchise contact us on 0345 862 1078 for more details. Alternatively visit our website accounting-franchise.co.uk to learn more.