Consultant/franchisee: Alex King explains what it takes to run a regional office of consultants providing accountancy services aimed at SMEs.

Author:King, Alex
Position:So you want to be ...


Would you like to start your own business but aren't confident about your marketing and sales skills? Are you thinking about becoming a member in practice but afraid that you might not attract enough clients? If your answer to these questions is "yes", you may have reached a point in your career where you want the flexibility that comes with self-employment but not the insecurity, so the job advertised above may be the right career choice for you.

The Local Bookkeeper (TLBK) is a national network of financial management franchises providing services to SMEs. Its aims are to change the attitudes of small business owners so that they understand the importance of management accounting and to teach them how to manage their cash flow better--a particularly pressing issue during the recession. It exclusively recruits people with a wealth of accounting experience.

There is no getting away from it: during the first few years the role of office owner will be a lot of hard work but, compared with a job with a set salary, you will be well rewarded financially for your efforts. Once the initial phase is finished and you've built a strong team, you will be rewarded again with the chance to reduce your hours while still maintaining a substantial income--as well as benefiting from a business that you can sell.

Office owners are given an exclusive territory of businesses in their area, which enables them to work from home. Some owners choose to move into an office in order to separate work and home life, but this decision is yours to make. The role will require you to work on site for some clients, so you will need your own transport unless you're operating in a region with good public transport links.

The role demands a number of soft skills, including strong communication and the ability to impart financial information to entrepreneurs who aren't...

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