Working for a big company can often feel like living under a big security blanket. You’re safe and secure in your role, and your future is assured thanks to ongoing work in a large organisation. Until the redundancies start rolling out, and all of a sudden you feel like a sitting duck and your future is not so secure. One of our franchisee’s, Karen Bradshaw from First Class Accounts Balcatta, refused to play the uncertain game any more, and in 2016, she said goodbye to corporate life and started her own First Class Accounts franchise.
This is her story:
“I’d spent most of my career as an ACCA management accountant, in both the UK and Australia. I’d been made redundant from one particular company, and even though I’d secured a new position quickly, it always made me feel uneasy about my future, knowing I could be made redundant again at any time. I’d always thought about going out on my own but hadn’t done anything about it until my last company started on a round of redundancies. While my role was safe, I decided to finally act on my ideas and thought it was time I became my own boss.
While I knew I could do the work of a bookkeeper, I had minimal experience with small business accounting software. I was used to working in SAP or Oracle, I’d logged into MYOB once, and I’d never really heard of Xero, so I knew I’d need to revise some of my skills and get some ongoing technical support. I was also a bit apprehensive about securing clients and sorting out my marketing. I realised that a franchise would offer me the support I needed as a first-time business owner, and when I saw First Class Accounts credentials and spoke to their franchisees, I knew it would be a great fit.
That was 2 years ago, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m now my own boss, I can plan my days as I want, I can organise my time as it fits into my lifestyle, and I’m not answerable to anyone else. My first clients were passed onto me by other First Class Accounts bookkeepers, there is no competition or rivalry between franchisees. We are really there to help each other out – be it with client referrals, or with questions. When you start out with a new client in an industry you might not be familiar with – you have a network of 250+ bookkeepers you can turn too, and the head office team, who are all there to help you out.
My client list has happily grown over the past two years. I put in the effort with networking, and I receive referrals from my clients, so I have a steady stream of work coming in. And it’s quite varied work too. The work centres around day-to-day account management, payroll, training, automation, MYOB and Xero software conversions – it’s so diverse. At the end of the day, I’m helping small businesses succeed. Having an impact on my community and helping others succeed is a by-product I didn’t even really think about before I started, but it’s one of the best things about my job.
I now have a casual employee, and I’m on the referrals board of a great accounting firm as their exclusive XERO bookkeeper – so things are going from strength to strength. My business plans are strong, and I’m always open to new opportunities, and it’s certainly paid off. I love being my own boss and choosing my own schedule. I work hard for my business, and the rewards are fantastic.”
Final Four Questions:
What advice do you have for those starting their own franchise: It can take 6 months to get yourself established, so make sure you have an income stream to support you in those early days
What is the hardest thing about running your own bookkeeping business: It can be a steep learning curve at times. Sometimes I do more hours than I bill my clients because I want to research and give my clients the best work I can. But it helps me in the long run!
What is the best thing about being in the First Class Accounts network? The support and the confidence you get from training and knowing you’re on top of compliance. The people are lovely, and there is always someone who can help you – I’ve never had a question go unanswered!
Final word: The positives of being your own boss and running your own small business, far outweigh the negatives.
Thanks so much for taking us on your First Class Accounts journey Karen! If you would like to know more about being your own boss with a First Class Accounts franchise call their Recruitment Manager on 1800 118 611