Recently, Eden Exchange spoke with Colin Hunt, who is a Director at EzyAccounts, a franchise business focusing on accounting and financial services. Colin discusses how the business came about, how EzyAccounts differentiates itself from other businesses on the market as well as what advantages an accountant gets from joining EzyAccounts as a franchisee compared to similar professionals.
Eden Exchange: Hello Colin, can you tell us a bit about your professional background and how EzyAccounts was created?
Colin Hunt: I was born and raised in a small business family, and after graduating from University I worked in various executive positions with multinational companies gaining experience in engineering, mining, IT and professional services. This led to a career as an ERP consultant working with a wide range of different businesses internationally.
Having accumulated substantial funds I started a software company developing accounting solutions and successfully took this to market in Europe and North America. In 2008, I founded EzyAccounts Pty Ltd, investing my own funds and time to grow this business into a national organisation with 40 franchisees.
Eden Exchange: What would you say is the main outcome for customers when they engage with EzyAccounts?
Colin Hunt: We listen to their requirements, their hopes and dreams for their business and their pain points. We then offer services that are relevant, beneficial and affordable. This includes compliance but more importantly we provide business advisory services to achieve value propositions for the client.
Eden Exchange: How has EzyAccounts separated itself within the sector? What is EzyAccounts main point of difference in the market?
Colin Hunt: We have cast aside the traditional bookkeeping and accounting service models. Our franchisees typically have substantial experience in large organisations and are well suited to business advisory. They are also willing to roll their sleeves up to do compliance work or supervise others doing compliance.
Eden Exchange: What is involved in being a franchisee for EzyAccounts? What training and support is provided by EzyAccounts for new licensees?
Colin Hunt: We provide franchisees with training and support throughout the franchise term giving them the confidence to effectively operate and manage an EzyAccounts franchise. Our intention is to help them in progressively developing their franchise and in delivering quality services to clients.
Training starts with 3 days of high intensity, one-on-one coaching from the head office management team. Additional training will depending on each franchisee’s personal knowledge and experience with a program mutually agreed. Most likely this will comprise a series of self-paced, remote training courses that they can complete at convenient times.
At the end of this training they will hold certification status on the 4 major accounting systems used by small business (Zero, MYOB, QBO, Reckon), as well as business advisory certification. Additional training may also be required for registration with the Tax Practitioners Board.
Eden Exchange: What is the franchise advantage of EzyAccounts and what would a franchisee benefit from that they wouldn’t working for an accounting corporation or freelance business?
Colin Hunt: The independence of small business ownership with the benefits of a well established national network. We are very flexible in accommodating any reasonable objectives that our franchisees have on joining or thereafter. Sometimes this is the need to prioritise family commitment or to realise other lifestyle choices. Mostly it’s a mixture of sustainable income, the opportunity for capital gain and work life balance.
Eden Exchange: Helping organisations with their accounts, finances and tax is a big responsibility, what kind of training is in place for franchisees to take on this role beyond the basic qualification requirement and knowledge of the industry standard programs?
Colin Hunt: Our franchisees are well qualified and experienced accountants. We discuss and mutually agree any training required to meet the needs of each franchisee. However, nobody knows everything. Ongoing support is available to help them operate their franchise effectively and manage clients throughout their life cycle.
By following simple yet effective procedures they benefit from years of experience whilst minimising risks. Whether they need a second opinion or a carefully researched answer our head office team are willing to assist directly or by referral to our expert partners.
We want franchisees to feel confident that they can give clients the best advice available.
Eden Exchange: What is the key to success for EzyAccounts, as opposed to similar accounting companies?
Colin Hunt: Our franchise system is unique and continually evolving based on a belief that our franchisees success fuels our success.
In addition to “marketing support” we also offer to follow through the “sales pipeline”. Everything from generation of initial enquiries, development of client proposals, negotiations and even closing is done by our seasoned and highly skilled business development team. We also offer a client acquisition package with the potential for $100,000 in annual billing.
Eden Exchange: What recognition and reward can an accountant achieve by being a franchisee for EzyAccounts and what sets them apart from their peers?
Colin Hunt: By joining EzyAccounts they will have support to help realise their opportunities and build the future they want.
Joining an established brand is a real benefit compared to going at it alone. We have invested 10 years and a great deal of money in achieving our digital presence and establishing strategic partnerships giving our franchisees a higher status than they could achieve alone.
Eden Exchange: What are some key trends operators in your sector need to be aware of? How will EzyAccounts capitalise on these trends?
Colin Hunt: We are living through exciting times for accountants due to rapidly evolving technology. We founded the company in recognition of this potential and have embraced technological change where relevant. We have established strategic partnerships and are able to position our franchisees for the present and the future.
EdenExchange: What’s the best thing about your job, what drives you to do what you do?
Colin Hunt: As a small business owner myself, I understand how closely related business is to family. Small business is more real than corporate, when you help the business you also help the family. All of our franchisees are small businesses and so are our clients.
EdenExchange: Thank you Colin, it has been a pleasure.