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Interview with Bret Ireland from First Class Accounts - Australia’s largest bookkeeping Franchise

Bret Ireland
First Class Accounts is Australia’s largest bookkeeping Franchise.

Eden Exchange recently spoke with Bret Ireland who is the Franchise Recruitment Manager at First Class Accounts. Bret talked to us about his franchising journey as well as his experiences growing First Class Accounts.
First Class Accounts is Australia’s largest bookkeeping Franchise.  Bret’s role is to  help prospective franchisees learn more about First Class Accounts so they can determine if it is is the right opportunity for them. Bret also provided some insights for entrepreneurs interested in entering small business and franchising.
Thanks for speaking with us Bret. Firstly, why did you get in to franchising? What were you doing prior to joining First Class Accounts and how first get involved with the company? 
I love talking to and helping people and was fortunate to receive an insight into First Class Accounts via my wife who at the time  handled the internal accounting at First Class Accounts. I was impressed with the business model but I was more impressed with the culture that existed amongst the franchisees. The opportunity arose to undertake the recruitment role so I grabbed it with both hands. Prior to First Class Accounts Donna and I ran a number of different businesses in conjunction with our two eldest children for a period of 15 years.  
First Class Accounts currently has franchise territories available throughout Australia.  What areas are you particularly focusing on? What are some of the factors making running a First Class Accounts businesses unique?
The non-exclusivity of our marketing areas mean our franchisees are not restricted geographically,  they can accept business from anywhere. As a  result we don’t focus too heavily on marketing areas but rather the quality of the prospect who may become a franchisee.
Firstly, our National Office comprises people who have a genuine desire to see our franchisees succeed. Secondly our franchisees embrace a culture which sees them support and help each other. Our culture is one of greatest strengths.
What advice do you have for someone looking to own a franchise for the first time? What’s the key message you tell new franchisees?
Do your due diligence, make sure this is the right business for you and your family. You need to be excited and passionate about the opportunity before you commence. Once you make the decision to become a part of the FCA family - Follow the System – Embrace the Culture.
What type of background and experience does a new First Class Accounts franchisee need to have? What makes for a successful owner?
You need to have an understanding of  basic accounting principles, but more importantly you need to have a genuine desire to want to help prople.
What type of support does Frst Class Accounts provide once a new franchise has opened its doors?
First Class Accounts is a bookkeeping franchise developed by a bookkeeper. As a result the business has been built on a very strong foundation of training and support. The training is made up of 2 parts – Initial and Ongoing. Whilst the support is made up of three parts – technical, operational and marketing. It is the combination of these things that make our franchisees “More than just Bookkeepers”.
What are some important industry trends you belive franchise buyers and sellers need to be looking out for? What’s your take on where your industry is heading?
The role and professionalism of a bookkeeper has changed over the past 5 years mainly due to the significant advances in technology. Gone are the days of endless data entry. A bookkeeper nowadays can help a client to establish the right accounting package for their needs, but more importantly help the client to understand the vast amount of data available to them so they can work more on their business as opposed to simply working in it.
What are some of the key achievements you are proud of at First Class Accounts? On the other side, what challenges have you faced to get the business where it is today?
Biggest is not always best - to see First Class Accounts develop to become the largest bookkeeping franchise in Australia is impressive, but the fact we have been able to achieve the growth whilst retaining our core fundamentals such as providing the best support and training the industry has to offer is very satisfying. I guess this is why we have developed a culture amongst our franchisees which continues to be the envy of our competitors.
What are the strategic priorities of First Class Accounts? Where do you see the company in a year from now?
There’s an old saying “More of the same brings more of the same”. We will continue to work on improving the support and training available to our franchisees. I am sure, as a result, our franchisees will continue to prosper and develop the type of business that will enable them to achive the goals they have set for themselves.
What’s the best part of your job your job? 
Talking to people, developing relationships, and helping them to decide whether First Class Accounts is the right opportunity for them and their family
Thanks for your time Bret
Not a problem –it’s been a pleasure.
About First Class Accounts
First Class Accounts is proudly Australia's largest bookkeeping franchise with an extensive national network of professional bookkeepers who operate their own businesses. First Class Accounts operators take pride in delivering a range of services to help small and medium-sized businesses work smarter.
To view their latest franchise opportunities please click here
To find out more contact +613 8658 2292 or +612 8880 5535
DISCLAIMER: Eden Exchange Pty Ltd has taken all reasonable care in publishing the information contained in this Franchise Briefing. It is information given in a summary form and does not purport to be complete. The information contained is not intended to be used as the basis for making any investment decision and you are solely responsible for any use you choose to make of the information. We strongly advise that you seek independent professional advice before making any investment decisions. Eden Exchange Pty Ltd is not responsible for any consequences of the use you make of the information, including any loss or damage you or a third party might suffer as a result of that use.

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