At just 37 years old, former Chartered Accountant, David Kendall, runs one of the largest franchised businesses in the Auditel network. With over 100 clients, many of them FTSE 250 companies, David is a shining example of all that can be achieved through hard work, dedication and a clear business strategy. After eight years at the helm of his franchise, David is achieving some of the professional and personal ambitions that he’s held for a lifetime.
“I’m fulfilling lifelong ambitions and Auditel has played a key role in that. I’ve got a stable, profitable business with a great team behind me, and financially I am in a better position than I would be if I was still in full time employment. I was fortunate and very grateful to be able to build our dream home for my family and I last year, a vision that was the culmination of several years hard work in the property development space. I wouldn’t have been able to start my property journey without the income from Auditel and I wouldn’t have been able to build the house if I didn’t have the time – so the flexibility of the franchise has played a pivotal role.”
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, David worked at PwC for seven years and went on to several global positions with one of the world’s largest manufacturers, Saint-Gobain. After a two-year stint in risk management and internal controls, David become the Group Finance Controller at the age of 26. Yet, despite his success, he felt unfulfilled and somewhat restrained. Finally, in 2011, David made the decision to become a Franchise Partner
“I had a great job, was earning good money for my age and I had a lot of prospects. But in a company that big, you’re never really in control and have very little autonomy. I had a lot of ambition and no outlet for it. I’d wanted to take things into my own hands for some time before I left – it wasn’t a quick or an easy decision. During my career, I’d had a lot of experience in consultancy and client work so, the Auditel model just fitted.”
Drawn by the existing client base and wealth of experience in the network, David combined his own skills with the Auditel business model to create an impressive offering from day-one. As he became more established, David utilised his fellow consultants in the network to propel his business to new heights.
“Partnering with accountancy firms has underpinned my business from day one. I’ve built on that by utilising the experience of my peers. That’s actually the best thing about Auditel – the asset you get in the shape of the network. Not many companies can offer that knowledgebase. It’s got weight and adds a credibility and a scope that sets you in good stead when you’re dealing with multi-nationals and FTSE listed companies. I work with several premier accountancy firms because we offer something that they don’t. They need, and want, our range of expertise to offer to their own clients. Even with the size and scale of the companies that I work with, I’ve never brought in a consultant from outside Auditel – and I’ll never need to.”
Far from resting on his laurels, David is as passionate as ever about his business. He has a team of staff based in his home-town of Kenilworth and a wider team of up to 20 Auditel consultants working with him at any one time. His focus for the future is on developing a partnership model with some of the UK’s top-tier accountancy firms.
“Whether it’s white-labelling or joint-venturing our services, my focus is on developing the work we already do with top-tier consultancy services. I’ve yet to find a business where we haven’t been able to add value. Take these big PLCs, they have vast procurement departments, but they still use us because we have expertise that they don’t. We release profits back into their business and, in effect, become part of their procurement team.”
It’s not unusual for David’s clients to have ten or more cost-centre projects active at any one time and being able to adapt quickly to opportunities is a key factor in the business’ success. To ensure in-house agility, David invests in bringing expertise into his team and is passionate about offering career prospects to staff and supporting new talent through apprenticeship schemes.
“Giving career prospects to my staff is important to me. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing others develop and grow. I’m a big supporter of the national apprenticeship scheme – I’ve had two apprentices in my business, one of whom went on to be a Chartered Accountant. Another classic example would be my right-hand woman, Polly Lawrence. She joined the business in 2012 and now, she runs the procurement side of what we do. Her specialism is Carriage, Logistics and Packaging. She’s very well-liked and respected within the network. She won the Auditel Employee of the Year in 2018 and was a finalist in the 2018 Natwest Encouraging Women into Franchising awards – a national title. It’s rewarding to give back and feels right to help others succeed.”
Despite being a highly successful and self-sufficient franchise owner, David has a strong relationship with head office. Perhaps surprisingly, their ongoing work in franchise recruitment is something he appreciates now more than ever:
“We have a great relationship, built on mutual appreciation and respect. They’ve helped me with a lot over the years. It didn’t attract me in the first instance, because I didn’t know or appreciate it, but the fact that Auditel assess, moderate and carefully consider the people coming into the network is very valuable. Every single member of the network has a skill and a value and something to offer. That’s why we’re so powerful.”
As well as being recognised by his clients as an outstanding and vital partner, David has also been awarded for his business performance and contribution to the Auditel network. However, when it comes to his proudest moments, looking forward fills David with as much pride as looking back.
“It’s hard to pick a highlight of my time with Auditel so far, there have been quite a few. One that springs to mind is winning the Rising Star Award in 2014 – it was very nice to be recognised amongst your peers. To be honest, when I’m dealing with international Group FDs and Finance Directors of FTSE Ltd companies, I feel very proud of Auditel and my business, and I am excited about what else we can achieve.”