BooXkeeping, a Las Vegas-based franchising company that works with other franchises, is extending its reach nationwide.
The company already has six locations and plans to sell 25 new territories by the end of this year. It serves franchises such as FastSigns, Signarama, Gameday Men’s Health, Sport Clips, i9 Sports and more. In a way, it already has a presence across the country thanks to the franchisors it serves.
“BooXkeeping started 12 years ago as the local San Diego bookkeeping provider and over time it grew to providing bookkeeping services in all 50 states,” said CEO Max Emma, a Soviet emigre who founded the company. “Our specialty is bookkeeping for franchises and multiunit locations. Currently, BooXkeeping is a preferred bookkeeping provider for over 90 franchise brands in the U.S.”
Those franchise brands steer their franchisees to his company.
“The franchisor makes us a preferred vendor and pushes our services toward their franchisees, and some of them make it mandatory to use BooXkeeping,” said Emma. “That’s why our franchises are in all 50 states. And because of our involvement with franchising, two years ago, I got this crazy idea to become a franchisor ourselves. So now we are franchising BooXkeeping as a concept, and we sell bookkeeping franchises. We have six franchisees in different states, and we have a goal of opening 25 more locations in 2024.”
The latest one opened by the company was in its hometown of Las Vegas, and it was bought by a CPA firm.
“One of the unique values that BooXkeeping franchises provides is the staff to do the work,” said Emma. “The CPA firm was lacking staff for the bookkeeping clients, and that’s why they ended up purchasing a BooXkeeping franchise. Also as part of the franchise, we are offering the initial and ongoing training, including sales and executive coaching and we also provide some clients.”
BooXkeeping has also been working with Intuit as a QuickBooks Solution Provider selling Intuit products to all the franchise brands with which it works. It’s also partnering with Xero, NetSuite and Sage Intacct.
“Everybody who works for BooXkeeping has an accounting degree, but having said that, we don’t provide any tax services or consulting services,” said Emma. “We stick with bookkeeping.”
He currently has 22 people working at his six franchises, which are located in California, Florida, Texas and Nevada. The company also has offices in Europe and the Philippines.
After emigrating from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. at the age of 18, he initially worked in corporate accounting and finance, but found the job unfulfilling. In 2002, he opened a family-run landscape maintenance business. Even though the business grew to $4 million, a lack of financial oversight and the 2008 recession led to bankruptcy. He restarted with a smaller landscape maintenance business, this time outsourcing his bookkeeping to another company. However, he noticed a discrepancy in the way the bookkeeping industry operated.
For the same scope of bookkeeping work, he was seeing quotes ranging from $200 to $2,000, and saw an opportunity. He and his wife Elena started the BooXkeeping business in their garage part-time in 2011 while they ran their landscaping company to pay the bills. Gradually, BooXkeeping became their full-time job and they sold their landscaping company. While the couple divorced a few years later, they continued to work together to grow the brand.
They began selling franchises a few years ago, but the pandemic disrupted their plans. “The day we got the approval, that was the day coincidentally when we went into lockdown four years ago,” said Emma. “For the first year and a half, there wasn’t much we were doing because we had to restructure the actual corporate model and adjust to the ever-changing world. We really started selling about two and a half years ago.”
He sees the company as a way to help accounting firms and businesses cope with the accountant shortage. “That’s why people are interested in buying the franchises because we are providing the staff,” said Emma. “We are housing the staff. We are training them. We are making sure they’re ready to go and work for our franchisees.”
Other companies have tried the bookkeeping franchise model, including H&R Block and BookKeeping Express, but Emma sees a difference from tax prep chains like Block.
“Our concept is we don’t provide any tax work because we get a lot of referrals to our franchisees from CPA firms, and now CPA firms are interested in buying a BooXkeeping franchise,” said Emma. “A CPA firm would not be interested in buying an H&R Block location, because if they buy it, they can’t provide tax services on their own, so they don’t want to do that. We just do the bookkeeping and if a CPA firm is providing tax services, we don’t get royalties on that. We only get royalties on the bookkeeping part.”
He views the franchise model as an attractive one for bookkeeping and compares it to the food business. “Can you open your own pizza store? Absolutely you can, but when you buy a pizza franchise they’ll tell you how much cheese to put on this pizza so it tastes good and looks good,” said Emma. “Can you figure it out yourself? Yes, but how long is it going to take you and how many pizzas are you going to waste? We’ve been in business for 12 years, and I can proudly say that we did make mistakes and we learned from our own mistakes. That’s the value that a franchisee is getting, not only what to do, but what not to do based on our experience and then having a team of people. Being a leader in franchising nationwide helps us to understand the franchising world.”
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