Daren Moore talks to Shyamantha Asokan about his transition from partner in an accounting firm to CEO of tax and accountancy franchise TaxAssist.
At the age of 45, Daren Moore realised he was getting a bit bored. He’d achieved his ambition to become a partner in an accounting firm over a decade ago. He knew he could stay on this track and be well paid for doing so – but he wanted to try something new.
“I didn’t feel challenged,” says Daren, now 51. “I felt comfortable in the role, I was doing the role, I was very well-remunerated for the role…but there’s got to be more to it than that.”
When Daren did accounting work for people who were setting up their own businesses, he found their roles exciting. He realised he wanted to be in a more entrepreneurial role too. He thus left the accountancy firm six years ago to join TaxAssist, a franchise that provides accountancy and tax services for small businesses.
Daren is now TaxAssist’s CEO and he’s had to be highly entrepreneurial to help the franchise grow – it currently has 240 territories across the UK. He hopes to do an Initial Public Offering [IPO] in the future. He took a pay cut to make this career move, but he’s more than happy with his decision.
“I’m able to challenge myself everyday,” he says. “I’ve learned new skills, I’ve developed people, and we’re building a business that is really quite exciting.”
As Daren was finishing school, he didn’t have a specific career in mind – but he knew he needed a good job. He and his then-girlfriend, now his wife, had unexpectedly had a baby when he was 18. Their daughter was born a month before he did his A-levels.
Daren had always been interested in economics and so he joined an accounting firm on a training contract. After completing his training he moved to a bigger firm, which would later become Baker Tilly. He became a partner relatively quickly at the age of 31. He moved to another firm when he was 37 and became a managing partner.
During his 20s and 30s, Daren had a young family to provide for and his accountancy career was a good fit, although it involved very long hours. In his 40s, his children had grown up and he could afford to take a chance. He says that entering the second half of his career also made him reflect on what he wanted to achieve before retirement.
“I thought: ‘If I stayed in my current role, what would I think at the point of retirement?’ ” he says. “Would I look back and think I’d achieved what I wanted to achieve? Or [did] I want to do something different?”
Daren says his approach to work-life balance has changed somewhat in recent years. He still works 45-50 hours a week in the office, plus further hours at home – but this is less intense than his accountancy firm years, when he typically worked 70-80 hours a week in the office. He enjoys having more time for his family and for travelling.
His advice for fellow older workers is to consider what they want to achieve and experience by the time they retire, just as he did. While he changed track in his mid-40s, he also sees many people who become TaxAssist franchisees in their 50s and 60s.
“Don’t be afraid of making a change,” he says. “Don’t fall into that trap of getting stuck in a routine and thinking: ‘That’s it, it’s [almost] your time to retire.’ Use that time productively to challenge yourself, to learn, to enjoy, to experience.”