You might say John Hewitt has had a taxing career. In fact, for over 50 years he’s founded, developed, and managed two of the top three tax companies in the country. Now he has his sights set on making the Loyalty Opportunity Fund and Loyalty Brands the number-one opportunity funded financial franchise company in the world by 2020.
Hewitt began his career working for H&R Block in 1969 as a tax preparer before quickly advancing to assistant manager and regional director. He was the company’s youngest regional director, managing more than 2,000 tax preparers in 250 offices in one of H&R Block’s largest districts.
In the early 1980s, he and his father invented the first tax software on the Apple Computer. But his “eureka moment” was still to come.
In 1982, Hewitt and a team of investors founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Hampton Roads, Va. The company used his unique “Hewtax” decision-tree tax interview software program, an industry first. The concept was a hit with taxpayers, and he took the company public before selling it–and its 1,345 offices–in 1997 for $483 million.
After the sale in 1997, he decided to test his model and business philosophy internationally by launching in Canada. The organization, Liberty Tax, went on to become the fastest-growing tax company from 2000 to 2014. Today, there are more than 4,400 Liberty Tax offices in the U.S. and Canada.
Hewitt says building a tax company was easier the second time around. “There was lots of trial and error in building Jackson Hewitt,” he says. “With Liberty Tax we knew what to do and what not to do, and we were able to do it much more efficiently and quickly.” Again, with big-time successful results.
It’s not all business and taxes for Hewitt. He is also dedicated to helping those in need. One of his initiatives is fighting hunger throughout the world. In 1998, he co-founded Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization. In 2010, he co-founded Run for Food International, which works in Nicaragua to support programs that provide food to reduce malnutrition and death.
Back in the office, Hewitt has been named one of the Top 100 most influential persons in the tax industry by Accounting Today on 12 different occasions. In 2006, the IFA recognized him as its Entrepreneur of the Year.
When pressed, Hewitt doesn’t shy away from his 2020 goal. “Everybody has goals, but if they’re not identifiable and accountable they don’t get accomplished,” he says. “In our organization from top to bottom, everybody knows what we’re doing, what’s expected, and how we’re going to get there. It’s just a matter of executing the plan and covering the basic X’s and O’s. There’s no tricks… just done right.”