Case study

Keith France

“Professional, dedicated, reliable"

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  • Selby-based electrical contractors.
  • Long-standing relationship and regularly in contact.
  • Sought help with restructuring and succession planning.

watt you need to know

Keith France Electrical Contractor Limited has served Selby and the surrounding area for more than 40 years. The company began as a partnership in 1976 between Keith and Patricia France. It’s stayed in the family since then, and is now owned by their son and daughter, Paul France and Helen Prentice.

The business has grown consistently through the years, from partnership to limited company, and now employs 18 electricians full-time, plus apprentices. They provide a nationwide electrical service, including:

  • Electrical installation.
  • Energy efficient solutions.
  • Fire alarm installation and testing.
  • PAT (portable appliance testing).


Director Helen Prentice had been working as a legal secretary at two different solicitors before joining her father’s company in 2003. Although in time, she became in charge, she still counts on him for advice: ‘My dad is my rock and always gives great advice’.

Her husband Paul (not to be confused with brother and business partner Paul) is also on site, working as Stores Manager/Buyer. She describes the on-site team as close and the perfect size – ‘like a family’. But like all of us, she sometimes daydreams about not having the stresses and strife involved with owning and running a business: ‘I’d love to work with animals. Perhaps doggy daycare, or a dog-walking company.  Trouble is, if I worked in a dogs’ home, I’d have to adopt them all!’ Dogs are very dear to Helen – she loves walking her French bulldogs Coco and Gracie along the beach at Filey.


Keith France and Fortus are in regular contact throughout the year and are used by Helen as their go-to for financial advice – ‘Any big decisions, I ask them first. Especially the lovely Laura. She is so helpful and knowledgeable. She’s like a great friend.’

Regular work includes:

  • P11Ds
  • Corporation Tax
  • Personal Tax
  • Accounts
  • Ongoing tax planning.

The breadth of Fortus’s financial specialisms has meant that Helen’s business has been able to take advantage of advice from service lines including tax advisory. Chris Wilson and his team have advised her with restructuring, as well as knowing where to divert funds for reinvestment in the most tax-efficient way.

And Dom Marley, Head of Fortus Wealth Management, has also been on hand to help Helen and Paul plan for the future. Although, they’re not ready to retire yet. As Helen points out, she’s still following her business plan, which is: ‘To remain busy, competitive and provide an all-round excellent service.’


Keith France is a longstanding business, but still going strong after 47 years. However, even firmly established businesses have challenges. For Helen, it’s recruitment and retainment of staff and customers, and the dread of the latter having bad debt: ‘It’s a gamble to be honest. It can be hard when companies have gone into liquidation with us – which has happened numerous times.’

But Helen is very upbeat about the future of Keith France: ‘We’re always looking into the prospect of new products, prospects and technology. We’ve just received accreditation to install solar PV panels, alongside our current domestic, commercial and industrial work.

And she knows she can continue to count on our help. ‘I know I can depend on Fortus to take the worry and burden away from having to deal with my business alone.’

From tax advice to payroll, we can help you and your business. Call Fortus today on 0330 162 4389.


Laura O’Regan Manager
01904 558300

‘We’ve benefitted immensely from Fortus, and we’d be lost without their support. I know I can turn to them with any problem, and we’ll overcome it together. The service is excellent, they go over and above what’s expected, and they’re always putting ideas forward in relation to the future of the business.’

Helen Prentice, Director Keith France Electrical Contractor