Last week, H&R Block announced that its co-founder, Henry Bloch, had passed away, at the age of 96.
In 1955, the American businessman revolutionised tax returns when he and his brother Richard placed an ad in their local paper — the Kansas City Star — offering tax returns for $5, with overwhelming response, leading to the creation of H&R Block.
Mr Bloch oversaw the franchising concept at H&R Block and saw the company grow to over 12,000 offices worldwide.
In 1971, H&R Block opened its first four offices in Sydney and Melbourne, before expanding to all capital cities in Australia in the next year.
Mr Bloch retired as the company’s chief executive officer in 1992 and as chairman of the board of directors in 2000.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, H&R Block managing director Brodie Dixon said that, while many things have changed since Mr Bloch first started offering tax return services, the company’s commitment to helping clients would remain at the forefront.
“Technology in particular has changed the client experience, with clients now able to make appointments online, upload their documents, and review and approve their return online, all without leaving home. Small business services, such as cloud-based bookkeeping, have also transformed the accounting service,” Mr Dixon said.
“However, some things at H&R Block have stayed the same as they were in 1955, particularly our commitment to professionalism, expertise and the best interests of our client.
“H&R Block Australia will continue to carry on Henry Bloch’s legacy, which is to provide expert, value-for-money tax and accounting services for individuals and small businesses.”
Chief executive of H&R Block Jeff Jones also paid tribute to Mr Bloch’s legacy in the tax profession as well as his philanthropic work in Kansas City.
“To the business world, he was an entrepreneur who established an industry and a new business model called franchising; to his family, he was a loving and caring father who valued family over everything else. But to all of us at H&R Block, the associates and franchisees who work for this brand, he was simply Henry — to some a mentor, to some a friend, to all of us an inspiration,” Mr Jones said.
“Our purpose — to provide help and inspire confidence in our clients and communities everywhere — is a direct extension of the values Henry helped establish for this company so many years ago.”
Mr Bloch is survived by his four children, 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.