When Busi­ness Is Fam­ily

Business Plus - - SHARES -

Ir­ish fam­ily busi­nesses face the same chal­lenges as any busi­ness, with the added dy­namic of ‘fam­ily’, writes Olivia Lynch, Part­ner, KPMG Pri­vate En­ter­prise

Fam­ily and pri­vately-owned busi­nesses have long been a crit­i­cal part of Ire­land’s eco­nomic and so­cial fab­ric. The fam­ily busi­nesses we work with are ag­ile and deeply com­mit­ted to their busi­ness’s fu­ture, which is sup­ported in many cases by the skills of mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions.

Like any other busi­ness, fam­ily busi­nesses are fo­cused on in­no­va­tion and re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive to en­sure their chances of sur­vival for the next gen­er­a­tion. They are also sub­ject to the same dis­rup­tive chal­lenges that ex­isted be­fore the cur­rent global pan­demic cri­sis, in­clud­ing cy­ber­crime and the po­ten­tial of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, as well as the need to seek out new mar­kets.

What also makes fam­ily busi­nesses dif­fer­ent is, of course, the ele­ment of fam­ily. Con­sid­er­a­tions around de­ter­min­ing man­age­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and trans­fer of own­er­ship and lead­er­ship all have added lay­ers of com­plex­ity for a fam­ily busi­ness. There are also unique tax con­sid­er­a­tions and im­pli­ca­tions for fam­ily busi­nesses, par­tic­u­larly for trans­fer of own­er­ship.

Tai­lored ad­vice for unique busi­nesses

Recog­nis­ing the unique na­ture of fam­ily busi­nesses in Ire­land, at KPMG Pri­vate En­ter­prise we have a ded­i­cated fam­ily busi­ness prac­tice that works with com­pa­nies of all sizes to ad­dress the needs of busi­ness and fam­ily.

This team in­cludes 11 of our peo­ple who have suc­cess­fully com­pleted the STEP Ad­vanced Cer­tifi­cate in Ad­vis­ing the Fam­ily Busi­ness, which is sub­ject to the rig­or­ous qual­ity as­sur­ance pro­ce­dures of Al­liance Manch­ester Busi­ness School. The glob­ally recog­nised Ad­vanced Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion en­ables our peo­ple to bet­ter sup­port unique Ir­ish fam­ily busi­nesses with their growth am­bi­tions.

Fac­ing a new re­al­ity

A key fo­cus for our fam­ily busi­ness ad­vi­sors in dis­cussing what mo­ti­vates and con­cerns fam­ily busi­nesses is un­der­stand­ing the wider and ever-chang­ing land­scape in which busi­nesses are op­er­at­ing. In the wake of the COVID-19 pan­demic, we find our­selves in a new re­al­ity. For some, this will mean try­ing to re­open and re­build their busi­ness, while for oth­ers, it may in­volve ex­plor­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties, or di­ver­si­fy­ing prod­ucts or ser­vices. For all, the chal­lenge is strik­ing the right bal­ance be­tween pri­ori­tis­ing the busi­ness, while en­sur­ing the safety of em­ploy­ees and main­tain­ing op­er­a­tional per­for­mance.

We will likely see in­creased fo­cus on ar­eas like ag­ile work­ing, sup­ply chain, digi­ti­sa­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, train­ing, re­search and in­no­va­tion in this new busi­ness re­al­ity. It will be im­por­tant to as­sess the im­pact of the dis­rup­tion of the global pan­demic on suc­ces­sion plans for Ir­ish fam­ily busi­nesses.

When run­ning a fam­ily busi­ness, the tough­est de­ci­sions can of­ten be around suc­ces­sion and such a pe­riod of change could ac­cel­er­ate or de­lay suc­ces­sion dis­cus­sions. While much re­mains to be seen, his­tory has taught us that fam­ily busi­nesses in Ire­land are re­mark­ably re­silient and re­source­ful.

Un­der­stand­ing the chal­lenge

Our ad­vi­sors com­bine ex­per­tise in ar­eas from tax, cash man­age­ment and debt ad­vi­sory and au­dit, to le­gal ser­vices and re­struc­tur­ing, to­gether with an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of the unique­ness of fam­ily busi­nesses.

We un­der­stand that the ele­ment of ‘fam­ily’ can play a sig­nif­i­cant role in de­ci­sion-mak­ing, of­fer­ing both op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges. We also un­der­stand that achiev­ing busi­ness growth re­quires a fine bal­ance be­tween the needs of the busi­ness and the ex­pec­ta­tions of fam­ily mem­bers. As the am­bi­tion and mo­ti­va­tion of dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions can also be a pow­er­ful force with unique chal­lenges, the need for ex­ter­nal sup­port that un­der­stands what makes a fam­ily busi­ness unique has be­come hugely rel­e­vant.

Find out more at kpmg.ie/pri­va­teen­ter­prise

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