When Business Is Family
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