Working in Harmony with Your Family

At CBSL Accountants we work closely with our clients – including helping some of our family-owned businesses deal with the challenges that arise from working with your nearest and dearest.  

It is particularly common when talking to clients about succession planning between generations, or if siblings are in a business together, they have different thoughts about what they want to do next… to continue or retire?... Pass on to the next generation? Or sell to a third party?

It is extremely easy to go into business and give shares away, but much harder when things have gone wrong, to decide how to deal with the fallout and disagreements that might arise.

According to the Institute for Family Business, two thirds of UK businesses are family owned – that’s 4.8 million in total – employing around 12.2 million people in the UK and generating over a quarter of UK GDP. So, what are our 5 top tips to working in harmony in your family business:

1. Communication – regular planned meetings to discuss business matters gives family members the opportunity to make decisions together and to prevent work discussions infringing on family time together. And as mentioned with succession, the number of companies that have neither ownership nor management succession plans is surprisingly high (60% and 75% respectively - not having both 90%).

2. Set roles – identifying your family members' strengths and weaknesses is key to allocating suitable roles and highlighting where external support and advice is required.

3. Get it in writing – as with any business it is important to set boundaries and terms whilst everyone is in agreement so that should disputes arise further down the line there is a clear way to resolve matters.

4. Strong values – the longest lasting family businesses have a clear set of strong values that the family take pride in upholding and passing on to future generations.

5. Work with the younger generations – whilst the business values bind the generations together, the most successful businesses also embrace changes in their business environment, often propelled by the passions and ideas of the younger generations to move the business forward.

If you want to discuss challenges facing your family business or want to look at how best to hand down the business to next generations, please do give us a call on 01743 249 992 or email us and we will be happy to offer advice.