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Top five tips for family businesses

We work with a large number of family businesses of all sizes, providing them with a range of services that include management accounting, audit, payroll and tax advice.

However, we don’t just understand the numbers; we go further and make sure that we understand a client’s business as well as individual goals. This means that we can provide advice about the business as a whole, whilst taking into consideration potential succession strategies or reviewing how other family members can be remunerated. We have noticed common themes that crop up time and time again so we have compiled our top five tips for a family business:

  1. Keep communication lines open

Handling difficult conversations is something that comes hand in hand with running a business but when the conversations are within the same family, the dynamics and emotions can sometimes make this a more fraught exercise. It might be beneficial to use someone as a mediator – a professional adviser who knows your business but are objective and outside the family can help to facilitate difficult topics.

  1. Have a clear vision

It may sound like it’s obvious but so many businesses don’t have a plan with set goals and can therefore drift along one year to the next. By putting a plan down on paper, you will find that this really focuses your mind (as well as that of your team) to give you all a common objective.

  1. Being able to adapt

You may have a clear idea about where you want your business to go but it’s important to be flexible and adapt to changes in the market place. By keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening, you can identify new opportunities as well as any threats to your business. As professional advisers we make it our job to understand your business and help you identify any opportunities that may arise.

  1. Look at what would happen if you were no longer there

You may think that we continually raise the need to set up a shareholders agreement, but we do this for a reason. We have seen so many of our clients not documenting how certain situations are to be dealt with and when the unforeseen has happened, it is a lot harder to sort everything out. ‘After all, it won’t happen to me!’ is a common phrase that we hear. We work with clients to ensure that the business and the family are protected financially when difficult situations arise.

  1. Looking after your family’s wealth

Wealth can impact the way that a business runs and what you want to happen now and into the future – for you, your family and employees. We work with our clients to explore their options but importantly, never impose what we think they should do. Our vision is ‘Shared Ambition’ meaning that by knowing your goals for the business and what you personally want to achieve, we can then work with you to help make these a reality.

To begin to look inside your business with a little more clarity and confidence, get in touch with one of our Family Business advisers at PKF Francis Clark and see how our new advisory platform, Family Business Connect, could make a significant difference to you.

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