KPMG has been the National Sponsor of Family Business Australia for many years. As the pre-eminent association serving the needs of families in business, KPMG works closely with the FBA and its members to develop planning in parallel between the family and its business.
Through the bi-annual Family Business survey, KPMG and FBA combine to offer a snapshot of the health of ‘family business’ in Australia. What emerges is that succession planning is essential. It’s not an event; it’s a process, and the longer that process is in play, the better off the business will be.
The parallel planning process can start when children are very young and can shape their training, courses, and what they study. Whether it’s to hand the business on to the next generation, or to sell the business, it’s important and the family business sector in Australia still doesn’t do it adequately.
You have an emotional, unique unit in a family – it’s a wonderful opportunity, but they need to know how to manage themselves and how to separate and govern the family. Best practice shows you should have family governance structures in place and deal with the tension-causing issues that families need to discuss about the business in the form of a family council forum.
It’s essential to have some time where the business is off limits. All too often I see families where they can’t get away from the business and this isn’t best practice. Family businesses are not small business. There are some very large family businesses in Australia and they contribute in excess of 60% of Australia’s GDP annually.