Three Cheers for the Family Business

A recent article in The Times – on Tuesday January 27 – asked the question whether “could this be the year of the family business”.

Citing a number of case studies of family businesses, the article also provided some very interesting statistics relating to family businesses and the small business sector generally which I am going to repeat here with due credit to The Times:-

  • 65% or 3m of 4.6m private sector businesses in the UK are family firms.
  • £1065bn is the annual turnover of family businesses which accounts for 31% of British GDP.
  • 9.5m people have jobs provided by family businesses.
  • 1-1/3rd third of family firms are passed onto the second generation and 1/10th will continue to a third generation.
  • 6 times more family businesses than non family businesses are happy with the status quo and are not seeking to grow.

Much of this information is provided by the Institute for Family Business www.IFB.org.uk and confirms my long held view of the importance of the family business in the economy generally.

As an accountancy practice, most of our clients are family businesses and we are in some cases acting for third generation owners.

Understanding the psyche of the family business, the importance of the concept of almost passing down through the generations, assets that don’t necessarily belong to any one group of people, but are for the benefit of the family in a broader sense.  These are all concepts that we understand fully because of our many decades of experience. 

The family business is also critical because it has soul, something that many businesses today lack, particularly the larger ones.

Of course I would say this, I am in partnership with my brother and my father was a partner here until 1989.  Whilst we are probably not a family business in the true sense of the phrase, we try and act as if we are.