Date posted: June 11, 2018

Name: Suzy Munt
Role: Senior Manager, Tax and Advisory
Company: BDO

I help clients solve problems and grow their business to help them succeed into the future.  This may be through things like succession planning, family charters, business and strategic planning or business tools like financial modelling or reporting tools to help clients work on their business rather than in it.

How long have you been working with family businesses?

I have been working with family businesses since I started at BDO back in 2005, but have had a special focus on them more directly over the last 4 years.

What’s one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?

One of the most common mistakes I see in Family Businesses is the difficulty in “handing over the baton” to the next generation.  This could be because of a number of factors but all of them can be overcome with the right approach and guidance.  Some examples include:

  • Mum or dad don’t think that son or daughter can do the job;
  • Son or daughter think they can do the job but in fact, they don’t have the necessary skills;
  • Non-family employees don’t respect the incoming generation;
  • Family members not involved in the business feeling like they might miss out on their inheritance.

Having mutual respect in a family and documents such as a family charter can help the family overcome the above.  A trusted advisor can help guide them through the process and ensure that the legal documents (such as binding financial agreements and wills) are completed afterward.

What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients? When they realise…

When they realise that they have a will for their assets, but not a will for their business – some might say, the most important asset they have.  It’s not about who gets the shares in the will, it’s about who is going to continue the family business and the founder’s legacy.