As KPMG’s Global Leader for Family Businesses, Robin Langsford has over 25 years’ experience in providing strategic financial and tax advice to private clients tailored to their business and the challenges they face.
A trusted advisor to family businesses and family offices, he has a broad skill base and diverse experience that enables him to solve multi-disciplinary problems and add value.
Robin has helped many families and private groups work through a wide range of issues including asset protection, succession planning, tax efficient structuring and meeting their philanthropic objectives… “Some of the most successful businesses in the world were started by families,” she says. “Family businesses represent almost two-thirds of the overall Australian business community.”
In an interview with campden facebookShe talks about putting the spotlight on leading female entrepreneurs, broaching the succession question and educating the next gens…
Tell us about your role leading KPMG for family businesses and private clients in Australia…
I have always enjoyed working with family businesses and have done so for over 25 years. The level of drive, dedication and commitment to the family’s values and philosophy is very attractive and attractive – when family businesses are ‘hum’, they have the flexibility and strength that differentiates them in the market.
Family businesses account for nearly 70 percent of all organizations in Australia, what accounts for this large percentage?
My view is that family businesses are often under-recognized by governments and key economic stakeholders. Many of the most successful businesses in the world today were started by families.
From an Australian perspective, family businesses represent about two-thirds of all Australian businesses and employ more than half the population, so they are a segment of the economy that is extremely important and, in my view, deserves more recognition as an important segment of Australia. economy.
KPMG Private Enterprise and Women in Family Business puts the spotlight on leading female entrepreneurs driving the success of family businesses. What was the reason for this focus and who can we expect to feature in the series?
At the highest level, diversity and inclusion in family businesses, as well as in any workplace, contributes to a positive company image, improved employee retention, improved business results, productivity and the bottom line. Diversity of ideas strengthens organizational culture and enhances flexibility and adaptability.
These were, in part, some of the main reasons why KPMG chose to focus on women in family businesses. Further promoting the importance of female family members in the family business context and the incredible benefits they can bring to their family businesses, especially in leadership roles, will not only provide benefits to the bottom line, but culturally as well. Family businesses that ignore women for management and leadership roles are a missed opportunity. It represents a major opportunity cost when 50% of the workforce is left unused and negates the aforementioned benefits of a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
“Transparent communication between family members is important.”
Campden Wealth’s 2022 Global Family Office Report found that discomfort with discussing sensitive matters, highlighted by 15% of respondents, would naturally result in an inability to engage with family principals on the topic of succession planning. What advice would you give to family members who want to broach the question of succession?
a) Start early!: Succession planning should begin well in advance, preferably years before the anticipated transition. This allows time for thoughtful discussion and careful execution of the plan.
b) Communicate openly: Transparent communication between family members is important, regarding issues such as the future of the business, who has what roles, responsibilities and managing the expectations of family members involved in the succession process. Good communication promotes constructive socio-emotional wealth and can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
c) Identify and develop potential successors: Identify potential successors early and provide them with the necessary training and development opportunities to prepare them for leadership roles. This may include formal education, on-the-job training, and mentoring from current leaders.
d) Engage professionals: Succession planning can involve complex financial and legal considerations, such as estate planning, tax implications, and business valuations. Therefore, seek the assistance of qualified professionals to ensure a smooth transition and avoid potential legal and financial challenges.
The same report found that family offices and family businesses can be useful training grounds for the next generation’s educational development, but 64% of European families expect to gain work experience elsewhere, such as a bank or hedge fund, before joining the family. Firm. Do you agree that this is the right strategy to prepare the next gens to join the family business?
My view is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on various factors such as the nature of the family business, the skills and interests of the next generation and specific goals and aspirations. Family and business.
Some of the benefits of gaining work experience elsewhere are:
1) It gives the next gen a broader perspective by allowing them to gain exposure to different industries, work cultures and business practices. This can help them develop a greater understanding of the business world and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
2) Gaining work experience in other organizations can provide the next generation with the opportunity to develop new skills and expertise that can be valuable in the family business.
3) Working outside the family business can help the next generation establish an identity separate from the family business. This can be valuable in building their confidence, decision making, and leadership skills.
It is important to note that depending on the circumstances, the next generation may also have legitimate reasons to join the family business directly. Ultimately, the decision whether or not the next generation should seek work experience elsewhere before joining the family business must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific dynamics of the family business, the individual’s aspirations and skills. Question and long-term vision and goals of family and business.
Preparing the next generation for their successor roles is an important part of the responsibilities of family offices, and they do this through a variety of activities. Most offices believe they are well prepared to support Next Gen’s investment objectives (95%) and help them find bankers, lawyers and other service providers (81%). But when it comes to more important tasks, such as helping Next Gens understand their succession roles or interacting with trustees, far fewer percentages (73% and 76%, respectively) believe they are prepared. How can these educational problems be addressed?
• Active mentoring from current leaders in family business. Working closely with senior leaders in family businesses who are willing to share knowledge and communicate openly can provide invaluable insight and expertise.
• Professional development at relevant conferences and workshops. This not only improves their skill base but also helps them network with people from similar backgrounds and life situations.
• Encouraging next gens to work in business in different roles and in different sectors. This will give them a more holistic view of the business and its challenges and opportunities
• Formal business education at the undergraduate or graduate level can provide next gens with a strong understanding of business fundamentals.