Family business worries over succession

Family business worries over succession

Family business worries over succession 

Fears that some family-run firms in the Sheffield region may have put off the difficult issue of handing over to the next generation because of the recession came today from a family business tax specialist.

Peter Kennan, tax partner with Sheffield-based independent chartered accountants and business advisers Hawsons, who have been advising family businesses for more than 150 years, says that a lack of liquidity during the severe recession from 2008-2013 strangled activity, putting many succession plans on ice.

He adds: “Family firms account for three quarters of the region’s businesses and employ half the workforce and it is crucial to the well being of the local economy and the businesses themselves that they have well thought out structures to ensure that management succession goes smoothly and without rancour.

“The recession was a particularly worrying time because family businesses can suffer from the unique tension between business and personal family issues which often conflict, sometimes to damaging effect. Delaying succession plans can only lead to problems.”

Peter thinks that entrepreneurs wanting to sell businesses and move on may also have been thwarted by the recession but is seeing much more movement now that the economy is picking up.

He also warns that whether passing on a family business to another generation or selling to a third party, the process is complex and professional advice should be sought if pitfalls are to be avoided and maximum benefit derived from the various available tax reliefs.

Stephen Charles partner

Stephen Charles is a tax partner at the firm, specialising in corporate and business taxation. For more details and advice, please contact Stephen on [email protected] or 0114 266 7141.[/author_info]

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Personal device at work policy

Personal device at work policy

Personal device at work policy

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is advising that organisations should have a clear personal device at work policy.

A recent survey showed that 60% of the UK population now own a smart phone and 20% a tablet and an increasing number want to use their personal devices at work. Known as ‘bring your own device’ the ICO state that the benefits include increased efficiency, flexibility and employee morale but the practice also carries a number of risks which organisations must consider when allowing employees’ devices to be used to process work-related personal information.

Simon Rice, Group Manager (Technology), said:

‘As the line between our personal and working lives becomes increasingly blurred it is critical employers have a clear policy about personal devices being used at work.’

‘The benefits must be balanced against the potential risks to work-related personal data but the organisation should not underestimate the level of effort which may be required to ensure that the processing of personal data with BYOD remains compliant with all 8 Principles of the Data Protection Act. Remember, it is the employer who is held liable for any breaches under the DPA.’

The ICO’s key ‘bring your own device’ recommendations are:

  • ensure devices are secure
  • ensure data transfers are secure
  • retain control
  • have an ‘end of contract’ policy
  • have a clear ‘acceptable use policy’.

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