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Investing for the future

Sowing the seeds for succession

Succession planning is a thorny subject that many small business owners, particularly farmers, choose to put off. However, difficult as it might be to broach, succession planning is vital to the long-term prospects of any successful business.

A recent survey by Farmer’s Weekly and NFU Mutual has revealed that more than 60 per cent of UK farming families lack a written succession plan, even though 64 per cent of families believe the absence of such a strategy threatens the future of their farm.

More than 700 farming families took part in the survey and, if their answers are upscaled across the UK farming community as a whole, the distinct lack of succession planning strategies would threaten the futures of 40,000 farms.

These stark figures led us to think about our many small to medium enterprise (SME) clients. Although succession planning is something that we readily offer, and are only too happy to discuss with clients, we suspect it might be a thorny matter for many families – especially if there are several children to consider or simply none that seem to be interested in carrying on the legacy.

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is all about identifying and developing internal people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in your company. More often than not, in the context of a small business that generally involves some careful and considered nepotism.

That takes planning and it isn’t something that we would recommend leaving until you are nearing the end of your tenure. Kirkwood Wilson Accountants can help you to forge ahead with exit strategies and succession planning. The bottom line is this: the sooner we can start planning together, the brighter the future for your business and your family.

Like father, like daughter

David Wilson is Managing Director at MGA Controls in Burscough. His business has been supplying control and instrumentation equipment to the Process Industry since 1986 and is the product of 30 years of experience in the engineering sector.

When David’s three high-flying children decided to pursue careers in accountancy, medicine and digital marketing it appeared that MGA Controls was operating on borrowed time. Until, that is, a frank and honest conversation with Kirkwood Wilson Accountants firmly opened the door to another, brighter alternative. One that would safeguard the company’s future existence.

“I always hoped that one of the kids would show an interest in the business,” David says. “But after they’d all graduated in their chosen fields it looked increasingly unlikely that any of them would pick up the mantle from me.

“When my daughter, Rachel, gained her MBA and specialised in digital marketing, we recognised the potential for her to bring those skills to the business. following some careful planning with Kirkwood Wilson Accountants, we have gained a huge amount as a business and family having Rachel spearhead our marketing operations.

“It means that I can now look forward to planning my retirement, happy in the knowledge that the business I’ve spent decades building up is safe in Rachel’s hands for many years to come,” he added.

For more information about Kirkwood Wilson Accountant’s accountancy services please contact us on 01704 546000.

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