independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Government accused of ignoring family firms

THE Government is ignoring family-owned businesses and they have suffered disproportionately in comparison with their global counterparts, according to a new survey by PwC.

The PwC 2012 Irish Family Business Survey report shows that 35pc of Irish family business reported lower sales last year, compared with only 19pc around the rest of the world.

Those numbers fed into a perception among those surveyed that family firms are undervalued by the Government, with nearly 60pc of respondents claiming the Government can do more to help business survive the crisis – compared with 54pc of respondents globally.

Expanding

Similarly, 81pc of Irish family firms believe the State should make finance more readily available, well ahead of the 63pc who reported similar sentiments outside Ireland.

Despite that, more than three-quarters of such firms in Ireland expect to expand over the next five years.

PwC's Irish Family Business leader Paul Hennessy said these firms were "dealing with the challenges presented by the continuing uncertain trading environment with renewed resilience.

"They have adapted and continue to adapt their business models for a 'new normal'.

"With the majority planning to expand in the next five years, they are confident about the future. As key contributors to our economy and society, however, a large proportion of survey participants believe that government does not recognise the importance of family businesses," he added.

In Ireland, around 85pc of companies blamed the wider economic environment for the decline in sales, while two-thirds of those surveyed also pointed to price competition for hitting their turnover.

Despite the fact that unemployment remains close to 15pc, over a third of firms said attracting the right type of talent would be an issue over the next five years, and a similar proportion said they would struggle to retain key staff.

Perhaps uniquely, family firms are hugely focused on succession planning.

Some 55pc of those surveyed said they would be passing on the business to their next generation, while nearly 40pc of those who took part in the report said succession planning would be a big issue in the years ahead. Some 9pc of firms saw the possibility of conflict between family members over the business.

Irish Independent

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