Chartered Accountants
Business Advisers

Caledonia House
89 Seaward Street
Glasgow G41 1HJ
t: 0141 272 0000
f: 0141 272 0011

Throughout our long history, Martin Aitken & Co has worked with Scottish family businesses.  This area is one of our key strengths and family businesses account for more than 25% of our client bank, with many of these being second and third generation businesses. We fully appreciate the complexities of life within a family business.

Business Families & Scotland

vallance1 300x193 Family Businesses

“Adrienne’s very approachable, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and has been great for the business.” Lawrence, Maureen & Jonathon Vallance of Vallance Discount Carpets.

In Scotland, 71% of Scottish SMEs are family businesses, contributing 45% to Scottish GDP and employing over 50% of the private sector workforce – just short of 1million people.  Indeed, research has shown that within the top 250 businesses by turnover in Scotland, 43% are family owned and controlled, There is only a minor fall to 41% when the top 100 are reviewed.
Key economic sectors such as tourism, farming, food, drink and manufacturing are dominated by family businesses. The significant contribution they make to the Scottish economy and their export impact globally is very significant. Because of our geography, family business plays a significant role in rural communities in Scotland, often the life blood of the area offering not only economic but cultural, moral and social benefits to the community.

Our Service proposition

We serve all the above sectors. However, regardless of the specific sector, we recognise that family businesses can have an additional layer of complexity and conflict that invariably surface when the family kitchen doubles as family boardroom.

We at Martin Aitken & Co have developed the skills to assist in these situations and, central to the process, is to identify the key players within the family and ensure that all parties’ interests are represented for their mutual benefit and that of the business. There will be the family itself, parents plus children, maybe cousins and in-laws. Perhaps, there will also be a non-family dimension to the management team which has to be supported.

We tend to find that businesses struggle with the issues that develop within their family and their business and do not fully understand that there are key trigger points within the timeline of any family business. Other families in business have grappled with these and, through adopting improved and proven governance and management techniques, issues can be handled and managed effectively thereby allowing the business to flourish.

We find that family members, both in and out of the business, can be reluctant to discuss the real issues as they feel disloyal to their family. This requires patience and trust to tackle these aspects and this is achieved in partnership with us as trusted advocates of the family. This requires us to be objective, impartial and sensitive. We can add value in respect of advising your family business as we understand the business family. Our advice process covers the following areas;

  • carmichael 300x222 Family Businesses

    “Adrienne and the MACO team have been fantastic for us. Adrienne is always available at the end of the phone.” Stuart Carmichael of J. Carmichael & Co Ltd.

    Family Business Structures (Shareholding & Financial Management)

  • Family Business Leadership (Family Governance, constitutions, charters)
  • How to represent the views of the family within the business
  • Family Business Succession (Transfer of leadership, skills and knowledge) and Planning
  • Family Business Conflicts (How to manage differences whilst allowing the business to grow)
  • Family Business Compensation

Of the above, the most common issue that arises in any family business is around the time of succession from one generation to the next. Indeed, the succession problem stage in family relationships can often be terminal as only 33% of businesses make it to the second generation and only 9% to the third.

We have focused on developing our knowledge and expertise of this sector and, to this end, we strongly support the Scottish Family Business Association (SFBA) of which Adrienne Airlie, our Senior Partner, is a director.

SFBA is a registered charity which aims to ensure that the Scottish family business sector is educated and trained in cutting edge practices in order to improve the economic impact of family businesses in respect of their financial worth and continued viability.  This involves support and training for advisors in the sector.

How can Martin Aitken & Co assist?

In common with our core values of Care Success & Enjoyment we are committed to ensuring that your business and your family are cared for in the advisory process, thereby assisting you to ensure enjoyment for all involved in a successful and sustainable business.

Please contact Adrienne Airlie or Mark Tenby for further assistance.

sfba Family Businesses Scottish Family Business Association
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