Our Firm

Why We’re Here: Strengthening Family Ties

Recently, we were inspired by Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” to define the “why” behind our role as a CPA firm:

We’re here because business owners and governments need solutions to their challenges—not a commodity product. Through our dedication to teamwork, development and relationships, we help our clients thrive.

The following is part of a series illustrating our “why.” In sharing these stories, we hope to strengthen our sense of purpose—and to perhaps inspire you in discovering yours.

We hold monthly one-on-one meetings with several of our clients who are business owners. Many times, these discussions move away from the numbers to issues the client is facing. As any business owner will tell you, there’s always plenty to talk about.

So, when we were having one of these meetings with a client we had worked with since the early 90s, we weren’t totally surprised when he brought up succession planning. We knew it was coming given his age, and it was clear he had given it a lot of thought. He wanted his three kids to take ownership, but he wasn’t sure if they shared his passion for the business. To help him gauge their interest in the business, we helped him outline discussion points for a meeting that was limited to immediate family members—none of the kids’ spouses were involved.

During this meeting, it became clear that the kids weren’t interested in owning the business together, and that our client wasn’t ready to completely let go of the reigns. The business was his baby, after all! So, to help the family determine the next steps, we met with them to discuss each kid’s skills and needs related to the business. After much discussion, we decided it was best to explore dividing the business into two separate entities that would operate in different yet complementary industries.

To evaluate the logistical, legal and financial aspects of this solution, we assembled a team of advisors that included a banker, attorney and insurance agent. Together, we outlined a plan for splitting the business in a way that would sufficiently accommodate the kids’ interests and skills. The only thing our client had to do was allocate the assets and show up at the banker meeting to sign on the dotted line.

The work we did not only created a viable succession plan that would diversify and grow the business; it also maintained family harmony. And that, for our client, was immensely grateful. In fact, he’s been able to pull back from the business without worrying about its viability. Meanwhile, we continue to work with the client and his kids to ensure a successful transition.

Businesses, and especially family businesses, are built upon relationships. When our presence helps to strengthen these, we feel strongly in tune with the reason our firm exists. And that’s a good feeling.

Until next time,