Quarter of family firms will change hands within five years

A report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that 22 per cent of SME family businesses anticipate a change of ownership in the next five years, with only a third of these companies passing on the business to their descendants.

The future direction of the business is often the most likely cause of conflict in most family businesses, respondents to the survey say, followed by how well (or not) family members are performing in the business.

“Conflict can be particularly divisive in family firms, so it’s concerning that seven out of ten businesses do not have conflict resolution procedures in place,” says Michael Rendell, PwC’s head of human resources.

The family business survey is based on interviews with more than 1,600 SME family-owned businesses in 35 countries, with the results appearing in PwC’s report Kin in the Game.

Earlier this week, PwC revealed that one third of UK family business owners are unaware of their exposure to capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

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