Tips for business succession planning

Business succession planning is complex. It requires open communication, planning and ideally a long lead time to maximise the chance of a smooth and successful transition. 

The lack of early constructive communication and planning for succession can result in family disputes, stress, and financial loss.

Here at Acumentis, we have played an active role in many successful business transitions, particularly in the family farming sector.

If you’re ready to start considering succession planning for your business, here are some key tips to assist with a positive outcome.

Tips to set you up for success

Communication is key

It is often lack of communication that leads to issues and conflict in succession planning. Start communication early and communicate often to ensure all questions have been answered and everything is in place.

People matter most

Family business is emotional content and it’s critical that a succession planning process sets ground rules and guiding principles for decision making and conflict resolution. Start by identifying the needs, wants and objectives of all family members before exploring options for succession.

Confirm and prioritise objectives

Generally, the key priorities family members want to achieve as a result of succession planning include;

  • Economic and financial stability
  • A viable business opportunity for the net-gen
  • Identification of future opportunities
  • Structures to minimise the effect of income tax
  • Fair distribution of assets in any estate plan

These priorities will differ between family members so it’s important to capture them and understand their priority for each family member before options are explored for succession.

Take your time

The succession planning process is often a long one, often a 2 - 3 year process. Start it early to give you the best chance for success, take your time to work through all the ins and outs of the business so that you’re not rushed into making snap decisions.

Plan for uncertainty

Many future plans will be unknown so it is important to discuss and understand the “what if’s – including death, disagreement, divorce, disability.

Engage help

An external succession planning company will work alongside your accountant, lawyer, and property valuer and bring a fresh pair of eyes and an unbiased view to what can be an emotional process.

Formalise the agreement

By going through the process of formalising your succession plan (deed of family agreement) agreed outcomes are recorded in a clear and concise manner at a certain point in time. It removes any ambiguity and assumptions.

What role does Acumentis play in succession planning?

The Acumentis Agribusiness team works alongside agribusiness owners, their solicitors, and accountants to play a key role in the succession planning process.

Our certified practising valuers provide invaluable valuation and property market advice. The team generally works on an ongoing engagement supplying up-to-date valuation and market advice during the succession planning process.

Future-focused advice is provided to validate property and business succession options.

The majority of the succession plans that we have assisted with over recent years have resulted in an Intergenerational transfer of assets between retiring parents to children or grandparents to grandchildren.

The facilitation of these transfers is the culmination of what is most often months if not years’ worth of financial, tax, and estate planning, across businesses which include land, plant, equipment, livestock, and crops.

Acumentis clients have been able to rely upon our consistent team over these prolonged periods to provide independent advice in a manner that is easily digested by family and other service providers.

Read more about Acumentis’ involvement in this succession planning case study.

Why engage Acumentis in succession planning?

The Acumentis team is experienced in providing property valuations and advice throughout the succession planning process.

Developing a genuine understanding of the situation, needs, and wants of family members they apply their expertise and knowledge to provide useful and unbiased advice.

If the Acumentis team could assist you, or your clients with succession planning, contact us to discuss how we can help.

Lachlan Dunsdon
National Director Rural & Agribusiness
— Brisbane Property Valuers
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