Family values can result in conflicts

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Family firms are being urged by a leading Sheffield accountant to act now to avoid future disagreements over wages that could put companies at risk.

The warning comes from Richard Frost, managing partner of Glossop Road-based accountants and business advisers Hawsons.

“The difficulty is that business values and family values sometimes become mixed up, leading to a range of problems,” says Mr Frost.

“If, for example, all family members are paid the same, some might become disgruntled and feel they are worth more because of their expertise. He or she may then leave, meaning the business loses his or her skills and is left with other members who may be overpaid and over promoted.”

Mr Frost also warns that problems can arise when younger generations feel the firm is unfairly being expected to finance retired family members who may feel entitled to support because of their years of devotion to the company.

He urges companies to avoid conflict through careful thought, clear communication and open discussion.