Posted by Colin Heggie on Oct 19, 2021
Dave Weatherill introduced Ryan Mackiewich, CPA, CA, FEA, an accountant with Clark Robinson.  FEA stands for Family Enterprise Advisor, & Ryan’s topic was Continuity Planning, particularly as it applies to family-owned businesses.  Roughly 80% of businesses are family-owned, & they generate about 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.  Yet we also know the “shirtsleeve to shirtsleeve” rule, which explains the success rate of business transfers from one generation to the next, is a dismal 30%, 13% & 3%.  An FEA’s job is to “keep an eye on” the family business, fostering knowledge & understanding to help all members contribute to, & be well served by the enterprise.  He described the 6 pillars of the family business as assets, real estate, financial, giving, insurance & relationships.  Often, the FEA will identify issues & problems owners didn’t know they had, & help them to preserve assets, profits, etc.  Continuity or succession planning involves a myriad of technical & relational issues, with the latter often being the most difficult.  Family members need to understand where they fit into their enterprise, & create & follow agreed “rules of engagement.”  There must also be recognizable procedures for dispute resolution.  Ryan referred to two websites serving the needs of family businesses:  his own at EvolveFES, & a more generic one at Family Enterprise Foundation.