Our Family Governance Services: the art of managing an entrepreneurial family

Often enough, a family business has only itself to blame for its demise, whether it is due to the inability of the owners to agree, a lack of succession planning, open conflict or any other reason. We want to help family businesses succeed for generations with our Family Governance Services, a tailored consultancy package that enables entrepreneurial families to manage themselves systematically and successfully.

How can family governance benefit both the family and the business?

In an ideal situation, the family that owns the business should be the backbone of that business. The trick is to get all the family members working as a team, making the right decisions at the right time and ensuring that those decisions take into account both the family's wishes and the corporate goals.

The advantages of good family governance can therefore be summarized as follows:

  • It increases awareness of the links between the family and the business.
  • It clearly differentiates issues that concern specifically the management and the owners.
  • It provides new opportunities for more effective communication within the family.
  • It ensures better basic and advanced training for family owners.
  • It documents and addresses the expectations of individual family members.
  • It ensures that every family member understands their role within and their responsibilities toward the business.
  • It sets a reference point for future generations.

Successful family governance: the key factors

Our Family Governance Services are geared specifically toward the factors that are essential for successful family governance:

  • Forward planning
  • Succession management
  • Conflict management

Forward planning

It is important for every family to have a vision of its own future, as well as of its role in the future of the business. That means finding answers to the following questions:

  • What is the family's corporate philosophy?
  • Is the ongoing existence of the business a declared goal?
  • Does the family intend to continue running the business?
  • Are there potential successors within the family?
  • Is it conceivable that someone from outside the family could run the business?
  • What are the needs and expectations and the next generation? How can these be met? 

Succession management

Corporate succession can pose a great danger to family businesses. Sooner or later everyone - whether they are an owner or a manager - needs to find a suitable successor. Such decisions must be carefully considered. 

Conflict management

It is sad but true that conflicts within families often tear family businesses apart. This is despite the fact that many families think that this could never happen in their case. To reduce this risk, it is important for the next generation to not simply rely on familial ties, but to start creating strong business relationships within the family at an early stage. It is also important for the next generation of family members to be given a clear idea about what roles they can expect to fulfil in the business.

EY Family Governance Services brochure

To find out more about our family governance services, please download our Family Governance Services brochure here. In it we explain how we put together an individual consultancy package which will help a family business owner manage their responsibilities and make the right decisions at the right time. It also looks at the model based on a number of key elements that we have developed to resolve issues systematically and highlights how family businesses can benefit from our vast experience in this field.

To book an initial non-binding consultation about our Family Governance Services please contact us at familybusiness@ey.com or contact one of our partners in your country using our Global Network directory.

EY refers to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited (EYG), a UK private company limited by guarantee. EYG is the principal governance entity of the global EY organization and does not provide any service to clients. Services are provided by EYG member firms. Each of EYG and its member firms is a separate legal entity and has no liability for another such entity's acts or omissions. Certain content on this site may have been prepared by one or more EYG member firms..