Business owners have to contend with many facets of financial management, business accounting, cash-flow management, and capital acquisition. The one area of financial management that often goes unheeded or is placed on the back-burner is their personal financial strategy, yet it is the one aspect of a business owner's financial picture that, if not soundly in place, could have the most serious unintended consequences for the business.
Imagine the following scenario for a moment. You and your partner have opened a business, and are feeling extremely confident about your current success. Your primary competition across the street cannot keep up after one of their co-owners passes away, eventually closing down. Their entire customer base eventually comes your way, and business has never been better. This might be a positive scenario strictly as far as your business is concerned, but a wise businessman or woman should be thinking one thing at a time like this—what if our positions were reversed?
Accounting firm BDO Canada, found that only one-third of family-owned businesses survive the transition to second generation, with just a third of these getting to the next a mere 1 in 10 chance of the business surviving for three generations. Often, the reason is insufficient planning.
If you are a solo entrepreneur or are otherwise self-employed, you are aware that it is nearly impossible to take into account all the various tax consequences of your business decisions. You have a business to run and customers to please, so decisions are often made on the fly.
You hope that you will be able to sort it out adequately at a later date. The problem with this strategy is you are likely paying thousands of dollars in taxes to Revenue Canada that could otherwise be in your pocket.
Like many business owners, Rick and Warren thought it would be a simple process to continue the business when one of them died. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rick and Warren had a printing company and were equal partners. Warren died suddenly. Warren's shares passed to his widow, Sarah, who became Rick's new partner. She expected a regular paycheque to continue, even though she knew nothing about the printing business and could not contribute to the daily operations of the company.