Family Businesses – a mix of concern & optimism post pandemic

17 June 2021

Family firms are the engine room of the Scottish economy, and they continue to contribute significantly to employment, economic output and the creation of wealth, on top of making a real impact on the communities in which they are located. 

The Top 100 Scottish Family Firms 2020 report, published by Family Business united last month, found that: 

  • Top 100 Scottish family firms generate £22.6 billion every year.
  • Top 100 Scottish family firms employ over 111,000 people. 

Despite the prevailing uncertainty at the time many of these firms reported their results, the Top 100 remained profitable, generating £1.4 billion of turnover, demonstrating their importance, especially as they will undoubtedly be a key driver of Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic. 

Our more recent business survey, in conjunction with the Association of Practicing Accountants (APA), highlighted a number of key area’s that family businesses would continue to focus on in the short to medium term post pandemic.  

The survey was completed by 435 owner managed businesses, with a significant amount of these being family businesses. Whilst different business owners across multiple trade sectors were surveyed, a number of similar key challenges and priorities were identified, including:  

Key challenges:  

  • Uncertain trading conditions 
  • Brexit supply chain issues 
  • Hybrid working 
  • Lack of capacity  

Key priorities over the short term:   

  • Capitalising on post lockdown opportunities 
  • Return to office 
  • Getting back up and running! 

Whilst almost half of businesses reported that their turnover had decreased since January, over one fifth had actually seen an increase since January 2021.  

Despite serious concerns from business owners about the potential for higher tax rates for both companies & individuals, in view of the inevitable government focus on raising funds to repay debts, an overwhelming majority of businesses were confident that they would be able to access any financial support they require to continue their trading recovery in 2021. On top of this most of the businesses surveyed maintained that redundancies were very unlikely in the next 3-6 months, even when the furlough scheme is due to end altogether.  

However, as we emerge from lockdown many businesses are still struggling. With growing concerns over uncertain trading conditions, we do hope that the government recognise that uncertainty remains across many sectors of the economy, and that businesses need reassurance as well as unambiguous advice & support.  

Our experience of working with Owner Managed Businesses, many of whom are also Family Businesses, provides us with knowledge and awareness on trends, opportunities, and potential challenges. These are some of the reasons we reviewed & summarised the findings from our recent survey with APA - knowing that the results would be relevant for family businesses too. After all, its already been proven that businesses like those surveyed are vital to the post Covid-19 recovery of the UK. 

If you would like any further information please contact Stuart Petrie or your usual AAB contact. 

Find out more about our family business team here

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