Issues Audit Exercise

Business-Family Issues Audit

This is a practical exercise for identifying “top of mind” issues of interest or concern related to your:

  • Family Dynamics
  • Business Practices
  • Ownership Plans


Directions For Completing The Business-Family Issues Audit:

  1. Review the Audit statements for the Family, the Business, and Ownership
  2. Select those topics under each heading that are the most important to you
  3. Begin the first ‘round’ with a selection of 3-4 for each heading
  4. If you are completing the Audit with other family members
  • Have all share their selections
  • Then complete another round using only the selections made by family members
  • Tally these selections to reveal common choices for each heading

Upon completion of the ‘Audit’ you will have a basic assessment of the ‘top of mind’ issues. These results offer you a practical and informed way to begin to speak with other family members, trusted advisers and colleagues about ways to address critical concerns.

For The Family

  1. Improve family communication and information sharing________
  2. Identify family shared values _______
  3. Establish policies that manage the family’s relationship to the business____
  4. Recognize and resolve family conflicts that disrupt business operations _______
  5. Develop educational programs to introduce and engage the next generation with the business _______
  6. How best to insure long-term family financial security ____
  7. Provide guidance for next generation career options _____
  8. Formulate an on-going family communication and participation plan ______
  9. Acknowledge and address family member past hurts, rivalries _____
  10. Establish a conflict management process _____
  11. Consider family philanthropic goals _____
  12. Plan for family fun/celebrations_______
  13. Support family cultural traditions _____
  14. To promote family harmony establish a family governance process and framework ______
  15. Address entitlement behaviours _________
  16. Align family goals for the business with strategic business goals _____
  17. Determine expectations and role of non-employee family members _____
  18. How to encourage the inclusion of married-ins (in-laws) _____
  19. Establish a business-family Code of Conduct ____
  20. Document family-business story_____
  21. Determine how to support lifestyle requirements of retiring founders/senior family members _____
  22. Other __________________________________________________

For The Business

  1. Determine suitability of family member employees in current positions in the business_____
  2. Provide further training and development for family employees _______
  3. Formalize job roles and chain of command ______
  4. Develop process for establishing family employee performance standards_____
  5. Set annual calendar of regular management meetings _________
  6. Determine structure of compensation, bonuses for family employees _____
  7. Set a timeline and process for management succession planning _____
  8. Establish a successor grooming program_____
  9. Determine business perks available to family employees _____
  10. Formalize business decision-making processes/procedures _____
  11. Specify role of spouses in relation to business decision-making _____
  12. Set policy and process for hiring friends and extended family into the business ____
  13. When to hire non-family executives ________
  14. Address management style differences of family employees ______
  15. Engage in regular near and long-term strategic business planning ______
  16. Promote fair and respectful treatment of non-family employees ______
  17. Restructure business to meet growth goals ______
  18. Determine best ways for motivating non-family managers_____
  19. Establish a family member employment policy _________
  20. Other _____________________________________________

For The Owners

  1. Set schedule for regular presentation of yearly financial results & business activities ____
  2. Formulate a family enterprise ownership agreement ______
  3. Determine the family’s philosophy of business ownership ______
  4. Specify ownership benefits _________
  5. Define owner role and responsibilities _________
  6. When to institute marriage contracts / pre-nuptial agreements _____
  7. How to mitigate estate tax through an Estate plan _____
  8. When to institute a Family Trust_____
  9. How to value sweat equity ________
  10. Determine qualifications for next generation ownership _____
  11. Identify opportunities for growth of ownership wealth ______
  12. When to plan for ownership succession __________
  13. Decide if, when, and how to position the business for sale _____
  14. Establish dividend formula and schedule ________
  15. Other _______________