Family business operators 'failing to plan for future'

15 February, 2013

Australian family business operators are increasing their risk of insolvency by failing to plan for the future, according to Antony de Vries, a Sydney insolvency expert.

After witnessing 12 businesses go into liquidation in just two years because their owners didn't have them ready to hand over, de Vries has brought together 11 experts to meet a critical need for succession planning in Australia.

"The typical Australian family business owner is now a 55-year-old baby boomer getting close to retirement, but only 30 per cent of them have succession plans," he said.

"They are putting their own retirements at risk by failing to plan for their exits.

"Businesses carefully built up over several years are failing to deliver enough money to fund retirement, or worse still going into liquidation.

"Without planning, the best outcome is that retirement has to be delayed for a few years while a business is readied for sale."

Released last week, Life After Business contains advice from experts in law, tax, restructuring, asset management, financing, accounting, insurance, executive performance, banking and insolvency.

The non-nonsense easy-to-read guide is being made available as a book, or free online to give business owners the information they need to plan for their exit and to fund the life they want after retirement.

Life after Business offers advice across all aspects of succession planning including: succession options, from passing a business to the next generation to selling it on the open market, merging with a competitor, IPO, internal management buy-out, external management buy-in, franchising or running the business out; maximising the value of a business; how and when to prepare your business for sale (ideally 3-5 years before a planned exit); creating the right business structure to avoid unexpected tax liabilities; getting your asset valuations and financial records in order; legal considerations and the role of insurance; and due diligence, and managing the sale.

Described by David Gonski AC as "a practical and logical exposition of the main issues" and "very useful for every small business owner", Life after Business follows a series of AusIndustry-funded seminars delivered by Antony de Vries in 2011.

The guide is available at

Antony de Vries is a founding partner at dVT Group, with over 25 years experience in insolvency and restructuring. He previously held senior roles at KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ferrier Hodgson.