Laurie Madigan is a Partner at KPMG and is heavily involved in advising family business.   

Business SA: Can you tell us about your career and how it led to KPMG?

Laurie: I began my career with a mid-sized accounting firm in Adelaide, after which I joined KPMG. However I spent 12 months travelling in the USA and UK before making the move. I was attracted to KPMG because I wanted to continue to work in professional public practice at the highest level.

Business SA: What would be the highlights of your career to date?

Laurie: Admission as a Partner at KPMG is an obvious highlight. A six-month secondment to the KPMG global tax centre in Washington DC was also a great experience.

Business SA: What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?

Laurie: There are two aspects of my career that are extremely rewarding. Firstly, it would be assisting with the professional and personal development of a team of young professionals at KPMG who are in the early stages of their careers. Secondly, the appreciation we receive from clients when providing the high level of service we pride ourselves on.

Business SA: The SME sector is a growing focus for KPMG in Adelaide – what is the firm doing in this space?

Laurie: The KPMG Private Enterprise Group focuses on the private companies market, family businesses and high net worth clients. Our focus is to tailor our extensive experience and knowledge in a broad range of disciplines and industries that best suit the specific needs of the SME sector.

Over recent years, a significant commitment has been made by KPMG to develop our capabilities within the SME sector. This involves focussing on the unique issues facing family business, such as succession planning and family governance.

Business SA: How strong is the SME sector in SA and what is the outlook?

Laurie: The SME sector is very strong in South Australia. This State has always demonstrated a high level of innovation and entrepreneurship. There are also tremendous opportunities for SMEs in the future flowing from potential growth in the defence industry and in the mining sector.

The whole South Australian economy will benefit significantly from the growth in these industries. The opportunity for SMEs to service these emerging sectors paints a very positive outlook.

Business SA: You are heavily involved in advising family business – are we now seeing the succession tidal wave that was predicted some years ago?

Laurie: Succession in the family business is certainly a significant issue for many family businesses. A successful and well planned succession plan is a very long-term process, often taking many years. As such, we do not see short term shifts in the level of engagement in the process.

The recent financial downturn has the potential to derail succession plans in the family business, as the older generation may feel less financially secure about the future. However, a successful succession plan should be able to navigate through such relatively short-term concerns.

Business SA: What are the key issues now facing family businesses in SA?

Laurie: Succession planning is an obvious issue facing a large proportion of family businesses. Operators and owners of family businesses are building greater awareness of the unique dynamics of this style of business structure.

Accordingly, there is greater understanding of the need to formally agree and document the relationship between the business and the family.

Business SA: You are also involved in advising high net worth individuals – how well have these people weathered the GFC storm?

Laurie: A sound investment strategy is based on long-term financial objectives. As such, high net worth individuals with a well considered long-term outlook have been able to weather the storm reasonably well.

Business SA: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Laurie: I enjoy spending time with my wife Jo and my three daughters. A large part of my spare time during summer is also spent water skiing on the Coorong.

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