Families are the heart of Canadian business

At Zeifmans, we know that family-run businesses are the backbone of our economy. We know this because we’re a family-run business ourselves; now in our third generation, over 60 years after our firm first began.

Why do family businesses continue to perform such a critical function in Canada? Why is it that when hard times befall our economy, we can count on family businesses to hold us steady?

Because when families build a vision for their shared future, their focus becomes unbreakable. The bonds that tie the team together are trust and love.

You can search the world of business, but you won’t ever find anything stronger than that.

HomeFamily Business

The Facts

Canadian family businesses:

  • Produce 90% of the jobs created by small and mid-sized companies
  • Employ 7 million Canadians each year
  • Generated $574.6 billion in 2017
  • Account for over 35% of Canada’s real GDP
  • Have a 5% higher rate of survival than other types of businesses
  • Are optimistic, 88% expect to grow their business in the next 5 years

The Challenge

Though the numbers are impressive, family run businesses are not immune to adversity. Research has shown that demographics, tax policy and inadequate business advice are the biggest threats.

Consider also the double-edged sword of risk aversion. Family businesses tend to be less risk tolerant than their corporate competitors, shielding them from both failure and potential growth opportunities. As an example, 65% of Canadian family businesses do not export their products to foreign markets.

When surveyed, family businesses report that the biggest obstacles they face in entering new markets are:

Understanding international business culture (20%)

Understanding international
business culture (20%)

Competition from local suppliers (19%)

Competition from
local suppliers (19%)

Foreign market regulations (19%)

Foreign market
regulations (19%)

Fluctuations in exchange rate (16%)

Fluctuations in
exchange rate (16%)

These challenges are in addition to the more general struggles that family businesses report facing:

Government Regulations (27%)

Regulations (27%)

Succession Planning (14%)

Planning (14%)

Cash flow (10%)

Cash flow (10%)

New product development (8%)

New product
development (8%)

To overcome these challenges, family businesses should seek assistance from a trusted advisor with subject matter expertise. An expert who can provide business and financial knowledge to fill in the gaps and guide the company into the next phase of growth.

As both a professional service firm and a family run business, Zeifmans is uniquely positioned to set our clients up for success. We’re personally familiar with the landscape of family operated businesses. We understand the needs of both the current and next generation. We know that effective strategy begins with an understanding of history, and is sustained by an innovative gaze into the future.

How does Zeifmans help? Let’s take a closer look.


The Zeifmans team has experience working with clients in a variety of industries. Our industry experts have specialized knowledge pertaining to the sector within which they operate, providing family businesses with effective strategic guidance based on real-world experience.

We understand that solutions for family business are never “one-size-fits-all”. Instead, our services are tailor-made to suit your unique needs, and developed using knowledge of your industry standards and trends.

Some of the industries we operate within include:


Zeifmans services stretch beyond accounting to perform a breadth of advisory and strategic development functions. Our goal is to help our clients achieve new business growth and improve profitability, and to accomplish this end we prioritize communication and innovation. We seek to honour the vision of earlier generations while also creating new strategies to push the next generation ahead into a new phase of success.

As family businesses grow and change, there comes a need for a more structured governance framework. As the business changes hands, the younger generation needs to be prepared to meet the needs of the family and the business. Conventional thinking needs to be challenged, as new perspectives often lead to tangible solutions.

To this end, our team can assist in a number of different areas:

  • Innovation
  • Capital and funding
  • Social impact and charitable giving

Family Office Services

Acting as your family CFO, Zeifmans is able to perform a number of professional functions. In outsourcing these tasks to our team, your family business will free up time and energy to focus on the items that matter most to you. As financial, taxation, and business experts, you can trust that our strategies will protect your wealth and enhance profitability into the future.

Our family office services include:

To learn more about how Zeifmans can become your family CFO, visit us at Tower Street Wealth.

Our Team

Laurence W. Zeifman

CPA, CA, Partner

Nathan Choran

CPA, CA, CPA (Illinois), Partner

Jennifer Chasson

CPA, CA, CBV, Partner President, Springbank Capital Corp.

Steven Metallo

Steven Metallo

CPA, CA, Partner

Family Business Library

Case Studies

Over the last 60 years, the Zeifmans team has assisted countless family businesses in enhancing profitability, protecting wealth, and growing to new heights of success. We’re known for our innovative strategies, tailor-made to suit the needs of each individual client. To learn more about how Zeifmans has helped other Canadian family businesses, read our Case Studies.

A couple selling family farm to fund retirement and saves on capital gains

Problem: A couple owned a family farm close to Toronto, with a value of $2 million, wanted to sell the property to fund their retirement but were ...

Idea: Tax filings from the 1970’s and 1980’s allowed us to determine that the farm was eligible for capital gain exemption, even though it was not currently ...

Impact: Our client saved $475,000 in taxes allowing them to stay on track for their retirement plans.

Read More

Estate Trustee During Litigation corrects decades-long fraud

Problem: A prominent estate had been fraudulently depleted of millions of dollars by the formally appointed trustee.

Idea: Zeifmans’ Estate Trustee During Litigation (EDTL) analyzed the web of corporate holdings and missing tax returns to forensically trace the transactions.

Impact: A summary judgement was made in the amount of $3,733,455.20 and the original trustee was sentenced to jail time.

Read More