There are innumerable topics of discussion surrounding family offices. One of those topics, family office accounting, has nuances unique to the family office space, which leads me to the following observation. As it relates to family office accounting or any dealings with a family office for that matter, I have noticed that there is one subject that does not garner the level of attention that it truly demands. That topic is discretion. Discretion must be at the top of the list when dealing with family offices. By its very nature the accounting data of a family office is private and is held in the strictest confidence, making discretion of paramount importance.
Those organizations, Black River Technologies being one, that offer Accounting and ERP software to family offices must be held to a higher standard of discretion. This is not to say that discretion is not an integral part of any engagement, it is simply a case of ensuring that special attention is paid to discretion in any family office engagement. After 100’s of engagements over the past 30 plus years we have found that not every client asks for a Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”). With family offices however, NDA’s are one of the underlying tenets of any ongoing interaction and are one of the first items to be taken care of when initiating discussions with a family office.
Family offices, be they single or multi, have fundamental similarities such as:
- multiple legal entities
- family stakeholders
- the need to meet many unique and personal reporting requirements
- compliance requirements
- the ability to react quickly to investment opportunities
As we go through a system transition, each of the points listed above could bare the financial soul of the family office. Throughout this journey we must understand the gravity of the subject at hand. We have not only been entrusted with seeing an engagement through to a successful end. We have been entrusted with a project where financial details become part of the transition process.
As trusted advisers to our clients let us fiercely guard and protect the trust they have placed in us.
We can do that simply by exercising discretion.