Craig West is a strategic accountant and the CEO of Succession Plus which is a specialised advisory practice focused on small business owners to help them manage the four key strategic issues that SME's face as they grow - Raising Capital, Building Equity, Protecting that equity and extracting the value you have built when you exit.

Craig is a CPA and has been advising businesses in management, taxation and accounting issues for over 15 years. He specialises in business structuring and succession planning and has had extensive experience working with clients to improve their financial performance - with proven results.

Craig has conducted numerous seminars and presentations throughout Australia for the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, MLC, L J Hooker, the NSW Department of State & Regional Development, NSW Chamber of Commerce and CPA Australia. He is an accredited advisor with Family Business Australia as well as sitting on FBA's NSW advisors committee and is a founding member of Thought Leaders.

Craig acts as a strategic business and financial mentor for business owners and has written three critically acclaimed books educating business owners on employee incentives, succession planning and asset protection. Craig has also recently been invited to complete a PhD in Business Succession Planning at Deakin University in Melbourne; is the President of the Australian Chapter of the Exit Planning Institute and one of only eleven people in Australia accredited as a Certified Exit Planning Advisor.

Succesion Planning
Most business owners go into business not only to earn an income, but (perhaps more importantly) to build the value of the business and sell it. In fact, more than half of all small business owners in Australia plan to use their business as the primary source of funding for their retirement. The average age of family business owners in NSW today is 56 years - so for many, retirement is not too far off.

For many owners, the value locked-up within their business is their second largest asset behind the family home, and in some cases it is even more valuable than the family home. Yet while most people will happily invest time, effort and money planning for the sale of their home, they don't do the same with their business. Choosing to invest the time and effort to develop a succession plan, ensures that you realise the maximum value of your business when you retire and may be one of the most important financial decisions you ever make.

In this presentation, Craig guides participants through a strategic step by step process for implementing a succession plan within any business.

Key Takeaways Include

  • How to Develop a Strategic Approach
  • How to Maximise the Value of a business
  • Choosing the right buyers and why your successors are important
  • The Equity Matrix and Secure Funding
  • Implementing the plan and getting the right advice

Employee Ownership
Although 'Employee Share Ownership Plans' have been around in Australia for over 30 years, they are one of the least utilised mechanisms for raising capital, even though they have the added advantage of motivating and retaining key staff.

In this presentation Craig discusses the many positive outcomes Employee Share Schemes offer business owners in promoting staff retention and engagement. One of the main benefits Craig highlights, is that 'employee share plans' promote a sense of ownership and accountability to key staff, as they work and act like a business stakeholders rather than a wage earner. It's a means to motivate the workforce and to empower people who might otherwise feel disenfranchised and alienated.

Key Takeaways Include:

  • What is an Employee Share Ownership Plan and how does this add value to my business?
  • How does an Employee Share Ownership Plan Motivate and Engage my team?
  • How do I Implement an Employee Share Ownership Plan?


Attending one of Craig's keynotes was an experience to remember. He was to the point, enthusiastic and had sound practical advice. His knowledge and ability to communicate this with his audience make his presentations powerful and too good to miss out on.
- Innovation Blueprint

Craig has developed a thoughtful approach to the delivery and implementation of employee share option plans which I have found to be extremely useful in securing both employee retention and future funding for an owner's divestment of their interest and exit from their business. Craig thinks strategically and is an energetic promoter of 'the cause'. I'm looking forward to introducing clients to him in the future as I am confident he is a person they can trust.
- The Linchpin Group Australia

Craig has been an advisor on number seed stage start-ups our firm has conducted. Working with Craig is a pleasure that can be directly assessed by the dollar value he adds to our projects. I consider him a permanent member of our team and am doubtful that we would proceed with an investment against his advice.
- Franklin Partners Mortgage Investments

My organisation and I work closely together with Craig to deliver products and services to my clients. His team and expertise have enabled us to turn business ideas into reality. We look forward to furthering our professional relationship in the future.
- ICA Group

Craig West

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A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
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