Why is partnership considered by some to be a relatively unpopular form of business ownership? Explain the merits and limitations of partnership.
Partnership is considered to be a relatively unpopular form of business ownership because of the various limitations associated with it. These limitations include unlimited liability, limited resources, possibility of conflicts and lack of continuity.
Limitations of Partnership
(a) Unlimited liability: In a partnership, all the partners have unlimited liability. This means that if the firm’s assets fall short of the requirement for the repayment of the firm’s debts, then the personal assets of the partners can be used.
(b) Limited resources: A partnership firm faces limited availability of finance, because of the restrictions imposed on the following fronts:
(i) maximum number of partners allowed in a partnership firm by definition
(ii) maximum number of new partners who can be admitted in the firm
Hence, as a result, a partnership firm faces financial constraints, which in turn impedes its growth prospects.
(c) Possibility of conflicts: In a partnership firm, the power of decision making is shared among the partners. This further depends on their respective levels of skills, capabilities and foresightedness. The differences in these qualities may possibly lead to conflicts among the partners.
Merits of Partnership
(a) Easy formation and closure: A partnership firm involves an agreement (either oral or written) between two or more partners. The registration of a partnership firm is not compulsory, which eases its formation. Similarly, a partnership firm can be shut down at any time with the mutual consent of all the partners.
(b) Balanced decision making: In a partnership firm, all the decisions related to the business are taken collectively by all the partners. This makes the decision-making process in a partnership firm comparatively more balanced than in any other form of business ownership.
(c) Sharing of risks: The risks in a partnership firm are shared jointly by all the partners. As a result, anxiety, burden and stress of the individual partners are shared among all the partners, which reduces the burden on a single partner.