As small firms increasingly rely on high-tech applications to grow, a generation gap is emerging in family-run businesses over the importance of investing in technology, a new study shows.

In a recent survey of more than 250 small business owners nationwide by Microsoft, six in 10 admitted to having disagreements with younger family members over technology issues.

According to respondents, older business owners are generally less interested than their children in obtaining the latest high-tech products and applications, unless they directly impact the bottom line, while their children are constantly worried about falling behind competitors.

Younger entrepreneurs were also more likely to be satisfied with recent technology purchases than their older counterparts and tended to place a higher value on investing in wireless devices and mobile technology, the survey found.

Yet, despite the occasional family squabbles, more than three in four business owners surveyed agreed that technology was important to sustaining their business, while nearly half said it was very or extremely important for growth.

Among businesses surveyed, the largest portion of capital spending on technology went towards PCs, laptops, and industry-specific software, the survey found. Over a third of respondents also said their business relied on Internet access.