Business Recovery and Insolvency Advice
If your business is stumbling, we’ll help it get back on its feet.
When creditors start closing in, it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. But things often look much brighter once you get some friendly, impartial advice from someone who understands.
If you’re concerned that your business is in financial trouble, we can help. We have three Licensed Insolvency Practitioners, supported by a specialist business recovery team.
The first step is a completely free, totally confidential consultation. We’ll use this time to understand your financial circumstances, where you are now and where you need to be.
Following on from that, we’ll provide practical, down-to-earth advice on how to tackle your problems and get your business back on track, including help with restructuring debts and negotiating informal arrangements with creditors. We cover a wide area in East Anglia with eight offices across the region including Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester.
The sooner you call us, the better your chances of avoiding formal insolvency proceedings.
To get started, please contact us.
Corporate insolvency options
Generally there are three main formal processes for insolvent companies which are briefly outlined below. In all of these situations we can meet with you and your advisors to discuss options on an initial no cost basis.
This process was introduced by the government in the 1986 Insolvency Act and is the government’s choice of corporate insolvency procedure.
This is a formal process in which the administrator must be a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner and is appointed to act for all creditors collectively. There are a number of ways in which an administration can be commenced and all provide, if appropriate, for the continuation of trade.
A “Pre-Pack” is not in itself an insolvency event but often refers to the sale of a business through an administration.
Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)
This is the corporate equivalent of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) and was introduced in the Insolvency Act 1986.
A CVA is a legally binding agreement (75% of creditors voting will need to approve it) and again requires the services of a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner to act as Supervisor of the CVA. Often a CVA involves the payment in full or part to creditors over a number of years and from continued trading.
The CVA has many advantages over other corporate insolvency procedures in that there is no directors' conduct report and the directors are free to continue managing the company going forwards. At the successful conclusion of the arrangement the shareholders retain the business.
A CVA is usually only suitable where there is fundamentally a good profitable business that perhaps has suffered a significant bad debt, employee theft or any event that has eroded the capital and requires restructuring. This can involve staff redundancies (funded by the Redundancy Payments Office) and instalment payments over a number of years to creditors.
One of our team worked in the Policy Unit of the Insolvency Service on various aspects of CVAs.
Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation
This is the most common form of insolvent liquidation and is considered a terminal event even a “corporate burial”.
Only a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner can be appointed as liquidator and the process is relatively straightforward to implement. The advantage over other insolvent liquidations is that it is quicker and easier to access and provides for director choice of proposed liquidator. Directors in appropriate circumstances even receive redundancy payments from the Redundancy Payments Office.
We will provide an individual quote for each case with costs being competitive and are often covered by the disposal of company assets.
Personal insolvency options
Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
Introduced in 1986 as an alternative to Bankruptcy. A Licensed Insolvency Practitioner is required to act in relation to an IVA which is a legally binding agreement but requires 75% of voting creditors to approve it.
Often used by professionals or those in business due to the opportunity to continue to practise and or trade. The Insolvency Practitioner supervises the IVA and not the business or employment. Assets can be excluded from the IVA as part of the proposal put to creditors and repayment can be partial and over a period of years. An IVA is flexible so that, should circumstances change during the course of an IVA, a variation can be put to creditors.
Most arrangements involve making regular payments into the IVA over a period of years and/or the provision of third party funds.
We can meet with you or your clients on an initial no cost basis to explore if an IVA is appropriate.
Bankruptcy is a formal, court-based procedure that can be commenced by either the debtor or a creditor. The Official Receiver is initially appointed in all cases with limited exceptions – all business and personal assets are realised for the benefit of creditors. There are a number of restrictions and statutory costs, particularly in respect of asset realisations. The restrictions often make continued trading very difficult.
If you have debts and are not sure what to do next or even if matters have progressed and you have been issued with a bankruptcy petition or perhaps have already been made bankrupt we would be prepared to meet or speak with you on a no cost basis to explore the available options.
Bankruptcy can indeed be the appropriate solution but the consequences of bankruptcy are long lasting and can be severe and so it is imperative that you act in full knowledge of the facts.
If during your bankruptcy you are not clear what is expected of you or disagree with a request being made of you then we would be happy for you to contact us to discuss on an initial no cost basis. One of our team was previously an Official Receiver and as a consequence has much knowledge and contacts to assist.
A Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) is a solvent liquidation where a declaration is made by the directors that all debts and interest will be discharged in full within 12 months of the date of the liquidation.
Despite being a solvent liquidation a Licenced Insolvency Practitioner is still required to act as liquidator but the choice of liquidator is entirely the directors'/shareholders' with no input from creditors.
MVLs are often used as part of a tax planning strategy when entrepreneurs' relief may be available or as part of a restructuring under section 110 of the Insolvency Act.
A solvent liquidation can also be used to provide an end to any unknown but potential future claims. This is of particular benefit to those businesses operating in the construction or (professional) service industry as well as businesses.
Fee quotes are competitive and are provided on an individual basis.
If you have insolvent clients or a client that you are just not sure about we would happily meet with you and them on an initial basis, this is without cost.
We realise that the world of insolvency is one of technical aspects but is also often an emotional experience for those directly involved and for you it could be the loss of a long standing client.
We would always advocate taking early advice. Generally the earlier advice is taken the greater the range of options and probably the lower the cost.
We are unable to make payments to you for any introductions and this is strictly prohibited under the insolvency legislation and procedure. Where appropriate however you could be engaged in preparing cash flows or budgets for a proposed arrangement or the provision of other specialist advice (tax for instance) to your client. Hopefully if a trading option or a pre packaged sale arises you will retain a client.
We would be happy to meet with you and your team and outline options for specific cases or as part of a training event. We also provide telephone and email support to you and your team and technical updates. All of this is without cost.
If you haven't already got at least one Insolvency Practitioner contact then we would urge you to do so now, prior to a client requirement when the opportunity to build relationships and trust may be short but when it may be required most.
Being appointed as a director is a relatively easy process but with it comes a significant number of responsibilities. Breaching those duties and responsibilities can be very costly in that the protection provided by operating via a limited company could in certain circumstances be lost and the directors held personally liable for the company debts.
Withdrawal of income from companies via dividend payments is a popular basis of director remuneration. When companies have profits and/or reserves then this may be perfectly acceptable however in an insolvency situation there may be recovery action for these amounts.
Most insolvency events provide for the reversal of certain transactions close to the date of the insolvency on the basis that all creditors should be treated equally and share what assets there are equally. In certain circumstances "close to the insolvency" could involve the previous five years.
We have experience in recoveries from directors and are happy to use this experience to meet with directors and advise them of available options and practical solutions and in preparation for corporate insolvencies.
All of this is offered in an initial no cost meeting.
Deceased insolvents or directors
Death is obviously distressing for family, friends and employees. We have experience of dealing with deceased individual insolvent estates and also with companies where the directors have died.
Often executors are advised not to act if the estate is insolvent and this in itself can provide further trauma for the bereaved.
There are both formal and informal routes and we would gladly meet with you on an initial no cost basis to discuss options.
With significant experience of Business Recovery and Insolvency and a team comprising three Licensed Insolvency Practitioners and a number of other experienced staff, we can provide advice to creditors on:
Enforcement and recovery procedures
Representing you at meeting of creditors
Debt recovery options
Staff training and email/telephone support
All of this can be discussed without any cost to you.
Forensic accounting/civil recovery
We have significant experience of forensic accounting and civil recovery work including employee frauds with much of this work being associated to our business recovery and insolvency work.
In 2013 we were one of 10 providers to be awarded a government contract for the provision of forensic accounting services. We are the only appointed provider of these services in East Anglia.
Initial meetings to consider options are on a no cost basis.