Andy WoodView Profile
As an appointment-taking insolvency practitioner (IP) of many years standing, a common component of all cases, is the stress and worry that financial difficulties bring to bear on business owners.
This is compounded when the business is not incorporated or where directors of limited companies have signed significant personal guarantees and they know their personal assets are at risk.
I often spend the first hour of a meeting, listening to the owner to simply gauge their concerns on both a business and a personal basis
The IP’s principal duty is to maximise realisations for the benefit of creditors wherever possible, but that should not impact on the IP treating all parties involved with respect and an understanding of the position they face.
Early in my career, I was taught that an IP is “50% accountant and 50% social worker” and whilst the percentages are open to discussion, the sentiment is true.
The stress and worry is not always limited to pressure from creditors chasing payment, but extends to the effects of constant worry, lack of sleep, deterioration in health, break down in personal relationships etc., the list is literally endless.
If the IP is to do his job effectively, an understanding of the complete areas of concern is essential to fully assess the options available and therefore properly advise the business owner.
In turn this should reduce further exposure and result in better returns to creditors.
I often spend the first hour of a meeting, listening to the owner to simply gauge their concerns on both a business and a personal basis, knowing that by unloading their worries they have started on the road to a solution, whether that be a restructuring solution or a formal insolvency route.
Owners are often concerned for their employees and feel they have “let them down”, and where the jobs are at risk or in the worst case terminated, the IP’s responsibility should be to address the staff and be open and transparent about the situation faced.
If termination of employment contracts follows, then staff must have their rights fully explained in claiming redundancy from the government.
In the recent past, changes to the claims procedure has meant that all claims have to be made online.
Sadly this assumes that all employees are computer literate and are comfortable with form-filling, and indeed have access to a computer.
As a firm, we will directly assist the staff to make their claims online and to remove another complication from an already worrying set of circumstances.