Spotting the Signs of Crisis
Many businesses find themselves in trouble. Sadly, most will not talk to their professional advisors until it is almost too late to think about a rescue - so you may well be called on to assess the possibility of insolvency.
Is Your Business Financially Secure?
Reassure yourself that your business is financially secure - spend a few seconds looking at this checklist. If you know the answers to all the questions below, you are more in control of your business than many business owners or managers - congatulations. If you don't know the answers, make it your business to find out today.
- Are you slow or late to pay invoices?
- Do you clear debts by lump-sum payments on account?
- Do you make payment by post-dated cheques?
- Do you leave paying old invoices until you need delivery of a new order?
- Do you use disputes to delay payment?
- Do you use numerous suppliers to increase the level of credit availability?
- Is your business largely reliant on one customer?
- Do you have to borrow heavily to keep the business running?
- Do you have a lot of outstanding debtors or potential bad debts?
- Are you unsure how much money you owe, and how much money you are owed?
- Do you often receive final demands from your creditors?
- Are you facing court action by suppliers?
If you've answered yes to any of the above can you - being absolutely honest with yourself - put forward a solid business reason for your answer.
If you can't, or if you've answered yes to a number of questions, take advice now. Your existing lawyer or accountant may be a good place to start, but if the solution requires formal insolvency or rescue, you will need to talk to an independent Licensed Insolvency Practitioner.
These are only warning signs, not confirmation of a real problem, But, they should never, ever be ignored.
The next step
By realising that problems are looming, you have already taken the first step; if you haven't spoken to one of our specialists, you should. Contact us now and we will respond as soon as we can.
Act quickly if you are facing financial difficulties - a Company Voluntary Arrangement or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement may rescue your business and be a solution to mounting debts, depending on the circumstances. If you think that a customer is experiencing operating or financial difficulties that may leave you with a potential bad debt, you should seek professional advice, and find out more about the action you can take. See "Protecting Your Interests" for more details about where you stand.
A Hodgsons' Licensed Insolvency Practitioner can advise you - a first consultation is always free. Save yourself a lot of worry and money. Contact us now for more details.
Customer In Trouble?
Take a look at the checklist below: If a customer regularly displays one or more of these early warning signs, you could be well advised to reduce your exposure if possible. But, the first step should be to talk to your customer and listen to what they have to say, maybe things are not what they seem - or maybe you could help.
Identifying problem customers as early as possible should be a standard part of your monthly financial management routine. Start by looking out for any of the following symptoms:
- Slow, late or non-payment of invoices.
- Lump-sum payments on account.
- Payment by post-dated cheques.
- Old invoices cleared only on receipt of new deliveries.
- Using disputes to delay payment.
It's always best to speak to your customer before you take drastic action - do as you would be done by: You may be in a position to help them resolve a crisis - that way you get to keep a customer (and probably a loyal one).
However, if the debtor appears evasive or unwilling to talk or explain their position – take action to reduce your risk.