Simon Underwood – Business Recovery Partner
The following are some of the common Business Recovery FAQs we receive on a regular basis. With access to the entire Menzies accountancy practice, we have a wide range of in-house services that we can call on, in order to offer a complete resolution to your business challenges.
We understand that the pressure faced by individuals and company directors when dealing with financial challenges can be overwhelming. The uncertainty of the situation can create an environment where it is difficult to plan clearly and, due to the complex nature and time sensitivity of the matter, it is important to get the best possible advice quickly.
Q. Business recovery help – Creditor pressure?
Any letter which arrives on your desk with an unexpected demand for payment can cause alarm. It’s bound to. That is, after all, its intention. But it doesn’t need to.
Ignoring the problem won’t make things better. And you can’t make a genuine debt go away. But you can buy yourself time.
Consider a Home Counties law firm we worked with. Despite a respectable turnover of £3.5 million a year, recession tipped it gradually into loss. Its bank debt climbed to almost £750,000. That began to worry bank executives. Other creditors started grumbling too.
Within days of getting involved, we took the pressure off by negotiating a standstill agreement. Not just with the firm’s commercial creditors, but also with the tax and VAT authorities. That gave the firm the breathing space to work out which parts were still making money and restructure its activities to stem the losses.
As one of the firm’s partners said to us later:
“Thanks to you, we’ve been able to turn chaos into order. We’re now seeing real progress after months of fire-fighting.”
Q. Am I personally liable?
For the debts of your company, no, you’re not personally liable. But if you operate your business as a sole trader or a partnership, or if you’ve personally guaranteed the company’s loans, you probably are.
Either way, there’s no getting around it. Being involved in a business in trouble can be hell – emotionally as well as financially. It can be embarrassing if your friends find out. Frightening, too. In a family-run business, the strain can spill over into your home life as well.
Not all professional-service firms understand the pressures. Some large accountancies deal with so many businesses that each one becomes merely another item on a book-keeping list.
Our clients, however, tell us that Menzies Business Recovery is different. Howard R, for example, wrote to us after we helped him sort out the future of his London hardware shop:
“Thank you so much for your guidance in settling my affairs in such an efficient and friendly manner. You relieved my wife and I of untold stress and worry. We can now face retirement with confidence.
Q. Who can I turn to?
Finding yourself or your business in financial trouble is rare. Most people never experience the terror of what one of our clients calls ‘that dentist’s-chair moment’.
So most business people who do find themselves in financial trouble, don’t have close contacts among experts in the field. Understandably they’re also reluctant to ask friends for names.
To reduce the anxieties and risks of this uncomfortable situation, we make all our clients two promises:
- Your first meeting with us will be without obligation – and free. We will not charge you any fees at all until you agree we should.
- We won’t reveal your identity to your creditors or your rivals – until and unless you give us permission to do so.
Q. Is there hope?
Always. Even in the bleakest circumstances, faced with what seem like insoluble problems, you always have options. It may take time to work out the best solution or set of solutions. It will take more time to put the solutions into practice.
We won’t pretend that the journey will be easy, or that the available options will all be attractive. There are almost certain to be bumps along the road. And sometimes what looks like a possible way forward can turn out to be a dead end.
But our clients tell us we’re among the best in the field. Indeed, in a survey taken by business people in September 2013, the Menzies Business Recovery team were rated as ‘trusted advisers’ by every single one of the respondents.
Clients who we have previously helped are also unanimous about one other experience: however painful your initial situation, and however the situation plays out, you will at the end feel better than you do now.
To speak to a partner or for more information about the services we offer please contact one of the Menzies LLP offices or complete our online contact form.