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What does insolvency mean in business?

What does insolvency mean in business? It relates to the situation in which a business or individual is unable to satisfy creditors’ financial obligations as debts become payable. Let’s assume the company or the individual is threatened with insolvency proceedings. Here, they arrange an informal arrangement with their creditors, including alternative payment options.

IMPORTANT: Insolvent limited companies remain responsible for protecting creditors’ interests before its shareholders.

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Difference between Insolvency and Bankruptcy?

  • Insolvency refers to a limited company with liabilities greater than assets or remains unable to pay its bills as and when they fall due.
  • Bankruptcy applies to individuals with personal debts who remain unable to pay. It does not apply to limited companies.

What does Insolvency mean in business? – Types of Insolvency for a business 

Insolvency caused by the reduction of cash-flow. 

A situation where a company has sufficient assets to exceed its liabilities, however, no money remains to pay the company’s debt as and when it is due. Consequently, your business has significant assets, though no cash available. An insolvency prompted insufficient cash flow, which refers to a deficit of available liquid assets to satisfy debt commitments.

Such a situation can sometimes, however, resolve itself by negotiation. Perhaps, the creditor remains open to deferring repayment, allowing the debtor more time to realise assets. It may be that an interest will therefore be charged to the delayed payment.

Insolvency brought on by a deficient Balance-sheet. 

If the company or individual does not have enough assets to fulfil its financial commitments to its creditors, it is called balance sheet insolvency. The company or individual has liabilities more significant than its assets. In that case, there is a much higher probability that insolvency proceedings may commence?

 Circumstances Leading to Insolvency

  • Incomplete accounting and ineffective personnel:

    Employing staff with insufficient skills and experience often leads to insolvency. They are therefore responsible for incorrect production and follow-up of business budgets and expenses, leading to the company’s failure.

  • Any business subject to legal claims, with possible significant contingent liabilities? May experience financial damage operationally, affecting therefore its viability.

  • Failure to change with market needs:

May leave your business behind, causing customers to migrate elsewhere, to suppliers that offer better quality or a more diverse product or service. The business has profits hit and starts to defer payment to creditors of the business.

  • Increased operation and manufacturing costs:

    Occasionally, a business may incur higher production or procurement costs, such that its profit margins remain significantly reduced. Thus, in turn, leads to loss of income and the company’s inability to fulfil its obligations to creditors.

  • Key team members leaving:

  • Decreasing profit margins:

  • HMRC arrears building up: 

  • Attending bailiffs.

Cornerstone of Insolvency Law in the UK

Business Recovery is available. Read more on What does Business Recovery mean.

The latest insolvency legislation does not focus on the liquidation and closure of insolvent entities. 

Rather, it aims more to help repair the financial structure of the business to allow the business to remain to trade. 

Insolvency Register

A register exists for companies in liquidation or provisional liquidation: https://www.gov.uk/find-out-if-a-company-is-in-financial-trouble

For individuals, the UK government manages a register on line: https://www.gov.uk/search-bankruptcy-insolvency-register

What are Insolvency Proceedings?

Insolvency Proceedings are the collective term for legal mechanisms of Insolvency, including:

  • For corporate entities:
    • Winding up;
    • Liquidation;
    • Company administration;
    • Receivership and,
  • Individuals:
    • Bankruptcy.

What does insolvency mean in business? What Happens to a Company after Insolvency?

If your company has reached the state of insolvency, you might expect to receive:

  • Business suppliers and customers usually cancel contracts previously in place:
  • Secured lenders, like banks, may call in security; 
  • Company Directors conduct before the insolvency practitioner’s appointment will be examined, with the risk of being held personally liable for your company’s debt is found to have traded fraudulently or wrongfully;
  • A CCJ, Statutory Demand or Petition to Wind up Your limited company;
  • Company Banker may freeze the business bank accounts.

What’s the difference between liquidation and insolvency?

Insolvency of a limited company does not always require closure.

However, it’s a crucial chapter in the company’s life. Accordingly, directors need to carry out decisive judgments regarding the way forward. Here, an insolvency practitioner helps you make recommendations based on experience and legal situation.

Company directors may consider restructuring their limited company. However, closing the company may be required if the business remains not viable and cannot deal with pressure by creditors of the business.

For further detailed reading, please view what does insolvency mean?

For more advice on how to protect your business, consider how to protect your business while ensuring that your creditor’s interests are not further harmed. Please contact HBG Advisory on: 0330 056 3120


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