Whether it’s a restructuring led by a business rescue expert, or a formal insolvency process, such as Administration, through an insolvency practitioner (IP), the chances of achieving a positive outcome are greatly enhanced by the involvement of a whole range of professionals working together towards agreed objectives.
Business owners and management teams can be surprised by the sheer range of expertise that needs to be deployed, which extends way beyond the lead professional and their legal advisers. The list can be long, depending on the circumstances of each case. Here, we take a closer look at some of the key specialists who could be needed.
The idea that one solicitor with specialist business rescue knowledge can deal with every aspect ignores the reality on the ground. There could be a need for intellectual property, real estate, insurance, foreign exchange, cryptocurrency, fraud and a myriad of other specialist legal disciplines. If there are cross-border issues, input from legal advisers in the relevant jurisdictions may be required, covering local aspects of any of the above issues.
If court proceedings are necessary, barristers will come into the picture in the UK and specialist court advocates overseas, depending on the legal system involved.
Existing accountants will have a role to play with their detailed knowledge of the company, and, in other situations, new advisers may be necessary. There is a wide range of potential tasks for accountants, including bringing accounting records up to date or maintaining them, preparing financial statements, negotiating with HMRC and in the case of a formal insolvency, assisting with the preparation of the Statement of Affairs required by statute.
Forensic investigators and asset tracers
Whether or not there has been fraud, it is often essential to demonstrate what has gone wrong in a business’s finances, which could uncover fraudulent activity. Assets and value may have gone missing, deliberately or otherwise. They need to be traced and recovered wherever possible.
Take a look at our recent blog on the role of forensic experts can take in this context.
Expediting the disposal of property, maximising the proceeds, or simply valuing it are key tasks, but by no means the only ones associated with real estate issues. There may be environmental considerations, planning may not be straight forward and both essential maintenance and security could be problems. Using the right property agents is vital.
Securing, preserving, valuing and selling the wide range of equipment and other non-property fixed assets and inventory owned by a company needs efficient and pragmatic agents skilled in these tasks. Dealing with financial institutions with an interest in these assets is also highly specialised.
Physical assets are extraordinarily vulnerable in any rescue which is out in the public domain, as are digital assets and records. Good old-fashioned guarding or enhanced electronic surveillance and cyber security will play a role, but cost and proportionality need to be considered with the advice of experts.
Intellectual property experts
This is a minefield for the unwary, with a plethora of uncertainties and potential competing claims. Understanding what the alleged asset really is, what it might be worth and who any potential buyers are is the preserve of specialists.
Foreign exchange specialists
Where there are assets, liabilities and cash inflows or outflows denominated in foreign currencies, it will be necessary to agree a strategy and implement it using well-established and trustworthy experts.
This is a whole new and risk-riddled world, which is becoming more and more common in business rescues.
It is not uncommon for insurance claims to be a part of the problems of a struggling business. Maintaining insurance cover for the normal range of business activities is a key aspect of many business rescues, particularly where ongoing trading is a part of the rescue strategy. Having the requisite specialist on the team is vital.
Getting HR decisions wrong or resolving pre-existing HR disputes can be expensive and might even derail a rescue where substantial numbers of employees are involved. Having access to good advice is important, both in the UK and in any overseas jurisdictions involved.
When a business or parts of it need to be sold, using experts to design a marketing strategy, identify potential purchasers, run the sale process, fend off time wasters and assist with negotiations is critical if the optimum deal is to be reached and completed in a timely and efficient manner.
Nowadays, many business rescues will stand or fall on implementing appropriate social media strategies and managing downside reputational risk. This is another minefield, where mistakes can be critical and hard to correct. Choosing a team with excellent marketing support to assist on this front can be very helpful.
Pulling the strands together
The lead restructuring or insolvency professional will be well versed in business management, insolvency law and working with different business types and sectors. Nevertheless, they cannot be a jack of all trade and understand that operating as a lone wolf will be detrimental for any business rescue.
Guiding a business back to profitability, or managing a soft wind-down of a business, is all about teamwork. Having access to the right professionals for the right tasks at the right time and at the right cost is invaluable and will relieve the pressure on directors and management teams when they need it most.
How we can help
We have extensive experience advising business owners and directors, and we will always work with you to find the best solution for you and your business.
One of our Partners would be more than happy to have a non-obligatory confidential chat with you. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 3326 6454 and we will arrange for a call with one of our Partners.