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Directors of Companies Facing Insolvency — The Four Deadly Sins

None of us like to think of our companies facing insolvency, but unfortunately that can be the reality of business, especially at the moment. Record numbers of business insolvencies are being recorded, so it’s vital for Directors to be clear what they should and shouldn’t do — preferably before they’re faced with the choices. What Is Insolvency? Section 123 of the Insolvency Act 1986 sets out variou
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Mixed Forecasts from London Businesses

After a year that’s been bad for both businesses and consumers, it might be assumed that business forecasts are going to be negative. However, a survey of London businesses late in 2023, gives mixed signals. Most expect difficult times in the first half of 2024 — but a surprisingly large number also expect to increase their profits this year. Fears for Economic Activity in 2024 In a survey of 500 London-based b
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Small Businesses Are Confident About 2024

The Federation of Small Businesses reported that, for the 4th quarter of 2023, 40% of small businesses reported a fall in revenue, and confidence had also plummeted. Which makes it more surprising that, according to research by three separate organisations, optimism is high among small businesses for 2024. Expectations for Growth in Turnover In a recent poll by lender Iwoca, 47% of small businesses were expecting an
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Risks of Debt Among Financially Vulnerable People

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting us all, to some extent, but it’s hardly a surprise that the worst hit are the most financially vulnerable people. For many, the only way out seems to be taking on debt, which can lead them into a debt spiral it’s hard to break — and this is especially a risk over Christmas. Debt Patterns in 2023 Recent figures show that, on average, 22% of people in the UK have fallen
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Late Payments — What Difference Will the Autumn Statement Make?

Small businesses doing business with giant corporations have traditionally had no choice but to put up with accepting the customer’s payment terms — sometimes having to wait months before getting their money. This can leave their cashflow in a dangerous condition, even threatening their ability to continue trading. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, on 22nd November, addressed this issue. The measures he
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Company Liquidation — How Does It Affect a Director?

In any time of economic uncertainty, there’s likely to be an increase in companies going into liquidation. The recent collapse of Wilko has focused our attention on this issue, and no doubt many company directors are feeling nervous. The position of a director of an insolvent company can be problematic in certain circumstances. In general, however, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Insolvency fo
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New Technology and SMEs — Boosting Efficiency

Eighteen months after the last Covid restrictions were lifted, it might be expected that SMEs would be relying less on new technology, especially technology allowing their employees to work from home. However, a survey last month suggests this is far from the case. SMEs Are Still Relying on Technology A study in September by Novuna Business Finance shows that 67% of small business owners consider technology to be hav
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Pay Attention to a Company’s Cash Flow Before Making a Decision

There are various reasons why you might need to examine another company’s books. You should certainly do so if you’re considering investing in the business, but you may also want to get a better idea of their finances before offering credit. But what should you be looking for? Turnover? Profit? Or is it better to look at cash flow? Why Is Cash Flow Important? Profit and turnover each give only a very partial picture
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Do You Need to Pay HMRC First if You’re Insolvent?

If a company enters into any form of insolvency, whether it’s a company voluntary arrangement, a pre-pack administration or a restructuring plan, it’s likely that one of the major creditors will be HMRC. It’s often believed that any taxes owed have to be paid first, before any other debts have to be considered. However, the situation is far from simple. Some recent cases have supported HMRC’s claims, while others hav
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Good News and Bad News for International Business

During the pandemic, SMEs worldwide assumed this was as bad as it got, and by this time things would have improved. In fact, 2023 seems to be even worse than the height of lockdown — in fact, the worst the economy has been since 2008. Strangely, though, this doesn’t appear to be causing gloom among business owners. A recent survey suggested that the vast majority of SMEs in the international business community are op
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