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Free cash flow spreadsheet

Problems with cash flow can happen to any business, however there are simple and efficient ways to improve the situation. 

Use our free daily cash flow template to get accurate and realistic forecasts for your business and follow our company cash flow problems page for further advice on cutting costs and improving cash flow. 

You can also use our handy cost-cutting guide for tips on saving money and making the most of your finances. 

If things become too much to handle, consider an informal time to pay deal with HMRC or a company voluntary arrangement. Debt can be paid back in affordable instalments without damaging the reputation of the business. If you would like to talk through your options, call us on 0800 9700539.

Change to personal injury claims could put businesses at risk

Osborne announced in last week’s Autumn Statement there will be a ban on general minor damages and a limit of £5000 for small claims, coming into force in 2017. 

While this is expected to reduce premiums for customers and eliminate the ‘whiplash claim culture’, businesses specialising in small claims will be at risk of going bust and customers with legitimate minor injuries could miss out on compensation. Many customers will be unable to get legal advice if their claim is anything below £5000.

Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, commented, “The Law Society is gravely concerned that these proposals will completely undermine the right of ordinary citizens to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them through negligence.”

He further added, “Personal injury claims, even lower value claims, can include serious injuries arising from the fault of an employer or other road traffic accidents where legal rights can be very complex and the injuries caused debilitating. A new limit of £5,000 will mean personal injuries including facial scarring would be considered as "small claims". This is totally unacceptable.”

If you are concerned these future changes may impact your business and need help to restructure or pay off debt, please call us on 0800 9700539.

Director of loans company banned for nine years

David Gary Drysdale of Welcome Loans Limited has been disqualified for nine years after failing to provide accurate company accounts and benefitting himself ahead of customers and HMRC. 

He repeatedly failed to assist an insolvency practitioner and the Insolvency Service during investigations after the company went into liquidation in July 2013. Welcome Loans acted between customers and lenders to arrange loans, charging upfront fees.  

It was discovered HMRC was owed over £287,000 in taxes while Mr Drysdale took over £683,000 for himself over several years. He also deliberately prolonged investigations so he could try to release company money held in an offshore bank account for personal use. The amount of £271,544 was very difficult for the insolvency practitioner to retrieve, leading to further problems.

Prior to the liquidation, there had been hundreds of complaints from customers about unfair charging and high fees which led to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) issuing a warning. He failed to address customer complaints and provide refunds (even though he assured the FOS he would), and instead paid himself around £10,000 a week and bought a new Bentley!

Mark Bruce from the Insolvency Service commented, “Mr Drysdale has shown himself to be exactly the type of businessman who should be removed from the business area. His cavalier attitude to his customers and the various regulatory bodies he faced was seen as extremely serious by the court in handing down a lengthy disqualification.”

Can a company going into liquidation affect the director personally?

A limited company is its own legal entity. Therefore, if a company goes into liquidation, the debt involved belongs to the company, not the directors. 

It is also a myth that directors can never be company directors again. Many successful directors have had previous failed businesses for a number of different reasons but are now running profitable and viable companies. 

Directors Duties

Directors can be made personally liable, however, if they have not acted in the creditors’ best interests or have been involved in fraudulent activity. One example could be if the company continues to take credit even though the director knows there is no way to repay this. 

It is the director’s duty to act properly when a company is insolvent or there is the risk of ‘wrongful trading’ as defined in the Insolvency Act 1986. 

When a company goes into liquidation, the Insolvency Practitioner or Official Receiver will investigate the director’s actions to ensure all procedures have been correctly followed. If there has been any wrongdoing, this will be looked into and a case could be made against the directors. 

It is crucial to seek advice if you’re running an insolvent business and you’re unsure how to proceed. There may be a more suitable solution than liquidation. You can call us on 0800 9700539 to talk through your options.  

Notice of Intention to Appoint (NOI)

Often we hear in the news about companies filing a notice of intention to appoint an administrator. This is usually arranged to protect the company if creditors are taking legal action, like a winding up petition, against the business. 

A document is filed at court to show the company intends to go into administration if no other solution can be found. Creditors are then prevented from issuing any legal proceedings for ten working days, giving time for the company to secure a restructuring plan or seek a suitable buyer for the business. 

A further ten day extension can be granted if there is good reason, perhaps if a deal is about to happen.

For detailed guides, including the pros and cons of going into administration, visit our NOI and administration pages. 

Latest insolvency statistics show compulsory liquidations at lowest level since 1989

The latest insolvency statistics show an overall decline in company insolvencies. See our news piece for a full review...

Director banned for eight years due to poor record keeping

Eric Reid, owner of Glasgow Commercials Limited, has been disqualified for eight years after an investigation found he had failed to keep sufficient accounting records for the business. 

The company went into liquidation in August 2013 following a winding up order. HMRC issued a winding up petition to the court in June. 

Due to the lack of information in the company’s accounts, it was difficult to clarify the value of the business and its assets as well as explain certain transactions which were unaccounted for. 

Employee and payroll information was also missing as were salary records for Mr Reid himself.

In August 2014, the garage premises were raided by police as there was suspected drug manufacturing taking place. 

Cheryl Lambert from the Insolvency Service commented:

“Mr Reid’s failure to keep accounting records has hindered the liquidator’s investigations and as a result funds have not been recovered to repay creditors.”

“Taking action against Mr Reid is a warning to directors to take heed of their duties and obligations.”

Facing HMRC Payment Problems?

HMRC is sometimes termed a 'sophisticated creditor' as it knows all the tricks and techniques to use in order to get tax back. Of course, this is because they tend to be owed the most amount of money!  

What is more, as the amount of tax owed is rarely in dispute, they do not need to first seek a County Court Judgement, followed by a Statutory Demand.  As such, they tend to go straight to issuing a winding up petition provided they are owed more than £750.

Due to this shorter time frame, it is important to take action quickly if you are having problems paying HMRC. Take a look at our top tips for collecting your own debts  or review our top tips on cutting costs.  If you are still facing creditor pressure then please give us a call!

Please take a look at our new page on HMRC payment problems.

Personal injury law firm, GT Law, has gone into administration

Joint administrators from Quantuma, Andrew Hosking and Simon Bonney, were appointed on the 9th October by First Stop Legal Services Ltd, trading as GT Law. Samantha Palmer of Ashfords has been appointed as the solicitor manager. 

With offices in Essex, Manchester and Liverpool, the firm employs over 100 staff with a company turnover of £7.9 million. 

Despite pre-tax profits of over £179,000 ending February 2014, GT Law has reportedly struggled of late after being referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) over its alleged misconduct with clients’ claims. 

A 2011 injury claim by 16,626 people over the Sonae fire in Kirkby, Merseyside had been dismissed in court this August due to a lack of evidence as well as the handling of claims by two law firms, including GT Law. According to reports, questionnaires about the claimant’s health had been tampered with and cold-calling had been used as a method to draw in new clients to put forward their ‘case’.

Administrators have confirmed that all client files at GT Law will be transferred to surrounding law firms with the clients’ consent. 

Clients will be contacted by the other law firms in due course. Any questions should be directed to 01273 322400 or tom.burton@quantuma.com.

Councils given power to set business rates

Today at the Conservative party conference, George Osborne revealed there will be a new business rate system that gives power to local councils to decide their own levels of rates to charge. 

The government also announced £26 billion raised in business rates around the UK will be passed back to local councils to support funding.

Businesses have been lobbying for some time now for a business rates reform as these tax charges can be hugely expensive, often crippling businesses located in city centres. There is also a lack of transparency in the current system as there is no clear information as to how businesses are valued for different levels of business rates. It is then difficult and costly to appeal. 

Giving more power to local councils is a step in the right direction and will aid healthy competition between businesses and areas. However, it could mean rates increase in some towns or cities if a particular council decides there is a need for it.  

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