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Company Voluntary Arrangement for company or LLP Lawyers – Plan B

8th August, 2017
Keith Steven

Written ByKeith Steven

Managing Director

07879 555349

Keith is the author of the content on this comprehensive rescue, turnaround and insolvency website. He is the managing director of KSA Group Ltd - a specialist firm of turnaround and licensed insolvency practitioners. Keith was nominated for Turnaround Practitioner of the Year 2014 at the National Insolvency and Rescue Awards in 2014.

Keith Steven
  • CVA Guide
  • Who should use a CVA?
  • CVA Proposal contents

We are a firm of very worried solicitors. Our legal practice is a company or LLP. We are under growing pressure from all sides. How can you help us solve these problems, restructure and survive?

There are three options to deal with severe cashflow problems, this page looks at Plan B company voluntary arrangements (CVA)

A CVA could be the answer to your company’s problems and could even help protect you personally from your creditors. But it is a risky approach and possibly very damaging to your company credit rating. A hive down may resolve this credit rating issue, ask us for details.

A CVA is a powerful insolvency tool that will ringfence your company creditors (that’s all your unsecured but typically not the secured debts) and it can quickly take away the creditor pressure. It is acceptable to the SRA and in our experience the SRA will want to be informed but will not intervene.

Many law firms have significant tax and trade debts. By ring fencing tax / trade debts and repaying them in full or in part over say 12-60 months this can have a major impact on cashflow allowing the company to survive immediate winding up threats, reduce fixed costs and people costs, it will usually be acceptable to the SRA and leaves the directors or designated members of a LLP in CONTROL of their business.

If the directors believe in the fundamental viability of the practice and are determined to fight for the business then the CVA is a powerful rescue mechanism that is acceptable to the SRA. But most people are not aware that it can also be a powerful tool or framework for the restructuring of the business.

Property leases and employment contracts can be terminated, costs cut and the business re-shaped to aid survival. This can be tough to drive through without the CVA approach. It can also be an emotional challenge for the directors to have to drive, so bringing in turnaround and insolvency experts is vital.

KSA Group has turned around hundreds of companies including law firms. We can see the wood from the trees and guide your restructuring programme.

CVA Guide

It must be understood that this mechanism is not easy; the directors must work hard on a plan to change the business, cut costs and prove they can make the company viable. Above all the directors need to be determined and united to make this technique work.

So what is a Company voluntary arrangement (CVA)? See our experts guide to company voluntary arrangements here for a full description, case studies, flowcharts and case law.

The best way to think of a CVA is as a deal between the debtor (the company that owes the money) and the creditors; the people or businesses to whom the money is owed.

Where the debtor cannot pay off its debts on time or the company is insolvent (for a definition of insolvency click the insolvent) or if your company is under huge pressure then the CVA may be an appropriate solution.

Making a payment on a regular periodic basis the company can bring together all of its unsecured debt problems (except where the creditor has security such as a mortgage over property) and get on with their business and their lives.

Who should use a CVA?

It is imperative that the CVA is only used where the LLP or company is viable or where it has disposable assets that can be turned readily into money in the short to medium term. Using the CVA can allow time to sell such assets for better value than a liquidator or administrator can obtain.

If the business isn’t viable it should be wound up (see Plan C) as soon as possible and if personal guarantees are a problem, this may lead to IVA or personal bankruptcy for the directors.

If the company is behind with PAYE, VAT and trade creditors then action may be taken by one or more of these creditors. If they petition to wind up the company, the board starts to lose options and lose control.

If however the business has never made profit, sales are not rising to the level where overheads start and known prospects aren’t great then a CVA is probably not suitable.

Above all, time is against you so you must all ACT quickly.

Writing the CVA proposal

The law envisages that the debtor(s) will write the proposal and then ask an insolvency practitioner to act for the company. Of course the process is complicated and you have a business to run. Therefore it is probably best to use experienced, pragmatic and respected Turnaround practitioners such as KSA Group to write the proposal. Regardless of whom you use the following points should be remembered:

1. Base it on sensible cashflows, sales and costs. Don’t guess, don’t expect large increases in fees.

2. Expect that things in the first year will be a difficult and that fees may indeed fall.

3. As a result expect to suffer in the first year and do not promise to make large payments in the first year.

4. Don’t promise too much but as above make sure it repayments are affordable.

CVA Proposal contents

The proposal should include a description of why the business has failed and why it is insolvent. It should also detail what the structure of the CVA deal is and how the creditors are going to be repaid. To help the creditors decide whether to accept the CVA it must contain what is called a statement of affairs. Or SOFA for short.

A SOFA paints a picture of your financial position and demonstrates that the company is insolvent. It will also show what would happen if the company was wound up and went into liquidation and what the outcome would be if the CVA were approved and successful. Of course the risk of SRA intervention means that liquidation may generate NIL return for creditors. SO CVA is a better choice, whilst perhaps Hobsons choice.

The document will describe how long the deal is for. Typically most CVAs last between three and five years. And the document will describe how much the company will pay from the business in the months and years ahead to its creditors.

After the document has been completed and the nominee (Nominated Supervisor) has reported it can be filed at court. The purposes of this are to ensure that the document that is filed at court is the same document that is circulated to all creditors.


Occasionally the bank is unsecured in these situations. It may not have a valid security over debtors for example. If so then the bank would be compromised by the CVA. We are currently negotiating with several banks to reduce debt where the bank does have security, but the company is unable to service that debt.

Most often though the bank is secured and can appoint its own administrator or receiver. Care must be taken to keep the bank appraised and detailed forecasts provided to show whether the company can operate within the set facilities.

Solutions include loan payment holidays, occasionally debt write down, long term debt conversion from overdraft to long term loans. Re-banking with more appropriate facilities and debt write off.

CVAs are complex schemes to put together and care must be taken to consider all stakeholders objectives, carefully set out a plan and ensure buy in from creditors.


Our fees usually come from cashflow savings that we can create for your partnership as part of this process. We often take a fee over several weeks and add a success fee if agreed targets are achieved. All fees are quoted in writing.

What now? If your business has cashflow problems you must act or the creditors will, sooner or later act aggressively against you.

What if neither Plan A or Plan B is suitable?

Plan C pre pack administration, or winding up of the company

Of course acquisition by another firm is a possibility too. Will this acquiror pick up all of the liabilities of your firm? Perhaps pre-packaged administration could preserve the business and employment?


Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

in Company Liquidation What is …?

"A man in the pub said I cannot be a director of any other company if I liquidate my company. Is this true?"Actually, this statement is entirely false! Misconceptions like this frequently arise from individuals with limited understanding of the subject matter. Such misinformation can cause undue anxiety for directors considering liquidation, fearing it might personally affect them. Guess what? Listening to bar room experts, inexperienced accountants, or no insolvency specialist lawyers can stop decisions being made, this failure to make a decision is really what could land you in trouble. So how will liquidation affect me and how long does it take? Having a limited liability company means that the directors have little risk (or limited liability) if the company fails, as long as they have acted properly and acted in time. What is more, if as a director, you have been compliant and on the payroll for many years, you can actually claim redundancy from the government like any other employee. But, and it is a big but, if you fail to act in time, fail to act reasonably, fail to keep books and records, continue taking credit KNOWING that the company cannot possibly repay it, then you ARE at risk of personal financial loss or worse such as losing your house. So, act now and get help for your company and more importantly start reducing your own risks.Voluntary liquidation is the quickest most efficient way to deal with an insolvent company that has no future. As a director of an insolvent company, you are at risk if you do not act. This risk RISES the longer you don't act to put the company into liquidation.If you fail to act and the company is wound up by the creditors (compulsory liquidation) then the Official Receiver (OR) will be appointed to liquidate the business and he or she will investigate the activity of the directors and the business over the last 2-3 years. This is known as a conduct report on each director.  If the OR can prove there was wrongful trading where, for instance, you have taken credit from a supplier or took deposits from customers when you knew that it was highly unlikely that you could pay them back, then you could be made personally liable.This is known as the "lifting of the veil of incorporation" that protects directors under limited liability. If this happens then you could made liable for PAYE, VAT and creditors monies from the time that you should have known the company had no reasonable prospect of surviving the problems it faced.Additionally, the directors may face disqualification proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for up to 15 years, they can be fined and may face the loss of personal assets like your home, or even personal bankruptcy.Look, if you as directors have acted naively you may not know that you have broken these laws, but now you do know, it is vital to ensure that you protect yourself as a director by acting quickly to cease trading and put the company into voluntary liquidation; or consider a company voluntary arrangement if the company is VIABLE if the problems are solved. What is Creditors Voluntary Liquidation and what does it mean for me? In short, liquidation usually means, the company's trading stops and it's assets are turned into cash or "liquidated".All other possible liabilities, like employment liabilities, landlord's rent or payments to lease companies are stopped. It really is the end of the company, but the "business" may survive if a phoenix is organised. Liquidation is a powerful way to END creditor pressure and let you get on with your life. What if I have signed personal guarantees? If you have signed personal guarantees or indemnities to lenders, then the liquidation could lead to them being called in if the bank cannot get its money back from the company. There is little that can be done about that, but you should not delay decisions on liquidation to try and prevent a PG being called in: just think what ALL of the company's debts landing on your shoulders would do. Also it should be noted that HMRC now rank ahead of floating charge holders in any liquidation since December 2020.  Consequently, this may well mean that lenders that you have personally guaranteed will get less recovery hence exposing you more.All banks will agree a deal to repay the PG over time - provided you work with the bank to reduce their exposure.One great piece of FREE advice - always make sure that ALL tax returns, VAT returns and annual returns have been completed and sent in and that other "compliance" issues are dealt with wherever possible. These are important processes and will help protect you as individual directors. It shows that you have been acting properly.  I have heard about directors being able to claim redundancy in liquidation If you have been employed by the company and made payments via PAYE then you will be able to claim redundancy from the government and this is in fact a very simple process (20 minutes to fill out a form and we can help with that) so there is no need really to employ a third party to make a claim.  This process has been open to fraud so the HMRC are cracking down on operators that claim to be able to get money back when there is not enough "paperwork".  It isn't worth the risk.  If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!You need to learn more about the options. This is clearly a general guide so, if you have any worries at all, please, just call us and we will talk you through the situation free and with expert guidance for your situation. Call one of our advisors or if you prefer, call our IPs (insolvency practitioners) now:Just one CALL will help relieve the stress and get you out of the mess.Why not call 08009700539 or 020 7887 2667 now?We could help you start the liquidation process today.(8.15am till 5.00pm; Out of hours call on 07833 240747, Wayne Harrison (IP)  or Eric Walls (IP) on 07787 278527)Finally, please remember this: NO BUSINESS is worth losing your health, relationships, marriages or your children over. Act properly, take advice, get the problem sorted and then get on with your life. In a little while the stress will go and you can focus on other things that are more important.Want more information on liquidation? Get our new free 2023 Experts Complete Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation that covers Bounce Back LoansWe are experts in liquidation, voluntary liquidation, administration, pre-pack administration, business rescue, corporate rescue and company rescue, we can help solve your problems but only if you talk to us. Call 0800 9700539 for help.or email us your worries at 

Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators

A notice of intention to appoint administrators is when the company files a document to the court to outline that it intends to go into administration if a solution cannot be found to its immediate financial problems. It can be used as part of the pre-pack administration process as well as used to restructure a failing business to avoid its liquidation.

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators
Man with umbrella

What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The creditor petitions to the court if they are owed more than £750 and it has not been paid for more than 21 days. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent.

What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

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