Picture of Martin Williamson, Insolvency Expert

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news and views from Martin Williamson

 

 

October 11th, 2018

About the new rules – there’s good news and bad news…

The accountancy world has been agog at the new insolvency measures that are being proposed by the Government following a consultation process that ended in August. Well, OK, not agog exactly. Accountants are rarely agog about anything although they do occasionally raise an eyebrow! Well, eyebrows are certainly being raised about the proposed new measures […]

September 19th, 2018

We don’t actually have a time machine…

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”, according to the physicist Neils Bohr. And he’s right. Prediction is a mug’s game. At IPD we don’t do prediction but we DO sometimes issue forecasts which, like weather forecasts, are not pronouncements of what will definitely happen but rather our views on what will […]

September 13th, 2018

Why cash-strapped local authorities are bad news for small businesses

Knees are knocking together in Northamptonshire and heads are being scratched in Somerset. The two county councils are in dire financial straits with one of them teetering on the edge of insolvency. “Why should this worry small business clients?”, I hear my accountancy friends ask: “None of my clients are based in these areas nor […]

September 4th, 2018

The bigger picture – and why accountants do not always see it

Inspector Morse turned towards his detective sergeant who had been puzzling aloud over some aspect of a baffling case.  (Stay with me here…) “Try and see the bigger picture, Lewis”, he said, wearily. That was always a favourite quote of mine and not just because John Thaw delivered it with just the right amount of […]

August 15th, 2018

(Dis)Interest on SME’s

Business is just business? No, it’s not – and these two news items help to explain why.  If you are a regular reader of this blog – and if you are not, (ha ha!) why not? – you will know that I have been concerned about the wellbeing of some Staffordshire businesses for almost a […]

July 3rd, 2018

Professional skills and personal responsibility

House of Fraser, Sir Terence Conran, Jamie Oliver, Toys R Us, Carillion – the big names that are in difficulty or going bust (or hoping to trade their way back to viability after a CVA) seem to grow every week. Those names, once the darlings of the media, are now making headlines for all the […]

June 29th, 2018

Patterns, predictions and problems around the corner

I promised a few weeks ago to return to my commentary on the sobering Q1 data from the Insolvency Service because there are statistics in there that give me cause for concern.  Despite working as an insolvency practitioner I am not a gloomy person by nature; I do, however, have a reasonable gift for crunching […]

June 15th, 2018

How exposed are your clients to the late payments disease?

Accountants, like GPs, are busy people. Just like GPs, they spend so much time each day working on one client/patient before they have to turn their attention to the affairs of the next one. And just like GPs, each client/patient has a different need. With GPs an older person who has fallen at home may […]

May 4th, 2018

Why 2018 may turn out to be the Year of the CVA

You can be a multinational conglomerate with stores in 20 countries, or a one shop trader in Neck End. When sales are falling, costs are rising and insolvency is beckoning, both have been known to reach for the relative comfort of the CVA. The Company Voluntary Arrangement is essentially a deal between a company and […]

April 27th, 2018

Watch out for this latest scam

The scammers of the world are out there right now planning to relieve you of your hard-earned cash. You know it and I know it – but we also think we know what a potential scam looks like. The days of the email from Nigeria giving us the good news that we are about to […]

March 7th, 2018

This thing is bigger than both of us

In The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, author Douglas Adams recounts how a mighty galactic fleet of hostile spaceships journeys across the universe to attack Earth. When they arrive, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, the entire battle fleet is accidentally swallowed by a small dog. “Those who study the complex interplay of cause […]

March 6th, 2018

Carillion postcript

Yes, I know I said that I was not going to write about Carillion again.  But that was before Charles Orton-Jones wrote a punchy article in the Times on February 15 entitled ‘Five lessons Carillion can teach us all’. You will recall my concern that some smaller businesses caught up in the Carillion insolvency would […]

March 2nd, 2018

Workers have rights when their employer becomes insolvent

If you think it is tough as a business owner or director facing corporate insolvency, spare a thought for the workers whose jobs are on the line. These employees, however, have valuable rights – and not all company directors or even their accountants fully understand what they are. So let’s take a brief look at […]

February 23rd, 2018

Don’t turn the alarm bells off just yet…(Carillion pt 3)

The alarm bells began ringing in accountancy firms across the West Midlands when the news of Carillion’s insolvency hit the media. Although the story has now largely disappeared from the headlines, chartered accountants across the region are still working through the implications with client companies who were exposed, one way or another, to the collapse […]

January 26th, 2018

A Carillion reasons why…

We are still in the early days of Carillion’s collapse. However, across Staffordshire, accountants are talking with the owners and directors of their client companies affected by the collapse of Carillion. Collectively, they are trying to assess the immediate impact on trading and cash-flow but they should also be looking further down the line at […]

January 4th, 2018

Action this day – make this your New Year resolution

The quote that ended 2017 should become the watchword at the beginning of 2018 for accountants who have clients that are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Indeed, my suggestion is that accountants should write this quote at the top of the page in their diary on their first day back at work. “Early intervention […]

December 11th, 2017

A Christmas Carol – how Dickens got it all wrong

I have always enjoyed the timeless morality play that is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The characters are wonderfully drawn, the atmosphere gripping, the storyline endlessly compelling. As an insolvency practitioner I also appreciate the detail which the author sprinkles like snowflakes throughout this famous short story (it’s all about the detail, folks). When it comes to the […]

November 6th, 2017

The figures that show we may be heading for a tough time

The latest insolvency statistics for Quarter 3 (July to September) 2017 are out and I have not seen much reaction to them yet from local business and civic leaders. That may be because the headline figures seem innocuous enough. But I am not so sure. Having taken a careful and dispassionate look at the numbers […]

August 31st, 2017

Two little words that remove a roadblock

The insolvency world continues to change at a rapid pace. Accountants are still getting to grips with the biggest rewrite of insolvency law in 30 years, brought about by the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules that came into force in April 2017. One of the most useful changes has been the introduction of “deemed consent” – […]

July 28th, 2017

Debt worries rise for UK businesses

Four times more businesses than in September 2016 say they would be unable to pay debts if interest rates rise even by a small amount, research has revealed. A survey by insolvency and trade body R3 say 79,000 UK businesses are worried that they could not cope with an interest rate rise, compared to 20,000 […]

June 30th, 2017

Financial education in schools just doesn’t add up

Many British adults can be confused by financial matters due to a lack of education on the subject at schools and colleges. Just one in 10 adults say they received useful advice on finance through the education system, according to a survey by trade body R3 and polling body ComRes. “PHSE education in schools is […]

May 15th, 2017

Upward trend in insolvencies

Corporate insolvencies are now running at more than 5% higher than 12 months ago (ref: The Insolvency Service). Following a period of calm in 2016, insolvencies are now showing an upwards trend from a post financial crisis peak. Martin Williamson, Managing Director at ipd, said factors including a rise in the national minimum wage, pension […]

April 20th, 2017

Don’t be a Zombie!

139,000 businesses in the UK are only paying the interest on their debt and not repaying the debt itself, according to new research by insolvency and restructuring trade body R3. The number of businesses in this position – equivalent to 8% of all UK businesses – has returned to levels more in line with previous […]

March 20th, 2017

UK businesses owe £1.8 billion in late corporation tax says new study

The total value of corporation tax payments in arrears has jumped 15 per cent in the past year, to £1.82 billion up from £1.59 billion, as businesses increasingly struggle to pay their tax bills. Research by online business supermarket, Funding Options, have warned that small businesses are at particular risk of having their assets seized because […]

November 8th, 2016

Help at hand for young families in financial distress

Young families are most vulnerable to insolvency, a new survey suggests. But there has been an overall drop in personal insolvencies year-on-year, according to statistics from Experian. The company reports that the number of people facing insolvency during the third quarter of this year has decreased by 14 percent compared to the same period last […]