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Who Knows Best When Seeking Business Advice?
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Should businesses consult accountants, solicitors, or insolvency practitioners?
When your company is experiencing financial problems, the very worst thing you can do is ignore them and hope they will simply disappear. Left alone, these problems have a habit of getting worse. Seeking professional guidance as soon as possible should be a priority for any company director.
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One thing is clear - you know you need advice; who to turn to for this, however, is not always so obvious.
Depending on who you speak to, you may be advised to talk with your accountant in the first instance. Other people will tell you to speak to an insolvency practitioner or even a solicitor. The roles of an accountant, insolvency practitioner, and solicitor are very distinct; however, there is often some cross-over when it comes to their qualifications, background, and specialities. For example, many insolvency practitioners start out as accountants, however, what each professional can offer your business is quite unique.
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During the life of your company, it may well be the case that you need to enlist the services of all three at various points. It is therefore useful to know the key differences between the three professions, and at what point you should go to them for help.
- Accountant - Many businesses will hire the services of an accountant to help with the preparation of company accounts and to ensure they are meeting their obligations with HMRC. Accountants, however, often add much more value to a company than this by helping to formulate business plans, assistance with raising capital, and advising on how best to structure a company.
- Solicitor - Legal professional who provides advice to companies and individuals on a range of issues including property conveyancing, divorce proceedings, and injury claims. When it comes to company concerns you will want to talk to a commercial specialist.
- Insolvency practitioner - While an insolvency practitioner’s main priority will be to rescue struggling companies, they also deal with solvent and insolvent liquidations. They are there to maximise the returns for outstanding creditors, and ensure the company is brought to a close in the best way possible.
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Accountant vs insolvency practitioner
This all depends on the severity of your problems. If you have concerns that your business may be starting on a downward curve and you are concerned about the future, by all means bring this up with your accountant. Your accountant should be familiar with your company and will hopefully already be aware of any financial concerns, in fact it may well have been your accountant who alerts you to them in the first place.
They will be able to take a close look at your incomings and outgoings and recommend the best course of action. This may be making slight tweaks to how you manage your cash flow, help sourcing appropriate commercial finance, or suggest cost-cutting measures to improve your bottom line. It is often the case that an accountant will refer a client to an insolvency practitioner should they feel more specialist advice is required.
However, it may be the case that your company’s financial issues have arisen due to the actions, or indeed lack of action, from your accountant. In this instance you may want to go directly to an insolvency practitioner for impartial advice. Also, if you feel your company is in serious financial trouble with mounting debts and increasing creditor pressure, going direct to an insolvency practitioner is advisable.
If your company’s issues stem from a dispute, either with other directors or shareholders, or with a client, customer, or supplier, your first port of call may be to seek legal counsel. In this instance a solicitor will often be the best individual to approach.
You may also need to seek legal advice if your company has been subject to an employee, professional negligence, or health and safety claim, or has received a fine or prosecution from a professional body.
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If your company is struggling with unmanageable debts, squeezed cash flow, or an uncertain future, you are far from alone. We speak to company directors just like you every single day, and we are here to give you the help and advice you need.
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At Real Business Rescue, we specialise in helping company directors, sole traders, and individuals overcome a range of financial concerns. We will take the time to listen to your problem, understand the reasons behind it, and work with you to come to an appropriate solution. We are a team of licensed insolvency practitioners, however, if we feel you would be better speaking to an accountant or solicitor we will tell you.
Call us now to arrange a free no-obligation consultation at any of our offices, your place of work, or an alternative location to suit you.
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