COVID-19 has put many businesses in a difficult financial situation.
Although the Government recognised this by pushing the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 through Parliament to try and stem the inevitable wave of insolvencies, directors and owners cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball for a second.
The sooner businesses look into refinancing and restructuring, the better, protecting both themselves and their creditors.
Here we explain how businesses can keep their finances in check during the current challenging period.
1. Review your finances
Understanding the financial health of a business is now more important than ever. By regularly monitoring and updating financial records, accounts and cash flow, companies can identify when and if insolvency is on the horizon.
With the UK heading for a double dip recession, cash flow will be stretched considerably. However, cash flow is vital to survival, so organisations should ensure they have enough money to make it to the other side of a slow business period.
Following cash flow forecasting, financial support should be secured from shareholders, customers, suppliers, creditors, lenders, landlords and the Government.
2. Chase up your debtors
During a recession, businesses often pay more slowly while asking clients to pay more quickly, leading to somewhat of a cash flow lag.
To ensure finances remain stable – at least to some extent – as more companies experience financial hardship, directors should prioritise chasing debtors. This way, they can make sure they are paid before their debtors find themselves in trouble.
3. Be smart with credit terms
During a period of uncertainty, clients may ask to extend the usual 30-day terms to 40, 50 or 60 days. However, before offering more time to pay, businesses should check the client’s credit reports. Extended terms should only be offered to reliable customers with good credit.
4. Restructure the business
If a business is consistently trading at a loss, there is likely something wrong on a structural level. For those experiencing this issue, it will be a huge challenge to trade out of an insolvent position.
An insolvency expert can guide businesses towards the most effective survival route, whether that’s debt rescheduling, a debt for equity swap, a transfer to a Newco, a refinancing or an equity injection.
5. Focus on recovery and resilience
Insolvency is something every business would like to avoid, but to do so during a recession can be hard. Recovery will be slow, and each sector will emerge from the pandemic differently. As a result, businesses must stay on top of their financial situation and be open to change if needed.
If you’re experiencing financial difficulties and would like some advice and support, then speak to a member of our insolvency and restructuring team.
From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.
Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.