Category Archives: Business Headlines

Langcliffe International Becomes Employee Owned

Langcliffe International, Europe’s leading mergers & acquisitions buy-side deal originator, has become employee owned in a transaction organised by Azets.

Langcliffe based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire was set up in 2012 by Mark Eardley (Managing Director) and Helen Postlethwaite (Commercial Director). The business employs 17 professionals and a further 5 consultants. It has grown rapidly in recent years across Europe capitalising on unrivalled relationships with vendor advisors, corporates and private equity firms. The company introduces acquisition opportunities in a value range between £3m and £100m.

The business attributes its continuing success to the trust it has developed with its vendor advisors, its unique model backed by bespoke operating systems and rapid growth in Europe from where it currently generates in excess of 50 per cent of its revenue. Further growth will come from developing in the US and Asia.

Mark Eardley, the Managing Director is transferring 73% of his shares to the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Under the move, all employees will benefit financially from the future success of the company and Mark Eardley and Helen Postlethwaite will stay in the business. The EOT Board will comprise Helen Postlethwaite, Chairman, Mark Eardley and Langcliffe’s four Managers, Poppy Briggs ( Europe ), Maryia Amrez ( Private Equity ) , Joanna Hughes ( Corporates) and Holly Cooper ( Vendor Advisors ).

Helen Postlethwaite commented “We have deliberately adopted a policy of growing our own talent and empowering our staff to make decisions themselves. A lot of our success is based on their ability, loyalty, and understanding and advocation of our systems which are critical”.

Mark Eardley said: “Selling the company to our employees through the creation of the EOT ensures the stability of the business for the long-term and supports our desire for further international growth. This move recognises the value that our fantastic team has delivered over the years, and it is a very exciting opportunity for each individual to take a pivotal role as the business progresses. Creating a great place to work is fundamental to our business principles, and we’re very excited about the next stage of the journey.”

Langcliffe International was advised by Tariq Javaid, Corporate Finance Partner, Richard Weston, Corporate Finance Manager and Karen Sadler, Senior Tax Manager at Azets. Jonathan Simms and Kaira Clarehugh at Clarion provided legal advice.

Tariq Javaid, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets said: “Langcliffe International is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values, and an emphasis on the quality of its people. It has been a privilege to work with Mark, Helen, and the team in assisting them with this transition and I am confident that the company has a bright future as an employee-owned business”.

‘’Azets advised on 6 EOTs in Yorkshire in 2022 and we’ve already got several more in the pipeline this year. They are an increasingly popular option for the transition of ownership, given the wide range of benefits they can provide to the business, its owners and employees.”

Employee-ownership grows – Langcliffe International joins many well-known firms such as John Lewis, Richer Sounds, and ‘Tiptree’ preserve maker Wilkin & Sons in becoming employee owned. The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) says more than 1200 businesses have now adopted employee ownership and the sector has more than doubled in the past three years.

Recent converts include Go Ape, the treetop adventure company, Riverford, the organic vegetable box company and Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit.

US Investment For Harrison Spinks

Luxury British bedmaker Harrison Spinks has invested in a new distribution centre in Los Angeles – its first ever US facility – which will stock four of its most popular British-made mattresses for clients across North America.

The 180-year-old, fifth-generation family business, which manufactures all its handmade 100% natural mattresses and beds in Yorkshire, England, has made a significant six-figure investment in the LA facility to benefit customers in the United States.

Harrison Spinks, UK Bed Manufacturer of the Year at the 2022 National Bed Federation Awards, has made the investment following growth in the region, and the new facility will significantly reduce delivery lead times from three months to around two weeks.

It is a significant milestone for the brand which first launched into the North American market in 2021.

This distribution centre will facilitate an upgraded US stocking programme which will hold its Euston, Northumberland, Leicester and Strand mattresses, luxury enhancers and divan beds.

The British family bedmaker offers handmade mattresses that are 100% recyclable and free from harmful chemicals while being naturally fire retardant, and include a glue-free spring system made with ultra-fine wire pocket springs for superior comfort. Products start life on the company’s 300-acre farm in the English countryside, where sheep are reared on rich, untreated pastures and hemp and flax crops are grown on fertile fields without pesticides.

Scott Hollis, North America Sales Manager at Harrison Spinks, said: “When we launched into the market here in North America, our aim was to grow and expand across the country. Now we have achieved growth and brand awareness, we’re now doubling-down on distribution times so that our US customers can enjoy a better night’s sleep much faster than before.”

“This facility is incredibly significant within our business plan, as it ensures our brand is much stronger within the country and more competitive, as customers can now have premium comfort with less wait times.”

“It also greatly benefits our stockists along the West Coast of the United States, as we can now offer our beds to them with an extremely competitive lead time. We have plans to open more distribution centres as we continue to grow our independent retailer offering within the USA and Canada.”

The facility is leased in partnership with logistics specialists, Rhenus Group, which Harrison Spinks is working with to provide this brand-new distribution service to its US customers.

Who Dares Wins Finalist Delivers Talks To Students

Finalist of the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins Faye Banks, recently delivered talks at Selby College about her inspiring journey and prosperous Engineering career.

Speaking to both students and staff, Faye shared her experience on the latest series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, which saw her and 19 other recruits take part in a six-week condensed version of the SAS selection process.

Held in the Vietnamese jungle, Faye talked about how the SAS: Who Dares Wins instructors Billy Billingham and his team of directing staff Jason Fox, Rudy Reyes and Chris Oliver put them through their paces.

As a former Engineering student of Castleford College, which is also part of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group alongside Selby College and Wakefield College, Faye also spoke to students about her career as a female Engineer.

This includes a number of leadership roles she has held at national and global companies such as Yorkshire Water, National Grid, Siemens, Carlsberg and Unilever.

In 2018, she was also commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to review the UK’s electricity standards.

Encouraging the students to make the most out of their experiences, Faye said: “I’m extremely grateful to my lecturers who taught me at College, they recognised my talent in Engineering and instilled the confidence in me to pursue my passion. You don’t get to be the best version of yourself on your own, learn from others and their experiences. Embrace every moment of your learning and you will see the returns.”

When asked about what she attributes her successful career in Engineering to, Faye responded: “For me, the key to maintaining a successful career in Engineering has been my ability to adapt to new surroundings and situations. Even when you are faced with change or adversity, being able to apply your skills to whatever environment you’re in is a significant advantage in a fast-paced industry like Engineering where technology and standards are constantly evolving,” added Faye.

Faye had a tough start in life after she was taken into care at the age of nine, moving between 50 different emergency placements in just two years.

After leaving care, she trained to become an Engineer and is currently working as a Director of Operations at Siemens.

Faye is preparing to start a new role as the Director of E&M at Vital Energi in April and is working towards gaining her PhD in Engineering.

During her time at Whitwood College, which is now known as Castleford College, Faye’s achievements shone out. She was voted Engineering Student of the Year and won the Principal’s Award at the Women in Science and Engineering ceremony.

Recognising her achievements on a national scale, Faye was also presented with the Apprentice of the Year award and the Young Woman Engineer of the Year accolade in 2004.

“Now is an exciting and pivotal time to enter the Engineering industry, not only because the UK’s Net Zero initiative is creating more jobs in the area, but because the sector is crying out for female Engineers. When I first started, I was the only female working in a male-dominated industry, which presented many challenges that I had to overcome throughout my career in order for me to progress and succeed. Today, I’m incredibly proud to see that the industry is backing Engineers from all backgrounds and I would encourage any aspiring female Engineers to seize this opportunity,” added Faye.

Outside of work, Faye is an Elite Marathon Runner and is also studying for her pilot’s license.

Mothers & Daughters Share Career

A non-for-profit care provider in Harrogate, which supports older and vulnerable adults in North Yorkshire employs 42 care staff, 10 of which are mothers and daughters.

Harrogate Neighbours, which was founded in 1969 has reported that as of today, its current workforce is 79 per cent women. This comes as no surprise, as the UK adult social care workforce weighs heavily towards women (82%).

This International Women’s Day, Harrogate Neighbours is celebrating 10 women who have more than just a love of care in common – they’re family.

Registered care manager, Lynsey Robinson (38) joined Harrogate Neighbours 12 years ago. Ten years later in 2021, her daughter Page Evans (18) secured a role as a kitchen assistant and has quickly worked her way up to care assistant.

Lynsey said, “I never thought Page would follow in my footsteps, but when she began working in the kitchen, I was amazed at how good she was with the residents – she showed empathy and really enjoyed spending time with them.”

“When she turned 17, Page decided to give caring a go and I couldn’t be more proud of her flying the flag right next to me at Harrogate Neighbours.”

Lynne Cork (62) is a care assistant and joined Harrogate Neighbours over ten years ago. Her daughter, Teresa Stowell (37) has been a care assistant for the last four years – she took six months maternity leave and returned in 2022.

Theresa said, “After I joined Harrogate Neighbours I encouraged mum to come as I knew should would really enjoy being part of the working family. – and she does!”

42-year-old Nicola Cunningham joined nine years ago as a team leader and is now a care co-ordinator, her daughter, Macy Cunningham (19) is a care assistant – she started her career at Harrogate Neighbours three years ago in hospitality.

Julie (68) and Lianne (36) both began their care career at Harrogate Neighbours as night care assistants, three years ago.

Julie added, “Being mother and daughter we have that special bond and we also have a great working relationship and work well as a team. Our clients love it when Lianne calls me ‘mum’ instead of Julie!”

39-year-old, Rachel McManus has been a community care assistant for 2 years. Her daughter, Aimee McManus (17) started her new role as hospitality assistant three weeks ago.

Sue Cawthray, CEO of Harrogate Neighbours added, “As a community care provider, we see ourselves as one big working family, however, having five sets of mothers and daughters working with us today, and especially on International Women’s Day is pretty unique and very special.

“I speak for many when I say the care sector has and continues to be under the spotlight – following on from the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. We’re thankful every day to have such loyal, caring and compassionate women working with us and inspiring their daughters – some of which have been with us for over a decade!”

“As an organisation, we are keen to support younger staff joining the care sector, but also to help more mature staff members to develop their skills and gain wider qualifications. With an aging population, it’s important to nurture talent to ensure we can continue to support the most vulnerable people.”

Corporation Tax Hike Could Cripple Struggling Businesses

The UK’s business community will be under pressure to find an extra £18 billion per year of Corporation Tax payments by 2025/26 following a 31.58% proportionate increase in the Corporation Tax rate due to take effect in April.

Corporation Tax, which is currently 19%, will rise to 25% on 1 April 2023 and will raise an estimated additional £12bn in the first year, rising to £18bn by 2025/26. UK businesses currently contribute around £68bn in Corporation Tax per annum, equating to 2.9% of UK GDP.

A leading SME expert is warning that the additional tax burden could lead to a significant reduction in investment and the risk of businesses closing.

Nicola Campbell, Partner at UK Top 10 accountancy firm Azets, said: “Last October, the Government announced that it will persevere with an increase in the baseline Corporation Tax from 19% to 25% on annual profits of more than £250,000. Businesses across the UK will be paying an additional £18bn per annum by 2025/26.”

“It is a significant increase, and some businesses may not yet be fully aware of the implications. There is concern that the scale of the tax increase along with rising interest rates and inflationary pressures will restrict inward investment opportunities and in turn growth.”

“The tax burden on business has become higher than we have seen in the last two decades across the board, from National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to Corporation Tax.”

“My greatest worry, though, is the impact on owner managed businesses who can’t invest in growing their business as they need the profits to pay the household bills.”

“With an increase on this scale it is more important than ever that UK SMEs actively manage their Corporation Tax liabilities. Cash and liquidity are critical for every business so we would encourage owners and directors to take full advantage of available tax reliefs, including the following:

  1. Maximise the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) of £1m
  2. Claim R&D tax relief
  3. Maximise pension contributions
  4. Maximise staff benefits and invest in staff well-being
  5. Buy electric vehicles.”

Fleetcor Acquires Sheffield EV

Fleetcor UK, a leading global business payments company, has acquired Mina, a cloud-based digital electric vehicle (EV) charging software platform based in Sheffield.

After a successful investment and two-year partnership, the acquisition provides Allstar’s parent company with the market-leading home charging software company for commercial fleets in the UK and reinforces its commitment to supporting the transition to EV.

The acquisition gives Allstar the UK’s only EV charging solution that captures, calculates and pays for home business-use charging directly to the energy provider, Mina Homecharge.

Also branded as Allstar Homecharge, the solution allows commercial fleets to replace cumbersome employee reimbursement processes for home EV charging with a more accurate, controlled and streamlined alternative for employers and employees.

Combined with Allstar’s market-leading on-the-road EV charging capabilities, fleet managers now have access to a comprehensive suite of turnkey EV charging solutions that will help effectively manage their transition to EVs.

The shareholders of Mina were advised by a team from Clarion including Sarah Harrison and Santino Stifanelli.

The deal follows FLEETCOR’s recent acquisition of Plugsurfing and investment in Zap-Map, which both complement the extensive on-the-road fuel and EV network built by Allstar across the UK.

In addition, Allstar continues to invest significantly in building out products and capabilities that not only help fleets move to EVs but also solve the complexities associated with managing mixed fleets.

Alan King, group president, Global Fleet at Fleetcor, said: “Our goal is to provide companies of all sizes with a better way to pay. In the fleet space specifically, this acquisition means that our customers can now benefit from a full suite of comprehensive payment and reporting solutions for on-the-road and home charging regardless of whether they operate ICE, EV, or mixed fleets.”

Tom Rowlands, global MD of EV solutions at Fleetcor, added: “After working closely together with Mina for two years and seeing first-hand how the solution makes home charging simple, fair and secure for both employees and companies that operate some of the largest fleets in the UK, I am excited to officially welcome the Mina team to Fleetcor.”

“Unifying Mina with Fleetcor enables us to roll out this market-leading home charging solution more easily and quickly, not just in the UK, but also take it to other geographies.”

Ashley Tate, CEO and Co-Founder of Mina, commented: “In less than three years we’ve seen Mina grow from an idea to enabling some of the largest fleets in the UK to transition to EVs. None of this would have been possible without the support from Fleetcor, who have believed and invested in Mina since we first came under their radar back in 2021. I’m extremely excited to continue this journey with the Fleetcor team.”

Trio Of Property Professionals Off To A Flying Start

A team of property planning, architecture and design professionals is enjoying success, following their formation of collective services for landowners. AMS Planning, HG2 Architects and Lloyd Harden Design have joined forces for their combined package, and in four months have collaborated on 25 projects across a range of sectors.

Spearheading this new integrated offering is AMS Planning – a business which has been trading in Yorkshire for more than a decade and specialises in winning planning permission for landowners, housing developers and farmers looking to maximise their land assets.

Now offering its services nationwide, and as winner of the Build 2022 Design and Build Awards for the Most Creative Architectural & Planning Service, Managing Director Steve Hesmondhalgh has 35 years of industry experience and is an expert when it comes to helping his client market to execute their development project.

With an ambition to offer an integrated service, he’s joined forces with two respected firms – Lloyd Harden Design and HG2 Architects.

James Elliott at HG2 covers all aspects of the design process, while Lloyd Harden Design specialises in architectural services for the tourism industry with a particular nous for working on chalet parks, caravan sites and farm diversification schemes.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to grow our businesses and work together on exciting projects. Clients can get an unrivalled level of expertise across the development process, in an integrated offer that isn’t available elsewhere,” explains Steve, who has an ambition to transform the industry for his customers.

Steve adds: “The strategic partnership brings the best in the industry together and offers all the specialist services which probably wouldn’t be achievable in one organisation. Our clients get advice they can trust all the way through their project and a consistent development journey.”

One of the areas the trio is exploring is the leisure sector, with the UK market showing significant growth since the pandemic.

Ben Duffield, Operations Director of Liberty Leisure Group, said: “I am delighted with the collaboration. It gives me the best of both worlds. Great architectural design support alongside commercially astute planning advice.”

Since launching in October last year, the partnership has been working together on around 25 projects, with feedback from the market that the integrated offering is making a fundamental difference to how property development is managed.

HG2’s Design Director James Elliot said: “I’d describe this partnership as an organic meeting of minds. It is a fantastic opportunity because there’s so much crossover in what we all do. We all bring our own expertise to the table, and as a combination, there is more weight to what we offer in the market.”

The businesses have set themselves some lofty ambitions for the year and aim to deliver projects totalling a gross development value of £15 million which will provide more than 500 tourism-related jobs across the UK.

Lloyd, who set up his practice in Market Harborough back in 2020, said: “We always want to partner with the best, and the reputation of all the businesses is high, so it feels quite a natural fit.”

“It takes what we all do to the next level, and our customers get the benefit of dealing with one person and not having to find different specialists for each aspect of their project.”

Arco Invests In Stuff4Life To Further Explore Polyester Recycling

Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, has further invested in polyester recycling start-up Stuff4Life to create a new joint venture company, which aims to create a circular supply chain for polyester, reducing the amount of used workwear which is sent to landfill as well as carbon emissions related to the raw materials used in their production.

Based on Teesside, Stuff4Life Workwear is intended to support both Arco and the UK’s net-zero targets and enable Stuff4Life to develop its patent-pending chemical recycling process towards full-scale commercialisation.

The joint venture will continue to build on the relationship with Teesside University and its Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre, as well as the Centre for Process Innovation at Wilton, part of the UK Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

As a key supplier of workwear, Arco is committed to addressing the problem of products that have reached the end of their useful life, particularly garments made with polyester. Nearly 90 per cent of the 33 million workwear items supplied annually currently end up in landfill or are incinerated.

As part of the partnership, Arco will continue to re-design its product range for longevity and circularity, taking responsibility for its ‘own-label’ garments – before, during and after their useful life – and introducing end-of-life schemes for workwear, hazard wear and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Stuff4Life Workwear’s solution works by recovering the base polyester components from recycled polyester-based garments, including complex workwear and PPE.

The recovered components can be used in place of virgin raw materials in the manufacture of new polyester which reduces the impact of manufacture, a key element in the transition to a circular economy.

Successfully recycling polyester and establishing an onshore UK supply chain will reduce the industry’s dependency on fossil fuels. It will also reduce pollution from the manufacturing process, as recycled polyester uses significantly less energy and resources compared to virgin polyester manufacture.

Thomas Martin, Chairman of Arco, said: “Our sustainability strategy has a key focus on reducing our environmental impact and in helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

“After previously supporting Stuff4Life with seed funding, we are delighted to announce this investment to enable the commercialisation of a workwear-focused polyester circularity business. Sustainability is important in all aspects of our lives, including our jobs and we will only help the UK reach its net-zero goals by addressing every area.”

“By enabling recycled polyester to be produced on a larger scale, more companies can kit their employees out in more environmentally friendly clothing, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing our impact on the environment, whilst keeping people safe.”

“As a fifth-generation family business, we have always put corporate and social responsibility at the heart of our organisation, so were excited to work with such a forward-thinking company and improve the sustainability of the industry.”

“We know that this solution works and now is the time to scale the operation up and support the building of a circular workwear economy in the UK, ensuring we protect more people as well as the planet.”

John Twitchen, Director of Stuff4Life, comments: “We are really excited about the next stage of our Stuff4Life journey, continuing our work in partnership with Arco.”

“Our ultimate goal remains the same – to make new polyester products from old polyester products – but also making the next generation of workwear last even longer, perform even better and be more recyclable when its job is done.”

“This is the true value of our partnership, making a real difference throughout the design cycle and the lifecycle of products and delivering not just a circular economy for critical materials, but decarbonising industrial processes and delivering even better outcomes along the way.”

Jim Harbidge, Head of Sustainability at Arco, added: “The majority of Arco’s carbon emissions take place in the factories that make our products and are related to the refining and manufacturing processes of products, such as polyester.”

Levelling Up Funding For Hull’s Digital & Tech Sectors

Levelling Up Funding to help Hull’s digital and tech sector prosper
A dilapidated building is scheduled to go under a full building renovation to create a technology training and upskilling innovation hub thanks to support from Hull City Council.

A grant of £186,153.50 from the council’s Levelling Up Funding scheme will be given to help bring back into use Kingston House at 41 Myton Street, opposite Bonus Arena.

The applicant is The Edge Hub which plans to use the three-story premises as a technology training and upskilling innovation hub.

The funding is to support modernising the building with interior fits for office space and training rooms, as well as the purchasing of computer equipment.

Other proposed grant aided works include new flooring, lighting and the readjustment of walls and interiors for greater accessibility and making the building front more presentable and modernised, as well as installing new bathrooms, kitchens and communal areas. It is projected to create at least nine full-time equivalent jobs.

Councillor Paul Drake-Davis, portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “This Levelling Up Fund grant for The Edge Hub will again help breathe new life into an empty, redundant building in the city and support an exciting project to help deliver skilled professionals to Hull’s burgeoning digital and tech sector.”

“The Levelling Up Funding scheme continues to benefit many buildings and businesses in the city and this is another great example of this.”
Kingston House is part of Myton Retail Park in Hull city centre which was purchased by the council’s capital programme in 2020.”

An outstanding change of use planning application from Class E officer to mixed use Class E office and Class F1 training centre is in place and Kington House’s restoration would provide a better carbon outcome.
The total project cost is £372,307, with the grant of £186,153.50 coming out of the council’s £19.5m Levelling Up Funds received in November 2021 from the government’s Department of Levelling Up, House and Communities.

Directors Need To Get A Grip Or Risk Ship Sinking

Business directors in UK SMEs need to get an urgent grip on financial forecasting if their companies are to better weather the economic downturn.

The call to action is sounded by Chris Tate, a restructuring and insolvency partner with Azets, the UK Top 10 accountancy firm.

He said: “While many company directors are switched on with finances, there are others who labour under the misapprehension that they are untouchable – and wrongly think there are no legal consequences to their failings.”

“What my profession is seeing are businesses, including ones with potential, burning up because directors failed to do core ‘dashboard’ cashflow forecasting and other management information (MI).”

“Directors urgently need to get an urgent grip on the financials – or run the risk of sinking the ship.”

“That includes raising their game with forecasting, including understanding that profit on the monthly profit-and-loss spreadsheet is not profit until the money is banked, the invoices having been paid by debtors.”

“With cashflow forecasting, the aim is to ensure there is money set aside to meet peak liabilities, such as suppliers’ bills, quarterly VAT demands and rent, in particular months.”

“It is shocking how many directors don’t even know their own company’s actual monthly or weekly costs and the level of cash headroom they have – that is a good starting point with MI.”

Latest insolvency figures show the number of registered company insolvencies in December 2022 was 1,964, a 32% increase on the previous year (1,489 in December 2021) and 76% higher than in December 2019 (pre-pandemic; 1,119).

Of those, there were 183 compulsory liquidations in December 2022, more than three and a half times as many as in December 2021 and 8% higher than in December 2019.

Chris added: “Amid acute pressures, the UK economy is reportedly set to be the second worst performer in 20 of the world’s largest economies over the next two years.”

“These pressures have been caused by the severest energy crisis since the 1970s and other corrosive factors such as 41-year high inflation, the pandemic, increased borrowing costs, labour shortages, supply chain disruption and what is set to be the biggest fall in living standards in six decades.”

“According to data, the UK economy will only regain its pre-pandemic level by the last quarter of 2024, such are the confluence of impacts. Given this perma-crisis backdrop, it is going to be a rough ride for many local businesses in 2023.”

“Therefore, directors cannot afford to take their eye off the ball – they have a duty to their employers, customers, suppliers, and the wider community. It is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly or nonchalantly shrugged off.”

Chris raised concerns about directors who leave it too late to call in turnaround and restructuring experts.

He said: “I’m increasingly having conversations where directors are burying their heads in the sand. You get this panicked call, you attend the meeting, and you say ‘we need to do X, Y and Z’ – then it goes deathly quiet. Then, almost always, it is followed up by a panicked call three weeks later where the position has deteriorated further.”

“The problem is time is a key element when we are producing a strategy and we need time to implement it, so leaving things to the last minute does not help. It simply narrows the options even more.”

“I also get approached with ideas from directors as to ‘maybe we could do this’ – but often it is not compliant and must therefore be disregarded. Directors need to act appropriately, take advice at the right time, and they need to act on that advice. They are personally liable for certain actions, or a lack of actions – personal guarantees being an example as they are the hook for the debt.”

“But there are less obvious ones, such as wrongful trading and misfeasance and other antecedent transactions which may be open to challenge once a company enters an insolvency process. You also have new measures, including powers by the Insolvency Service to pursue directors of dissolved companies if there is evidence of wrongdoing.”

“There are also personal liability notices, where HMRC can pursue directors personally in respect of non-payment of employers’ national insurance contributions.”

“Directors can be emotional – they do not want to admit their business is failing, it is a sense of pride, and they don’t want to accept when things go wrong. It is great when everything is doing well and hunky dory but when things slide, there is this sense of panic and if they don’t have help the stress of the situation will only worsen. We actively encourage early engagement.”

With economic data increasingly pointing to a protracted downturn, Azets produced a financial defence toolkit to help businesses. Find out more here