Top tips on avoiding going into administration in 2024

Avoid liquidationAs a company director you maybe worried that your business might be on the brink of administration.

Possible you would like to prevent it from happening, in 2022 the UK recorded a record high number of businesses going into administration.

Going through the insolvency process is something no business owner wants to undertake and that is understandable.

Luckily there are certain protocols as a business owner you can follow to prevent your business from going into administration before it’s too late.

The number of firms collapsing into administration across England and Wales rose by almost 5% last year, but don’t let your business drop into the same pitfalls. The high street witnessed the majority of losses to business in 2020.

We look at tips and advice from insolvency expects that prevent you entering the administration process in the UK.

What is administration?

Everyone has heard stories about administration and insolvency, but what exactly does it mean? Basically a business that goes into administration has become insolvent, this means an insolvency practitioner is running the companies affairs.

once a business enters the administration process, the day to day running of that business is passed onto the administrator. This administrator family the insolvency practitoner may use the company’s assets to pay any outstanding debts or creditors to prevent liquidation.

The insolvency process is designed to keep businesses running while different insolvency options are found; however, the process should not be taken lightly by any company director, so it’s best to take steps to avoid it altogether.

What does going into administration mean?

When a company enters administration, it means that it is insolvent and can no longer pay its debts. An administrator is appointed to run the company and try to rescue it. If the company is successfully rescued, the administrator will hand it back to the directors.

If not, the administrator will liquidate the company, which means selling off its assets to pay creditors. Administrators are usuallyappointed by a court, but sometimes they are appointed by the directors themselves.

In either case, the administrator’s first priority is to pay creditors. However, if there are insufficient funds to do this, employees may also be paid, and in some cases shareholders may also receive something.

The company’s assets are frozen, and a licensed insolvency practitioner is appointed to run the company. The administrator will try to sell the company as a going concern or its assets in order to repay creditors. If this is not possible, the company will be wound up, and its assets will be sold to repay creditors.

Going into administration can be a good way for a company to restructure its debt, and avoid liquidation. However, it can also have a negative impact on the company’s reputation and its ability to trade.

Should a company go into administration it means that the responsibilities of running that business has now been passed to a licensed insolvency practitioner. The insolvency practitioner will be responsible for dealing with the day to day issues until a buyer has been found for the business.

Should a buyer not be found the business will be broken up and placed into liquidation.

Prepare for success

Dummies have listed a few top tips on how to ensure your business avoids breaking point. They say that a business will ultimately fail if they have any of the following attributes:

    • Lack of a long-term company vision
    • Failure to establish clear goals and objectives
    • Misunderstanding what customers want
    • Underestimating the competition
    • Inadequate financial planning
    • Lack of strong leadership
    • Ineffective procedures and systems
    • Absence of critical business skills
    • Inability to change
    • Failure to communicate the plan

This is absolutely true, the best way to avoid failure as a business is to do everything in your power to help it succeed. Administration is on the rise and for many companies it is inevitable in this day and age, but there are still things you can do to battle against it. There are multiple things you can do as a business owner to give your company the best chance of success. The first step is to make sure you create a strong, detailed business plan before giving your business the green light and going forward with your idea.

Having a long term vision for your company will be reflective of the quality of your business plan, this is the starting point for your idea and should therefore help you to plot out a potential future. An Edinburgh based young entrepreneur, asking him for his expert advice on how to become successful.

The entrepreneur in question was Jamiesh Holait, founder of NXT Wave, which is a company that conducts face-to-face sales and marketing for some of the UK’s most loved and up-and-coming brands.  His tips on achieving quick success include, finding a role model that can act as a mentor to you, taking calculated risks, and investing in yourself. Going into these points in more detail gives us a clearer understanding of exactly what Holait means by this.

Risk v reward

When talking about taking calculated risks, he says, “With risk comes reward. Don’t be afraid to go against the status quo. You’ll be judged regardless of what you do, may as well be judged whilst trying to achieve something great.

If you never shoot you’ll never score”. Expanding further on his point about finding a mentor, he states that you should find an example of someone you see as a success, and follow their career path. The best way to do with this is obviously by communicating with them personally, so try to make your business role model someone you can achievably speak too in some way.

When Holait speaks about investing in yourself, he means it in every sense of the phrase. He states that it’s important to consume the right kinds of media, such as podcasts an television that will give you information that allows you to better yourself in a business sense. He also speaks about keeping your technology updated so that it doesn’t become slow, ultimately slowing you down with it.

Know your options

If you’re the owner of a company that is faced with going into administration, it’s important to know that all is not necessarily lost. You have options and different routes you can take to potentially save your business, or at least soften the blow of the loss of your company. There are different methods of potential business rescue that you can pursue. Distressed business finance maybe one option, it allows a quick inject of cash into the business.

The Guardian have stated that insolvency practitioners can be a good option for businesses that are under financial threats. They say, “There was a particular increase in insolvencies in the third quarter of the year, during which 420 firms went into administration including the fashion brands Jack Wills and Karen Millen, financier Greensill capital and the travel firms Late Rooms and York-based Super Break”.

The insolvency process can be a highly achievable option for business owners wishing to give their company another go, hoping to get things right for the business this time. If you’re struggling to fund your business or cover fees that are due, contacting licensed insolvency practitioners may be the best option for you.

Business Insolvency Helpline is a market leading company when it comes to the insolvency procedure. Their experienced team of experts can guide you through the best options for your personal business situations, so consider contacting them today via their website.

Common reasons for going into administration

There are often similarities that pop up amongst separate business situations. Here are some of the most commonly experienced factors:

Not knowing where the company needs to go: It is essential that you have a plan for the future of your business, or else you run the risk of being left behind by your competitors. Lacking ambition and innovation can lead you to getting slapped with the administration process.

Not having clear aims and goals: Again, this links back to our last point, if you don’t set your business venture some clear goals to achieve, it will never reach them. You cannot afford to float through aimlessly, set your sights on something and go for it. Knowing what you need to accomplish will also likely give you an indication of how to accomplish it, so keep your goals updated and constantly changing.

Lacking strong leaders within your team: If your business has a team of employees, be it a large or small team, within that group will be a leader(s), who is there to drag the team through a hard patch and come up with solutions to problems. Though, they must also motivate the remainder of the workforce and do their bit to pull their own weight themselves, too. If you’re lacking the presence of leaders, you’re bound to struggle, that’s just how it is.

Know your competition and be aware of it: It’s one thing knowing who your competitors are, but it’s a completely different ball game to keep a watchful eye on them and ensure you’re avoiding falling behind them in crucial areas. If you fall behind the very businesses that you’re attempting to compete against, you’ll lose your audience to them and likely struggle to ever win it back. Don’t allow it to become too late for your company, stay modern and one step ahead of the rest of the pack at all times.

Poor credit control: If businesses are spending more than they are collecting, there will be issues. Every business needs strong credit control to ensure the cash keeps coming in. Once a business has entered administration it is nearly impossible to collect money it is owed. This is why businesses need to do daily credit control.

Coronavirus update:

During the coronavirus outbreak, it is so difficult for companies to come up with a strategy which helps them to simply avoid going into administration. Because of this, plans a variety of plans are being made by numerous companies, in attempts to create a more positive outcome for themselves for when we get to the other side of this pandemic.

Debenhams recently gave notice to appoint administrators for what it said would be a “light touch” administration with the management remaining on board. This way they could keep at least some staff employed and a number of jobs will be saved once they deem it fit to re-open their doors to shoppers.

This approach accords with ideas being floated around by insolvency lawyers who have proposed using the administration regime to create a mothball effect for companies during the crisis and reviving them when economic conditions improve. So, rather than looking at it like the effected businesses will be restarting once they return to trading, it should be viewed as more of a continuation from where they were before.

Debenhams said the move will protect its business from the threat of legal action that could have the effect of pushing it into liquidation while its stores are closed due to coronavirus. This could not only help the company, but also a huge amount of staff members who would have been previously worrying about how they will continue to receive an income in the future.

It said it is making preparations to resume trading once government restrictions are lifted. This effectively means that Debenhams as a trading company has frozen itself, tactically waiting to pick up from where it left off before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Companies such as Debenhams are also discovering the advantages to furloughing staff while they file for administration, from their point of view. It’s a move that gives business owners the chance to save funds that would have been used for a mass amount of wages, while the government takes care of it instead with their 80% payment scheme for employees that have been furloughed. Though, this causes great amounts of worrying for staff members that are put into that situation, as they are effectively being temporarily laid off by the company they work for, with no guarantee they’ll have their old position waiting for them after the pandemic comes to an end.


GOV UK state that liquidation is a possible route for business owners that are facing the unwanted closure of a company. They state:

A director can propose a company stops trading and be liquidated (‘wound up’) if:

  • the company cannot pay its debts (it’s ‘insolvent’)
  • enough shareholders agree

They also claim that it is practical to receive a shareholders’ agreement, writing:

You must call a meeting of shareholders and ask them to vote. 75% (by value of shares) of shareholders must agree to the winding-up to pass a ‘winding-up resolution’. Once the resolution is made there are 3 steps you must follow.

    1. Appoint an authorised insolvency practitioner as liquidatorto take charge of liquidating the company. You can find an insolvency practitioner
    2. Send the resolution to Companies House within 15 days.
    3. Advertise the resolution in The Gazettewithin 14 days.

Employees facing administration

If you’re an employee working for a company that is about to enter administration, you’re likely worrying about the potential state of your career and where it will go from this point onwards. While you have every right to be fearful of the future at this point, it’s wise to take your time and calculate exactly what’s happened before moving onto the next phase of your working life.

The HR Director writes, “The first 14 days of the Administration period are crucial for employees. If you are made redundant during this time you become an ‘ordinary creditor’ whereby you will be in the last category to receive monies owed, although your entitlement to outstanding wages and redundancy payments remains. On the other hand, if you are retained beyond this two-week period you become a ‘preferential creditor.’ This puts you in a better position should you face redundancy later on. It means you have priority over ‘ordinary creditors’ and stand a better chance of recouping monies owed to you”.

There are laws that allow companies to take a longer amount of time to pay you than it normally would however, and as a company enters administration it is aided by said laws to allow it some financial breathing space.

Wikipedia gives this explanation, “Under UK insolvency law an insolvent company can enter into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The CVA is a form of composition, similar to the personal IVA (individual voluntary arrangement), where an insolvency procedure allows a company with debt problems or that is insolvent to reach a voluntary agreement with its business creditors regarding repayment of all, or part of its corporate debts over an agreed period of time”.

There are a series of legal actions you can take as an employee to ensure that you’re paid the money you were due to be paid before the company in question entered financial troubles. It is highly recommendable that you seek legal advice in this scenario.

Keep in mind

It is important to know there are other routes for you to go down if you’re a business owner facing financial problems. While in some cases going into administration is unavoidable, it is often possible to divert from it, finding yourself a different solution.

Plan well before starting a new business venture and if it comes to it, asses the possible ways you could rescue the company before completely giving up on it. The administration process can be a stressful time, and one that is best avoided where possible.

Should you require more information on business finance and how it can avoid your company entering administration, simply complete the enquiry form to the right of this page.

Read more: Avoiding a Cashflow Crisis

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