#Be Kind. How Antony Batty & Co are working to help businesses, and people, to recover from Covid-19

When a business is in distress, we always treat those involved with honesty, openness and compassion.

The #Be Kind has become much more widespread in recent years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put significant numbers of businesses (and the people they employ) under great strain and stress. Our job as Insolvency Practitioners is, of course, underpinned by compliance to the rules and regulations demanded by our profession and our duty to creditors once an insolvency process is instigated. However, we never lose sight of the fact that insolvency is about people and that these people need to be treated with honesty, openness and compassion during what is a very difficult time. In this article we look at a couple of examples where this approach has been appreciated and also look at the mental health side of things and how we are sensitive to that.

Never lose sight there are individuals affected by a Company’s financial distress

As insolvency practitioners, we understand that for every company, big or small, insolvency ultimately affects the people involved, from sleepless nights for the directors to employees worrying about their jobs. When we meet, the ‘easy’ bit is working out just how bad things are, and for that we look at the key facts: cashflows, assets and liabilities. Sometimes closing down is the only answer; at other times turnaround or recovery procedures such as Company Administration or Company Voluntary Arrangements will be recommended, but none of this comes without talking to the people involved, supporting them, explaining things to them and listening to them so that we can arrive at the best possible result.

Our approach:

Our client was a well-established business in the recruitment sector. The problems they faced came out of the blue because of a fraud within the business – something that we have seen growing numbers of in recent months. It was something of a shock, therefore, to the directors that the issue had caused insolvency and that a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation was the only answer.

Clive Fortis and his team were appointed, and the client had this to say about our work:

“From the beginning of my journey with Clive and his team, I was treated with honesty, openness and compassion. I had the whole process explained and was included in every step, rather than judged or bamboozled with technical jargon.

The whole team at Antony Batty, go above and beyond and work with you in a supportive manner, like I have never experienced before. I will always be grateful for the support I have received. Thank you, Clive and team.”

The Entrepreneurs Circle successfully came out of its 5-year Company Voluntary Arrangement, headed up by one of our Licensed Insolvency Practitioners, Antony Batty and John Baalham.

Nigel Botterill, the managing director, tells the story of how the CVA allowed him to keep control of his business, restructure, keep the creditors happy, and return the business to profitable trading, which was a huge relief to him.

“Four years ago, if it weren’t for Antony Batty and his team, I would have lost my business and over 40 staff would have lost their jobs.

We hit a major financial problem with half a million pounds of missing money, and I could not see a way out. But Antony explained a Company Voluntary Arrangement to me and suddenly there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Ultimately, our job is to deliver difficult messages in a sensitive way and to build trust and empathy with our clients. We are then in the best position to implement the best possible solution, whether that is recovery, restructuring or liquidation.

Mental Health and Insolvency

Until fairly recently, mental health was rarely discussed in the field of insolvency. However, people’s Mental Health and the affect upon it by the myriad problems caused by Covid-19 lockdowns has been heavily reported over the past 12 months or so. This applies as much to businesses as it does at home, and as insolvency practitioners, we have seen the stress and strain that business difficulties can cause company directors and their employees.

For us, business recovery and dealing with the stresses and strains of insolvency starts with understanding, empathy and care for people. This is why, for example, Elaine Wilkins is now a trained Mental Health First Aider.

It is well known that financial difficulties, whether for individuals or within businesses, can lead to real mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. In a report, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 18% of people with mental health problems may also suffer with debt issues and that 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem. The report suggested that c.1.5 million people struggle with Mental Health issues and problem debt at the same time and that the situation can be made worse if they are treated insensitively by creditors.

As Elaine says:

“Over a period of time, I received my online Mental Health First Aid training, which amongst other things, helped us to recognise the signs of depression and anxiety and what steps to take to help.

Having completed the training, I will be using my new skills to help any of the individuals and businesses who approach us when their finances are in difficulties and they realise they need help.”

The sooner our help and advice is sought when insolvency looms, the better

The stories of sleepless nights, growing anxiety and deepening depression are all too true for those individuals and business owners who are facing problem debt and, ultimately, insolvency. Sometimes the advice of our insolvency practitioners is sought too late, and the only way out is a liquidation. Even then, we can help lessen stress and strain by taking over the work of dealing with creditors. If contacted quickly, the chances of turnaround and recovery are much improved, perhaps via an Administration or a Company Voluntary Arrangement, where once again, we take the strain.

If you or your company is facing insolvency due to problem debt, HMRC arrears, cashflow or other financial problems and you are stressed and anxious about what to do, then please do contact us for a fully confidential, and FREE initial discussion with our insolvency practitioners.

At the meeting, our highly qualified specialists will provide you with independent, professional assistance/guidance and go over all the possible options, to help take the stress and strain away.

Contact us or call us on any of the numbers below for help and advice on insolvency and other issues regarding the duties and responsibilities of directors at insolvency, including director disqualification.

Also, K&W Recovery, trading as Antony Batty and Company, Thames Valley:

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