Articles

There are a number of reasons for poor business cashflow. We have highlighted the top seven as follows: One: Accounts receivable process A poor accounts receivable process will result in debtor days (the time between billing and banking) being too high. This will stifle your cashflow. There are many strategies to minimise debtor days including tightening your Terms of Trade, offering prompt payment discounts and streamlining your billing process. Two: Accounts payable process A review of all suppliers’ terms may identify ways to improve cashflow and potentially achieve better Terms of Trade. Implementing budgets, streamlining your payments process to maximise prompt payment discounts and avoid late payment penalties is just the start. Three: Inventory process Carrying stock for too long means full shelves but…
We have recently been involved in a liquidation where we considered the directors breaches of duties and ultimate loss to creditors so extreme as to be worthy of taking an action in the High Court. The action was funded by the largest creditor. We alleged the directors (a former banned director, an undischarged bankrupt based in Hong Kong, and a lawyer) traded recklessly (s135), incurred obligations without reasonable belief they would be able to perform the obligations (s136) and failed to exercise care, diligence and skill that reasonable director would have exercised in the same circumstances (s137). We sought recovery from the directors. The case involved customer losses from the companies first order, when the customer had paid a large…
We are often asked ‘how do liquidators’ work’ and what are their rights regarding access to company records and information. To clarify we have put together this article. When a liquidator is appointed over a company, either by the shareholders or by order of the High Court, one of the first steps taken will be to locate and uplift the books and records of the company and to seek information about the business, accounts or affairs of the company to enable a full review to be undertaken. The purpose of the review is to – Establish the financial position of the company at liquidation; Ensure that all assets have been properly accounted for; Identify any other avenues of recovery for…
Have greater flexibility and pay your income tax how and when it suits you Tax Management NZ (TMNZ) provides an IRD-approved service that gives businesses greater flexibility to do tax on their terms by letting them choose how and when they make their income tax payments. Upcoming provisional tax paymentsTMNZ has several payment options to help you manage upcoming income tax payments. This provides greater flexibility, wipes any late payment penalties, and reduces interest costs. The burden provisional tax payments can have on your cashflow can be eased by paying off what you owe in flexible instalments, where you pay what you can, when you can. If paying an upcoming provisional tax payment in instalments does not suit, you can…
It is common in New Zealand for the directors and shareholders of small companies to be the same people and many are also employees of the company – executive directors.  Whether this is in the form of a family owned business or a just a small to medium sized enterprise made up of unrelated individuals this involvement on all levels can create difficulties. The advantage of such a set up is that the individuals are motivated to make the business work and be profitable. The downside is that the closed nature of the board can leave gaps in the knowledge and experience held by the directors and their closeness to the business can lead to subjective decision making. Depending on…
A recent case in the Hamilton High Court looked at the requirements on a liquidator to accept the claims of creditors and to call a meeting of creditors to decide if a replacement liquidator should be appointed. The Law on Calling a Meeting with Creditors Where a liquidator is appointed by shareholder resolution they are required to call a meeting of creditors within 10 working days of their appointment pursuant to section 243 (1)(a) of the Companies Act 1993 (“the Act). This requirement can be dispensed with, pursuant to section 245 of the Act, if the liquidator considers, having regard to the assets and liabilities of the company, the likely result of the liquidation and any other relevant matters, that…
The Solvency Test The Companies Act 1993 requires directors to focus on the financial state of the company and to consider whether the company meets the solvency test before permitting distributions and certain other actions by the company. The statutory Solvency Test is set out at section 4 of the Companies Act 1993.  The Solvency Test requires that both the liquidity limb and the balance sheet limb of the test are satisfied immediately after a distribution or other action.  Distributions are widely defined and include the direct or indirect transfer of money or property and incurring a debt for the benefit of shareholders. In making a distribution, directors who vote in favour of the distribution must sign a solvency certificate…
In our article published in April 2017, Internal Fraud – The Threat from Within, we discussed the issue of fraud committed on an organisation by its own officers and staff, the types of offending and some basic steps that can be undertaken to reduce the risk of internal fraud. These steps included the need to have robust and durable systems and procedures in place to lessen the opportunities for fraud to be committed or, if they are committed, increase the chances that they will be discovered before they can cause irreparable damage to the business. A case that our firm was involved in highlights what fraud can cost a director of a company personally if another member of the business,…
As a business owner, have you been kept awake at night trying to work out why your business is struggling to pay its bills on time when you know that you are doing more work and earning more income. The answer could be that someone within your organisation is taking advantage of their position and is defrauding your business. It is a sad fact of life that some people will abuse the trust placed in them by their business associates or employer and use their position to obtain personal profit.  This can have a devastating impact on a business, putting its ability to continue to operate in jeopardy, and also putting its creditors and directors at risk because of the…
With financial year end, one of the considerations fresh in the minds of business owners and their advisors is the decision regarding appropriate directors’ remuneration. In a previous article we reviewed the case of Madsen-Ries and Vance v Petera [2015] NZHC 538. In this article, we consider an issue on appeal by the liquidators of Petranz Limited (“the company”) as to whether salaries paid by the company to the directors were fair to the company when they were paid (Madsen-Ries v Petera [2016] NZCA 103). This article will also cover where creditor considerations fit in with such decision making, and the appropriate remedies for creditors if things go wrong. Background Mr and Mrs Petera were the sole directors and shareholders…
Global Textiles Limited (In Liquidation) We were appointed liquidators of Global Textiles Limited (“Global Textiles”) on 13 March 2015 and are now in the final stages of the liquidation. Prior to our appointment, Global Textiles had been in business for nearly 20 years.  It supplied textiles to a number of brands in New Zealand and Australia from Jean Jones to small businesses.  It was also the designer and wholesaler of a popular clothing brand. With the emergence of globalisation and technology allowing easy access to markets outside of New Zealand, the local textiles industry has moved into the sunset phase of its life cycle. With cheaper imports from overseas coming into the market, Global Textiles’ traditional customers were increasingly demanding…
Businesses get into difficulty for a range of reasons.  When directors have acted in good faith and react to the situation early enough, and where there is a good prospect of recovery, a compromise may be acceptable to the company’s creditors.  The purpose of a compromise proposal is to increase the likelihood of some classes of creditors receiving more than they would if the company were put into liquidation. Often, voting outcomes rely on the creditors’ opinion of the director(s) but issues can arise when related parties, who may be seen as voting to protect their own interests, are involved. Statutory Requirements The statutory requirements of a compromise are set out under Part 14 of the Companies Act 1993 (“the…
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