As it is in all areas of business, when you are seeking advice or input on insolvency matters it is important to go to the right source.
There are lawyers and accountants that specialise in insolvency but, depending of the circumstances, and what you are looking to achieve, who you choose is important.
Under the current legislation, the Companies Act 1993, anyone, without conflict of interest, and with a few other exceptions, can take an appointment as an Insolvency Practitioner and be appointed as liquidator or receiver of a company. They do not have to have any formal qualification and do not have to be registered or subject to any particular code of conduct. This situation is likely to change with current law changes being considered but for the time being the current provisions of the Companies Act apply.
So both lawyers and accountants can be appointed as liquidators or receivers and can be referred to as Insolvency Practitioners.
There are also Insolvency Practitioners who may be neither a lawyer or an accountant, who can also be appointed as liquidators or receivers.
Generally speaking, there are two ways that a business could be involved with an insolvency matter – either as a creditor seeking to recover a debt, or as the business owners deciding on a course of action because of the financial situation the business is in. The information or advice you would need from a lawyer and / or an accountant is different in each case.
If you are a creditor of a business that has failed to pay its debts as they fall due, you may decide to take action to have the debtor company liquidated.
To do this, we recommend you consult a lawyer experienced in the insolvency field to prepare statutory demands for service on the debtor company and, in due course, to prepare and file the application in the High Court to have the debtor company liquidated.
The lawyer will, prior to the matter being heard in Court, obtain the written consent of Insolvency Practitioner(s), to be appointed,
If you are a director/shareholder of a debtor company that has been served with a statutory demand or liquidation proceedings, you may want to consult with an insolvency practitioner to gain an understanding of your rights and obligations and the options that are available to you.
Many of the insolvency practitioners practicing in New Zealand have formal accounting qualifications or accounting backgrounds. This is understandable given that a lot of the work carried out by insolvency practitioners involves the review and analysis of accounting information.
IP's often then engage lawyers. Some of the larger accounting firms will have an insolvency practice as part of their firm’s structure. McDonald Vague, are Chartered Accountants specialising in business recovery and insolvency
If you are the shareholders or director of an insolvent company, your business accountants, who prepare your annual financial reports etc, may identify the fact that you are technically insolvent but, under those circumstances, they cannot be appointed as liquidator of your company. You would need to appoint an independent insolvency practitioner.
Accreditation for insolvency practitioners acknowledges IPs with appropriate experience. The main benefit is, accredited IPs are subject to the code of ethics, CAANZ rules and standards, CPD, practice review and a disciplinary body. If the practitioner is a CA and accredited, the designation is CAANZ accredited IP, whereas a non-CA but member of RITANZ is RITANZ IP Accredited by CAANZ. Dealing with an accredited practitioner provides more assurance to the appointor that the appropriate actions will be taken.
Getting the right advice at the right time and from the right person can make a big difference to the final outcome in any given situation.
If you need legal advice in relation to an insolvency issue, then see a lawyer with expertise in that area of law.
If you need practical advice in relation to insolvency options and processes and the related accounting issues, then speak to an experienced insolvency practitioner.
The team at McDonald Vague are experienced and independent insolvency practitioners with the formal qualifications and experience to be able to provide good practical advice on your situation.