Risk management

A question that will often arise in discussions with the directors and shareholders of companies facing financial difficulties is what their personal liabilities are. The initial response to the question is, if the company is a limited liability company, you are not personally liable for the debts of the company BUT… and it is a reasonably big “BUT” because there are a number of ways in which an individual can become personally liable in relation to an insolvent company. The purpose of this article is to identify some of the ways in which you can become personally liable and the steps you can take to avoid or mitigate that liability. Personal Guarantees: It is common for trade suppliers to require…
In our previous article, Internal Fraud – The Threat from Within (April 2017), we gave a broad outline of the basic steps that can be taken to help reduce the chances of internal fraud and increase the chances of fraud being identified if it is happening. This article sets out in a bit more detail some of the policies and procedures you should consider implementing in your business, if they are not already in place. The size of your business, and the number of employees involved, will have a bearing on what can be done. EMPLOYING STAFF: The employees of a company can be its greatest asset or its greatest liability. Employing the wrong person can have a devastating effect…
As a landlord of commercial property it is important for you to understand your rights and responsibilities to ensure you don’t inadvertently breach legislation and obligations. If you do, you may face significant liability. A Deed of Lease details the relationship and terms/conditions between a commercial landlord and tenant. The Property Law Act 2007 (“PLA”) defines rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. The Unit Titles Act 2010 can also apply if the property is a unit title. A commercial landlord has obligations to comply with the Building Act 2004 and Building Code and to complete a building warrant of fitness for Council. A commercial landlord also has obligations to maintain the building, comply with health and safety standards. A…
With Auckland’s housing shortage and home renovation activity, you would be excused for thinking building companies should be surfing a building boom and reaping the rewards.However, many continue to fall over despite promising industry conditions, leaving customers, contractors, suppliers and even the taxman in the red. Building is a complex task Building involves multiple parties from designers and architects to surveyors and councils, to suppliers and to customers. There are few companies that have the ability to perform the entire build process. There are external specialist suppliers. Whether it’s the architect or the excavator and/or foundation company or the window supplier or the plumbers/sparkies and tilers and painters these trades (and many more) are usually separate from the builder. There…
Effective cashflow management is critical to any businesses survival and growth. Understanding your businesses underlying cashflows will help identify potential changes to your business processes that will improve cashflow, profitability and business value A firm's ability to reliably spin-off positive cashflows from the firm's routine business operations is one of the key factors business owners and potential investors look for. Cashflow Defined Cashflow is typically defined as the net change in your firm’s cash position from one accounting period to the next. If you generate more cash than you consume, you have a positive cashflow. If you have greater cash outflows than inflow, you have a negative cashflow. Thus, your cashflow is a key indicator of a firm’s financial health.…
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…
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…
Dealing with non-payers can be like ‘pulling teeth’. Cash, however, is the lifeblood of business and most business owners cannot afford to sit back and not take action. We cover our top tips for taking control of your debtors... The good news is that you can take steps (with Court proceedings often a last resort) to improve your cash flow and disincentivise your clients from treating you like a bank. We all know court can be an expensive and time consuming process and can spell the end of a business relationship. A formal demand can also damage your relationship with your customer and, if you suspect insolvency, potentially place you in a difficult position with the liquidator seeking to ‘claw back’ that…
Cloud Software Claimed Users Xero 371,000 plus LinkedIn 260 million plus Dropbox 300 million plus Google – Email 500 million plus Increasingly, we are using the Cloud to create, manage and store documents, such as through Xero, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Google. However, the Cloud is unique in that control of the documents passes outside of your physical possession and onto someone else's computer, which is often overseas.   Consequentially, there are several issues that a business owner needs to be aware of.  - How secure is your data and how much control do you have over it once it is in the Cloud? Often, you will have no idea where the data is stored, you have no idea how the…
Did you know that not using the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) could expose your business to unnecessary risk?  Despite the fact that the online register celebrated its 10th anniversary in May this year, a surprising number of small business owners are not aware of the reduced financial risk that comes with registering security interests on the PPSR.  Registering your security interest on the PPSR may give you a better chance of recovering a debt if your debtor defaults. (Note:  Suppliers of stock need to register before delivery and suppliers of equipment need to register within 10 working days of delivery).  What a lot of people don't realise is registering on the PPSR is a valid defence against Insolvent Transaction…
Statutory demands - minimising bad debts is critical for any business  Debt collection is difficult for business owners.  Pursuing bad debts early on improves any chance of receiving payment.  A creditor that puts the most pressure on a debtor will most likely receive their money before others; however, they need to be conscious of the voidable transaction regime when they are dealing with an insolvent company.  If you are owed a debt and that debt is not in dispute and you suspect the company you have been trading with may be insolvent, you can issue a statutory demand against the company.  Depending on your terms of trade, a statutory demand will require the debtor to pay you the outstanding debt,…
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