What is an Insolvency Practitioner and How Can They Help?

Licensed insolvency practitioners (IPs) are authorised to act in relation to an insolvent individual, partnership or company. Most IPs are accountants, insolvency specialists or lawyers working in accountancy or law firms.

Insolvency practitioners in the UK must hold a licence and have:

  • passed the insolvency examinations (JIEB exams);
  • gained experience in insolvency work;
  • satisfied an authorising organisation (also known as a regulator) that they are fit and suitable to act as an insolvency practitioner (IP).

IPs study hard for many years to obtain the necessary licence. They must work within strict constraints of the law and their work is monitored by regulators to make sure that they do so. The ICAEW is the single largest regulator of insolvency practitioners in the UK and they monitor IPs to make sure they continue to be fit to carry out insolvency work. In the UK, insolvency practitioners are subject to regular inspection by the relevant professional body usually by a ‘spot check’.

Are insolvency practitioners the same as Company Liquidators?

‘Company liquidators’ is a term that refers to insolvency practitioners. It is their role to oversee the liquidation of a company from start to finish. A liquidator can either be appointed by the shareholders or directors of a company (as in the case of a voluntary liquidation), or by the court (in the case of a compulsory winding up of a company).

A large percentage of directors assume that they need an insolvency practitioner or company liquidator straight away and this may not be true. Depending on your situation it may be best to address several other aspects of the situation before engaging an insolvency practitioner as company liquidator.

How Do Insolvency Practitioners Get Licensed?

Insolvency practitioners need to pass the JIEB exam which is basically a set of three exam papers provided by the Joint Insolvency Examination Board. These exams are taken once a year and when the exams have been passed it is then necessary to meet the authorising body’s insolvency experience requirements.

The licenses for insolvency practitioners are usually issued by the following trade bodies:

  • Insolvency Practitioners Association
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Watch out for unqualified advice and unprofessional service

The insolvency industry gets bad press when it comes to directors who have sought insolvency advice from unqualified rogue advisors. There are those who set out to deliberately mislead and call themselves ‘business recovery advisors”. Be warned not all recovery consultants are what they first seem.

There have been a number of reported cases which have resulted in the Insolvency Services targeting these ‘business recovery advisors’ and placing them into compulsory liquidation on the grounds that it is in the public’s interest to shut them down.

These insolvency advisors are often online and are merely lead generation websites that demand upfront fees and act as an intermediary in the process.
If you are seeking advice the vast majority of professionals will provide an initial view free – as we do.
We have had to step in on quite a few occasions to assist frustrated directors who are unhappy with the lack of service from their current ‘advisor’.

How to choose an insolvency practitioner?

  • Payment of upfront fees without commencing work
  • Poor choice of professional agents including valuers
  • Lack of responsiveness from their advisor once they have been paid.
  • The advisor lacked the knowledge in relation to Redundancy and interaction of an insolvency with the Redundancy Payments Office
  • Lack of understanding in advising the directors’ on the full range of options available to the company e.g. Creditors Voluntary Liquidation versus Company Voluntary Arrangement or Administration.
  • Creditors are still phoning as the insolvency advisor has not dealt promptly with the aggressive creditors enquiries.
    What makes us different is that we are part of an Insolvency practice with regulated Insolvency Practitioners and so you can be assured of the professional advice at all times.

We deal with a large number of insolvencies across the UK and our team have many years’ experience.

Are You Considering Approaching an Insolvency Practitioner? Speak With Us First!

We have access to some of the UK’s best Insolvency Practitioners and can advise you on the following insolvency processes; as well as recommend the most appropriate route for you and your company:

If your business is having cash-flow problems and you suspect that it may be insolvent, please take the time to have a good read through our testimonials page to see what our clients say about us.

All of our testimonials can be authenticated. You may have already spoken with your accountant who may have advised you to speak with an insolvency practitioner – have a read through some of our testimonials and if you feel that we are the best place to start then feel free to pick up the phone and get in touch.

Jameson Smith & Co have a solid track record of bringing real help to UK directors when they need the support the most – men and women just like you. If the testimonials on this site are not enough for you or if you have any doubts about whether we are the right people to speak with to resolve your business debt problems, don’t hesitate to ask to speak with some of our previous clients who we will happily put you in touch with. All of our testimonials can be authenticated on request.

Prefer to talk?

Whether you are looking for insolvency practitioners in London, Birmingham, Manchester or anywhere else in the UK, you can speak with one of the team today about your company insolvency problems by calling us on 08000 746 757. Alternatively, use our live support feature at the top of the page to get answers fast.

Written By Mike Smith