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6 Warning Signs of Corporate Insolvency

As a business owner, it is important that you are able to recognise signs that your company may be insolvent, or on the way to becoming insolvent. Here are 6 warning signs of corporate insolvency that you must look out for.

  1. Cash on Delivery becomes a common phrase

If you are facing corporate insolvency, then your creditors and suppliers may begin to ask for Cash on Delivery (COD). This means that you must pay them when you receive the supplied goods and services, as opposed to being trusted to be able to pay them at a later date. Insolvency can affect your credit with suppliers and ability to maintain long-term relationships with them.

  1. Dishonour fees, bounced cheques

If the cheques that you are sending out are bouncing, then this is a clear sign of corporate insolvency, as it shows that there are insufficient funds in your account. This also rings true for dishonour fees.

  1. Books and records are not updated

One of the signs of corporate insolvency is out-dated books and records. As businesses run into financial distress, directors are less likely to maintain their books, as their focus will most likely be elsewhere. It is crucial that financial records are maintained, as failure to do so, under the Corporations Act, gives way to a statutory presumption of insolvency.

  1. Superannuation contributions are not paid

Business directors and owners who are experiencing financial distress often use their employees’ superannuation funds to help with short-term cash flow. This is because these payments are normally paid at the end of every quarter, so it is less noticeable if they are overdue.

It is important to note that under the Director’s Penalty Notice regime, if a director is unable to pay their employees’ superannuation fees, then they may be held personally liable for them.

  1. Business aesthetics are not maintained

One of the first aspects of a business to be affected by corporate insolvency is its aesthetics. If your business’ physical appearance has dropped or there are signs of poor maintenance and cleaning, then this could be an indication of poor financial health.

  1. Legal action

The tipping point for most companies at the risk of corporate insolvency is having legal action taken against them, such as receiving a Director’s Penalty Notice or winding-up application. These can bear serious consequences, such as being made personally liable for company debts.

If you are facing corporate insolvency, then you need to take action immediately. Please contact CRS Insolvency Services for free, 24/7 expert advice on 1800 210 073.

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Fitlink Experiences Financial Difficulty, Leaving Students in the Dark About Their Education

Fitlink describes themselves as “the Fitness Industry’s preferred qualification provider due to our reputation for producing high-quality and knowledgeable graduates.”

However, the students aspiring to be one of Fitlink’s qualified graduates were left in the dark about their financial collapse back in December 2015. They were not notified and instead were left to find out of the company’s fate for themselves.

Debbie Howell was a student of Fitlink. She had paid an advance of $2,200 to complete a Certificate IV in Fitness; a certificate mandatory for her to run her personal training business.

“I’ve forked out a lot of money to do this course, I paid for it up front because that was the cheapest way to do it.”

She realised something was wrong when her message to her tutor was left unanswered, a stark contrast to Fitlink’s usual immediate replies.

“I had a question and I contacted my tutor and I hadn’t had any response for a few days. I thought that was really weird because they always contacted me straight away.

“I rang the office number, it was the middle of the day, and the recording said these are our office hours and I thought, ‘well, I’m calling you during office hours’ and that’s when I started to get concerned.”

“Just by doing a Google search on the Internet, I saw in the search results Fitlink and liquidation, so I clicked on that and discovered they had gone into liquidation in December.”

Two of the companies behind Fitlink had experienced financial troubles. Fitlink Australia had been placed under administration whilst Traincorp Operations was placed into liquidation.

Tim Boman is the Brisbane accountant and property entrepreneur behind Fitlink, previously running it from a gym in Brisbane until it was closed with the building currently on sale.

Mr Boman also ran into financial distress when he was declared bankrupt in February. However, this is not the first case in which he has experienced financial issues.

In 2010, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) fined Mr Boman $4,000 for not assisting a liquidator, and again in 2011.

Jennifer McKay, Professor of Business Law from the University of South Australia says, “He’s been declared bankrupt and also he has two current companies under investigation and they will take action in order to ensure that the prudential standard remains high.”

Despite this, he was named the new director and CEO of a company called Silver Academy, which now operates Fitlink.

Mr Bowman has strong connections to Silver Academy and its former and current directors. His wife, Angela Eluik was also a registered director of Silver Academy for a few months last year.

However, Mrs Eluik denied any involvement with Silver Academy stating, “No, I was never a director of Silver Academy.”

“I’m not involved with Silver Academy and students are being serviced and will continue to be serviced.”

After her experience, Howell filed a complaint to the vocational education regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). She is not the only one to complain.

ASQA Chief Commissioner, Chris Robinson, revealed “There’s been a number of complaints made by students about the training organisation since late last year and we’re currently looking at those.

“I’m not aware that Tim Boman is a director or a high managerial agent of that operation [Silver Academy] but that’s something we’ll investigate as well.”

ASIC would not comment on the matter, except to say that they were waiting for the final reports from the liquidator and administrators of Traincorp Operations and Fitlink Australia.

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How To Avoid Company Liquidation

When a company faces the prospect of liquidation, business owners can find the situation both financially and emotionally taxing. They are often stumped as to how to manage the situation without losing control of their finances and assets.

CRS Insolvency Services (CRS) has compiled an overview for companies to assist them in recovering from their debts to avoid liquidation.

One of the first steps that financially struggling companies should take is to examine their assets and identify any potential cash inflow opportunities.

If companies have items that could be sold at a high price, they should consider putting them on the market in order to generate funds, which could be used to repay any outstanding debts.

Similarly, your company may have some remaining stock that could be sold. You could even sell the physical property where your company is located or sub-let part of your premises. Selling such assets allows the business to continue operating while paying off debts with the funds obtained from selling existing possessions.

Another strategy is to review your company’s products and services to see if they are actually adding to the business’ bottom line. If they are not profitable, perhaps it is time to replace them with products and services that are likely to bring in more money or if they aren’t generating profit discontinue those products or services.

CRS can help if you are looking to avoid company liquidation by placing your company into Voluntary Administration. To learn more about the differences between company liquidation and Voluntary Administration 

If you wish to discuss your options further, please call us 24 hours a day / 7 days a week on 1800 210 073. CRS has a fully licensed and registered Liqiudator who can accept your appointment.

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Dick Smith Will Shut All Its Doors by April 30th

An iconic Australian brand, Dick Smith, is set to close the doors of its 363 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

With four core brands: Dick Smith, Electronics powered by Dick Smith, Move, and Move by Dick Smith, the brand had over 3300 employees and annual sales of $1.3 billion. After being placed into receivership on 4 January following voluntary administration, the sale of the physical operations of Dick Smith failed to produce a viable buyer.

However, the brand will perpetuate digitally as online retailer, Kogan.com, bought Dick Smith’s online retail business. Kogan.com is set to take over the online operations from 1 June 2016.

Founder and CEO of Kogan.com, Ruslan Kogan, stated, “Dick Smith is an iconic Australian brand and we’re thrilled to be able to keep it alive, as well as Aussie owned and run. I remember as a kid always visiting Dick Smith to look for parts to upgrade my computer. There is a strong history of passion in the Dick Smith community for how technology can improve our lives, and we look forward to helping making it more affordable and accessible for all.”

Currently, the Dick Smith receiver, Ferrier Hodgson, is said to be talking with ASIC regarding the rapid failure of the company.

The Dick Smith CEO, Nick Abboud, had previously stated, in only August last year, that the full year net profit for 2015-16 would be increased to between $45 million and $48 million.

According to reports, ASIC is also investigating.

In relation to current Dick Smith employees, some staff will be relocated to nearby stores while others will be made redundant. However, employee entitlements are expected to be paid in full as they are prioritised over secured credit claims.

Receiver James Stewart says, “We would like to thank the Dick Smith employees for their support during the controlled closure process,”.

“This is a difficult and uncertain time for them and we have really appreciated their commitment.”

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Fallen Mining Magnate Nathan Tinkler Facing Bankruptcy With Over $2.8 Million Debt

A Federal Court Judge has ruled on Tuesday morningthat GE Commercial is entitled to make fallen mining magnate Nathan Tinkler bankrupt.

Since 17 June of last year, Mr Tinkler has been fighting off a bankruptcy notice issued by GE Commercial, to whom the former billionaire owes more than $2.8 million on a Dassault Falcon jet. Mr Tinkler put the jet up for sale in 2013 after he ran into financial trouble.

Although in court Mr Tinkler’s lawyers argued that he was solvent and the bankruptcy notice issued by GE Commercial was defective, Federal Court Judge Justice Jacqueline Gleeson ruled in GE Commercial’s favour.

Justice Gleeson granted GE Commercial permission to force Mr Tinklerinto bankruptcy due to the lack of evidence to support Mr Tinkler’s legal team’s case.

Mr Tinkler’s lawyers have indicated they will seek an appeal.

Although bankruptcy is sometimes Court-ordered and forced upon individuals by their creditors, it is also commonly filed on a voluntary basis.

Bankruptcy is an appropriate debt solution for people who can no longer afford to repay their debts. Voluntary bankruptcy can offer individuals struggling with debt a fresh financial start in life. It is a suitable option for those with few or no assets to protect.

For free specialist and unbiased advice on whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you – or, to learn more about CRS Insolvency Services’ bankruptcy services, speak to one of our insolvency experts today. Call our friendly team on our toll free hotline at 1800 210 073.

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Voluntary Liquidation Explained in 5 Minutes

The dynamic and competitive environment in which businesses operate today often displays continuing threats of slowing growth opportunities, increased competition and uncertain economic positioning.
A company’s performance and sustainability within a market and/or industry now has the ability to change overnight with the consistent expansion of digital marketing and communications platforms.

At CRS Insolvency Services, we believe in the importance of continually assessing and evaluating your company’s financial situation to ensure that the possibility of operating while insolvent is avoided.

 

The question to be asked is:

Can my company pay its debts as and when they fall due?
If the answer to this question is no, CRS Insolvency Services advises that you take early intervention and consider voluntary liquidation.

 

What is voluntary liquidation?

Voluntary liquidation is an appropriate choice if there has been an insurmountable surge in company debt (i.e. it has become insolvent).
The voluntary liquidation process demands the fair distribution of company assets to owing creditors. Necessary investigations into company affairs are undertaken to declare that all debts and payable assets have been accounted for.

 

Why enter voluntary liquidation?
Unlike a court appointed liquidation, voluntary liquidation is initiated by the company members (i.e. directors and shareholders) and is not forced upon the company by court of law.
By appointing a third party to your company’s voluntary liquidation, creditors’, director/s’ and members’ interests can be protected while the voluntary liquidation process takes place. If in the case of a court appointed liquidation, creditors, directors and all other members receive little entitlement and/or say in the winding-up of affairs.

 

Who conducts the voluntary liquidation?

The voluntary liquidation process can be managed by a specialist liquidator, who is generally a specialised accountant experienced in company liquidations.
For more information about the process of voluntary liquidation, call CRS Insolvency Services today on 1800 210 073. We have a team of licensed liquidators ready to assist your case. Don’t let your company’s debts get the better of you. Contact CRS today for the right solutions tailored to suit your situation now. 

 

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3 Critical Lessons From the Pie Face Collapse

Franchising is no walk in the park – and no one knows this truth better than food chain Pie Face.

The franchise collapsed into voluntary administration in November last year, leaving many of its employees and owners without jobs one month before Christmas.

Earlier this year, chief executive Kevin Waite spoke at a franchising forum held by Griffith University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence and the Franchise Advisory Centre. In his speech, Waite revealed the dire financial situation of the chain before it entered into voluntary administration and outlined the key problem areas that required restructuring.

Here are 3simple lessons that we can learn from the near failure of Pie Face:

  1. Experience is paramount to business survival. Pie Face lacked franchise experience at the top – where it really counted. The turnaround program therefore involved removing its existing senior management team and introducing a management team who had greater franchising experience.
  2. Don’t overpay in rent. Pie Face didn’t make a profit for one decade. Partially to blame was that franchises were overspending in rent in order to gain occupation of hotspots in the CBDs of Australia’s major cities. Reports indicate that they were paying up to 30 per cent more in rent than they should have, putting extra financial strain on them to break even.
  3. Don’t ignore mounting debt. Pie Face owed money to every single one of its landlords. Don’t make their mistake – seek professional corporate insolvency assistance and advice immediately after the warning signs appear (e.g. COD terms from suppliers, bouncing cheques and exceeded overdraft limits).

Although the pie chain’s financial future seemed bleak, with almost 30 franchisee-failed stores, voluntary administration and business restructuring were able to bring it out of its financial turmoil.

CRS Insolvency Services is a licensed and insured insolvency firm that provides professional services in voluntary administration. We have helped thousands of Australian companies successfully restructure their finances – franchises and non-franchises alike – so you can trust that we can help you too.

Call our hotline today on 1800 210 073 for a free initial consultation.

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Become Your Own Bankruptcy Expert

however, that whilst bankruptcy is becoming all too common in our day and age, knowledge of the matter is not so common. For example, did you know the term ‘bankruptcy’ only applies to the personal financial situation of an individual and owners of a sole trader business? however can’t pay its debts, it goes into what is known as ‘liquidation’ and stops operating. The term ‘bankruptcy’ is so often misused a solid understanding of the term, eligibility and consequences is the first step to becoming your own bankruptcy expert and taking control of your financial situation.

In order to lessn the financial and psychological impact of bankruptcy, it is also important to learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of an impending bankruptcy. Learn to regularly ask yourself these common questions:

  • Are you living from pay to pay?
  • Are you treating your credit card as your main source of finance?
  • Are you maximising your credit cards, yet repaying the minimum?
  • Are you paying unnecessary late fees and receiving endless phone calls from debt collectors?
  • Are you behind in your rent, mortgage or electricity payments?
  • Are you unsure of what you actually owe?
  • Are you lying to yourself and others about your financial situation?

Your answers to the above will offer a clearer indication of your economic situation and allow you to a more proactive approach with your finances.

Finally, becoming your own financial and bankruptcy expert recognising and accepting when to pull the plug and seek professional assistance from a qualified bankruptcy expert. Working closely with you, a bankruptcy expert will analyse your current financial affairs, evaluate your liabilities assets and determine if bankruptcy is the most appropriate option.

For expert advice from a qualified bankruptcy expert, contact CRS Insolvency Services today. With years of experience assisting in the insolvency and bankruptcy cases of Australians that of notorious stockbroker Rene Rivkin, you can rest assured that CRS possess the bankruptcy knowledge and expertise to take on your case. Contact us on 1800 210 073.

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Increase in ATO and ASIC Ordered Liquidations

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed that in recent months, it has placed 12 companies into liquidation. The aim was to help the companies’ employees recover more than $335,000 in entitlements.

Since July last year, ASIC has used its wind-up powers to liquidate 19 other companies.

While company directors usually appoint liquidators for their insolvent companies on a voluntary basis, ASIC has the authority to appoint liquidators to companies when the directors are unable to discharge their duties or have abandoned their insolvent companies.

The substantial number of ASIC wind-ups corresponds with the upsurge in wind-up applications made against small- to medium-sized businesses by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In May 2015 alone, 556 businesses received wind-up applications from the ATO – more than double the amount of applications lodged by the ATO this time last year.

Although an ATO-issued wind-up application does not force a company into liquidation, it is a tell-tale sign of corporate insolvency.

If your company has received a notice from the ATO or is facing insolvency, CRS Insolvency Services can help. At CRS, we offer a free initial consultation to help you determine whether a voluntary liquidation is the best solution for your company or whether alternatives such as voluntary administration are more appropriate.

For free immediate professional advice, call our team of insolvency practitioners on our 24 hour hotline now at 1800 210 073. Or, if you prefer, you can email us at info@crsinsolvencyservices.com.au and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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What To Do After Receiving an ATO Garnishee Notice?

Australians are required to pay tax according to their income on an annual basis. Those who fail to fulfil their tax obligations by their due date may quickly become subject to harsh penalties imposed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

One of these penalties, known as a Garnishee Notice, is an official notice issued by the ATO to a third party compelling them to make payments on your behalf in order to recover your outstanding tax debt.

Whilst the distribution of a Garnishee Notice is most common when a taxpayer owes a tax debt, the ATO can also issue a notice where:

  • Your tax has not yet become due;
  • You have already entered into a repayment arrangement;
  • You are negotiating with the ATO; or
  • You have outstanding director’s penalty liabilities.

An ATO Garnishee Notice is a very serious action and can have severe implications for both businesses and individuals. A Garnishee Notice cannot be ignored and it is important that you take immediate action.

At this stage you have two options:

  1. Pay back the tax debt as quickly as possible
  2. If you do not have the funds available, you should seek the professional assistance of a financial advisor who can outline your formal options.

For more information on ATO Garnishee Notices or to find out how CRS Insolvency Services can help you, give our 24/7 toll-free hotline a call today on 1800 210 073.

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