Please visit for confidential help and insolvency advice or email

Friday, 31 December 2010

HMRC to fine small businesses for poor record keeping

In a festive announcement, HMRC said that in 2011 they would be clamping down on small businesses that did not keep proper records and would issue fines for non compliance.

The “Business Records Checks” campaign will target all 4.9m small and medium sized businesses. Exactly what amounts to non compliance is not completely clear but the HMRC has given guidelines to its inspectors such as;
"analysis books not completed regularly – a system whereby the books are written up more than four weeks after the event is not as reliable as books completed contemporaneously."

For many small businesses the MD is the lead salesman, debt collector, accountant as well as payroll administrator. Having the HMRC tell you to have an immaculate record keeping system is just added stress when many business people are struggling.

The rise in VAT in January will be another headache for small businesses.

We agree with HMRC assertion that good record keeping will help businesses manage cash and make them less likely to fail. However, we fear that HMRC inspectors ideas of what amounts to non compliance may not be reasonable in the real world of business. Keeping an eye on cashflow is most important and we have tools on our site that you can use on our cashflow and cost cutting page. If you find your business is having difficulty paying VAT or Paye we can help.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Higher interest rates ahead; tidings of joy from the Bank of England

At last the Bank of England seem to be worrying about inflation? Today the Bank's Director of markets, Paul Fisher, has been wheeled out to get the message across.

He suggests to the Daily Telegraph's Philip Aldrick, that we should all be ready for interest rates of 5%  in the medium term.

On top of spending cuts and the austerity drive by the Coalition, this steep rise in interest rates could drive the economy into stagnation or even recession.

Well until then eat drink and be merry! That is my plan today anyway! Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at KSA Group.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Successful Company Voluntary Arrangement pays 100p in £1

According to Business Desk Yorkshire today, the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has emerged from its company voluntary arrangement after paying 100p in the £1 to creditors.

A CVA was agreed in January 2010, with the Chamber agreeing to pay 78p in the pound within two years, but the arrangement has been completed inside 11 months and with the extra 22p also paid.

Download our FREE 89 page Experts Guide to Company Voluntary Arrangements now to learn all you need to know about this powerful restructuring tool.

CVA Experts Guide (Safe PDF download).

Call Keith Steven on 07974 086779 if you have any questions on CVA's

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Winding up petition dismissed for Sheffield Wednesday

Another football club escapes the HMRC!

HMRC's winding up petition was dismissed yesterday after Milan Mandaric paid the outstanding tax debts in full.

If there is a threat of a HMRC petition against your business don't wait for some millionaire football investors to bail the company out; take advice and ACT sooner not later. Our page gives fast guidance.

KSA is now seeing a much tougher attitude from HMRC on failed time to pay arrangements with the case often being passed quite quickly to HMRC Enforcement & Insolvency department in Worthing.

They will typically issue a 7 day warning letter. Click here for an example of what to expect

So the message is, if a creditor and or HMRC threatens a winding up petition make sure you act first.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Westler Foods in Administration

Westler Foods, based in Malton, has gone into administration after it was unable to finance a £15m funding shortfall in its defined benefits pension scheme.

In a statement the administrators said, "This is an uncommon and unfortunate situation of a well run and profitable business being compelled to enter insolvency specifically because of the scale of its pension deficit." they went onto say, "The company has a number of extremely interesting contracts so we are trading the business as a going concern while seeking a buyer."

The firm employs nearly 200 people at its Yorkshire base making a range of canned and pouched food products.

Pension issues in insolvency have been recently hightlighted in a case brought against Nortel Networks by the Pensions Regulator. We will blog on this case later.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Latest Liquidation reports now online

We are now publishing the liquidation reports pertaining to companies to which we have been appointed liquidators.

A liquidation report contains the following; Notice of our appointment, a report to the creditors outlining the circumstances, a statement of affairs (SOFA), estimated deficiency account, summary of recent financial history, and a list of creditors.

These documents are sent out to all creditors as required by the insolvency rules 1986.

Please find below the latest published reports;

Yavi Ltd Liquidation Report

Morris Builders Merchants Limited Liquidation Report

Adam Consulting Ltd Liquidation Report

Sapphire Construction Ltd Liquidation Report

Advice from entrepreneurs

Mike Southon, the FT columnist, speaker and writer of the Beermat Entreprenuer, has written a book called This Is How Yoodoo It. The book contains punchy and high quality advice from some of the UK top thinkers on entrepreneurship. Featured entrepreneurs are; Allan Leighton, Brent Hoberman, and yes I am in it as well.

The book has lots of ideas on a wide variety of topics, including getting started, sales, marketing and communication, finance, team building, mentoring, growing your business and dealing with recession. My piece in the book hightlights the need to act quickly if your company is in difficulty. As an entrepreneur I know how hard it can be to accept that you need help.
Entrepreneurs are experts at fixing problems, optimistic, and are driven business people. It is therefore very hard to accept that you cannot fix the cashflow problem facing your business. But sometimes you just have to admit that you need help. With my experiences I know what you are worried about – we will take your business away and that could not be further from the truth!

You have built up your business so make sure you do everything you can to save it. If you have a legal problem, you call your solicitor! If you have an accounting problem, you call your accountant! If you have a cashflow problem then call Keith Steven of KSA group.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Powerfuel of Hatfield in Administration

Powerfuel, has gone into administration after failing to raise enough money to work on carbon capture and storage technology at its Hatfield site near Doncaster. The firm, employs 380 people, and the administrators at KPMG are hoping to secure a buyer to protect jobs.

The business had already raised £164m from the European Union, as a grant to build the station but it failed to raise the rest required for the building of the station at a total cost of £800m.

KPMG administrator Richard Fleming explained, "The central goal of the administration is to sell the share capital of the mining and carbon capture and storage (CCS) development project which sits in Powerfuel, the parent company."

"The day-to-day business of both Powerfuel Mining and Powerfuel Power will not be affected by the sales process," he added.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Business and Software for sale

On the instructions of E Walls Esq. and W Harrison Esq. of KSA Group Limited, the Joint Administrators of Applied Information Limited:

Business Opportunity and Software Assets for Sale

ai 360

• A web based application providing 360° performance feedback,
appraisal and a personal development package for individual

Accelerate Achievement

• A web based application aimed at schools and other
organisations providing self evaluation against Ofsted and similar
inspection frameworks.

ai QA

• An organisational quality assurance and auditing package,
meeting high level Government security standards, used by the
public and private sectors to assess their position against quality

Located in South East England
For sale as individual lots, or as a whole.

The business is currently experiencing financial difficulties due to historic debt servicing and the requirement for further development capital.
A short notice sale of the business, by way of a sale of the assets followingAdministration, is now sought at the earliest opportunity.
Further details of this opportunity can be obtained, following completion of a confidentiality agreement, from the Information Pack which is available by request from

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Business Distress Index

R3, the insolvency trade body, has interviewed senior financial controllers at over 500 companies and has come up with the Business Distress Index. Its findings have been published this week.

Decreased profits have been identified as the most common current sign of distress by 49 per cent of UK businesses. Other indicators of problems are the following;

14% of respondents are finding it difficult to pay invoices on time
13% have had to make redundancies.
6% say they have taken on new borrowing to pay down existing debt.
44% had falling sales.
14% have said they are having difficulty in paying invoices

Other interesting findings are that on the whole the respondents believed that the banks were more supportive than HMRC. Trade creditors were the biggest worry for small businesses. Debts were the biggest worry for manufacturing businesses.

On a regional basis it appears that the Midlands is showing more distress than other areas with 81% of respondents showing one or more signs of distress

This survey doesn't really tell us much at this stage but over time it may highlight trends or changes in business's outlook.

There was one interesting statistic which was that only 3% of those surveyed thought that they may go into an insolvency situation in the next 12 months. Confidence is good for business but they need to have a plan B incase things go wrong! If you think you may be insolvent then take a look at our pages on the tests for insolvency. At least be prepared and know your options.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fuel Management Facilities Business for Sale

On instructions of E Walls Esq. and W Harrison Esq. of KSA Group Limited, the Joint Administrators:

Short Notice Sale Opportunity - Business for Sale by way of a sale of the assets.

Fuel Management Facilities Company

The company provides software based fuel management systems, together with fuel storage and dispensing solutions to road and marine transport fleet operators, in both public and private sectors.

Brief details of this opportunity are as follows;

• Originally established over thirty years ago
• Nationwide customer base, including many blue chip and
government organisations
• Highest recent annual turnover level was in 2008 when almost
£2,400,000 was generated, with around £1,800,000 in the last
financial year
• ISO 9001 accreditation

The business is currently experiencing financial difficulties due to historic debt servicing and the requirement for further development capital. A short notice sale of the business, by way of a sale of the assets following Administration, is now sought; quantified expressions of interest are therefore requested immediately.
Further details of this opportunity can be obtained, following completion of a confidentiality agreement, available by request from

Monday, 6 December 2010

Limited liability partnerships; What you need to know

James Mather, a Barrister at Serle Court Lincoln’s Inn, wrote in City AM recently that partners in a limited liability partnership (LLP) are not as safe as they might think, especially in an insolvency situation. The recent collapse of Law firm, Halliwells, has been a high profile failure of an LLP. A subject on which we have blogged in the past (Halliwells carved up in pre-pack administration).
The partners in a traditional partnership are no doubt worse off than their LLP counterparts, as they invariably need to pay creditors from their own pocket.

However, under insolvency law, even the most junior of partners in an LLP is treated much the same as a company director. In larger firms, this can be very tough on them as junior partners may be kept out of some of the more strategic decision making. Once a member of staff has been promoted to partner they do not always negotiate on the fine print. However if the partnership is insolvent the law requires that all the partners act in the “best interests of the creditors”.

If the LLP should have ceased to trade earlier than it did, i.e trading whilst insolvent all members are potentially liable to repay creditors' losses where they should have done more to cease trading. Of course, those with management responsibilities are likely to be most exposed. All members, too, may potentially have to repay any money received from the LLP – including salary and profit share – within the two years before it was wound up, a rule without equivalent for companies.

Personal guarantees from members for the LLP’s debts are are likely to be called upon if the LLP fails. If the LLP tries to reduce its partners liaibilites to those creditors' holding personal guarantees, when it is technically insolvent, then it will be seen as creating a preference to those creditors at the expense of the others.

As a shareholder of a company, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of ownership without being responsible for its management. In an LLP, some partners may not have a stake in the profits but all are potentially liable for its losses.

So if you are unsure or worried about the potential for losses or insolvency at your firm LLP or traditional partnership then give us a call or have a read of our partnership top 10 tips. Take a look at the tests for insolvency if you think your firm might be insolvent

We have experience of rescuing limited liability partnerships (LLP). See how we rescued an LLP law firm with a CVA

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow trouble for businesses

The press are having a field day on saying how poorly the transport system has coped in the bad weather. Other countries seem to cope better but they know they are going to get snow and it happens at roughly the same time every year, for 4 months. So they have greater investment in equipment and people to operate them. In the continental areas prone to snow, snow tyres and chains are generally required by law.

Of course the press and sniping people sitting in the comfort of their homes or offices don’t realise just how bad the country has been hit. In the north east a METRE of snow has accumulated; record cold temperatures and heavy snowfall mean that salt and grit just doesn’t work on the roads! Additionally most British drivers are ill equipped for snow, lack of experience and training coupled with ill equipped cars means blocked roads.

Many of us have been unable to get into work. Those relying on trains in the south are having delays of an hour or much more and the trains are on a go slow between stations. Few people in our head office Berwick have been able to come in and the other businesses near us are no shows either.

Any business that relies on movement around the country such as haulage, courier, travelling sales/consultancy may be experiencing problems. If you feel that these conditions are going to cause longer lasting cashflow effects then please get in touch as you should always have a plan B.

We are happy to talk on the phone for around 30-45 mins free of charge to let you know your options, set out a strategy and answer your concerns. With free tools like our daily cashflow we can equip you for the long winter ahead.

As we might be allowing more time to get home at the moment if you need to talk to us please call us on our mobiles Keith Steven 07974 086779, Eric Walls (IP) 07787 278527, Wayne Harrison (IP) 07879 555350.
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