Archive for March, 2015

26
Mar
15

The TTIP of the iceberg

The future of the UK’s SMEs could be threatened if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is introduced.

TTIP would bring benefits to big business, but SMEs seem set to lose out. A huge majority of UK firms are SMEs and they have been behind the economy’s growth for a long time. At the last Autumn Statement, the Government recognised this and rewarded them with a raft of measures designed to help. Now, their very existence could be hanging in the balance.

The aim of TTIP is to create a free market on both sides of the Atlantic and remove regulations, but a good many of these currently work in favour of SMEs. The European Commission’s Centre for Economic Policy Research has said that the agreement will boost EU economic output by 0.5 per cent by 2027. Export predictions are slightly more positive and put growth at 5–10 per cent over a 10–20 year period. However, given the current rapid rate of growth among SMEs, it’s hard to see why such a potentially disruptive move is a necessary intervention.

If you’re a small business in Europe that creates products adhering to EU rules, you may well find that under TTIP, your products are more expensive to produce than their US equivalents, due to their use of cheaper labour and materials that are not permitted under EU legislation. If some of the EU’s regulations are scrapped, a lot of US products that were previously banned are likely to flood the market and undercut prices.

A further problem for SMEs is the damage that TTIP could cause to local and home-grown businesses. In the UK, some councils operate schemes that aim to strengthen communities and help small local suppliers. In fact, the government recently pledged support to smaller businesses by setting a target for 25 per cent of its supplier contracts to be fulfilled by SMEs by May 2015. However, these arrangements would be deemed illegal under TTIP; further compromising the growth prospects of the UK’s SMEs.

For further details please contact Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner on 0114 251 8850 or chris.brown@hartshaw.co.uk.

 

Connect with Christopher on LinkedIn

Read more about Hart Shaw’s Business Recovery services

Download the Hart Shaw mobile app for businesses

Advertisements
03
Mar
15

No business is immune from failure

The recent insolvency of the Rotherham based MTL Group is a timely reminder that no company, however large and high profile, is immune from failure. Administrators were appointed to MTL Group on 2 February 2015 with the immediate loss of 157 jobs and leaving creditors owed circa £10m.

The immediate effect of any insolvency is that creditors suddenly have a bad debt to deal with, and the larger the debt, the more likely that there will be a domino effect, causing otherwise solvent companies to have cash flow problems which could ultimately lead to failure. When the initial insolvency involves such a high profile company as MTL Group the risk of the domino effect only increases.

We are currently helping one of the creditors of MTL who has a large bad debt. Fortunately this company is financially sound but even so, the disruption to its immediate cash flow caused by MTL is such that we are currently negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs a time to pay arrangement for the current VAT Quarter. This will enable the Company to avoid penalties and make nominal payments until, over the next six months, it can claim VAT Bad Debt relief on the MTL debt and so satisfy the current VAT quarter.

Other Companies in less financial health may need to negotiate with their creditors generally and this is where an Insolvency Practitioner can provide valuable help. Of course this is dealing with the effects of a bad debt after it has happened. But what practical things can a Company do to lessen the effects of a bad debt before it happens?

The first thing is to know your customer, assess their credit worthiness and set a credit limit which reflects the commercial risk you are prepared to take, because were your customer to fail that is how much you stand to lose.  Once set, stick to it. We often see cases where although a credit limit was in place, the company has ignored it and gone on supplying the customer which has ultimately failed. If possible incorporate a personal guarantee into your credit application form, it may not always be possible, especially with larger customers, but it is worth trying. Finally consider credit insurance to protect against non-payment should a customer fail. The benefits of credit insurance are not only that the debt being insured would be paid, but that you will have access to improved credit intelligence on your customers.

If your require any assistance in dealing with your creditors or require further information about credit insurance please contact Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner at Hart Shaw on T: 0114 251 8850 or email: chris.brown@hartshaw.co.uk.

Christopher Brown of Hart Shaw

Christopher Brown, Business Recovery & Insolvency Partner at Hart Shaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Christopher on LinkedIn

Read more about Hart Shaw Business Recovery

Attend Hart Shaw’s forthcoming events