While the once-predicted and feared insolvency “tsunami” of insolvencies hasn’t materialised as yet, many SMEs are expected to face enormous financial challenges in the wake of the end of various government stimulus measures, especially JobKeeper, and the moratorium on Winding Up Petitions.
“For many, it will mean having a vital conversation with a trusted adviser, such as an accountant or insolvency specialist,” Paul Vincent, small-business advocate and director of the newly-launched comparison website Insolvency Australia, said. “It doesn’t mean you’re admitting defeat, it means you’re getting on the front foot to find a solution if you’re in financial distress.”
Vincent is urging small-business owners and directors to do their research and find an insolvency practitioner who has the experience and expertise to work with them to develop a solution – whether it’s restructuring, refinancing or enabling an orderly wind up of the business.
“Choosing a practitioner to assist during times of financial stress can be very confusing and complex, and we wanted to make it easy for people to navigate the maze and make their own informed choices,” Vincent said. “[The new website] was developed to provide people with a user-friendly tool to find registered specialists – the only qualified and authorised people to consider – that suit their individual circumstances and needs.”
The Insolvency Australia website is the country’s first marketplace that has all of the country’s ASIC-Registered Liquidators and AFSA-Registered Bankruptcy Trustees – approximately 700 professionals – featured in one place. It’s 100 per cent independent, free-of-charge for those seeking advice, and provides an easy-to-navigate platform for people to search for, compare and connect with registered insolvency practitioners across the country.
“There’s a definitive number of Registered Liquidators and Bankruptcy Trustees in Australia, and by having them all on one platform enables those needing advice to easily find someone in their state or territory, or who has the experience and expertise they require,” Vincent said.
“With insolvency, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you search by location? Or firm? History? Insolvency Australia helps make those selections easier. In addition, it includes vital information – such as explaining the differences between the types of practitioners and providing key information about insolvency.”
The launch of Insolvency Australia comes at a time when insolvency is a hot topic. According to Google Trends, searches for the terms “insolvency” and “bankruptcy” have increased significantly since the pandemic was declared in March last year.
“There have been various peaks – including around the end of last and start of this financial year – and searches are starting to rise again, coinciding with the winding up of government stimulus measures,” Vincent said. “By making Australia’s registered insolvency professionals available to business owners/directors and individuals, the industry is making itself more readily available to those who need help. Early conversations can lead to better outcomes at a critical time.”