4 Tips for Understanding the Difference between Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Insolvency and bankruptcy are two entirely different things although the two are often confused. Insolvency is a state in which a business no longer has the means of paying debts on time. This occurs whenever liability or debt exceeds the company’s revenue or cash flow. Once a company is deemed insolvent, immediate action must be taken in order to settle or negotiate debts. Not effectively solving insolvency can lead to bankruptcy or a liquidation of all assets. Because insolvency and bankruptcy are often confused, it is helpful to know the differences in the two.

  1. Insolvency is defined as the inability to meet current financial obligations. In other words, your company is not currently making enough money to pay your debts. This can occur at any time if your business revenue falls below what you require to keep debts paid on time. Bankruptcy is often the end result of insolvency and involves liquidating assets in order to pay debtors. In some cases and depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, the business itself may not be required to pay the debts off but will likely end up closing due to lack of assets.
  2. Creditors have the ability to invoke additional rights if a business becomes insolvent. During a bankruptcy however, creditor rights are limited. Once your company is declared bankrupt you receive a bit of protection from your creditors. In the case of insolvency however, you have no such protection and creditors are legally allowed to collect their debts using a number of different means.
  3. Companies that become insolvent actually have a way out. Bonds can be sold that will help to raise needed cash to pay debtors. Once a business enters into a bankruptcy however, this leeway is no longer an option. If you are forced to file bankruptcy on your business you will have to follow through with the bankruptcy. Becoming insolvent can be turned around by simply accumulating more cash.
  4. Companies that are insolvent may be forced to become bankrupt or go into receivership. In some cases, you may be forced to liquidate assets in order to pay debts. Once you have found yourself insolvent you have a number of decisions to make regarding the future of your business. You can choose to attempt to raise additional revenue to keep your debts paid or find ways of refinancing that debt to lower your payments and/or bring your accounts current. Bankruptcy is normally the last result for small business owners who are insolvent and cannot find a way to bring their debts current.

Businesses can recover from insolvency and many have. There are a number of ways that you can raise capital to keep your business head above water while you build up customer bases and sales. Choosing to declare bankruptcy is a decision that should be considered carefully and again, this is often the last resort for small business owners. Understanding the differences between bankruptcy and insolvency is important as is choosing a qualified and experienced attorney should you decide that bankruptcy is in the best interest of your company.

Insolvency does not always lead to bankruptcy and all businesses that are insolvent are not bankrupt. However, all businesses that do file bankruptcy are considered to be insolvent because they have exhausted all means possible of paying debts and have found no viable solution for doing so.

About the Author: This article was written by Real Business Recovery, a team of award-winning insolvency practitioners specializing in Company Voluntary Arrangements or CVA. Visit us at http://www.realbusinessrecovery.co.uk for more information.