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Why choose a career in Insolvency?

Published on 23rd May 2017

When budding professionals or recent graduates look at embarking on a new career, the idea of becoming a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner is rarely at the forefront of their mind.

In fact, most Insolvency professionals admit it's a career that they 'fell into' rather than actively pursued.  However, it is still one of the highest regarded routes for Finance professionals as well as a popular option for law graduates.

As an Accounting and Finance graduate myself, I had imagined that I would be working as a Management Consultant after leaving university.  However, I ended up working in Insolvency and realised that it's actually a great industry to work in.  Now working as a specialist in insolvency recruitment, here are some of the most common questions I get asked by graduates who are considering entering the industry,

What is Insolvency?

Insolvency is a perfect mix between accounting and law which keeps the role interesting. At one point you can be conducting the investigations into a directors’ conduct relating to antecedent transactions or wrongful trading. Another time you can be calculating and distributing available funds to creditors of a distressed company after realising assets within the estate. These are tasks that require a well-rounded individual and you develop multiple skills as a result.

What's the difference between Insolvency and Corporate Restructuring?

Insolvency these days is arguably becoming increasingly process-driven; governed by strict legislations as you look to take the company or individual from the start of the process through to its conclusion. 

Restructuring is a bit more open and advisory in nature; as you endeavour to turnaround the company rather than simply close it. Because of this, a lot more negotiation and consultation with stakeholders is involved in order to complete any given strategy.

What qualifications do I need to progress my career in Insolvency?

You can take insolvency exams which relate directly to the insolvency profession; the first being the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI). This is an intermediate qualification that would usually be taken by someone who is relatively new to the industry or by an ambitious professional who wanted to progress to the next level. 

The final qualification you must complete to become a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner is known as the Joint Insolvency Examination Board (JIEB) exams. Three papers test your skills and knowledge of insolvency/restructuring personal and corporate procedures that you would have undertaken over the years.

Many people are aware of the ACA/ACCA accounting exams which are highly regarded within the industry. However, not everyone is aware that they have their place within the insolvency/restructuring world. In the case of restructuring and advisory work, accounting qualifications are highly sought after and can open you up to undertaking Independent Business Reviews, preparing cash flow forecasts as well as having a more prominent role in any trading administration work.

What career paths does Insolvency offer?

The career path is linear. In most cases, you would start off as a 'Closing Administrator' or 'Trainee/Junior Insolvency Administrator'. My first role in the industry was as a 'Closing Administrator' where I was responsible for the closure formalities of all the insolvency cases within our department. This consisted of declaring and distributing funds to creditors and members, drafting final reports and calculating closure costs and case budgets.

As a Junior Insolvency Administrator, you would be assisting with other administrators’ cases from pre-appointment through to closure until you are competent of managing your own cases as an Insolvency Administrator or Senior Administrator.

After this point, you can enter the managerial and Director level whereby your daily work would include more contribution to the overall department strategy, working closely with partners and developing the more junior staff members in the team. It is at this level that you would most likely consider taking the aforementioned JIEB exams, as you may have enough experience to consider taking appointments.

What skills do I need to succeed in Insolvency?

Written and numerical ability is a given but you also need to have thick skin and have great communication skills as well as the ability to empathise with others. There will be times when you will be corresponding with disgruntled stakeholders i.e. creditors and employees of a company and you will need to able to get them on side and explain the situation at hand as best as possible.

Is Insolvency for me?

The industry is contentious, specialist and can provide great diversity to your working day and skill set. You are provided with opportunities to specialise, so you may find part way into your career that you enjoy, for example, the investigations aspect of the role and aspire to specialise in dealing with complex investigations in a variety of procedures.

How does the role differ according to the size of the firm?

The size of firm where you work would dictate your duties and responsibilities. If you work at a large firm, you would most likely be part of a team working on huge, commercial administrations or liquidations. In this situation, however, you may only work on elements of the work at any given time.

Whereas, if you work at a specialist boutique insolvency practice, the size of the cases may be smaller but you would have greater responsibility at an earlier stage; being able to work cases through from pre-appointment stage through to closure.

It isn’t easy deciding which career path to take upon graduating from University but the insolvency and restructuring profession is one that will certainly develop many commercial skills that can open up various doors later on in your career.

If you feel that an insolvency career could be for you or you would like to find out more, feel free to get in touch with me: Alternatively, view our latest vacancies here> 

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