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So How Long Does Voluntary Liquidation Take?

Company Voluntary Arrangements were introduced into the law in 1986. So how long does voluntary liquidation take?A Company Voluntary Arrangement allows a limited company to settle its debts with creditors over a fixed period of time, normally 3-5 years. Once the arrangement is completed, the creditors agree to write off any outstanding debt leaving the company to continue to trade debt free.

On the face of it, a Company Voluntary Arrangement is beneficial for both the company and its creditors. It allows a company which might otherwise have failed and been put into liquidation to continue to trade. In theory, this provides the business the best chance to repay as large a portion of its historic debt as possible. In addition, the business continues to provide future custom for its suppliers and remains a supplier to its customers.

Despite these potential benefits, many insolvency professionals with how long does voluntary liquidation take since Company Voluntary Arrangements with skepticism because they believe there is a likelihood of early failure. There are no formal statistics which prove or disprove whether this view of Company Voluntary Arrangements is correct. However, in my view, on their own, they are not a magic wand for turning round a failing business.

If a Company Voluntary Arrangement successfully reduces historic debts to manageable levels, why might it fail to turn the fortunes of a company around? One of the main reasons for this is that generally, once a Company Voluntary Arrangement is agreed, the company management team remain the same. Despite having relief from its debt, the company may be in need of new ideas and direction which the old team has been unable to identify. If no new blood is introduced, where are these ideas going to come from? In addition, the business may require a cost-cutting exercise including a review of employees which is often a difficult task for old management who may have long-standing relationships with their staff.

As well as new ideas and direction, a business entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement is also likely to require additional investment to enable the new plans to be carried out. Very often the current management team and shareholders may have exhausted all of their ideas for additional finance. As such, there are unable to implement new ideas and methodologies even if they know what the business requires.

The bottom line for Company Voluntary Arrangements is that they are really only half a solution to ensure the successful turnaround of a business. It is true that they are an excellent way of gaining control of a company’s historic debts and wrapping them up in an affordable repayment plan. However, to ensure the future success of the business, new ideas and energy need to be introduced to the management team. This may mean changes to the team or an injection of ideas from an outside consultant. Hand in hand with this, new financial resources are likely to be required to ensure that the required changes can be implemented.

If you’re still wondering ‘how long does voluntary liquidation take?’, you should know that if new ideas and money are not realistically available, then the Company Voluntary Arrangement is likely to fail in its quest for company business recovery because the reasons for the past failings of the business will not be addressed. As such, adequate plans for both of these areas need to be agreed before the decision is taken to implement such a solution. After all, as the old saying goes: “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”.

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