What is corporate recovery and what does a corporate recovery professional do?

Corporate recovery (sometimes referred to as business recovery) is the practice of working with a business that is underperforming and in financial distress, with the possibility of insolvency or liquidation. The role of a corporate recovery professional is to work with the company to return it to a stable financial situation and allow it to continue trading.

In the case of insolvency, corporate recovery professionals can also act as administrators. Administrators have specific responsibilities to creditors, and in the first instance will take control of the company with a view to business rescue. Their role is to realise the highest returns for all creditors if it is not possible to turnaround the business. If this also fails, they must attempt to achieve a better result for creditors than if the company had been liquidated.

Corporate recovery can be an exceptionally varied profession. A role in this field can require the vision to understand the business and determine strategies to turn the company around (for example, ceasing to trade in loss-making areas of the organisation) and the consultancy expertise to apply organisation and process change. It can demand the robustness to deliver challenging news when restructuring headcount with the versatility to act as a corporate finance professional when refinancing, restructuring debt or disposing of underperforming subsidiaries.

If a company falls into administration, practitioners have to balance the empathy required to guide directors through the insolvency process, the strict legal requirement to adhere to the Insolvency Act, 1986 (effectively acting as an officer of the court and independent director of the company) and the commercial instinct to negotiate with landlords, broker assets, and sell down stock to generate cash. 

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Reviewing and challenging cash flow forecasts.
  • Assessing and developing options based on financial analysis, and project manage these to deliver a solution for a client.
  • Undertaking financial analysis of client forecasts and business plans to underpin an improvement in forecast performance.
  • Identifying ways to reduce costs within the business.
  • Restructuring the balance sheet or refinancing to find an alternative source of capital.
  • Communicating with key stakeholders, including: bankrupts, directors, shareholders and employees.
  • Producing reports / presentations to a range of clients and stakeholders, across both advisory and insolvency appointments.
  • Engaging in complex stakeholder discussions and negotiation to support a client’s objectives.
  • Ensuring internal and statutory deadlines are met.
  • Ensuring case management is efficient and compliant.
  • Supporting through an insolvency scenario, adhering to all required insolvency procedures and standards.

Why are they important?

Corporate recovery professionals are qualified specialists that provide tailored guidance, including accounting and legal advice, on the best options to resolve a company’s issues when in distress. They can often provide solutions to improve the financial performance and return the business to a position of stability. They also have important legal responsibilities in the protection of creditors and other stakeholders in the event of insolvency.

Skills needed for this role

Due to the varied nature of the work, corporate recovery professionals must have excellent interpersonal skills and be comfortable communicating at all levels. A strong commercial awareness and sound financial analytical skills are also essential. The ability to write clear and relevant reports and presentations is also required for a career in this field.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management 

Career opportunities presented by this role

There are a number of firms dedicated to corporate recovery and insolvency and large accounting firms will have departments dedicated to this field. Opportunities are available at manager, senior manager and director level.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and Assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

     

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

     

  • Financial Management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

     

     

  • Leadership and Management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, applying appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.

     

  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.

     

     

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.