Blog posts by - Gary Cousins

Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Dismissing a director is not as easy as dismissing a normal employee. This blog sets out how to go about firing a fellow company director.The first thing to appreciate is that most directors in SMEs have three roles – that of a director, an employee and a shareholder – and to get rid of them completely, you will need to remove them from each role.DirectorThis is the official role and g...
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
All SMEs want to know what effects the Brexit vote and the change in Prime Minister will have on them. However, there is so much uncertainty that it is impossible to predict. All that can be done at the moment is to look at what factors will be of particular importance to SMEs over the coming years.Effects on the economy as a wholeI think the most important factor will be how the economy performs ...
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
It is important to make and record company decisions in thecorrect way as otherwise they can be challenged by a director, shareholder orliquidator and, in some cases, could result in the person who made a decisionfacing personal liability. Who makes company decisions? Most decisions need to be made by the board of directors asa whole. The board can delegate certain decision-making powers...
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
What should SMEs consider before voting in the Brexit referendum?
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Most SMEs don’t give much thought as to how their shareholding should be structured apart from the number of shares to be held by each shareholder. One problem with this is what happens if there is a disagreement between shareholders. The majority group will always be able to out-vote the minority group and therefore effectively control the company. Whilst the courts may intervene if the min...
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
On the whole, the outlook for SMEs and the economy as a whole looks brighter as we start 2016 than was the position a year ago. A year of improvement Then, I was concerned about Greece falling out of the Eurozone and the knock-on effects that would have across Europe, and the uncertainly of what government would be formed after the general election. I was also concerned that there may be a major p...
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Stop Trading and Strike Off The simplest, and cheapest, way to shut down a company is to stop trading and then to apply to Companies House for the company to be struck off the Register of Companies. After 3 months have passed without the company trading, carrying on any business, undertaking any transactions or certain other activities, the directors can apply to Companies House for it to be struc...
Thursday, 12 November 2015
It can often happen, especially in small companies, that the directors get locked in a stalemate situation and cannot make effective decisions. The legal situation is that companies are run by their directors who collectively make decisions at board meetings. If there is a difference in opinion, then a vote can be taken at a board meeting and a decision is passed by a simple majority of directors ...
Thursday, 15 October 2015
What rights does a shareholder have in the way a company is run? What can shareholders do if they do not like what the directors are doing? Companies are owned by their shareholders but are run by their directors. The directors make most of the decisions of the company: the major strategic ones as well as the day-to-day ones. However, shareholders do have some power over the directors although, to...
Thursday, 10 September 2015
Starting a new business is a very busy time and you are probably receiving advice from everyone as to what need to be done. Legal matters to attend to are perhaps the trickiest of all: it is easy to find advice on what you should be doing but what are the most important things to attend to? From our experience, there are 5 things that directors of a new company should consider from the outset to a...
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
It often happens that, following a dispute, a director–shareholder leaves the company. A question often then arises as to whether that director should sell his shares. Before you make this decision, the first place to look is in the company’s articles or any shareholders agreement. Sometimes these have clauses saying that, if a director resigns or is removed from office, then he must o...
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
A director owes duties to the company which either arise as a result of the Companies Act, common law or contract. Duties under the Companies Act Under the Companies Act 2006, the duties are owed not just by directors who are registered as such but also by those who are held out as directors even though not formally appointed, or who direct the business of the company even though they are not regi...
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Reason 1 - Differences in contributions to the business After a while, it often happens that one director or group of directors ends up contributing more than the others. Often, one ends up bringing in more work, or provides more of the finance needed than others. This is perhaps the most common reason for a dispute as the director who contributes the most starts to resent the other directors who ...
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
One of the things that our clients are asking is what they can expect from the new government. One of the good things about a majority government is that the we do not need to wait for the results of coalition agreements to know what to expect and can instead look to see what the Conservatives promised in their manifestos (assuming of course that they deliver on their promises). Their main manifes...
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
What is a partnership?A legal Partnership comes into force when two or more people start a business that does not have any other legal form such as a limited company.Often there is a written Partnership Agreement which sets out how the business is to be run but, where there is not, it is governed by the terms of the Partnership Act 1890. Sometimes, Partnership Agreements only cover some important ...
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
The staggering rise in court fees that came into force this week has sent shock waves throughout the SME sector. By way of summary: For a claim worth £25,000, the issue fee has increased from £610 to £1,250. For a claim worth £70,000, the issue fee has increased from £910 to £3,500. For a claim worth £125,000, the issue fee has increased from £1,115 ...
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
In SME’s, it is often the case that directors are also shareholders. If a director is removed from office, this will not generally affect their position as a shareholder and it will usually be the case that it is preferable to deal with the shareholding at the same time. It is sometime the case that the company’s Articles or a Shareholders’ Agreement state that, if someone ceases...
Wednesday, 14 January 2015
As we recover from the Christmas and New Year holidays, many business people are reflecting on what 2015 may have in store. 2014 saw the beginning of a period of stable growth and business optimism in the SME sector has risen as a result. Investment and productivity are still low but I am sure these will recover as business optimism gets stronger. It’s been a bit of a mystery for economists ...
Thursday, 6 November 2014
Shareholders have rights as shareholders, whether or not they are directors of a company as well. Many shareholders’ rights are set out in the company’s Articles and any Shareholders’ Agreement. These may extend or reduce some rights. However, the Companies Act 2006 also sets out certain rights that shareholders have and a list of them is below. This is not an exhaustive list alt...
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
One of the things many entrepreneurs overlook in the rush to form a company and start their new business venture is the importance of giving thought to which individuals have ultimate control over the company.One of the advantages of going into business with someone else is that each person brings something to the table that the others don’t have. Some people have technical skills, some are ...
Thursday, 11 September 2014
People often go into business together with a view to being equal in the business: to contribute equally and to be paid equally from it. Sometimes they put equal sums into the business to start it up and run it but at other times, one partner provides some expertise whereas another provides the finances. Often, when first starting, not a lot of thought goes in to the structure of the business: whe...
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Whilst most solicitors will advise that you should always enter into a written contract when undertaking a major project, often you’re better off signing no contract at all. In English law, a contract does not have to be a formal written contract; it does not even have to be in writing. Most contracts that SMEs enter into are based on meetings, telephone calls and email exchanges. Sometimes,...
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
If you are a shareholding director and wish to leave your company, whether voluntarily or under pressure from your fellow shareholders, your main concern will be getting a fair price for your shares and other rights. This will usually be determined through negotiation and, before you embark on this, it is important to understand just how strong a position (or otherwise) you have. This will largely...
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
What Is a Director?Simply put, a director is someone who runs a company. They are responsible for leading, directing, overseeing, supervising, governing and controlling the company. Often a company will also have advisors, such as accountants, solicitors and business consultants of different specialities but these advise the directors rather than make important decisions themselves. Advisors are n...
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
These days, when faced with a problem, most people look online for an answer. We type our question into a search engine and expect that somewhere within the first few pages returned, we will find our answer. This approach works well for most things: factual information, news, celebrity gossip and shopping. However, it can be dangerous when looking for advice to legal problems. As in most things on...
Monday, 10 March 2014
One question that I get asked a lot is: “When I’m dealing with a dispute by email, when should I use the phrase without prejudice? Many business people know they should use the term but are not sure when and what it means. Some write “without prejudice” on all correspondence and others don’t use the term at all. There are dangers in using the term incorrectly that mig...
Monday, 10 February 2014
Often in small and medium-sized businesses, a company’s directors and shareholders are the same people. However, this is not always the case and it is not uncommon for directors who have left to retain their shareholding. Shareholders, as opposed to directors, have very limited rights when it comes to having a say in how a company is run.The general principle is that a company is owned by it...
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
What authority does a director have? A company operates through its directors. The extent of powers that the directors have are set out in the company’s Articles, Memorandum of Association, shareholders’ or board resolutions, or other agreements. Unless authority has been delegated to individual directors, or groups of directors, any company decision needs to be made by the board of di...
Monday, 11 November 2013
How do companies manipulate bonuses and dividends? The first point to make is that directors are paid in different ways to shareholders. Directors can be paid in two ways: by salaries or bonuses. Shareholders are paid through dividends. Salaries are usually a fixed amount paid each month and are typically set out in a director’s service agreement. Bonuses can be paid at any time and are usua...
Monday, 9 September 2013
A question I am often asked when advising a company about how to deal with a rogue director is what can the courts do to help.The first thing to appreciate is that directors owe duties to the company itself and it is usually only the company that can take court action rather than its shareholders or a fellow director. This can lead to problems in companies where there are only two directors as the...
Monday, 5 August 2013
Something strange is happening. Most of the time when I look at the business news these days, it is positive. Most indicators show that the economy appears to have turned the corner and we are likely to be entering a period of sustained growth - not fast growth it must be said but slow, steady growth of between 1% and 2%. Perhaps more importantly than this, many surveys of business leaders are sho...
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
This article looks at the situation where a business is set up by two or more individuals who view themselves as equal ‘partners’, but the business is in fact a limited company. In many businesses set up by groups of friends, colleagues or relatives, the individuals often refer to themselves as ‘partners’. This is so even when the structure they use for the business is a l...
Monday, 8 July 2013
Step 1 – Know your strengths and your weaknesses The key to this is to take a step back and appraise your situation calmly and objectively. Look at the contract documents and, if you don’t have a formal contract, you will need to look at any correspondence and emails to show what you agreed with the other party. What do the documents say about the situation you’re in? Are there a...
Monday, 3 June 2013
An interesting recent study from by Imperial College Business School, Leeds University Business School and Durham University Business School has revealed that family businesses are better at avoiding bankruptcy and insolvency than non-family-owned businesses. The study looked at what were the particular characteristics of family businesses that led to a better chance of survival. They found they w...
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
The first question to ask yourself when you are thinking about making a claim is who you are going to claim against. And sometimes the answer might not be as straightforward as you think, and particularly when dealing with company groups.Imagine the following common scenario. You are approached by a representative of a large and impressive business, say ‘XYZ Group Ltd’. They are establ...
Monday, 4 March 2013
The government came to power in 2010 promising to get rid of unnecessary red tape, or at least not to increase it through its ‘one in one out’ policy. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) invited business leaders to tell them what regulations they wanted scrapped as part of its Company and Commercial Law Red Tape Challenge. My hopes of soon seeing business freed from...
Monday, 4 February 2013
It often happens in business: you signed a contract that you later regret. Sometimes it’s because the other party is not performing as expected but, at other times, it’s just because you’ve changed your mind. It’s usually not easy to get out of a contract but what follows are things to consider. Has there been a breach? The first point to consider is whether the other party...
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
There are certainly some measures in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that will help SMEs. As always, however, the devil will be in the detail (which remains to be seen) and much will depend on how some of the new measures are implemented. There are some measures that could help increase investment and growth, as long as they are handled well. In summary, the measures that will really affec...
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
I often advise companies who believe that a director can be removed from office simply by sending Form TM01 to Companies House. Unfortunately, this does not remove a director and is unlawful unless the correct steps have been taken beforehand. The following procedure should be followed: 1. Look at the Company’s Articles (and any shareholders’ agreements) as these will set out certain r...
Monday, 3 December 2012
Summary A partnership is a relatively simple way for two or more people to own and run a business together. However partners do not enjoy any protection if the business fails and you should definitely get a written Partnership Agreement drafted. How to make a business partnership legal This is a question we’re often asked to consider – but normally only when things have gone wrong...
Monday, 29 October 2012
It is often said that large businesses are at an advantage when it comes to litigation as they have bigger pockets. From my experience, that’s only part of the reason. They also have more experience of litigation and know how to work with their lawyers as a team in order to minimise their costs. They tend to appoint an individual (or sometimes a team) to help their lawyers prepare their case...
Thursday, 20 September 2012
As a litigation lawyer dealing with disagreements between businesses, I frequently find I’m called upon to help business owners who have broken or ignored the terms of a legally binding contract. As with anything concerning the law, there’s a right way and a wrong way of going about this and the clients who end up spending a lot of money with me have often tried to do things the &lsquo...
Thursday, 23 August 2012
One of the most frequent enquiries we get at the moment is from company directors worried about bank Personal Guarantees they have signed. A Personal Guarantee is generally given by a director as security for money borrowed by a company in which they are also a shareholder. If down the line the business is unable to repay the bank it then looks to the director personally under the guarantee. ...
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Having read my colleague Sue Mann’s blog last week (New customer or supplier? How to manage your risks), I realised I might be missing an opportunity to advise clients who ought to be reviewing their standard contract terms or their terms of business. As someone who tends to work with businesses that either don’t have adequate written contracts in place, or are using the terms of a con...
Monday, 30 July 2012
Is there increasing friction between you and your fellow shareholders and/or directors? Are your board meetings starting to bear a striking resemblance to Alan Sugar’s ‘Apprentice’ ones? If so, then you need to take action and start to think tactically. The first points to consider are as follows. Know your legal powers Are you a shareholder, director, or both? The voting powers ...
Monday, 2 July 2012
I’m often asked by business owners for my advice when they are in dispute with a customer or supplier. Unlike the current message we get on everything from t-shirts to mugs to Keep Calm and Carry on! my advice is invariably Keep Calm, but don’t Carry On. If you’re in dispute with a customer, for example who refuses to pay or disputes an invoice claiming what you’ve delivere...
Monday, 2 July 2012
One thing that struck me about the recent news story when the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that comedian, Jimmy Carr, was “morally wrong” in trying to reduce his tax bill legally was the fact that he had to resort to a plea for morality. As a commercial dispute lawyer, I often come across parties who state that they have a “moral right” to redress. Like all lawyers, ...
Thursday, 24 May 2012
I know from my experience of talking to clients that for most small, family or owner managed businesses, the prospect of picking up the phone and first talking to a solicitor is not something they relish. You might expect that cost would be the main reason that they dread that call but, in fact, it’s often different factors that come into play: things like not knowing which lawyer to select,...
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
The failure of Greece to form a government following elections has led to many believing that a Greek default and exit from the Eurozone is now more likely than not. If this happens, then it is probable that other countries in difficulty, such as Portugal, Italy and Spain, will soon follow, and possibly other countries too. If you trade with any of these countries, then you should now be putting p...
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Running a business is stressful; there’s no doubt about that. But new research from business insurer Hiscox suggests that, in spite of increased physical and mental stress, UK SMEs are determined and up for new challenges.According to their SME Health Check research commissioned amongst 502 business leaders in businesses with up to 249 employees, 45% were more stressed than a year ago and 77...
Friday, 30 March 2012
As a solicitor who defends directors when they get into problems with liquidators, fellow directors and shareholders, suppliers and customers, as well as government bodies, I am constantly struck about how most of these problems could have been avoided if directors hadn’t made a few basic mistakes. So here’s my list of 6 mistakes that I’ve seen since the beginning of the year tha...
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Many limited companies are started each year by friends, relatives or former colleagues who have a great business idea and a desire to create a successful business. Few, however, appreciate the potential problems they are storing up for themselves by not having a formal agreement in place to set out the ground rules for their ownership of the business, determine the powers of each shareholder or p...
Friday, 16 March 2012
There have been several positive signs in the last few weeks that the economy might have turned the corner. A survey by the Institute of Directors of its members showed that 50% of business leaders expected revenue to increase in 2012 and 40% expected to increase profits over the year. However, when it came to investment plans, only 27% expected to increase investment, with 29% expecting it to be ...
Friday, 9 March 2012
If you are setting up a limited company with others one of the many things you should consider is a Shareholders' Agreement. This article looks at why you need such an agreement and what such an agreement should contain. If you decide to enter into a business partnership with someone you would no doubt have a partnership agreement to set out who does what, who is entitled to what and so on. But si...
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
The BBC has today published a letter from Vince Cable to David Cameron and Nick Clegg written on 8th February 2012. In it, Mr Cable states that government policy is “missing a compelling vision of where the country is heading beyond sorting out the fiscal mess”. He argues that the government needs to take a much more active stance in promoting growth by supporting certain growth sector...
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth has just been marked across the UK and I am reminded of the most famous line from Oliver Twist, “Please Sir, can I have some more?” It has recently been announced that, overall, banks fell short of their Project Merlin lending targets to small businesses by £1.1 million. So what the Dickens is going on? The figuresFigures rele...
Sunday, 29 January 2012
When speaking to our clients recently, it is apparent that most have started the year with a sense of cautious optimism. It’s easy to understand the source of the caution: the economy remains in a mess for the 5th year running, with negative growth back, unemployment continuing to rise and the largest ever national debt. Although there has been much talk of the government reducing red tape, ...
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
The Government has announced plans to begin a major cut back of health and safety red tape. It will begin an immediate consultation on the abolition of large numbers of health and safety regulations and intends to have removed the first rules from the statute book within a few months. It seems David Cameron has finally realised how crippling the raft of health and safety legislation can be for the...
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
I must confess to a fascination with the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the press. Piers Morgan was in the witness box yesterday answering questions about his time as editor of the Daily Mirror. His evidence echoed that of James Murdoch given to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee: he didn’t know what was going on in his organisation. It’s ...
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
With all the criticism and praise of David Cameron using his veto at the EU last week, as an expert in resolving commercial disputes, I know that sometimes walking away is the right thing to do. In negotiations and mediations, one of the ‘killer’ tactics available is the threat of walking away. The very threat of doing this puts the other side on the spot: how keen are they really to r...
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
More details on the autumn budget statement by the Chancellor have started to emerge and it looks like there’s some good news for SMEs. The focus of the Government seems to be on providing access to finance and support for exporting to the nation’s 5 million SMEs. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Helping entrepreneurs export to new markets and get access to the finance they ...
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Removing a director from a company is much more complicated than removing an employee. Before this is done, there are several things to consider and tactics to employ. The first thing to bear in mind is that, in SMEs, directors usually have 3 different legal roles and the legal position of each is different. The roles are director, employee and shareholder. Need legal advice? Call 0845 003 5639The...
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Whilst pretty rare up till now, there has been a recent increase in the number of SMEs who are making directors redundant, and we expect this to continue. It can often make sense: if a company’s activities have shrunk, with fewer sales and a reduced workforce, it can now appear too top heavy and underperforming directors might be at risk. Managing a director redundancy is complicated by the ...
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Whenever I read the business news these days, a picture of Private Frazer from Dad's Army comes to mind: “We’re dooooomed!” But it’s not all bad news. Although net borrowing is not falling as much as the government planned, and there will still be some structural deficit by the time of the next general election, it is falling, and is predicted to continue to fall even when ...
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
If you’re considering removing a director, or if you are a director facing the prospect of being removed by your company, there are many tactics to consider to obtain the most favourable result. Taking early legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in directors’ duties is essential, not only to obtain the best outcome you can, but also to reduce the mental and emotional stress tha...
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Most small businesses learn early on that there is a difference between being busy producing and selling goods or services and actually getting paid for them. The temptation to extend credit terms to customers so they can buy your goods might seem like a good idea at first but, in reality, you are lending them money, which presumably they have been unable to obtain from their bank or other sources...
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Being a business solicitor based in Northampton I was pleased to hear the news last month that Northampton had been successful with its bid to develop an Enterprise Zone and interested to find out exactly what the benefits for local businesses would be. The Enterprise Zone is a government initiative with the aim to stimulate growth in the economy. This is particularly important given the rece...
Monday, 19 September 2011
There are certain things all businesses can do to right now to reduce the possibility of litigation arising (even years before you have a dispute). And they just happen to be the same things that will reduce your legal costs if litigation does occur, and also make it more likely that you will win. Getting the contract right A contract can be in writing but it doesn’t have to be. It can be or...
Monday, 1 August 2011
Although the noises coming from BIS (the Department for Business Innovation & Skills) are upbeat when it comes to the fight against Red Tape, we have yet to see real changes. I wonder how much is just noise (and distraction from the awful economic growth figures) and whether the government’s Red Tape Challenge will actually prove to be more than just a website and encouraging sound bites...
Monday, 25 July 2011
It’s not just the weather that’s bad this summer; the economy’s not looking too sunny either. Bank lending to businesses continues on its downward track with the reduction in lending in June being faster than the average of the previous six months. Small businesses are particularly suffering; according to the Bank of England, lending to small businesses fell 4.2% in May compared ...
Monday, 4 July 2011
A ‘pre-pack’ is a legal process where the business and assets of a struggling company are sold immediately after it is placed into administration. As the name suggests the deal is agreed beforehand meaning that unsecured creditors (including landlords) are not given the opportunity to object. Pre-packs are now popular as they allow the business to continue without the unprofitable part...
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Many directors of SMEs are taking huge risks when it comes to paying themselves without realising – and it is often on their accountant’s advice. It is very common that a company’s accountant will advise directors of owner-managed companies to take the majority of their pay as dividends with either no salary or a very low one. This has a financial advantage, particularly as far a...
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
It wasn’t an exciting budget, and it did contain some help for SMEs, but did it go far enough? The government is beginning to realise that sustained economic growth will need to come from the SME sector but should it do more to boost this vital sector? The focus for the economy as a whole remains the reduction of the public sector deficit. This is essential to create the right economic envir...
Monday, 28 February 2011
Since it first came to power, the government has promised to reduce the excessive red tape that is strangling British business, and SMEs in particular. It introduced a ‘One In One Out’ system where new regulation would only be introduced where another piece of regulation could be removed. It also created its own red tape regulator, the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), whose job is to...
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
As we enter 2011, one thing is for sure: company directors have never before faced so many duties, responsibilities and potential personal liability for the companies they control. Based on recent trends, we predict that the following 4 areas will be the main ones for directors of SMEs to watch out for in 2011. Directors Pay The law on how and when a director can be paid is complex and there are s...
Monday, 6 December 2010
What surprised me most about the news story of MP Phil Woolas losing his seat for lying is the number of politicians who came forward to say that lying is just a part of the “rough and tumble” of electioneering. Do we, as a society, really think it’s OK to lie in public? As a litigation solicitor with considerable court experience, I have seen many individuals lie in the witness ...
Thursday, 25 November 2010
If a director who has loaned money to their company resigns, or is dismissed, can they get their loan back? Many companies, especially in the current economic climate, seem reluctant to repay a director’s loan in this situation. The first thing to look at is the loan agreement itself, if there is one. It may set out the circumstances when a loan can be repaid. If the written agreement doesn&...
Monday, 22 November 2010
As we approach the end of 2010, the economy is still very fragile. However, most of the small and medium businesses we have been talking to are showing some improvement compared to this time last year. Our clients are saying they are busier now than they have been for a couple of years, although it is fair to say that a lot of this is due to them having cut back on costs and staffing levels to suc...
Monday, 15 November 2010
In my blog of 15th September 2010, I pointed out that breaches of directors’ duties can have serious consequences for a director, particularly if a company becomes insolvent or after it is sold. It is in these situations that directors frequently find themselves facing claims to pay often-huge sums into the company. One of the areas where it is easy for a director to slip up is in ‘con...
Sunday, 24 October 2010
It’s been a long 5 months since the drama and political intrigue of the General Election. Most political debate has been about public sector cuts but, until now, no one had really known what they would entail. As far as small and medium businesses are concerned, are we really any the wiser following the Comprehensive Spending Review? In my view, the three main issues facing SMEs at the momen...
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Company directors are subject to so many duties that, if they are not careful and don’t take proper advice, they can easily find themselves in breach of one or more of their duties. But, in SMEs and family-owned companies, the directors and shareholders are usually the same people; so who cares anyway and how would anyone find out about the breaches? Some breaches are very easy to commit, an...
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
When preparing to sell your business, it is crucial to take the right advice as this can have a big impact on the success of the sale, the amount you receive and any ongoing liability following completion. Here are 10 reasons why it is essential to use a good solicitor when selling your business: 1. Share or asset sale The two main methods of structuring the sale of a business are to dispose of th...
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
The Emergency Budget showed that the government are seriously committed to reducing the budget deficit, primarily through public sector cuts and an increase in VAT. Predictably the politicians have since been arguing about whether this is too much too soon (with the risk of a double-dip recession) or exactly what was needed due to the frightening increase in the deficit. Whilst all this argument m...
Thursday, 1 July 2010
I have blogged before about the coalition government's promise to remove excessive red tape and to allow businesses to nominate their most hated business laws.Well, at last our chance is here. The government has now launched its Your Freedom website where we can tell it what regulations we want to see removed.They promise to listen. Now let's see how good they are at acting.Gary CousinsBusiness So...
Monday, 21 June 2010
We are often asked “Which is really best - partnership or limited company?” The answer is that it depends! Have a look below and decide what cover and what formality you feel you really want. Partnership In a partnership, two or more people share the risks, costs, and responsibilities of being in business. Each partner is self-employed and takes a share of the profits. Usually, each pa...
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
According to a recent Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey, although the level of small business satisfaction with high street banks remains low overall, one of the most important things firms looked for in a bank was a good working relationship with their business manager. There was a strong correlation between the number of business managers a firm dealt with in a 2-year period and the le...
Friday, 11 June 2010
Directors are under a legal duty to maintain detailed accounting records of their company. In particular, they must maintain records: to show and explain transactions, and disclose the financial position of the company at any time with reasonable accuracy; to enable them to compile balance sheets and profit and loss accounts; to keep records of all money received and paid out by the company on a...
Thursday, 3 June 2010
The government has taken its first steps to reducing the amount of red tape which is stifling business, particularly SMEs. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has announced an action plan to tackle excessive regulation. It includes the following: The creation of a new Cabinet “Star Chamber”, officially to be called the Reducing Regulation Committee, which will be chaired by Mr Cable. ...
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Our senior partner and litigation specialist, Gary Cousins, spends much of his time pursuing financial claims against directors on behalf of insolvency practitioners and in defending those claims. All too often company directors are financially ruined after the demise of their company and some of them even end up in prison. For specific advice on your circumstance book a free initial half hour app...
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
When the final Coalition Agreement was published last week, Nick Clegg announced that the government would be asking people what laws they wanted to be scrapped. It was a manifesto pledge of both the Conservatives and Lib Dems for there to be a “one in one out” policy as far as business regulation is concerned – in other words, if a government department wants to introduce anothe...
Thursday, 20 May 2010
The long-awaited Full Coalition Agreement has now been published, which sets out what the coalition intends to do during its time in office. Refreshingly, it has a section specifically on business, something which the individual party’s manifestos failed to do. Unfortunately, there are a lot of promises to “review”, “look into” and “consider”, which doesn&...
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Birmingham is officially the top European city for promoting entrepreneurship It was announced on Monday that Birmingham was number one in the prestigious European Cities Entrepreneurship Ranking for promoting entrepreneurship. This category ranks Europe’s cities as to how they promote and support new business, and create an environment for entrepreneurs and new business growth. In the overa...
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
The new coalition government has published their Coalition Agreement. It is difficult to see what measures remain in place to support SMEs. The agreement does, however, include the following:* Cancelling some backdated demands for business rates;* Generous CGT exemptions for entrepreneurial business;* Ensuring that the flow of credit to viable SMEs will be a core priority, including: &nb...
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
A poll by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that 54% of small businesses are planning not to expand following the election result. I am not surprised. The simple fact is, that for a small business to expand, it needs confidence that customers will be there to buy its products in the future and have the financial means to do so. The poll also revealed that 52% want action taken by go...
Friday, 7 May 2010
The magazine for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Real Business, reports that a new survey suggests a lack of education and training for entrepreneurs is holding back many people from setting up their own businesses.The research, published by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), shows that only 18 per cent of the UK's working age population has received training in starting a business.The...
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
As election fever (as well as volcanic dust) sweeps the country, we have had a look at the manifestos of the 3 major parties to see what they promise to do for small and medium businesses. Our view is that real steps need to be taken to support SMEs through the recession and recovery process, and that means taking measures to help SMEs get the finance they need at a reasonable price, reduce regula...
Monday, 19 April 2010
I was fascinated to read Emma Wimhurst’s article in the Independent small business section. Her views are, to say the least, controversial:"We’re all fed up with the R-word, but I believe the economic downturn has done many business owners a favour. It’s grabbed us by the profit margins and warned us to make changes to the way we do things, or else. It’s been a positiv...
Friday, 19 March 2010
Whether you employ young people for paper rounds, to help out in a local shop or restaurant or offer them work during school holidays there are some restrictions to be aware of and rules to be followed if you employ anyone under the age of 18.So what is the law for England and Wales? Limits on work for under 14sChildren under 14 are not allowed to work at all except in very limited ...
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
As the credit crunch deepens into what looks like an unavoidable recession, directors are asking us what they can do to protect themselves personally should their business be affected. The events since the Lehman Brothers’ collapse have been frightening for most, if not all, SMEs and family-owned businesses. During the first few weeks of October, it seemed as if money had completely frozen, ...

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