Is Insolvency in Your Future?

Is Insolvency in Your Future?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 11, 2021

It is easy for a business owner to miss the warning signs of insolvency, but being aware of the warning signs of a company in distress can help you keep the situation under control. Cash flow problems are normally the start of a downward trend and could quickly progress to the insolvency of your business. Unfortunately, when a business is in the eye of the storm, the warning signs of insolvency may not be obvious to those charged with overseeing its operations and management. Here is how to tell if your business is heading for insolvency.

Inability to meet liabilities on time

If your business is constantly unable to meet suppliers’ debts within the trade terms then you may be on the verge of insolvency. Even if the business is able to operate within delinquent debts, it won’t be able to avoid the damages incurred on its credit rating, which will drastically limit its ability to obtain important financing assistance in the future. Ask yourself if any of the following situations describe your current situation:

Constant lack of cash flow

If you notice a trend where your company is operating within the strict confines of an inflexible monthly budget, it could be a clear indication that the business is in a dangerous position. Cash flow problems are one of the major indications of serious financial difficult, including:

  • Need to renegotiate payment plans to secure current supply
  • Failure to pay employee benefits on time
  • Non-collection of debt
  • Financial losses that grind down the working capital
  • Increased use of personal credit cards to pay business expenses

Delayed electronic authorization, dishonour fees and bounced cheques

Any business that experiences delayed electronic authorization, an inability to make payments when due or bounces cheques is showing clear signs of financial difficulty and could potential have insolvency in its future.

Change in supplier terms

If as a business owner you start to see your suppliers change their original terms and contracts you might be heading towards insolvency. Suppliers typically do not change their mode of payment, delivery communication unless they absolutely need to. If you’re currently having trouble running your business you may experience one of the following situations:

Poor record keeping

A business that cannot maintain organized and accurate records is probably going through a rough time. If a business is experiencing financial difficulties, the management normally focuses less on maintaining up-to-date records and this can be a clear indication of impending failure. Remember, a business without accurate accounting figures, future estimates of cash flow and sales, and information on customer base, will more easily fall into insolvency or have more difficulty obtaining financing to help when cash flow is low.

Legal action

Legal action taken against your business is probably one of the worst signs that you are in fact in trouble and heading for insolvency. Any statement issued against your business in relation to its unpaid debts with suppliers should be a huge concern to you because it can easily result in involuntary liquidation or any of the following legal issues:

  • Legal demands to pay creditors
  • Commencement of court action to recover the money owed by a business
  • Asset repossession by secured creditors
  • Repossession of properties

Maxed out overdraft

If your overdraft is completely maxed out at all time you are in serious financial trouble and need to work towards fixing that as soon as possible. Having an overdraft that is at its limit makes it so you have no emergency fund or access to cash in a pinch, this can and will lead to even more financial stress on you and your business.

Seek Help Now

As a business owner, you should remain aware of the warning signs of insolvency, and seek advice as soon as you identify them. A professional will be able to help you assess your current financial situation, figure out what needs to be done and then help you work towards a solution. Asking for help sooner rather than later could help you save your business so get the help you need before it’s too late.


Rating of 3/5 based on 2 votes.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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