Top 10 Characteristics of Professionals in the Insolvency Service

Insolvency is the term used for when a business or individual is unable to pay their debts as and when they have fallen due.  When you work in insolvency you will be advising and assisting companies and individuals experiencing debt issues.

‘Turnaround’ is the term known in the insolvency profession as the act of achieving business recovery or assisting a client to avoid personal Bankruptcy.

What are the top 10 characteristics of professionals in insolvency practice?

When it comes to competencies, insolvency uses client facing skills, advisory skills, maths and statistics, analysis, customer service and strategy.  Here’s a breakdown of the top characteristics of professionals in this industry:

1. Numbers – A top insolvency professional should have good mathematic competency, as a large part of their role involves the preparation of accounting statements. Many insolvency professionals have first specialised in accounts and around 50% of them have some form of accountancy qualification; though this is not essential.

2. Law – A large part of insolvency professionals have some form of law qualification or are academic or hard working enough to be able to read and interpret the laws which govern the an insolvency profession.  Therefore if you are good at English and are able to comprehend complex legal jargon then you could definitely consider insolvency as a career.

3. Report writing – The requirement of an insolvency professional to report to a number of different stakeholders on various issues is increasing day by day.  Therefore if you are good at English at school or college or if you have the ability to explain technical issues in layman’s terms, then this may be the career for you.

4. Communication – You must be a good communicator.  This is mainly because, as an insolvency professional, you work with and for a number of different stakeholders.  These can range from creditors who are owed money, directors of insolvent businesses, accountants who have referred the business or quite simply your own bosses whose insolvency licenses are on the line on each insolvency appointment.

5. Discreet and personable – You must be able to keep the information you are given confidential and use the right wording in meetings with clients.  This is vital, as brash or insensitive comments made in meetings with clients who are facing debt problems can cause upset even if it’s unintended; not to mention it may cause damage to your reputation.

6. Commerciality – Aside from advising clients purely based on the legal ramifications, you must also be mindful that the client will often weigh up their options based on how it affects them financially.  Therefore being aware of commercial aspects in initial meetings is imperative.  Commerciality is also vital on a task-by-task basis. If your time to complete the task outweighs the benefit to be obtained from completing that task then it should not be done, as it will not be in the interests of the creditors.

7. A quick learner – If you choose to work in the insolvency profession, you have to be prepared to learn a lot in a short space of time.  You must adapt to the ever-changing legislation and provide advice tailored to each client.

8. Analytical – One area of the insolvency profession includes the review and reporting on the conduct of directors.  This includes the review of their financial records and sometimes, them themselves via interview.  Therefore, if you can spot payments out of the ordinary, or have a thirst for understanding who, what, where, when and why something has happened, then you could make a good career out of the forensic element of the insolvency profession.

9. Thick-skinned – One area of the profession which is sometimes experienced is dealing with irate stakeholders. You must have the confidence to provide your advice or comments with confidence or be personable enough to calm them down.  This is generally experienced when dealing with creditors who have just found out that the company they supplied has closed and they are not going to be paid in full. At this point you have to provide assured responses to make it clear that you act for them and will do your best to get as much as possible repaid from the insolvent company’s assets.  This may also be experienced from ex-employees, as you may at times have to assist on making redundancies.

10. Sales skills – This is an attribute which is useful, as an element of the insolvency role is to negotiate sales of businesses or assets. The higher the sale value, the better return to the creditors.

Not all of these attributes may be applicable to you, however if a number of them are, or if you feel that these are things you can easily learn, then insolvency may be for you.


Article written by Ben Robson, a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner of Bridge Newland Limited.  For more information on him and his profession generally please visit his website,