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Considering a career in insolvency: What you need to know

4 people talking at work around a table

The insolvency profession is commonly regarded as part of the legal sector, but many accountancy professionals also pursue a career in insolvency - using their skills and knowledge to help people and companies in debt.

Insolvency can offer you an interesting and varied career with the option to specialise in certain areas - for example, corporate or personal insolvency. Specialist training is required to become a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP), and this ultimately enables you to conduct statutory insolvency processes, such as administration and liquidation.

What is the difference between corporate and personal insolvency?

Corporate insolvency

A career in corporate insolvency focuses on helping limited companies deal with financial distress and providing the professional advice and support needed by directors. This can help their business to recover or ensure that it’s closed down according to statutory requirements.

These are just a few examples of the types of work you may undertake:

  • Advising the company directors on the best way to prevent financial decline - Insolvency professionals can provide support to businesses at any stage, not just when they are in financial distress
  • Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) - You may need to formally negotiate a CVA with creditors if Formally negotiating a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors if the business is deemed viable for the future
  • Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) - If a business isn’t viable, you may need to carry out a CVL where creditors’ interests are prioritised.

Personal insolvency

A career that specialises in personal insolvency involves providing advice to people who are struggling with serious debt. You’ll guide them towards the most appropriate solution, which may include:

  • Informally negotiating with creditors on their behalf to lower debt repayments
  • Setting up and administering an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) that helps them pay off their debt
  • Becoming their trustee in bankruptcy.

How would you start an insolvency career?

Accountancy qualifications provide a good entry point into a career in insolvency, and various certifications can help further that career.

A great qualification to have if you have little to no accounting experience is AAT. This is made up of three levels (Levels 2, 3, and 4) and is great for school leavers or career changers.

Aside from the AAT full qualification, our other accountancy qualifications can help boost your career, such as ACCA, CIMA and ACA (ICAEW). Qualifications such as ACCA also require you to gain practical, supervised experience in a relevant role - which may be a great opportunity to seek more experience in insolvency.

To further your career in insolvency, additional certificates can help, such as:

  • The Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency qualification (CPI)
  • The Joint Insolvency Examinations Board qualification (JIEB) - This is required to become a licensed insolvency practitioner.

What skills do you need for a career in insolvency?

  • Analytical - being able to accurately analyse the figures and their implications for a business, in terms of commercial viability and likelihood of recovery, is a fundamental part of an insolvency professional’s role.
  • Communication - this is a key skill in the insolvency profession. It is vital to be able to communicate well with all parties to an insolvency case, including company directors, business creditors, and government agencies such as HMRC.
  • Problem-solving - the complexity of many insolvency situations, both corporate and personal, means that you need to be able to see past a problem and focus on a solution. Problem-solving is crucial to avoid becoming stuck in the process.

Why choose an insolvency career?

A career in insolvency offers you a great deal of variety, given the differences in insolvency cases. The combination of law and finance within this profession also means you can develop your skills and technical knowledge as you progress.

It offers a relatively secure career path as demand increases during challenging economic times, and it can be rewarding both financially and personally. On a personal level, when you help individuals and companies to move away from crippling debt, it can bring significant job satisfaction and provide a sense that you’re making a real difference.

To kickstart your career, browse our accounting qualifications. If you’re unsure what’s right for you, contact our Student Services team on 0161 259 7400 or via studentservices@kaplan.co.uk and they will be able to provide some advice.

Learn more about Chris Bristow and the work that Real Business Rescue is doing.

Ready to boost your career?

Find out more
An image of Chris Bristow

Written by Chris Bristow

Chris is a business debt expert at Real Business Rescue - company rescue, restructuring, and liquidation specialists with a wealth of experience in supporting company directors in financial difficulty.


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Considering a career in insolvency: What you need to know

4 people talking at work around a table

The insolvency profession is commonly regarded as part of the legal sector, but many accountancy professionals also pursue a career in insolvency - using their skills and knowledge to help people and companies in debt.

Insolvency can offer you an interesting and varied career with the option to specialise in certain areas - for example, corporate or personal insolvency. Specialist training is required to become a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP), and this ultimately enables you to conduct statutory insolvency processes, such as administration and liquidation.

What is the difference between corporate and personal insolvency?

Corporate insolvency

A career in corporate insolvency focuses on helping limited companies deal with financial distress and providing the professional advice and support needed by directors. This can help their business to recover or ensure that it’s closed down according to statutory requirements.

These are just a few examples of the types of work you may undertake:

  • Advising the company directors on the best way to prevent financial decline - Insolvency professionals can provide support to businesses at any stage, not just when they are in financial distress
  • Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) - You may need to formally negotiate a CVA with creditors if Formally negotiating a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors if the business is deemed viable for the future
  • Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) - If a business isn’t viable, you may need to carry out a CVL where creditors’ interests are prioritised.

Personal insolvency

A career that specialises in personal insolvency involves providing advice to people who are struggling with serious debt. You’ll guide them towards the most appropriate solution, which may include:

  • Informally negotiating with creditors on their behalf to lower debt repayments
  • Setting up and administering an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) that helps them pay off their debt
  • Becoming their trustee in bankruptcy.

How would you start an insolvency career?

Accountancy qualifications provide a good entry point into a career in insolvency, and various certifications can help further that career.

A great qualification to have if you have little to no accounting experience is AAT. This is made up of three levels (Levels 2, 3, and 4) and is great for school leavers or career changers.

Aside from the AAT full qualification, our other accountancy qualifications can help boost your career, such as ACCA, CIMA and ACA (ICAEW). Qualifications such as ACCA also require you to gain practical, supervised experience in a relevant role - which may be a great opportunity to seek more experience in insolvency.

To further your career in insolvency, additional certificates can help, such as:

  • The Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency qualification (CPI)
  • The Joint Insolvency Examinations Board qualification (JIEB) - This is required to become a licensed insolvency practitioner.

What skills do you need for a career in insolvency?

  • Analytical - being able to accurately analyse the figures and their implications for a business, in terms of commercial viability and likelihood of recovery, is a fundamental part of an insolvency professional’s role.
  • Communication - this is a key skill in the insolvency profession. It is vital to be able to communicate well with all parties to an insolvency case, including company directors, business creditors, and government agencies such as HMRC.
  • Problem-solving - the complexity of many insolvency situations, both corporate and personal, means that you need to be able to see past a problem and focus on a solution. Problem-solving is crucial to avoid becoming stuck in the process.

Why choose an insolvency career?

A career in insolvency offers you a great deal of variety, given the differences in insolvency cases. The combination of law and finance within this profession also means you can develop your skills and technical knowledge as you progress.

It offers a relatively secure career path as demand increases during challenging economic times, and it can be rewarding both financially and personally. On a personal level, when you help individuals and companies to move away from crippling debt, it can bring significant job satisfaction and provide a sense that you’re making a real difference.

To kickstart your career, browse our accounting qualifications. If you’re unsure what’s right for you, contact our Student Services team on 0161 259 7400 or via studentservices@kaplan.co.uk and they will be able to provide some advice.

Learn more about Chris Bristow and the work that Real Business Rescue is doing.

Ready to boost your career?

Find out more
An image of Chris Bristow

Written by Chris Bristow

Chris is a business debt expert at Real Business Rescue - company rescue, restructuring, and liquidation specialists with a wealth of experience in supporting company directors in financial difficulty.


Related articles

The past, present, and future of banking

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In this episode of our Learn Better podcast, Stuart Pedley-Smith spoke to the CBI Executive Director of Education, Tanya Retter.

Kaplan · 7 minute read

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We held a webinar to provide tips on how to create or update a strong CV and tailor it to specific job vacancies that you apply for.

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Considering a career in insolvency: What you need to know

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The insolvency profession is commonly regarded as part of the legal sector, but many accountancy professionals also pursue a career in this area.

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View all articles