Archive for May, 2017

Celebrating award-winning customer service ‘going the extra mile’ for clients

On Friday 26th May  2017,  Bell and company were crowned winners of Customer Service Excellence, Professional Business Service in the Belfast Business Awards hosted by  Belfast Chamber of Commerce.  The category saw fierce competition from industry leaders which further solidifies the achievement in winning. The annual, highly coveted awards ceremony is firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s competitive business environment.

Director  Terry Bell states,  “The award is one that is very close to our heart as it is at the very core of the business. We pride ourselves on our relationships with clients and believe that this is what sets us apart. It is a true testament to the great team we have here at Bell & Company and we are delighted to have this recognized. The competition was so strong from fellow nominees we are humbled and thankful to be  crowned winners.”

The category was a judged by  a Mystery  shopper who commented on their experience with Bell & Company;

” …A comprehensive and detailed service by a professional company, Team members demonstrated great knowledge and professionalism throughout discussions with a follow-up call within two days, face to face meeting and many awkward questions posed and answered. This is a specialist service and this company really goes the extra mile for its clients. “

There were 19 winners in total, with a further two businesses receiving Highly Commended and one Lifetime Achievement Award.

The evening was a great success and  Bell & company are privileged to have their services recognised on such a  platform.  We will continue to go the extra mile for our clients and will strive to constantly deliver and improve in this area in the future.

Other winners of the Belfast Business Awards were:

  1. Customer Service Excellence, Hospitality Sector – Odyssey Bowl
  2. Best New Business – Jawbox Gin
  3. Customer Service Excellence, Independent Retailer – Oasis Travel
  4. Best Marketing Initiative – Translink
  5. Business Growth Award – Argento Jewellery
  6. Customer Service Excellence, Professional Business Service – Bell & Company
  7. Social Enterprise of the Year – NOW Group
  8. Best Family Business – Uberfone Ltd
  9. Best Company to Work for Award – Golf Now
  10. Best Business Premises – Mount Charles
  11. Young Business Person (U30)- Grainne Leathem, Titanic Quarter Ltd
  12. Employee of the Year – Jennifer Madden, Belfast Cosmetic Laser Clinic
  13. Business Person of the Year – Chris Suitor, Suitor Menswear
  14. Involvement in the Community – Wall Group
  15. Best Digital Business – ICAN
  16. Best Eatery/Coffee Shop (EATERY) – James Street South
  17. Best Eatery/Coffee Shop (COFFEE SHOP) – Synge & Byrne (Boucher Rd)
  18. Best Creative Business – Red Box Studios
  19. Best Age-Friendly Business – Ulster Bank
  20. Lifetime Achievement Award – Sir William Hastings

You can read more here:



Company Insolvency – Can I be pursued for the debts of my Business?

A simple answer for this is yes if you have signed a personal guarantee on any loans for a limited company, then yes, the very nature of a personal guarantee is that the signator is personally liable for the debts if the company cannot commit to them any longer.

It is standard practice that a company director of a limited company may be asked to sign a personal guarantee as security or assurance to the lender for company borrowings as this minimises the risk involved to the lender. However, signing a personal guarantee, whilst sometimes essential in helping a company, needs to be given due consideration and correct advice should be obtained before doing so as there can be serious repercussions for the individual should the company become unable to fulfill the terms of the loan.

Company Insolvency

If a company begins to experience financial issues or is showing signs of financial distress then this could be a worrying time for a director as the possibility of personal assets becoming exposed is a very real situation.

A lender may be able to take a charge over a property/ asset so that they can recover the debt in the event that the company or director cannot pay.

It is worth mentioning that paying creditors that have a personal guarantee before creditors that do not have such security can be considered as paying a preference.

It is a reality which many have come to learn when businesses are in financial difficulty the lender will pursue any personal guarantees to recover a debt owed. Directors cannot assume that any debt which is associated with the business is wound up after the business enters liquidation.  Personal guarantees are personal and in fact, have nothing to do with the company.   Bankruptcy can become a real possibility and lenders might still pursue individuals for payments long after they’ve stopped working as a director of a particular company.

 Loan Sales and Vulture Funds

With many major Banks selling off their loan portfolios, those who signed guarantees on business loans are being pursued aggressively from vulture funds. Where a secured business facility has been issued to an individual(s) Partnership, the subject Lender or vulture fund will work through the sale of any security held in order to seek to reduce the balance owing. Once this has been completed, however, the guarantor is fully exposed and can be pursued for the crystallised shortfall, up to and including Bankruptcy in which case personal assets can be at risk.

It is important to note at this stage and any before or thereafter, there are options.

Are Personal Guarantees Negotiable?

Negotiating in relation to a Personal Guarantee is most possible when broached in the correct way and with the right presentation, however, is very rarely straightforward. That is why here at Bell & Company we assess each case on its own merits and devise strategies based on the best possible situation for our client.

Our experts specialise in dealing with personal guarantee negotiations for clients and will fully analyse the position of the client in order to formulate a tailored strategy before entering into dialogue with the lender.  This includes a full review of the business, client, personal and business assets to gain an overall view of where the client is, what is important and where they want to be.

Getting the right advice

There is most definitely scope for negotiation from a personal guarantee however the key is to be proactive rather than reactive and to address the situation before it is brought to you.

Whatever your company’s financial position might be, negotiations around personal guarantees are best conducted as early on as realistically possible, regardless of whether your company is set to become insolvent or not.  It is highly advisable to seek impartial advice from a professional and reputable firm when dealing with issues as complex as these.

If a personal guarantee is causing you concern, distress or indeed, you are worried about potential ramifications for what may seem like a ‘hypothetical’ situation now, call us today for independent and impartial advice where our strategists will talk you through your options. Telephone 02895217373 or email [email protected].





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