In the following text, I have tried to outline how an EW course happens in preliminary phase.
Our target group and how we meet them
In Denmark the average turnover is 632.000 EUR and nearly 5 employees. However, there is great variation among the companies, because a great part of our companies do not have any employed beside the owner. A company with 30 employees is very big compared to EWDK’s typical companies.
For most of the companies that approaches us, the crisis is acute, often with a threatening bankruptcy in the horizon. The means that time is crucial and we try to react as fast as possible:
- An approach by a company is answered within a day over the telephone. By doing this, we get a feeling of the problems character and proportions. Likewise, the owner gets a comforting feeling to some extent.
- The EW consultant asks the owner of the company to forward relevant information.
- Depending on the individual case the EW consultant pay the company a visit within a timeframe of 1-5 days.
- The actual meeting with the owner does not usually take more than 2 hours. During the 2 hours, the EW consultant needs to gain a general view of the situation, and together with the owner determine main points for a plan of action.
- Mentioned further below are some of the subjects that needs to be focused upon in the meeting of the screening. But have in mind that it is not possible to follow a detailed checklist, because there will be too little time left for important problems. In the meeting, it is clarified what actions the owner can do here and now, and it is decided whether the next move should be a meeting with a lawyer or a process with a volunteer advisor.
- If there is to be a meeting with a lawyer, this normally happens within 1-3 days after the meeting of the screening. A bankruptcy or reconstruction could have happened within a few days, if necessary.
- A voluntary consultant is often attached in cases, where the EW consultant estimates that there with the right intervention, there is a possibility of saving the company. Of course, we try to find a volunteer with the right knowledge and insight that is needed in the actual case, and it is supposed that the volunteer then have the knowledge and tools that are needed.
Obviously, there are many variants for the abovementioned process, but it shows that the EW consultant needs a wide range of experience. Mentioned below is a list over some of the conditions that the EW consultant should have a look at regarding the meeting of the screening.
The screening should among other things uncover:
- Ownership and (company-) structure, including liability
- What values there are
- Claims and debts
- Overview of creditors, overdue?
- Warranties, guarantees
- Private economy and financial circumstances
- Overview over operations, and how far from break even
- Current profitability, what does the company earn it money on and what does it lose its money on.
- Current cash flow
- Current financing, including relations with main creditors
- Personal and family relations, including illness and the owners own wish for what should happen.
The meeting of the screening ends with the EW consultant together with the owner discuss the following actions. What can be done at first, and what kind of fundamental changes is needed. In a lot of cases, it is clear where the root of the evil is. The holistic dialog often results in the owner having a more clear realization of the situation and what should happen moving forward.
The professional skills/qualifications that the EW consultant ought to possess:
- The ability to see though an account/balance sheet and establish an economic overview
- Knowledge about turnaround management
- Knowledge about funding opportunities, including how bank people evaluate the companies
- A solid insolvency law overview
- The ability, knowledge and will to have an equal and open dialog with the owner in crisis, including listening to personal relations and problems as well