Look out for stories and anecdotes from others in the insolvency world which we will feature here. The first is from Geoff Gee, but we want to hear yours too.
Thrown in at the deep end, threatened, offshore trips and TV all in the name of a great career!
“My introduction to the world of insolvency was something of a baptism of fire! I’d just qualified and I’d expressed a desire to move over to insolvency so I was given the statements of affairs to do for a group of companies that had gone into receivership. I had little idea what a receivership was let alone a statement of affairs! It didn’t help when the directors were, what shall we say, about as believable as Donald Trump!
But somehow, I muddled through and got my place in the insolvency team. My qualification as an accountant counted for very little as I was given mundane tasks like photocopying and setting up files. I wasn’t too keen on having to do this type of work but I soon realised that it was helping familiarise myself with the systems and procedures and that insolvency is a million miles away from auditing and accounts, which I had to do to qualify!
It didn’t take long before I started getting my own cases and the “on the job” training really started. Dalton Data Services was my first, a small data processing business on York Road in Leeds. I had to do the whole job from start to finish, including making a handful of employees redundant. Now that’s an experience! The first of many hundreds and I guess possibly thousands over the years. Not a pleasant job but unfortunately and all too often an inevitable consequence of insolvency.
Within 6 months I was handling the insolvency of Stockton Racecourse. With my name, it was easy to find my way into the racing press, who kept a keen watch on events! I took some stick for that job, I can tell you.
Over the years’ I handled every type of corporate and personal insolvency in virtually every type of industry. Wonderful grounding for my career and definitely recommended.
I found dealing with individuals much harder than with limited companies. Somehow, I was one step removed from the harsh consequences of personal insolvency. Over the years’ I have become very much immune and hardened to what others may think of as distressing situations. But it’s what you have to do in insolvency. If you take your work home with you then you never switch off.
But if I am honest I never fail to feel sad walking around an empty factory or office. One minute so full of life and activity, the next deserted, everything where it was left on that fatal day. But I have come to terms with the whole process. For every failure, there is another business all too ready to buy the assets and create new jobs. The process is really a form of recycling in a strange sort of way!
I have also saved many businesses from failure. I can’t name names but I’m proud of those successes. I was receiver of a supermarket chain but I left the shareholders as millionaires! I’m also proud of the good job I did on those that didn’t survive, but which I helped maximise the recoveries and the burdens I lifted from the shoulders of many, many directors over the years.
It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. Selling trading businesses usually means long late nights trying to complete a sale. I had one group of companies in Bradford where we had a string of meetings to the early hours’ night after night until we finally completed a deal at 3am. Then I hot footed it to Manchester Airport, grabbed a flight to Jersey, got the agreement executed offshore before returning to Manchester later the same day arriving back home in Leeds at 5pm! A mere 34 hour day!
It’s a great profession. It’s got me on radio and TV. I’ve travelled far and wide across the UK (the overseas trips eluding me unfortunately). I’ve been threatened but never hit! I’ve presented to large audiences. I became a partner in national and regional firms. I developed skills I never knew I had! And it set me up for diversifying into other areas as I approach retirement including running my own businesses. Admittedly it’s not the profession it once was and it’s harder to get the variety of experience that I managed, but if you take control and know what you want to achieve, it is still worth all the effort!”
Geoff Gee former IP and founder Insolvency.Careers
Share Your Experiences
If you have an interesting story about how your career, tell us! Help others in the profession by sharing your story of how you came to join the profession and how you have developed your career and some of your experiences and we will publish the best on the website.Serious stories or amusing anecdotes - all welcome!
Don't be shy.....your experience could help others!