When businesses or individuals face insolvency, an insolvency practitioner steps in to overcome the complex terrain of financial distress. Discover the vital role these professionals play in administering insolvency procedures and providing expert guidance to stakeholders. 

Who is an Insolvency Practitioner?

An Insolvency Practitioner (IP) is a licensed professional who specialises in dealing with individuals or businesses that are insolvent or facing financial distress. IPs are typically appointed to administer insolvency proceedings such as bankruptcies, liquidations, administrations, and voluntary arrangements. 

They play a crucial role in managing the affairs of insolvent entities, maximising returns to creditors, and providing advice on restructuring or winding up operations in accordance with insolvency laws and regulations.

Is an insolvency practitioner the same as a liquidator?

While an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) can serve as a liquidator in certain cases, the roles are not entirely synonymous.

  • An Insolvency Practitioner (IP) is a licensed professional specialising in diverse insolvency procedures such as liquidations, administrations, bankruptcies, and voluntary arrangements. They play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with insolvency laws, maximising returns for creditors, and facilitating the resolution of financial difficulties through structured processes tailored to each unique situation.

  • A liquidator, on the other hand, is specifically responsible for overseeing the winding up of a company’s affairs during the process of liquidation. In some cases, an IP may be appointed as the liquidator to manage the liquidation process and ensure that the company’s assets are realised and distributed to creditors in accordance with insolvency laws.

What are the duties of an insolvency practitioner?

The key duties of an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) include:

Managing Insolvency Processes: 

Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) oversee a range of procedures, including liquidations, administrations, bankruptcies, and voluntary arrangements. They meticulously manage each step of these processes, from initial assessment to final resolution, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and efficient administration of affairs.

Getting the Most for Creditors: 

IPs diligently assess the assets of insolvent entities and employ strategic measures to maximise returns for creditors. This involves thorough asset valuation, negotiation with creditors, and implementing effective distribution plans to ensure equitable treatment and optimise creditors’ recoveries.

Offering Expert Advice: 

IPs provide tailored advice and guidance to individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties. Drawing on their extensive knowledge and experience, they help clients understand their options, formulate viable strategies, and navigate complex financial challenges with confidence.

Following the Rules: 

IPs possess a comprehensive understanding of insolvency laws and regulations. They meticulously adhere to legal requirements, ensuring that all actions taken during insolvency proceedings are conducted transparently, fairly, and in accordance with applicable legislation.

Being Fair to Everyone: 

IPs uphold the principles of honesty, integrity, and fairness in their dealings with all parties involved in the insolvency process. They consider the interests of creditors, debtors, employees, and other stakeholders, striving to achieve outcomes that balance competing interests while fostering trust and confidence in the integrity of the process.

The qualifications of an insolvency practitioner

To qualify as an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) in the UK, individuals typically need to meet specific criteria:

  • They must hold a recognised professional accountancy qualification, such as ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), FCCA (Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant), or ACMA (Associate Chartered Management Accountant). 

  • They must undertake further insolvency-specific training and examinations. This often involves successfully completing the rigorous Joint Insolvency Examination Board (JIEB) exams or equivalent qualifications accredited by respected professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

  • They need to gain hands-on experience working in insolvency or related areas under the guidance and supervision of a licensed Insolvency Practitioner. 

  • Insolvency Practitioners are required to have professional indemnity insurance in place. 

  • They must engage in ongoing continuing professional development (CPD) activities to stay abreast of industry developments, regulatory changes, and best practices. 

Who hires an insolvency practitioner?


An insolvency practitioner can be appointed by various parties, including a creditor, the courts, or the directors of a struggling company. These appointments typically occur when a company is insolvent or facing financial difficulties. 

The party initiating the formal insolvency process, whether it’s a creditor seeking to recover debts, a court order, or the company’s directors acknowledging financial distress, bears the responsibility of covering the associated fees of the insolvency practitioner. 

These fees encompass the costs of administering the insolvency proceedings, managing assets, communicating with creditors, and facilitating the resolution of the company’s financial affairs.

How much do you have to pay an insolvency practitioner?

The fees for an insolvency practitioner vary depending on the type and complexity of the insolvency process. As a rough estimate, for a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), one of the most common forms of liquidation in the UK, the cost is approximately £5,000. 

However, the actual fees can differ based on factors such as the size of the company, the extent of its assets and liabilities, the level of creditor involvement, and the complexity of the case. Insolvency practitioners typically charge their fees based on an hourly rate or a fixed fee arrangement agreed upon with the relevant parties involved in the insolvency process.

Are insolvency practitioners supervised by the regulatory board?

Corporate insolvency is a closely regulated sector, and each licensed insolvency practitioner is supervised by a regulatory board to maintain professional standards and integrity.

Various reputable professional bodies regulate the practices of insolvency practitioners, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS).

Insolvency practitioners undergo regular inspections by their licensing body. Conducted over several days, these inspections comprehensively evaluate a selection of randomly chosen current and past cases, offering recommendations for improvements as needed.

If the work of an insolvency practitioner is judged to fall below the required standards, their license can be revoked.

Things to consider when choosing an insolvency practitioner?

Choosing the right insolvency practitioner is crucial when facing financial difficulties. Consider these key factors to ensure you select a practitioner with the expertise, professionalism, and approachability needed to navigate your situation effectively.

Experience and Reputation: 

Selecting an insolvency practitioner with a proven track record of successfully handling cases similar to yours is vital. Check for testimonials, reviews, and recommendations from previous clients or professional colleagues to gauge their reputation and reliability. A practitioner with extensive experience and a positive reputation instills confidence and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome for your case.

Qualifications and Accreditation: 

Ensure the practitioner holds relevant qualifications and is accredited by respected professional bodies such as ACCA, IPA, or ICAEW. Accreditation demonstrates that they have met rigorous standards of competence and professionalism in their field, giving you assurance of their expertise and capabilities.

Transparent Fees and Communication: 

Go for a practitioner who offers transparent fee structures and communicates openly and promptly throughout the process. Clear communication helps you understand the cost implications upfront and ensures there are no surprises along the way. Additionally, accessibility and responsiveness to your queries and concerns are essential for a smooth and stress-free experience.

Approachability and Empathy: 

Look for a practitioner who demonstrates empathy, understanding, and approachability towards your situation. Dealing with financial difficulties can be emotionally challenging, and having a practitioner who listens attentively, shows compassion, and is willing to address your concerns can make the process more manageable and less stressful.

Referrals and Initial Consultation: 

Seek referrals from trusted sources such as friends, family, or professional advisors who have experience working with insolvency practitioners. Additionally, take advantage of any initial consultation offered by the practitioner to discuss your case, assess their suitability, and clarify any questions or concerns you may have. This allows you to make an informed decision and ensure that the practitioner is the right fit for your needs.

How can I find a licensed insolvency practitioner?

You can find a licensed insolvency practitioner in several ways:

Professional Bodies: 

Contact reputable professional bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), or Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS). They typically have directories or search tools on their websites to help you find licensed practitioners.


You can find a licensed insolvency practitioner by utilising online directories, databases, or search engines specialised in listing such professionals. Websites like the IPA’s “Find an Insolvency Practitioner” tool or the Insolvency Service’s “Find an Insolvency Practitioner” database can be valuable resources. Simply enter relevant keywords such as “licensed insolvency practitioner” or “insolvency practitioner near me” to locate practitioners in your area.


Ask for recommendations from trusted professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or financial advisors who may have worked with insolvency practitioners in the past.

Local Chambers of Commerce: 

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or business associations for recommendations or referrals to licensed insolvency practitioners in your area.

How Vanguard Insolvency can help you?

With over 70 licensed insolvency practitioners operating from various locations across the country, Vanguard Insolvency stands ready to provide valuable advice and support if your company is facing financial difficulties. Our team is equipped to offer expert guidance tailored to your specific needs. 

Contact us today at 0121 769 1915 to arrange a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced insolvency practitioners in your vicinity. Take the first step towards resolving your financial challenges with confidence and clarity.

Senior Partner at Vanguard Insolvency Practitioners | Website | + posts

I am an insolvency professional with a distinguished career specialising in commercial insolvency, adeptly navigating Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, Company Voluntary Arrangements, and Company Administrations. With a comprehensive understanding of insolvency laws and an unwavering commitment to ethical practices.