The Rising Risk of Personal Liability for Directors and Business Owners

Restructuring Insights

Do you need to better Protect Yourself in Business?

RSM’s new Corporate Advisory Hub at Port Macquarie on the Mid-North Coast of NSW is seeing rising enquiries from business owners that are looking to protect themselves in business.

Life in business continues to be tough notwithstanding record sales and revenue in some industries as compared to others that are still grappling with the cumulative impact of the stay-at-home orders and moving goalposts such as retail, hospitality and tourism.


Tim Gumbleton, Principal of RSM on the Mid North Coast of NSW is encouraging directors and business owners to ensure they:Business Owners

  • Identify their risks and consider emerging issues that may not be front of mind;
  • Limit their personal liability wherever possible; and
  • Consider asset protection strategies as an important mitigation measure.

These days the corporate veil no longer offers the protection to directors and business owners it once did i.e. the good old days when having a company or trust protected you from just about everything.


Personal liability can now be imposed on directors in a myriad of ways including: 

  • Personal Guarantees;Business Owners
  • ATO Director Penalty Notices for GST, superannuation, PAYG etc;
  • Fair work and other workforce matters;
  • Shareholder loans and unpaid trust distributions;
  • Fines and Penalties;
  • Breaches of duties and insolvent trading; and
  • Environmental and other matters such as building defects.

When things are going really well, and life and work are busy, emerging issues can arise increasing your risk of personal liability in the business.


Tim is currently seeing various emerging risks including:

  • Fatigue and Stress;Business Owners
  • Insurance risks and limitations;
  • Defective security interests under the PPSA;
  • Compliance issues including ATO, iCare, Fair Work Australia etc:
  • Underpayment and errors in leave calculations i.e. casuals/contractors etc; 
  • Cyber – IT including privacy and data breaches;
  • Social media and reputation risk/complaints handling;
  • Fraud and associated loss; and
  • Deterioration in trading or personal relationships leading to costly disputes

Tim’s clients have been seeking specific advice to counter their risks.

This includes our restructuring and associated support services:Business owners

  • Business restructuring and safe harbour exit strategies;
  • Asset protection and personal liability limitation opportunities;
  • Dispute resolution including debt recovery, partner exits and family and farming succession challenges;  
  • Virtual CFO Advisory and associated crisis support and management;
  • Fraud and associated investigations. We are unfortunately seeing a rise in white collar misappropriation issues (fraud risks);
  • Solvent liquidations of companies to minimise the tax burden on shareholders via exemptions; and
  • Business recovery planning and turnaround strategies including our dedicated Not for Profit support services.

Tim Gumbleton and RSM are the Mid North Coast’s business improvement, corporate turnaround, dispute resolution, restructuring (incl legislated small business restructuring), asset protection, forensic accounting, insolvency, liquidation and bankruptcy specialists.

About RSM – Our Point of Difference:

RSM is a full-service national accounting, consulting, and advisory firm operating from over 30 offices (and on a mobile basis) throughout Regional and Metropolitan Australia.  

We are uniquely placed given our regional expertise, footprint and extensive national coverage backed by international reach and scale.

RSM can help you and your business, no matter where you may be based.  Find your nearest RSM office here.

Authors

Tim Gumbleton FCA
Principal - Mid-North Coast NSW

Contact your local insolvency specialist