Voluntary Administration: A Strategic Move for Australian Businesses in Crisis

In challenging times, Australian businesses may face financial difficulties that seem insurmountable. One viable option to consider during such periods is Voluntary Administration. This process can give your business the breathing space to reorganise or restructure, offering a path back to viability or a more dignified approach to closing down. In this article, we explore Voluntary Administration, its meaning for companies and how it can serve as a strategic move in times of crisis. 

What Is Voluntary Administration? 

Before unpacking the impacts of voluntary administrations, it’s important to answer the question: What is Voluntary Administration? At its core, Voluntary Administration is a legal process designed to help companies in financial distress. It involves appointing an external administrator to take control of the company to resolve its financial challenges. The goal? To maximise the chances of the business continuing, or if that’s not possible, to administer a better return to creditors than immediate Liquidation would. 

So, what does Voluntary Administration mean for your company? Undergoing Voluntary Administration means your business is looking to either recover from its budgetary woes or minimise the impacts of its financial downfall. It’s a step taken to protect the interests of the business while considering the best outcomes for creditors. 

Voluntary Administration usually begins with the company directors appointing an Administrator. Once appointed, the Administrator assesses the company’s financial situation and options. They may work towards restructuring the business, negotiating with creditors, or preparing the business for sale. The process is geared towards swift decisions, typically concluding within a few months. 

Voluntary Administration can provide a business owners a solution when facing insurmountable debt.

Voluntary Administration vs. Bankruptcy and Liquidation 

While Voluntary Administration focuses on saving the company or ensuring a better return for creditors, Bankruptcy and Liquidation signify the end of the business. Bankruptcy applies to individuals and is a declaration that they cannot meet their debt obligations. On the other hand, Liquidation is the process of selling off a company’s assets to repay creditors, leading to the dissolution of the business. Choosing Voluntary Administration can be a proactive step to avoid these outcomes. 

What Does Voluntary Administration Mean for a Business: The Key Benefits 

Voluntary Administration can seem like a daunting step for any business. Yet, it’s designed to offer a lifeline during financial turmoil. This process impacts a company’s immediate survival and has long-term implications for all parties involved, from business owners to stakeholders and creditors. 

When a business enters voluntary administration, it immediately gains protection against legal actions from creditors. This grace period is crucial, as it stops all lawsuits, repossessions, and recovery actions, allowing the company leadership to focus on strategic planning without the constant pressure of immediate debt repayment. It’s a strategic pause, enabling businesses to assess their situation and plan their next moves without external pressures. 

Voluntary Administration also provides the opportunity to restructure the business so that it returns to profitability. This could involve renegotiating contracts, optimising operations, or even pivoting business models to align with current market demands. Restructuring under Administration is a structured process guided by experts who aim to preserve and enhance the company’s core values. It’s a chance to reassess and recalibrate, making adjustments to set the business on a sustainable path forward. 

While the company gets a chance to reset, creditors are also treated fairly under Voluntary Administration. The process ensures that all creditors receive the best possible outcome, which might be more favourable than if the company went directly into Liquidation. The Administrator will evaluate the company’s assets and liabilities and propose a plan that could involve paying creditors in part or in full, depending on what the business can afford. This transparency and structure ensure that creditors are kept in the loop and receive equitable treatment. 

Are you asking yourself: ‘What is Voluntary Administration?’ and ‘What does Voluntary Administration mean for your company’? It’s best to partner with seasoned professionals like Mackay Goodwin, who understand the intricacies of this process and can make all the difference. Our experts can guide you through the assessment, decision-making, and implementation phases, ensuring you make informed choices. Taking action early can help your business navigate its crisis and toward a hopeful future. 

Voluntary Administration serving as a strategic move in the moments that matter.


How quickly does Voluntary Administration take effect? 

Once the directors appoint an Administrator, the protection from creditors starts immediately. This swift action is crucial for stabilising the business and preventing further financial deterioration. The entire process is aimed at quick decision-making, usually concluding within a few months. 

Can my business continue operating during Voluntary Administration? 

Yes, in many cases, businesses continue to operate while under Voluntary Administration. The Administrator’s role includes assessing whether the company can keep running in a way that maximises its value or benefits creditors. This period can be vital for restructuring efforts to return the business to profitability. 

Will my business avoid liquidation by entering Voluntary Administration? 

While Voluntary Administration aims to save the business or provide a better outcome for creditors than immediate Liquidation, it doesn’t guarantee avoiding Liquidation. The result depends on the company’s specific circumstances and the Administrator’s assessment and strategy.

How can Voluntary Administration benefit creditors? 

Voluntary administration seeks to ensure a fair and equitable treatment of creditors. Restructuring the business or finding alternative solutions results in creditors receiving a better return than if the company were to go straight into Liquidation. 

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