ACCA - The global body for professional accountants


Insolvency practitioners provide individuals and organisations with an independent assessment of an organisation’s financial position, as well as information on the procedures for insolvency and the implications of it. They also provide impartial advice on the courses of action available to organisations facing insolvency, offering alternatives to liquidation such as administration and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). 

Insolvency is a demanding career option for a professional accountant. It is one of the most challenging, and rewarding branches of accountancy. Insolvency practitioners can run businesses, constructing and negotiating deals or investigating and advising on the viability of a business and its restructure. 

Work done by the profession involves formal insolvency procedures and increasingly insolvency practitioners are using their skills to restructure and rescue business internationally using their formal training to re-construct businesses that might otherwise fail and helping to preserve and enhance economic activity.  

Entry and progression

To enter a career as an insolvency practitioner you will first need to choose a route to becoming a licensed insolvency practitioner as only licensed insolvency practitioners are authorised to take appointments as receivers or administrators under local laws. The legal framework relating to insolvency will vary internationally, but general legal principles around insolvency and best business practice in business rescue and reconstruction apply across international borders.

The ACCA exams provide the knowledge and skills that complete finance professionals and specialised positions such as insolvency practitioners need. Those aspiring to work in, or working as insolvency practitioners will find the options exams most relevant to insolvency are Advanced Financial Management (P4) and Advanced Performance Management (P5). 

It is not just about exams. Getting the right experience helps trainees gain the competencies needed to enter and move up through their career in insolvency. Areas such as interpreting financial transactions and financial statements (PO11);  preparing financial information for management (PO12); contributing to budget planning and production (PO13); evaluating potential business / investment opportunities and the required finance options (PO15); and managing cash using active cash management and treasury systems (PO16) would all provide great experience and relate to the performance objectives (PO) which need to be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER).

Career progression in this role can be supported by developing and demonstrating professional behaviours. Take a look at the behavioural competencies in the Competency Framework to reflect on the type of behaviours which are useful for insolvency practitioners. 


Video Links

John Cullen, insolvency practitioner