Strategy, liquidity, earnings: a company crisis can have various causes. Well-established crisis compliance shows the right steps to take in the individual situation. The risk of a crisis has increased significantly in recent years and more recently against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Ukraine war – even for seasoned companies. Moreover, in times of numerous high-profile corporate scandals, the liability claims of boards for misconduct have come into focus. Against this background, crisis compliance management is currently experiencing a strong upswing.
Crisis smarter: What crisis compliance can do
When there is a crisis, there is always an exceptional situation. A crisis is full of criminal and liability risks for the company’s management, and the field of potential misconduct is wide. This is why such a situation demands a well-considered and careful approach and a different perspective from the responsible managing directors and board members: Different rules apply in a crisis than in everyday business!
If a crisis is looming for a company or if it is already in the middle of one, it is important to take the right steps quickly and thoughtfully in order to avert insolvency or consequences under criminal or liability law – or to act in a legally correct manner in the event of an unavoidable insolvency. A company must have the appropriate knowledge and method base to know its obligations and to be able to seize possible opportunities. And this is exactly where crisis compliance comes in. In a crisis, it shows the rule-compliant steps and scope for action and provides preventive support to help the company protect itself from a crisis. The reasons for a crisis are manifold – as are the liability risks that arise from it.
Insolvency delay as risk no. 1
Often, a crisis is threatened by a liquidity bottleneck, which can lead to insolvency. If a company becomes insolvent or over-indebted, this automatically triggers the obligation to file for insolvency in the case of corporations and partnerships without a personally liable partner in accordance with § 17 InsO. The responsible managing directors and board members are obliged to file for insolvency without delay, and in admissible cases within a 3-week period at the latest. The task of crisis compliance is to monitor, check and document the reasons for insolvency. In addition to insolvency delay, bankruptcy, withholding and embezzlement of pay, fraudulent entry and creditor or debtor favoritism are further risks to which a company, and thus its managing directors or board members, are exposed in an acute crisis. It should be noted that those responsible in a crisis have to observe many obligations under insolvency and corporate law. Crisis compliance shows the right steps to take. In this way, even unwitting breaches of duty can be avoided and the liability risk of the business performance bodies or the supervisory board can be very significantly reduced.
Turning the tide in good time
But to prevent a crisis from occurring in the first place, crisis compliance in conjunction with risk management and an early warning system ensures that sufficient strategic, personnel or organizational room for maneuver remains in advance. The early warning system has been enshrined in law since January 1, 2021 in Section 1 of the German Act on the Implementation of the Transparency and Transparency Directive (StaRUG). It obliges managers and supervisory bodies to recognize crises at an early stage and to manage them. The early warning system continuously monitors developments and sounds the alarm if a crisis is looming for a company. It can become apparent, for example, when a market is in upheaval and major changes are expected. Or if a customer fails to meet his payments and the company’s own liquidity is in short supply. Prevention focuses on the solvency of the company. Since many insolvency events occur due to a company’s inability to pay, it is important to always keep an eye on liquidity. Even at the slightest sign of an impending crisis, the company’s liquidity should be checked professionally. In addition, well thought-out strategies and contingency plans ensure that well-considered decisions that are vital for the survival of the company can be made with a cool head in turbulent times.
THE MAK`ED TEAM has already accompanied many medium-sized companies in times of crisis. We know the crisis mechanisms and the right strategies to enable the company to survive the crisis and develop processes tailored to the respective requirements. For crisis compliance that fully exploits its preventive potential.