What Experts Think

What Happens To Business Debt When A Company Is Sold

If you sell your goods and services on credit terms like Net 30 or Net 60, you may be wondering what happens to your accounts receivable and business debt when one of your customers sells their company.

Selling goods on Net 30 or Net 60 terms can be great for your cash flow, but it may pose some issues if a business is sold, and they still owe you money. A business sale can have some major ramifications when it comes to recovering debts for your small business.

In this guide from Niche Trade Credit, we’ll discuss the basics of what happens to the debt during a business sale.

Understanding The Two Most Common Types Of Business Sale & What They Mean

There are two common types of business sale in Australia, as follows:

  • Stock sale – Stock sales are usually used for larger firms in Australia, as they can be quite time-consuming and costly. In this method of sale, the purchaser will buy all of the assets and liabilities of the business. If a business sold in a stock sale owes you money, the new owner will still owe you that business debt.
  • Asset sale – An asset sale involves the transfer of specific assets and liabilities between a buyer and seller. Some assets and liabilities may be transferred, while others may not be. As you may be able to tell, this can make it very confusing when determining who owes you money.

It’s usually a good idea to try to recover outstanding liabilities and business debts before a company is sold – as it can be more complicated to try to do so after a sale.

How To Protect Your Business When A Customer Is Selling Their Company

When a customer is selling their company, you are personally liable for ensuring that you recover the debts that you’re owed. Here are a few

  • Stay aware of each customer’s status – Make sure that you know how your customers are doing, and keep an eye out for any information that may indicate they are selling their business.
  • Stop extending credit until the business is sold – If the business can afford to pay upfront, it’s best to stop extending them credit until it is sold. This will help avoid complications when trying to collect on business debts.
  • Be proactive about recovering outstanding invoices – If the customer owes you money, be proactive about communicating with the current owner and the new owner of the business.
  • Hire a debt collection service – If you don’t want to take legal action, you can hire a debt collection service to collect your debts, which makes it easier to recover what you’re owed.

Note, also, that if a company becomes insolvent and is not sold, it may also be hard to recover your debts from the business owners. Other creditors, such as lenders with personal guarantees, may have first claim to their business assets during insolvency. The Australian Tax Office may also collect unpaid payroll tax or other taxes during liquidation.

Trade credit insurance can help with insolvency, and also protect you if a company is sold and refuses to pay for past business debts. If a company in Australia or in another country goes bankrupt or becomes insolvent, your insurance policy will compensate you for a percentage of their outstanding debts.

Know How To Protect Your Company From Bad Debt When A Business Is Sold!

If a business is sold – particularly when it’s in financial trouble – it can be hard to recover the money you’re owed if you have been selling on credit. To protect yourself from this situation, you can follow the above tips.

You can also work with Niche Trade Credit to get credit insurance solutions that can protect your accounts receivable – or even hire us to help with debt collection and recovery. To learn more about your options and how to protect yourself, just contact Niche Trade Credit now.

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