Who in Serbia is helping companies avoid bankruptcy?

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The crisis caused by the corona virus pandemic has brought liquidity problems to many companies. According to German media, the debt counseling offices in this country have been full of those who are trying to avoid bankruptcy lately.

Workers who have lost their jobs or work insufficient hours usually come to the counseling. Most debtors facing bankruptcy come from the crisis-hit industries, such as hospitality and tourism.

When it comes to Serbia, according to the words of the financial consultant for the business of the company, Biljana Lazarević, our companies, as well as the citizens themselves, call for help only when the problem is out of control.

“Unfortunately, business owners turn for support only when they enter the zone of illiquidity and unprofitability – banks for financial support, and consultants for advice. At that time, the problem had already escalated and the question is whether and how successfully it can be solved ” – Lazarević points out.

Flat-rate entrepreneurs in Serbia do not have the obligation to keep bookkeeping records, so in such a situation it is difficult to identify bankruptcy as a clear state of finances. With such companies, financial problems are manifested as difficulties in doing business, inability to maintain further continuity of work and settling due obligations.

“In a broader sense, entrepreneurship could also refer to the sector of small and medium enterprises, where it is evidently possible to diagnose and declare bankruptcy based on financial results, which is visible through excerpts and certificates issued by the Business Registers Agency. In the previous period, it often happened that companies deliberately declare bankruptcy in order to avoid settling obligations towards creditors, abusing the Rulebook on the manner of reorganization according to the pre-prepared reorganization plan and the content of UPPR published in the Official Gazette of RS 57/2018 “, emphasizes Biljana Lazarevic.

Our interlocutor believes that financial consulting would certainly help entrepreneurs who have problems in business to maintain liquidity.

“I unequivocally believe that consulting support in the field of finance, but also many other areas in the field of strategy, sales, controlling, law, all types of education help maintain liquidity and profitability of business, support development and improvement. The difference between companies whose owners and management are willing to learn and those who are not is very noticeable. Companies that do not learn stagnate and disappear, says Lazarevic.

Financial Advisor Carolina Herbut agrees that entrepreneurs would certainly benefit from counseling, mentoring and coaching support in bankruptcy prevention.

“When people have difficulties in their private lives, one of the possibilities is to seek the support of a psychotherapist. In the same way, the support of advisors, mentors and coaches is important to most business owners and managers. They are there not only to advise you, but also to be there, to have someone to talk to in confidence about professional topics, dilemmas, to exchange experiences. “According to foreign (American) research, financial coaching has helped people reduce debt, achieve goals, and budget better,” explains Herbut.

She adds that in addition to counseling, she is a big supporter of coaching as a process.

“Namely, the coach does not give advice. A concrete example would be that a coach does not need to know the process of fruit juice production in order to coach the owner-manager of a company that produces juices. The coach starts from the fact that the other person already has his resources (knowledge, experience) to come up with a solution to the problems, and he helps the person to gain insight, to realize the possibilities and come to their own solutions ” – says Herbut.

Depending on the specific situation, sometimes someone needs advice-counselor, and in many situations coaching itself is an appropriate approach because the owner of the company-manager needed support to “remember” what could be done to solve the problem.

Financial consultant for the company’s business, Biljana Lazarević, told Biznis.rs that it is very important that there are counseling centers in Serbia that bring together renowned experts in various fields in the rehabilitation and improvement of business.

“We have numerous business schools, consulting companies that deal with these issues, but a specialized bankruptcy counseling center would certainly help businessmen, especially if the service was free of charge for the client. Counseling with its activities should act preventively, and not reactively, as has been the custom so far. I am on the trail of founding the Association of Mentors, consultants from various fields who would support the continuity of work and development of small and medium enterprises in the mutual exchange of knowledge, but also with a strong experiential base “, states Lazarević.

When asked in which business segments entrepreneurs need additional support, ie advice, our interlocutor explains that multidisciplinarity is now key to a successful business.

“Now it is not enough for an entrepreneur to be a specialist in his field, a good dentist, lawyer, cook, confectioner, he also needs to know at least the basics of running a business. Multidisciplinarity or multidisciplinary team is an imperative of modern business. Consulting in the field of finance, business mathematics, the use of modern corporate tools in the field of sales, controlling, human resources, rights is necessary for every entrepreneur “, concludes Biljana Lazarević, Biznis writes.