Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Lifecycle uses data to spot signs of distress

Accounting CPD and support network Lifecycle has devised a client financial health alert system to help advisers spot client businesses in distress.

25th Sep 2019
Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Lifecycle data service: early warnings can minimise problems
iStock_Helpline_Dean Mitchell
Lifecycle uses data analysis to identify signs of distress

Based around a set of in-house analysis tools drawing on public domain information, the accounting support wing of Leonard Curtis sees the early warning system as a way to help its members spot problems and resolve them before they get too big.

It’s good for the adviser to steer clients to safety and if the intervention comes too late, the Lifecycle member can call in Leonard Curtis as a source of turnaround services, if needed, explained Leonard Curtis director Rik Heap.

“The availability of data and all the clever software that sits around it makes it much easier for people to know what’s going on than before,” he said. “What we’ve done is tap into this daily data on the signs of distress stuff.”

The data sources include credit scores, county court judgments, London Gazette notices and statutory accounts feeds from Companies House. “We use an analytic tool that links multiple data soruces together in a way that makes sense.”

Heap and his colleagues are aware of the “ambulance chasing” image associated with this kind of approach and devised a mechanism that allows accountants to pre-empt unhelpful rumours.

Targeted support for clients in distress

“We’re not just doing it scattergun. Our system picks up the ones where we know the accountant, so it’s a relationship point rather than vultures circulating,” said Heap. “If there’s some distressed company data out there, we put in a call to the accountant within the Lifecycle network. If they’re not aware, it’s a heads up.”

The benefits for accountants is that if a business client is experiencing some difficulty, the earlier they can act, the better the chances of recovery. In one recent example, the Lifecycle team contacted one of the network members about a small county court judgment against one of the accountant’s bigger clients.

“It was the first one they had, and wasn’t too much of a worry, but he appreciated the call because it gave him an opportunity to talk to client: This is out there – and if they weren’t aware of it, they could do something about it. All the accountants we’ve spoken to have seen it as positive thing, not an intrusion.”

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