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Certificate in Insolvency case study: Charlotte Evans

Author: ICAEW

Published: 15 Feb 2024

For Charlotte, who moved from a career in music into the Insolvency Service, the ICAEW Certificate in Insolvency has given her a deeper understanding of the ‘why’ underpinning the work she does in the Official Receiver’s office.

What’s your career background?

My route to insolvency is probably less conventional than most. Up until the pandemic, I was freelancing as a classical orchestral musician and music teacher. I loved my music career and still perform regularly, however I wanted something with a bit more stability and a chance to develop a different skill set.  

I had no idea what I wanted to do but thankfully I came across a job advert for an investigator/examiner role at the Insolvency Service. I’ve always enjoyed solving problems and fancied myself as a detective in another life.

I started in the London Official Receiver’s office in April 2021 and was promoted to Deputy Official Receiver on temporary cover in August 2023. It’s full on but a brilliant challenge, with no two days the same. You can be in the high court in the morning then shutting down a trading butcher’s shop in the afternoon!

What made you take the ICAEW Certificate in Insolvency?

I have always enjoyed learning and was keen to expand my knowledge of insolvency processes and legislation. At the time, I was mentoring a group of trainees and while I could explain what the Official Receiver’s office (OR) does and how they do it, I didn’t necessarily know precisely why.

I was also keen to improve my understanding of the work of IPs, who we interact with regularly, and the different insolvency processes.

How do you think the Certificate has added value to your career?

I now have a much broader and more detailed understanding of the insolvency legislation and regime, and where our work at the OR fits into this framework. I didn’t know much about how IPs operate before, so it’s been really interesting to understand the range of work they undertake and the regulations that guide their work.

The somewhat dreaded ‘numbers’ questions were actually really useful, for example in increasing my knowledge and understanding of how to ‘decode’ a statement of affairs. It’s given me much more confidence in my knowledge and ability, especially as someone who is still fairly new to insolvency and doesn’t have a financial background. I feel better able to advise my examiners and make robust recommendations in our case work and can liaise with IPs and other stakeholders with more confidence.

What’s your career path from here?

I have jumped straight into studying for the JIEB qualification – I didn’t want to risk forgetting all the notice periods and section numbers I had painstakingly learned for the Certificate exam! It’s a big task and a very different style of exam, so I’ve got lots to learn and get to grips with.

Outside of that, I am enjoying developing my court skills as a Deputy Official Receiver and have always loved the investigative side of the OR ‘s work. It is rewarding to secure outcomes against those who have done wrong, for example those who fraudulently claimed Bounce Back Loans during the pandemic, especially if we can also make financial recoveries to return to creditors.

What do you think it takes to be a good insolvency practitioner?

In my role as a Deputy Official Receiver, I enjoy working closely with a wide network of IPs, and seeing firsthand the valuable and specialist work they undertake in delivering positive outcomes for creditors. As someone who hasn’t experienced working on insolvencies in the private sector myself, and the associated challenges this brings, I would say an emphasis on objectivity and professionalism is key.

Our work in insolvency means we are often interacting with people and businesses at a very difficult time for them. Being able to look at things in the most balanced and objective way is crucial, and then having the skills and patience to clearly explain the most appropriate options and make robust recommendations.

Study for the Certificate in Insolvency

The ICAEW Certificate in Insolvency is the most flexible learning programme of the UK insolvency regime.

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