Accountancy & Financial Management

Corporate Recovery

Help bring distressed businesses back from the brink, or recover as many assets as possible from businesses beyond saving.
Jevitha Muthusamy
Editorial Writer
Help bring distressed businesses back from the brink, or recover as many assets as possible from businesses beyond saving.

When a business or organisation is making huge losses or is unable to pay off their debts, that’s when corporate recovery professionals may be called in. 

Corporate recovery (also known as “restructuring” or “insolvency”) encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at assisting businesses facing financial challenges. These activities may include restructuring of debts, financial reorganisation, and repositioning the business for growth. 

Corporate recovery professionals start by analysing whether a distressed business can be saved. If possible, they may suggest debt and equity restructuring strategies, or operational strategies to help the business recover (e.g. identify and shed loss-making business areas). If rescue is not a possibility, then their priority will be winding up the business and recovering as much as possible from selling the business’ assets.

Career pathways 

For accounting graduates in Malaysia who are interested in pursuing a career in corporate recovery, it is essential to have a relevant degree in accounting, finance, or business. You will also need to be qualified by a professional accounting body before you can begin specialising in this area of accountancy.

Corporate recovery professionals are typically only called in to assist businesses upon referral from banks, lawyers, or accounting firms. As such, corporate recovery roles are mostly found in external accounting and professional services providers instead of being offered in-house. 
Most graduates usually transition into corporate recovery after starting out in another area of accounting (usually audit). Corporate recovery professionals usually start out in analyst roles, developing financial models, conducting financial analysis, and highlighting recommendations for restructuring or reorganising a company.

You will usually work in a team under the supervision of an experienced corporate recovery professional. Once you gain more experience, you will eventually be tasked with handling specific clients. You may provide specific restructuring or insolvency recommendations of your own and follow up to ensure that they are carried out, or negotiate with debtors and creditors on the client’s behalf to secure repayment terms for outstanding debts.  

Under Malaysian law, you will need to apply for and obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance in order to work as corporate recovery specialist. Being part of dedicated bodies like the Insolvency Practitioners’ Association of Malaysia will demonstrate your commitment and expertise in the field as well.

Required skills 

Good business acumen and strong financial analysis skills are key to this line of work. You will need to analyse financial data, identify areas of distress, and potential opportunities for growth, liquidity, or asset recovery. 

Equally important in this line of work are communication and negotiation skills. You will have to speak and negotiate with company management, legal professionals, external debtors and creditors, and other relevant stakeholders to get the information you need and secure buy-ins to your restructuring or insolvency strategies. Empathy and tact are also necessary, as you may find yourself dealing with staff who are on the verge of losing their savings or jobs. 

Being able to multi-task, prioritise work, and keep an eye on the bigger picture are important skills as well. Business losses are rarely due to one single factor alone, and can be the result of multiple problems all coming together in a perfect storm. You will have to pull together financial data from various sources to get the full picture and identify possible recovery strategies