Tax accountants are not here to save lives, but from time to time, we do have to swan in at the right time and save a family.

I had a client recently who owned a small business in a really tough industry. They had bought the business and been running it for a few years, just ticking along. They knew the business reasonably well from an operational viewpoint. But even still, they started to run into some financial trouble. They weren’t dealing with their people very well. Their employees were getting away with a few things they shouldn’t have been – they were gilding the lily. My client was struggling to control that area of the business. Further along the track, they got into unmanageable financial misfortune.

I was asked to go and have a chat to this couple. They were lovely people. Early 50s. Salt of the earth types. They were just trundling along and doing their best.

I sat down with them and had a look at their numbers. The numbers don’t lie.

It wasn’t looking pretty for them.

They needed it between the eyes so I went whack: ‘This is over. It’s time to give up.’

All that stuff you learn about never giving up, staying determined, setting your organisation on your life goals and bloody mindedly getting there… it’s a load of bullshit when you are about to lose your house or key financial assets.

Don’t get me wrong, the conversation with this client was tough. It was difficult for them to hear.

Towards the end of chatting to this couple and advising that they talk to their administrator and do their best to deal with their creditors and the bank, the lady revealed something to me that really reiterated that it was over. She mentioned that that week they had to go into hospital because her daughter had what looked like a terminal illness. Tears came out, tissues came out. It was hard.

My advice is that if you run into trouble in small business, sometimes you have got to give up.

This is not about phoenix companies making their way back; this is about real people who have gone into business for the right reasons and they are trying to do all the right things.

Anyone can run into issues. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work out and the figures show that. If that is the case, it might be time to give up, start again in life, and save yourselves.

This is the ultimate asset protection. It’s called the Corporate Veil.

If the time comes and you’re told to give up, give up.