As a specialist of fires and stoves, Richard Gunter always greets business opportunities with a warm welcome – literally and metaphorically.
So, when his previous accountant burnt out, his hard-earned livelihood was at risk of going up in smoke. Especially as it coincided with the 2007 credit crunch: considered by many to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
But, in addition to having books that didn’t balance, Richard was also privately struggling with family matters – which meant financial management and statutory paperwork simply wasn’t a priority.
Instead, he went off HMRC’s radar to recover – both personally and professionally.
By the time he returned, six years later, his refusal to give up was paying dividends. The phone had begun ringing and trade was roaring.
Finally, he was ready to report back to HMRC and fully update his affairs – but, once again, the accountant he instructed only did half a job, charging him the full fee while failing to file the accounts.
Weeks later, HMRC responded with their own calculated Tax and VAT bill, leaving Richard on the verge of bankruptcy.
‘I was shocked to see the amount they were requesting – I’d never made that much money in my life,’ he explains. ‘That is when I called Lanop.
‘I spoke to Zaib on phone for more than an hour. He was very friendly and told me not panic. He requested all the relevant information on my background and kept a cool head as he went through it all, looking for a realistic solution. That’s how it all started.
‘From there, everything improved. Within days of making contact, Lanop helped negotiate a way forward with HMRC – getting me around the black hole of bankruptcy, as well as liberating me from mounting penalty fees. They also helped devise an affordable repayment plan, which enabled me to get up-to-date with my old liabilities.
‘Today, two years on, my accounts are in order and my business is in peak financial fitness. Now, every day I go to work knowing I have I have somebody on my side. Best of all, my family – and my clients – know it too.’