Synergi Global Solutions Limited

I mentioned a while ago about a client that went titsup. They are actually an agency through whom Codematic was providing services to a third party. Their name was Synergi Global Solutions Ltd and they are currently in liquidation, and about to disappear for ever. Although seemingly they have some close ties with a recently formed company called Innova Business Solutions Ltd.

I recently went to the Synergi Global Solutions Ltd creditors meeting to hear the gory details. What an eye opener!

Anyway the Synergi (SGS) directors have seemingly (allegedly?) mismanaged their company so badly that of the 15k GBP (30k USD) they owe little old Codematic we can expect a big fat zero.

What is shocking is that running an agency is pretty simple – contractors invoice you, you add your 10 or 20% and invoice the client. Thats it, how hard is that? If you know you can only spend 20% max of your invoiced amounts how can you (honestly) end up missing 300,000 GBP??? (or perhaps its something a little bit more, shall we say, suspicious?)

Anyway if any of you are up Edinburgh way watch out for the new company (thats right, having allegedly proven beyond all doubt the directors can’t run an agency, they have set up a new one! (all praise our magnificent insolvency system!)).

The new company name is Innova Business Solutions Ltd. The (ex) Synergi directors you may want to watch out for are:

  • Stephen Roberts
  • Alan Martin
  • Stuart Campbell
  • Chris Barr
  • Billy the Kid
  • Dick Turpin

(ok I made those last 2 up)

I guess you could argue that now we, the unsecured creditors, have spent 300k on educating these guys, maybe they are a safer bet. Lets just say those of us with more intimate knowledge are all advising everyone we know to stay well clear.

Whats especially frustrating is the UK legislation that encourages clients to want to operate through these pointless intermediaries. It gets harder and harder to go direct as clients fear they may get hit with a national insurance or PAYE bill should the powers that be decide that we are some sort of employee of the client.

All of this Synergi Innova information I’ve mentioned is a matter of public record. Further details are available from Companies House, where I have been spending fair bit of time recently.

Rant over!

cheers

Simon

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14 Responses to “Synergi Global Solutions Limited”

  1. gobansaor Says:

    I’ve been a contractor (both here in Ireland and the UK) most of my working life. The golden rule with agencies is: if they don’t pay-up within the agreed terms, walk away. As you said the business model is straight forward, they take their cut (often much more than 20%) to cover their staff/sales costs and the cost of collecting debts. Never accept any excuses from this type of intermediary, if they can’t pay it’s either due to gross mismanagement or due to a break-down in their relationship with the clients they’re placing staff with. In either case, walk away.

    I know it can be hard as the party that ends up with the most grief is the client, i.e. the party with whom you have a ‘real’ relationship. But you’re right Simon, the real problem is UK (and Irish) tax law forcing free agents into ‘un-natural’ business relationships, including forming limited companies when sole-trader or part-time employee status would be more suitable.

    Tom

  2. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Sorry to hear of the loss. Unfortunately these things consume as much time and energy as they do your money.

    A similar thing happened to a colleague about 8 years ago. His agent was overdue on payments. The agent was also trading using someone else’s ACN (registered company) number. The first lawyer told him to walk away as he didn’t have a legal contract. He did, and continued through another agent.

    The first agent sued for breach of contract and loss of income. My colleague then sought another lawyer’s advice who said he should never have just walked away. He should have but provided formal, written notice of dissolution of the contract providing a few days for the agent to ‘make amends’. This would demonstrate that he made a reasonable attempt to rectify the situation.

    In the end (after about nine months) my colleague settled out of court. It’s not what’s right or wrong, but what you can afford to prove in court.

    This situation occurs in many industries. In another life I worked in food and hospitality (family pastry business). We had a butcher open next door who closed again within four months with a line of creditors at the door. I later found out that this was his modis operandi. He’d open a new butcher shop, establish accounts with suppliers and never pay. He’d liquidate the company and open a new store somewhere else. Unfortunately bastards aren’t contained by geography.

    Thankfully, in over a decade of contracting I’ve not had a bad debt although I’ve had a couple I had
    to chase for six months (and threaten) before getting paid.

    “add your 10 or 20% and invoice”
    Such slim margins! I typically witness margins of 20% to 30%.

    Regards – Marcus

  3. Simon Says:

    I wrote the money off ages ago, I thought there might be some scraps from the liquidation, but it doesn’t look like it.
    Looks like they are following the well trodden path of your neighbourhood butcher Marcus.
    Hopefully with the power of the internet we can slow them down a little.
    cheers
    Simon

  4. Biggus Dickus Says:

    Tough luck Simon… I have always been reluctant to do biz through intermediaries and thankfully here in Canada the government isn’t so obsessed with this kind of thing (so far):

    “It gets harder and harder to go direct as clients fear they may get hit with a national insurance or PAYE bill should the powers that be decide that we are some sort of employee of the client.”

    I saw that this was a problem in the States too. Frankly it strikes me as yet another effort to give the power to corporations and to discourage small business (even though it’s possible their intentions were good initially).

    The secret to me is to do everything on a project basis therefore there is no regular paycheck (believe me !!). Also I have multiple clients (which as you have recently been reminded is always a good idea ;-)).

    Dick

  5. Ross Says:

    Hard lines! 15k is no joke, any chance of a clam under Professional Indemnity Insurance or anything like that? What about writing it off as an expense and claiming it as a tax brake – no dice?

  6. Simon Says:

    Ross, no our insurance doesn’t cover this. I think there are policies available, but generally people don’t take them out until this happens.
    Yep I can write it off, basically its just revenue that never happened so no tax or Vat hassles.
    Dick – ‘power to big business’, that is so true over here you would be stunned.
    I don’t really think anyone likes working through an agency (pimp), I intend to avoid it like the plague in future.

  7. Biggus Dickus Says:

    Simon:

    My policy with “Middle-Men” is “If you can pay me my regular rate (or higher) then I’ll consider the project”.

    But they have to be a company I know is solvent (hopefully). In the end nothing ever comes of it anyway because when they add in their cut (and the cut of sometimes more than one other intermediary) there is never enough left for the person who REALLY knows how to get the work done ;-) – sad but true. I have done work for Dell Consulting and occasionally for MCS (but they also like to get me on the cheap).

    Some corporations simply won’t deal with a one-man shop – they’re best avoided anyway… because they’re a**holes anyway ;-)

    Dick

  8. Simon Says:

    Dick
    yep, there is definitely a bit of ‘self selection’ going on.

    If they just want warm bodies then great go with a big firm – but I have never in all my working life seen a competent piece of Excel/VBA from the big accounting firms or consultancies.
    I have however made a good living fixing the shite-storm they leave though, so all is not lost!
    Its hard to explain the benefits of using a specialist when everyone thinks they are an Excel/VBA expert anyway!

  9. Biggus Dickus Says:

    “Its hard to explain the benefits of using a specialist when everyone thinks they are an Excel/VBA expert anyway!”

    That’s something I want to discuss with our friends in Redmond next week…..

    Dick

  10. Chris Barr Says:

    Simon,
    I left Synergi in February ’07 and had enough trouble getting out back then. Incidentally it was mutually agreed I would be best to leave… so I did. The reason my details are on Companies house is that Companies House are so far behind in updating the records. Incidentally I had no financial authority and consequently had no say in the financial well-being of the company, I wish you the best of luck retrieving what you are owed. Suffice to say I was ecstatic I was able to extract myself when I did… You are right in stating the 3 West Coast Directors are indeed heading up the new operation Innova Business Solutions, I wish you the best of luck in retrieving your funds.
    Chris.

  11. Simon Says:

    Thanks Chris
    I’d love to hear more about it over a beer sometime.
    I bet you wish you’d sent the 288 yourself and registered.
    cheers
    Simon

  12. Innova resourcing « Smurf on Spreadsheets Says:

    […] Here is a link to my previous rant. […]

  13. LINKS Says:

    If you want to see the links .. please see both

    http://www.synergisolutions.com

    and

    http://www.innovauk.com

  14. Links Says:

    Synergi Global Solutions

    Liquidated and reinvented as

    Innova Business Solutions

    and now operating as

    Cornerstone Resources Ltd

    Contact Address
    Woodside House
    20 – 23 Woodside Place
    Glasgow
    G37QF

    Telephone
    0845 888 2020

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