Businesses declare bankruptcy to either eliminate or repay their debts under the guidance and protection of a bankruptcy court. As a result, businesses are either liquidated entirely or can be reorganized. Bankruptcy data contains all public details about the legal status of a business as a result of its declared bankruptcy. This may include the business’s financial statements, debts, creditors, and more.
The best source for bankruptcy information comes from a government database, however, it is available from a number of sources. Governments record accurate and reliable information but the data may not be complete. Therefore, you should also try other sources, such as one of the data vendors found on our site.
A business going bankrupt becomes public information, meaning that media outlets are also a good source of this data.
A database that records information about entities that have just filed for bankruptcy will have the company name, the date of the bankruptcy declaration, and its current status. In contrast, though, a larger database that collects bankruptcy information over a period of years will have more detail, such as the specific bankruptcy procedure that was followed. When applicable, additional information may include the scope of the debts and the details of repayment.
The future of a company and all parties who are related to it is dramatically affected by bankruptcy data. Before signing a business deal, for example, you can consult bankruptcy data so you can make a fully informed decision about the risks of doing so.
You can also use the data to plan the best practices for your venture. You can improve the chances of your own success, by learning from the mistakes of others.
Source is really the most important aspect to consider when checking the quality of bankruptcy data. Government agencies, for example, generally provide good quality data—though they do not always provide it freely.
You should also ensure that the data is frequently and recently updated. The more up-to-date the information, the more useful it will be for you.
Eurofund: Restructuring in bankruptcy: recent national case examples
Historically, bankruptcies have closely tracked the business cycle and contemporaneous unemployment rates. However, this relationship has reversed during the COVID-19 crisis thus far. While aggregate filing rates were very similar to 2019 levels prior to the severe onset of the pandemic, filings by consumers and small businesses dropped dramatically starting in mid-March, contrary to media reports and many experts’ expectations. The total number of bankruptcy filings is down by 27 percent year-over-year between January and August.
SSRN: Bankruptcy and the COVID-19 Crisis by Jialan Wang, Jeyul Yang, Benjamin Charles Iverson, Raymond Kluender
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