Cannock-based transport and training company Go Direct Recruitment Services has gone into voluntary liquidation after an accounting error left the firm with debts of more than £2.8m.

The company, which has a licence to operate 62 trucks and 60 trailers and counted pallet supplier CHEP as one of its clients, called in the liquidators after HMRC alerted it to a potential £470,000 shortfall in regards a VAT liability in July.  This led to the discovery of an additional debt owed to HSBC Invoice Finance UK, which the firm could not service.

The collapse of Go Direct Recruitment Services has left more than 100 creditors owed a total of £2.8m, of which over £1.2m is owed to HSBC Invoice Finance UK, according to a creditors' report issued by liquidator Moore Stephens.

The document, seen by MT, reveals that an investigation by the company’s accountants “suggested that the company had failed to properly account for payments from HSBC Invoice Finance UK and its customers over a number of years and/or had erroneously submitted a number of incorrect invoices for factoring".

"This had led to the belief that there is a sum of circa £670,000 that is unaccounted for and this has been reflected in the trade debtors write down,” it said.

In the report, owner and founder Gary Oliver attributed the firm’s insolvency to “a failure to recognise the need for qualified help with its financial procedures and a number of poor decisions made, after seeking advice from accountants and book-keepers".

“This has led to an error in raising invoices to HSBC Invoice Finance UK, which remained undetected until the beginning of August 2018. This has left a liability to HSBC which, added to a VAT liability, the business cannot service,” he said.

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Company accounts for Go Direct Recruitment Services to the year ending 31 December 2017 record a turnover of £5.8m and a net profit of £196,714. However a revised set of accounts for the period are being drafted.

The company was started in 2000 by Oliver as a driver recruitment agency. In 2012 it expanded into haulage as a sub-contractor to DHL’s CHEP Midlands contract, later replacing DHL as the main contractor.

The company, which operated from two depots in Essington and Cannock, also ran an HGV driver training facility, an HGV test centre and a storage business.

Creditors expressed shock at the collapse. One said: “Gary was a very decent, straight down the line guy so this was not at all expected. They must have got themselves into a real mess.”

None of the firm’s directors were available for comment as this article was published.