Working in financial due diligence (FDD) can lead to some of the best jobs available in finance. Financial due diligence exit opportunities are something you can do after getting experience working in FDD, which often means more prestigious jobs with higher salaries.
While working in FDD, you’ll gain a set of skills that include the following:
• An in-depth comprehension of accounting
• Ability to comprehend the flow of cash through a business
• Understanding the key drivers of revenue and profitability in a business
• The capacity to identify key business risks
• The capacity to quickly recognize new business models
• The capacity to speak with a management team’s key members
What is the Financial Due Diligence Big 4?
Financial due diligence is a detailed investigation and analysis of a company’s financial records, risks, obligations, and viability prior to a merger, acquisition, or investment deal.
Financial due diligence provided by the Big 4 professional services firms refers to the investigative process they conduct on behalf of a client.
The Big 4 are the world’s largest professional services networks. They are:
• PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
• Ernst & Young
• Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG)
Working for The Big 4 can instantly add credibility to your experience at any level. Whether you leave to go to a smaller firm or go up in the corporate finance department, you’ll have respect that only comes from working with The Big 4.
Their accountants gain exposure to a large variety of companies and industries. The opportunities available to Big 4 accountant professionals often determine their future career moves, as the Big 4 transaction services exit opportunities are attractive.
What It Takes for the Top Financial Due Diligence Exit Opportunities
You can’t just walk into these opportunities. These opportunities have specific requirements that come with years of experience.
Experience with a Prestigious Firm
You’ll have the best FDD exit opportunities when you work at a prestigious firm.
While many of today’s jobs allow you to work remotely, geography is still a major factor when considering exit opportunities. The best ones will be found in the major cities with large finance industries, such as New York or Chicago.
The amount of education, as well as the quality of your education, greatly impacts your available opportunities. While education is important, experience is also important. If you have several years of experience with a large FDD firm but only have an average education, you can still get a wonderful job.
The quality and number of deals you have worked on are referred to as deal flow. The more deals you work on, the more experience you gain. This also makes you more marketable when you begin looking for a new role.
Financial due diligence allows one to work on several deals each year. Working on more notable deals gives you more leverage.
Most people in FDD started out in transaction advisory, have transferred from another consulting position, or have transferred from an audit and advisory role. The type of job you get when you exit FDD will partially depend on the position you had, how long you worked in that role, and your experience before working in FDD.
You have to be willing to prepare for the interview process when you exit FDD. This willingness to prepare will greatly impact your opportunities. The harder you prepare, the more likely you are to be successful.
Only practice will get you to the level that interviewers are looking for. In addition to your experience in financial due diligence, you need to show that you understand the process and goals of this field.
Learn how to analyze businesses and how to identify the potential of earning adjustments and spot red flags. When practicing for your interview, focus on how you present your findings. They are looking for individuals that are concise, clear, and confident.
The Top 5 Financial Due Diligence Exit Opportunities
1. Financial Planning and Analysis (FP & A)
FP&A oversees the financing processes and budgeting at a company. They track the performance of a business over a period of time in order to make plans for future performance.
2. Strategic Finance
With a financial strategy position, you’ll focus on a business’s long-term vision and growth. In this role, you’ll assist in analyzing and making key business decisions.
3. Investment Banking
Investment banking is an ideal career for any ex-FDD professional. It will build on your experience in FDD and usually come with a higher salary.
Investment banking is similar to FDD. Both focus on M&A from an advisory position.
Related Article: How To Network For Investment Banking
Restructuring involves helping a failing business. By being a part of a business’s restructuring, you’ll play a part in the divestment of non-viable business operations, business stabilization, and forecasting cash flow.
5. Corporate Development
When you work in corporate development, you work on M&A, joint ventures, and other avenues of growth for an established business.
Big 4 Transaction Services Exit Opportunities
While financial due diligence offers attractive exit opportunities, professionals in the Big 4’s transaction services practices also have appealing options when they decide to leave public accounting.
The Big 4 firms have thriving transaction services groups that provide services including financial due diligence, valuations, M&A integration, divestitures, and more. These groups are involved in high-profile transactions across diverse industries.
Through deal experience, transaction services professionals develop a strong foundation in corporate finance, M&A, accounting, and operations that is highly valued.
Your exit opportunities will depend on how long you work in the transaction services group. Here is an overview of typical Big 4 transaction services exit opportunities based on years of experience:
1-3 years experience:
- Financial analyst roles in FP&A, equity research, or investment banking. Focus is on building technical finance skills.
- Corporate development roles doing financial modeling, valuation, and M&A analysis.
- Private equity or venture capital associate roles. Opportunity to learn about investing.
4-6 years experience:
- Senior corporate development roles leading smaller M&A deals and integration projects.
- Private equity associate roles with more responsibility in deal execution.
- Equity research associate/VP roles covering specific sectors.
- Investment banking associate/VP roles in sector coverage or M&A execution.
6+ years experience:
- Corporate development director/VP roles leading all aspects of M&A deals.
- Private equity VP roles leading diligence and execution of deals.
- Equity research VP roles with thought leadership and publishing.
- Investment banking VP roles leading deals and managing client relationships.
- Vice President levels in private equity and venture capital firms.
Many excellent financial due diligence exit opportunities are available to you if you are willing to put in the effort needed to reach these higher-paying, prestigious roles. Think about your future plans at every step of your career. With a good plan in place, you’ll be able to one day enjoy the rewards that come from your education, experience, and vision.
Related Article: Top 10 Public Accounting Exit Opportunities