Due diligence is the systematic and structured analysis of investment decisions to mitigate the risk. It’s performed with strategic, operational, and financial perspectives to assess if something should be considered before entering into the contract.
Further, due diligence is a broad concept that involves trend analysis, benchmarking, background checks, financial analysis, competitor analysis, sensitivity analysis, and much more.
Also, read five elements of the financial statements.
An enormous amount of time and effort is spent every year on mergers and acquisitions. And the process is a lengthy and crucial step in a merger and acquisition transaction. In addition, a buyer conducts due diligence to confirm that the seller has made accurate claims. Further, Due diligence is conducted on potential mergers and acquisitions. And accounting and legal reviews aren’t the only forms of due diligence.
Using an all-inclusive due diligence approach to mergers and acquisitions. There is a more stable base that can be created for future mergers and acquisitions. Also, if a company is considering mergers or acquisitions, the top management of the company, including CEOs and CFOs, should consider at least five key due diligence factors as discussed.
1) Financial due diligence
The audit’s goal is to determine if the financials included in the Confidentiality Information Memorandum (CIM) are correct. An organization’s financial information should be scrutinized thoroughly, and audited financial statements of the particular organization for the past three years are a good starting point.
However, financial statements from the last year and the unaudited ones from the past year are also required to achieve a seamless process. Furthermore, an overview of the company’s projections, capital expenditure plan, inventory schedules, debtors, and creditors is further required.
Overall, the main purpose of financial due diligence is to assess if assets, liabilities, equity, and other items presented in the financial statement appear reasonable. And the most important aspect of the financial diligence is an assessment of the off-balance sheet liability, which may not be identified with a normal review of the financial statement.
2) Legal due diligence
Due diligence is not complete without analyzing the contracts, documents, litigation, or other issues relating to the environment or corporate-related matters. And the compliance requirements for all these matters mentioned above. It is typically not an excellent move to acquire a brand with legal problems or a company that ignores legal matters.
Failure points or risks uncovered during due diligence aren’t always indicative of an ineffective deal. Each party must weigh potential rewards and risks, but it’s up to them to decide what’s best for them. However, it can help companies prepare for a merger or acquisition to position them in a stronger negotiating position.
3) Business due diligence
Risk analysis is carried out here concerning business processes and their related factors. These factors include markets, competitors, customers, and even business-related matters that directly concern the business. To better understand whether future industry changes pose a threat, the acquiring party conducts business due diligence.
It is also essential to determine whether its customer base carries a substantial risk and whether existing processes can be incorporated into new infrastructures. Also, an acquisition may lose value if, for example, a substantial proportion of revenue comes from a few clients.
4) Human Resources due diligence
Companies are often lucky to have great value in their people, which can also put them at risk. Understanding and evaluating the current organizational structure, the benefits are given to the employees, compensation to related parties, and the complete management structure of a company constitutes human resources.
In addition, acquiring entities must determine whether or not employee contracts are in dispute, union issues are mature, or other labor and HR issues may increase costs.
Further, it should be assessed if the business has sufficient competence to manage employee-related aspects as it’s one of the essential operational aspects of the business.
5) Operations due diligence
When performing due diligence on a company, all aspects of its operations are reviewed, from tech to insurance coverage. This assessment aims to assess the assets and technologies owned by the company and likely operational risks that might adversely affect success going forward.
A technological infrastructure that is aging or an inadequate real estate portfolio to support expansion are risks. Among these issues may also be hidden concerns, such as minor safety issues that may develop into larger problems of the future.
Due diligence reports
The report contains different sections depending on the nature of the business and work performed. Some of the well-known sections in the report include the following,
- Financial information
- Corporate & regulatory report
- Gearing status
- Employment status
- Real estate details
- Business agreements
- Stakeholders information
It is the systematic analysis of business to assess risk in the potential investment opportunity. Further, the performance of due diligence procedures helps to ensure the incorporation of professional input.
In addition to this, there are various perspectives to analyze the business that include operational aspects, financial aspects, regulatory aspects, human-related aspects, and technical aspects. Furthermore, this exercise helps in systematic and connected analysis to control the risk that can be analyzed one by one.
Frequently asked questions
Why is due diligence important for the investment decision?
It is important for investment decisions because it helps the buyer to get a deep understanding of the target’s risks and compatibility with their own business practices.
What are off-balance sheet items, and why important for the due diligence process?
Off-balance sheet items are business-related facts that are not recorded as a number in the financial statement. Although, IFRS and regulatory requirements may require its disclosure in the section of contingencies and commitments. But, it’s judgmental to decide which information should be disclosed in the accounts.
Hence, management of selling a business may be prone to hide some essential information about the business. So, it may help to identify hidden facts.
Is due diligence about an audit of the numbers?
Procedures performed to conduct include an audit of the numbers. However, it’s not limited to numbers as several other legal, operational, and business factors are included in the study.
Is due diligence performed only for investment?
It is performed for an investment opportunity. However, it’s not limited to the same as any background check of employees, and other stakeholders are also included in the process.
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