ACAs into Investment Banking

The low down on what it is really like moving into M & A

Are you nearing the end of your ACA contract?

Here’s the low down on what it is really like moving into Mergers & Acquisitions.

Follow Alan Mitchell on LinkedIn to find out more about your options – click here.

In the first instalment of our insights into the career opportunities available to newly qualified accountants in Front Office Investment banking we are considering the move to corporate finance, M&A

The job

The day to day job of an M&A Analyst is varied and full of challenging work.  In many smaller firms you can be client focussed from day one, the main duties include:

  • Assisting with creating valuation models, DCF, merger, LBO and other financial models
  • Execution of transactions
  • Assisting in the preparation of marketing pitchbooks and related materials
  • Strategic research for clients
  • Conduct due diligence and support negotiations.

What is great about M&A is that lots of different companies with varied work environments and cultures have M&A teams.  You can specialize in one industry sector, cover general sectors, work with small SMEs, listed mid cap firms, private equity owned businesses, FTSE 250/100 firm, and global organizations.  There is a team to suit everyone’s ambitions and requirements across many financial institutions including; Bulge bracket/international banks, European investment banks, M&A boutiques and the accountancy firms M&A teams, including the Big 4.  Our experienced consultants at Alan Mitchell will spend time finding out what you are looking for in your next career move and will carefully advise you on what companies would suit you best.

Why would you want to do this job?

M&A is often seen as the best route to earning big bonuses, but it has a lot more to offer than just money!  The work is interesting and close to the global markets, so always different and relevant.  It is an exciting but pressurized sector to work in as you will be deal focused and when deadlines are tight and deals are closing you will need to work long hours and the stress can be high but the feeling of achievement and success is really there.  The challenges make it fun if you like the adrenaline of deadlines and winning business.  You will often work on confidential and highly sensitive transactions which are high profile and newsworthy.  You will also be client focused and providing advise directly to the business owners and directors which is a real responsibility as your advice will be actioned by business leaders, whether they are entrepreneurs or CEO’s of international companies.  Your research and advice will have an impact on a business and effect change.

Working in M&A is also a respected steppingstone into other investment related roles such as Private Equity, so it does open doors for you as you build strong commercial, markets, communication and relationship management skills.  You will develop a contact network and a transaction list of everything you have been involved in which is impressive and valued for future career moves.

Who would it suit best?

If you are good at working under pressures and keeping to tight deadlines, and have a strong financial motivation, then M&A is a good move for you.  You need to be academic and able to keep up with the detailed research demands which would also be helped by a naturally inquisitive nature and a leaning towards finding out information, following leads and interpreting patterns and trends.

Confidence in your own thoughts and ideas is also essential as you need to be able to pass on advice to clients with conviction and belief.  Strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential for working with clients and delivering professional and credible advice.  Having a genuine interest in the effects of financial markets, products available and what makes companies tick is also essential to be able to relate to clients and find the motivation to really drill down with research and to consider solutions.

What’s the catch?

M&A is an exciting and rewarding sector to work but it does come with a downside.  Due to the deal focused nature of the work you will work long and often unsociable hours.  If a deadline needs to be met it is all hands to the deck until it is done, so some of your out of work commitments and activities need to be put on hold.  The work is demanding, and the work environment can often be stressful and pressurized.  To the right person this can be exhilarating but to others is can be very draining so do think carefully if this sector is right for you.

Our consultants at Alan Mitchell have been working with clients and candidates in the M&A sector for over 20 years now and will give you very straightforward advice on the M&A sector and if it is right for you so please contact Philip Seager to find out more – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk.