Corporate finance primarily involves adding value to businesses through buying and selling. For example, a company may decide to buy out another company to augment its business. Or the owners of a company could sell the whole or part of a business and allow senior staff to attempt a management buyout – extra funds would need to be raised to make this possible.
Roles range from lead advisers, who project manage the process of raising capital, through to reporting accountants and auditors, who are responsible for making sure that the accounts of any target company are in good order, to lawyers, who ensure that any transactions are carried out in the correct legally binding way.
Due to recent events in the banking sector, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find the extra funding necessary to take important steps forward. Although there has been an increase in the visibility of private equity firms in the past few years, the current conditions will provide fresh challenges for those interested in this area.
Auditing roles provide good experience in calculating how much businesses are genuinely worth. Professional qualifications for this role are now offered by the ICAEW. In some roles within corporate finance, complex deals often require detailed knowledge of the area of business in which the organisation is trading – in those roles, staff will need to have acquired this special sector-specific knowledge.
To work in corporate finance, you need excellent communication skills. Brokers and lead advisers in this area need to be able to strike deals effectively with other parties. Confidence is essential, as are good numeracy skills and the resilience to be able to work long hours under a high degree of pressure.