Should I work in Big 4 Valuations? – Work-life reality, exposure & exit opportunities
In this mini-series, we explore some of the most talked about Accounting & Audit exit opportunities to uncover what work-life reality is really like, what it can do for your career trajectory & the available exit opportunities. Articles in this mini-series include:
- Should I work in Big 4 Financial Due Diligence (FDD)?
- Should I work in Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)?
- Should I work in Equity Research?
- [THIS ARTICLE] Should I work in Big 4 Valuations?
- Should I work in Restructuring?
- Should I work in Product Control?
- Should I work in Internal Audit?
In this article, we’re covering Big 4 Valuations – a subset of the Big 4 Transactions Services (TS) division.
Have you ever wondered:
- What Valuations is actually all about?
- Is it just glorified Accounting & Audit?
- How is it different to Investment Banking/M&A?
- What clients, teams, senior partners etc. will I get exposure to?
- What is the work-life reality like?
Let’s start from the top…
Why does the Valuations team exist?
Corporates and PE firms often don’t have the spare capacity (at the Analyst-level) to develop detailed financial models / valuations when engaging in M&A activity, yet valuations are crucial to having a good understanding of whether the price you’re offering when buying (or receiving when selling) a business/asset represents good value for money.
This is where the Big 4 Valuations team comes in.
Depending on the size of the client, the in-house Corporate Development / M&A team may “own” the valuation model and the Big 4 team will purely provide input & analysis into it, or sometimes this task & ownership will be outsourced completely (often when the client is of a fairly small size).
Note that very large corporates will even have their own Finance / Valuations team in-house, and thus Big 4 team involvement will likely be restricted to Financial Due Diligence.
Work life reality & client/senior exposure
- Inputs provided by the Big 4 Valuations team will more likely than not be from a purely-financial perspective.
- Operational and commercial analysis is best held by subject-matter / industry experts, which the client will either have in-house or will seek in-depth advice from industry-specific external consultants, rather than the insights the Big 4 teams would be able to provide.
- The degree of “strategy” you will be exposed to very much depends on the client’s internal capacity and how much they are willing to outsource to the Big 4.
- Despite your involvement in “M&A”, the Big 4 Valuations team is not an M&A team, and you will not get exposure to every step of the M&A process. Clients will bring you in when necessary and will keep the majority of information to themselves (including involvement in the negotiations with the third-party).
- Your Partner/Director will hold the relationship with the client predominantly, although you’ll likely attend meetings and have a point of contact within the client’s own M&A/M&A Finance team (depending on size of the corporate).
- You’ll develop very strong Financial Modelling skills, and the role is certainly a step away from the accounting & auditing realm, however as mentioned, your involvement will be limited to the financial aspects of the deal i.e. not the strategic/commercial/other aspects across the entire deal lifecycle.
- Hours will be as long as pure Investment Banking and you’ll be expected to be on call to client needs (think: 9am to 1am), but without the pay perks.
This mini-series intended to give you a quick and dirty overview to some of the most talked about Accounting & Audit exit opportunities. This particular post covered Big 4 Valuations – a subset of the Big 4 Transaction Services (TS) division, with other roles coming soon!
Now if this is an area you’re considering, I strongly encourage you to check out our map of the landscape of Accounting & Audit Exit Opportunities, including Valuations to find out:
- How does Valuations compare to other roles in the Finance realm?
- What are my accounting & audit exit opportunities after spending time in Valuations?
- How does the career trajectory in Valuations differ from others I’m considering
- Are there other post-audit career paths suited to me?
- And more…!
Exit Options | Mapping the post-accounting & audit landscape
A lot of the clients we coach ask about moving into more strategic & commercial roles after spending time in traditional accounting & audit, but don’t know where to start or even what opportunities exist …so-much-so that we’ve put together a map of the landscape of accounting exit opportunities, which I encourage you to check out!
Spice up your CV/Resume for the post-accounting & audit world
We’ve created a digital guide specifically to help those of you applying for more commercial & strategic roles. Our straight-talking CV/Resume advice for Accountants/Auditors is the only guide that is highly-specific to the traditional accounting & audit background: we give you real-life good & bad examples for showcasing your experience for strategic roles, the best structure & content to win over recruiters, a strategy for distributing your CV/Resume, interview advice, and more!
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