Many corporate finance professionals typically begin their career within professional services, often as an external auditor, or straight into corporate finance as an analyst or executive/trainee. Others may start within a corporate finance advisory firm/boutique, investment bank or private equity firm.
Those within professional services often come to a point in their career where they are considering their next move and wonder, "should I remain within professional services or should I move to a corporate finance advisory firm or private equity?"
Corporate Finance in Professional Services
Whilst not historically the core business, corporate finance is an integral part of professional services and not only does it bring in a huge amount of revenue, it also provides further service lines to the firm’s customers and encourages loyalty. The wider firms are taking notice and realising the value a corporate finance team can deliver.
What falls under the corporate finance umbrella can vary between firms, but as a rule of thumb, it applies to transaction services, mergers & acquisitions, debt advisory (fund-raising, management buy-outs and IPOs).
A benefit of choosing a career within professional services in the first place is that you are put through the ACA qualification which can make you incredibly valuable in the business world and it stands out on your CV. Saying that it is becoming more and more apparent that the ACA is not absolutely necessary to be successful within corporate finance at a professional services firm and we are seeing more people opting to take the CFA in addition or as an alternative.
Outside of the Big 4, transactions are typically mid-market, ranging between £5m - £500m, and you are often working with owner-managed business, SME’s, management teams and private equity firms. Naturally, the environment is entrepreneurial, fast-paced and forward-thinking, with the opportunity to work with interesting people and their businesses.
Other benefits of working within professional services include:
Structured training and opportunities for progression
Variety of work across a range of clients and sectors, with options for specialising within a sector you most enjoy
More established firms with a strong pipeline of transactions that come from the wider firm as well as the corporate finance team
Working for a brand brings reputation and in turn, the opportunity for increased pipeline
A “boutique” feel with the support and security of a wider firm
Generous benefits (upto 25 days annual leave, health benefits, pension, and flexible working)
More and more firms are offering flexible working in addition to a better work-life balance
There are still many professional services firms with limited or no corporate finance offering - these are the firms to watch! Not only do you get the chance to work within a “start-up” environment but you have the security and the resource of a wider firm behind you. These opportunities are becoming more available, and more sought after as the prospect of helping to shape the future of a team becomes a reality.
If you would like more careers advice, or to find out about our current Corporate Finance job vacancies, don't hesitate to contact us for a confidential chat.