What is Corporate Finance?

The definition of corporate finance varies around the world. In the US corporate finance tends to be anything related to a company’s finances and capital. In the UK, however, the term corporate finance, or even corporate financier, tend to be associated with transactions. These transactions occur when creating, developing, growing or acquiring a business.

Corporate Finance is associated with the changing ownership of a business or a corporate transaction that leads to a new structure. This also includes related issues such as underwriting or the purchasing or exchanging of equity or debt.

Types of transactions that fall under corporate finance include;

  • Raising start-up or expansion capital
  • Mergers, acquisitions, or sales of companies
  • Management buy-outs or buy-ins
  • Equity issues
  • Raising and restructuring of debt

Corporate Adviser, also known as a Financial Advisor, is involved in company mergers, acquisitions and changes in ownership of a business.

What is a Corporate Advisor?

A Corporate Advisor is often found in investment banks, accountancy or professional services firms. The can also be found at independent advisory firms. They essentially help ensure the financial health of a company. They will predominantly be involved in mergers and acquisitions mediating these transactions and working in the best interests of their client. Corporate Advisers may also be involved in business recovery and insolvency.

The can also be referred to as Corporate Finance Advisors, or even just Financial Advisors. Financial Advisors can also work for individuals, rather than just working for companies.

What does a Corporate Advisor do day-to-day?

Now we have established what a Corporate Advisor does, and what corporate finance is, what does a Corporate Advisor do day-to-day?

A Corporate Advisor can be involved at all stages of the business lifecycle. This could include the following;

  • Assisting with start-up valuation
  • Reviewing business operations and performance
  • Setting KPI’s for a long term strategy
  • Setting business objectives
  • Help in growing the business
  • Being involved in mergers and acquisitions

So there is a variety of work you can get involved in.

What skills do you need to become a Corporate Advisor?

Corporate Advisors need to have strong analytical skills and to be good with numbers.

You will also need strong commercial awareness, keeping up to date with the industry. Corporate Advisors also need good communication and negotiation skills. You will be coming into contact with a range of people so the ability to communicate well is vital.

What qualifications do I need to become a Corporate Advisor?

Corporate finance professionals often have an ACA or ACCA qualification.

Both of these qualifications take around 3 years to complete. These are done as part of a three year graduate programme, where you will work alongside completing your professional qualification.

That said, an increasing number of graduates are working towards the CFA qualification as a Chartered Financial Analyst. There is also the Investment Management Certificate which is also proving popular. These are particularly common with those working for boutique finance or private equity firms.

How do I become a Corporate Advisor?

If you are a university student, then one of the best ways to enter the corporate finance world is to enter on a graduate scheme.

This will more than likely be an Audit or Corporate Finance programme at an Accountancy Firm. Here, you will embark on a three year training contract where you will work towards your ACA or ACCA qualification.

Another route from university is to join an advisory firm or investment bank as an analyst. Roles here vary and you may find yourself working in transaction support or mergers & acquisitions.

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of the role of a Corporate Advisor. As you can see, it is a varied career which can see you working on a range of projects.

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