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Becoming, and remaining, one of the top investment banks in 2023 is a constant competition. One thing that helps top bankers get ahead is the use of software tools.
These tools are available to anyone if they know where to look. We have created a guide of the best software tools for bankers to use for the purpose of managing M&A activities and making the deal process more efficient.
Productivity tools refer to software designed to simplify tasks, streamline workflows, and make life easier.
Excel is a spreadsheet application from Microsoft that enables its users to format, organize, and calculate data in a spreadsheet. Excel is commonly used in investment banking, and learning its basic functions is a rite of passage for those interested in finance.
Bankers use Excel for a variety of purposes; running technical calculations; producing accounting ratios; running capital budgeting analyses; and calculating risk analysis or discount cash flows.
Financial analysis is done with Excel in one of two main ways; the first focusing on data retrieved from a company’s financial statements and the second focusing on charting, probabilities, and technical analysis.
This tool also integrates with other software, including virtual data rooms, which we will discuss later. Excel is utilized by all top bankers, and could be considered the most utilized tool of the industry. Excel is also now available live on the cloud for access from any device, at any location.
Adobe Acrobat is a software allowing for creating, editing, and reviewing of PDFs; electronic filling and signing of documents; and collaboration. The ability to edit and sign documents electronically expedites the deal process tremendously by eliminating the time taken to mail documents and wait for a return, or to find a time to meet with the other party in person.
Specifically for investment bankers, Adobe Acrobat allows for notarization of documents from anywhere. The platform makes capturing and sharing sensitive information more efficient and secure by way of seamless, paperless workflows built for digitally-centric customers.
Adobe also integrates with other Microsoft applications and virtual data rooms. Plus, it is compliant with global security, compliance, and legal requirements.
Microsoft Word is a word processor designed by Microsoft that allows for the creation and download of both simple and complex documents. Word is used by investment bankers to create reports, type out complete documents, and proofread/format documents to be sent to investors.
Word can be integrated into virtual data rooms, as well as integrated with other applications. It is the most utilized platform for documentation, and is universal across all processing systems.
Relationships and trust are essential in investment banking, and having a relationship intelligence CRM is crucial. Unlike traditional CRM systems, a relationship intelligence CRM is designed to automatically capture all the daily interactions that investment bankers have.
It goes beyond logging calls or meetings; it provides insights into each relationship's strength, history, and potential. By leveraging advanced analytics and AI, these systems can predict which connections will most likely yield fruitful opportunities, ensuring that bankers are always ahead.
Research tools are used to fact-find company information such as financials, statistics, activity. Research tools are also used for evaluation and market research purposes.
This platform provides financial data, analytics, and research. It combines information on companies, markets, and people worldwide with robust tools for analysis, idea generation, and workflow management.
S&P Capital IQ allows investment bankers to perform company and industry research; monitor companies and markets; identify and leverage key relationships; generate better ideas and targets; and build and maintain models and presentations. Plus, it is Excel plug-in enabled.
Similarly, PitchBook provides comprehensive data, research, and insights spanning the global capital markets.
PitchBook offers a desktop version with advanced search, discovery and insights, company profiles, and workflow management. They offer a mobile platform, an Excel plugin, direct data, CRM integration, and a Chrome Extension for ease of use. Their research is delivered by an institutional-grade private market research group that focuses on the data that investors will want to know.
AlphaSense is another highly rated market intelligence and search platform whose highlight is their speed. They claim to move at the speed of the market with their research updates, enabling investment bankers using the platform to easily track companies, topics, and industries from over 10,000 sources in one location.
They offer access to premium content without a credit card required. AlphaSense allows bankers to monitor and surface critical insights on topics that they want to track. They also incorporate AI technology, allowing bankers to spend less time on manual work and more time on analysis. Secure collaboration is also available with the Notebook feature and markup capabilities.
Plus, they offer access to transcribed expert calls of interviews with former executives, competitors, customers, or partners so listeners can understand what is happening behind-the-scenes of a company or market.
Deal management is not only the basis of investment banking, but also the most time consuming aspect; with more efficient and effective deal management comes a greater number of closed deals and a profitable gain.
An investment banking data room is an online repository that functions as a secure location for storage, and a place for sharing documents and data needed for investment banking deals. During transactions, investment bankers need to collect and share a great deal of information with potential buyers and sellers. The most efficient way to do so is with the use of a data room. Data rooms are largely used to assist with the due diligence process through sharing of legal information, fundraising, and collaborating with all necessary parties. VDRs also provide insight as to which information is being viewed the most and what changes are being made by parties entering the data room using oversight analysis. Bankers do not use virtual data rooms just as a data storage, but frequently perform analysis and access the data room throughout the entire deal period; therefore, the virtual data rooms utilized by bankers must have advanced features.
FirmRoom is a top-ranked virtual data room specifically designed for M&A. All of the essential functions of a virtual data room are featured in FirmRoom, such as drag-and-drop upload, bulk file upload, and specific permissions settings.
There are advanced search capabilities to facilitate document locating, which helps streamline the due diligence process. With FirmRoom, you can also place watermarks on each document and utilize that as a permission setting. Plus, users can view real-time analytics to see which documents were viewed and how much time was spent on each document.
FirmRoom is fully SEC and FINRA compliant, and places security as their top priority. The platform is also user-friendly, comes with live-chat customer support, and utilizes flat-rate pricing.
At FirmRoom, we work on plethora of banks. Following are the features busy investment bankers value the most:
Mergers and acquisitions are complicated deals that require industry specific project management tools to complete and stay organized.
DealRoom is the prime example of a project management tool specifically designed for M&A; DealRoom merges a virtual data room with project management tools to facilitate deals. The plaform is utilized for buy and sell-side transactions, or the creation, promotion, and sale of stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments to the public market.
Investment bankers utilizing DealRoom are able to manage the entirety of the due diligence process, see what progress has been made, what needs to be done, and who is responsible for each diligence request.
DealRoom enhances communication, makes data storage more efficient, and streamlines processes. Financial and operational summaries are all stored in one secure space with documents safely linked to requests and only visible to those with access. Communication is greatly improved with buyers. They are able to request answers in the data room, follow and reply in communication threads, and have security peace of mind.
DealRoom also has a pre-made diligence template so teams can spend less time on logistics and focus on closing the deal. Teams can also used DealRoom to track detailed information regarding buyer’s engagement such as document/file views, time spent within the room, request activity, and more.
Collaboration is a critical part of mergers and acquisitions, as adequate communication between investors and investment bankers determines whether or not the deal proceeds to closure. Collaboration tools can make that communication easier and more efficient, and facilitate the closure of deals.
Slack is an instant messaging app for business that connects people on one team, and is accessible from any device. It allows for quick and efficient communication with those that have been added to a group, and shows the activity status of all members of the group. Slack allows messaging inside or outside an organization, and enables creation of specific channels for different areas of projects. Everyone has access to shared information, but specific permission settings can be set.
Yammer is a communication tool created by Microsoft to connect members of a company. Using Yammer, employees are able to join communities to stay informed, connect with coworkers, and gather ideas. To bring someone into a conversation, all you have to do is “@ them” to loop them in. There is also a search tool to locate experts, conversations, and files quickly. However, Yammer can only be used within an organization, so may be better for internal communications within investment banking teams, rather than communication with investors.
Teams is a closer equivalent to Slack. It was created as a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication. Features include chat, team channels, a calendar, and apps. Teams includes search options and can sync with Outlook, which is a benefit of utilizing Teams over Slack if your workspaces are largely based in the Microsoft Suite.
While these are the top rated tools for investment bankers, there is a wide range of options to choose to facilitate deal closure.
FirmRoom, having been in the M&A space for decades, is the best VDR choice for investment bankers, as it was specifically designed for exactly that. With this information in mind, you can rest assured that FirmRoom is a premiere software provider that can help ensure more effective, efficient, and successful deal closures.