In an investment decision, the numbers need to work, they need to be accurate and they need to be complete. Validating the accounting and determining the proper valuation of assets and liabilities is essential, and for these tasks, the accountants and analysts are the right experts for the job. Another aspect, often overlooked, but in some cases even more vital, is the reputational information surrounding companies and individuals known as “reputational due diligence”
This crucial information is discovered through a specific type of background check known as reputational due diligence.
In many instances, the same accounting experts who work on financial due diligence are the ones being asked to also conduct the reputational due diligence. Unfortunately, there are very few financial analysts or accountants who understand and engage in conducting real reputational due diligence. Instead, they have learned about the commercially available databases that aggregate data on people and spit out 150 pages of raw data, most of which is useless, particularly to those untrained on how to analyze and use it as a starting point of a much more in-depth investigation. These bulk data reports in no way constitute a reputational due diligence investigation. These same experts also know that the internet can be a great resource for information and they conduct some searches on the web to locate social media or references in news media. Regrettably, experts in financial analytics and accounting are not experts in uncovering reputational data through both open and closed sources. Internet profiling and social media investigations as one example have evolved beyond the capabilities of even the best of casual google users, with statistics showing that most of those who use Google are only searching a small percentage of available information on the internet, leaving much information still available to be mined by trained and skilled profilers.
Being that specialized experts such as accountants do not make the best open source researchers due to the complexity of this very small, specialized and unrelated field, a buyer of such services needs to look to an entirely different intelligence gathering industry; and even further so, need to identify those who professionally and expertly conduct reputational due diligence investigations during the normal course of practice.
In some instances, particularly when a buyer is only interested in the company or intellectual property they hold, and not the management team, sales staff or ownership, a basic reputational due diligence investigation may not be necessary to accomplish the desired goal.
When the integrity of management, key executives, directors and related parties does matter, ASG has customized due diligence solutions that can fit your time table and your budget; giving you more actionable information than other resources can.