PracticePeople In PracticeRich pickings in lean times.

Rich pickings in lean times.

News from the world of corporate finance is not good.

Despite these uncertain times, there are still plenty of deals to be done. The web is proving to be a useful resource for those looking at improving their position and increasing business prospects.

Several sites act as virtual marketplaces for businesses, such as www.byabiz.com; many sites are full of information; and all the advisers and accountancy firms have some form of web presence.

Against this background, anyone interested in corporate finance matters should be able to find what they are looking for. The British Venture Capitalists Association is a good starting point. Its website (www.bvca.co.uk) is simple but has some very good content.

The members’ directory in particular is helpful, giving detailed information on member firms, including links straight to their websites. The BVCA site also contains helpful advice for those seeking venture capital and includes a number of surveys highlighting current trends in private equity.

There is also a members’ section.

3i is the largest provider of venture capital in the UK, and one would expect to see a flash presence on the web. Its website, www.3i.com, is certainly very colourful, but it took a long time to open. Its content is similar to the BVCA, although it does go into more detail about the services on offer.

3i is big, as is the site, but plenty of small, niche operations on the web are also worth looking at.

One is Alchemy, the venture capital vehicle for would-be Rover driver Jon Moulton. Its website (www.alchemypartners.co.uk) neatly lays out its approach to doing business, is well designed and easily navigable.

All the major accountancy firms’ websites have sections on corporate finance, several backed up with statistics and research.

Grant Thornton has recently relaunched its site (www.grant-thornton.co.uk), giving it a clear, fresh look. It does not have a corporate finance section as such, instead opting to list its services according to deal type, such as ‘buying and selling a business’. It’s a good place to look for advice, particularly if the deal you are considering is not in the ‘mega-bucks’ region.

Also worth visiting is www.corpfinpeople.com, the ICAEW’s corporate finance faculty’s site. Here the plan is to list individuals and firms, highlighting their particular skills.

The site has only recently been launched and, as such, the database of experts is not extensive. In time it should become a valuable resource for anyone considering a business deal.

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