Artur Suits, the partner in charge of advisory services, says that the needs of clients in the financial advisory sector have also changed considerably in the last couple of decades. “Before the turn of the century, businesses were largely run on gut instinct and there was no need for advice until a foreign investor knocked on the door and wanted to buy your company,” he says. “The question was what price to sell for. This gave us the opportunity to assess the value of companies, and we also carried out due diligence audits on companies of interest to foreign buyers. Over the past decade, Estonian investors have also become more professional and mature, needing our services more.”
He illustrates this with a simple example: “In the past, foreign investors ordered due diligence audits of the company they were buying, but Estonians made deals on the basis of what was agreed in the sauna,” he smiles. “But there were times when people came to bitterly regret not checking out the goods before buying them. That isn’t done any more and banks have started to require due diligence for smaller transactions as well, which wasn’t considered necessary a few years ago.” Such is the changing job of financial advisors.
Advising the financial managers and internal auditors in companies, as well as working with law firms, has become a natural part of the job. “The world has become so much more complex that it’s hard to keep up with everything,” explains Suits. “As such, it’s quite common for a professional to ask another professional for advice: in an advisory firm we can specialise more, and therefore we’re able to deal with narrower issues that financial managers don’t normally have to deal with.”