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Private Equity Accountants and Auditors

The Job

Accounting is often called the language of business. Accountants are fluent in this language, having expertise in concepts ranging from accelerated depreciation and amortization to capitalization and retained income. Their work is integral to the day-to-day operations of private equity firms and other employers and the long-term financial health of their organizations. Job responsibilities for accountants vary by the size of the employer and other factors, but most perform the following duties:

  • maintaining and controlling the general ledger and various sub-ledgers
  • reviewing capital activity that pertains to the funds, including capital calls, rebalances, transfers, and distributions
  • preparing and reviewing quarterly and annual financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles
  • calculating management fees
  • preparing bank reconciliation documents
  • maintaining and updating financial data in investment databases
  • ensuring settlements of invoices and other payments
  • assisting the chief financial officer with the preparation of financial forecasts and on ad-hoc projects such as portfolio risk reporting, key performance indicators reporting, liquidity reporting, and portfolio management systems selection and integration across portfolio companies
  • reconciling all cash received from investors and investments
  • assisting in compliance monitoring and control
  • preparing capital account allocation schedules (e.g., capital calls, distributions, income) for general partners and limited partners in accordance with the terms of partnership agreements
  • working closely with external and internal auditors during year-end reporting
  • preparing ad-hoc analytics for existing and potential clients
  • preparing tax returns according to prescribed rates, laws, and regulations
  • providing accounting services, as needed, to the firm’s portfolio companies

Auditors are specialized accountants who make sure that financial records are accurate, complete, and in compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Those who are employed as salaried employees by a company or other organization are known as internal auditors. “Internal auditing involves identifying the risks that could keep an organization from achieving its goals, making sure the organization’s leaders know about these risks, and proactively recommending improvements to help reduce the risks,” according to the Institute of Internal Auditors. The work of internal auditors is checked and verified by independent auditors, who are typically employed by accounting firms. Major duties for auditors include:

  • reviewing the general ledger, various sub-ledgers, and other financial documents for accuracy
  • identifying and resolving client issues discovered during the audit process
  • recommending improvements on internal controls, operating efficiencies, and profitability to management
  • conducting acquisition audits (i.e., financial analysis or “due diligence”) on a company the client is considering acquiring
  • validating financial and nonfinancial data for external and internal review
  • performing an annual risk assessment of the business and continuous monitoring of the plan based on the risk analysis of the critical processes