What is a Deal Sheet?
A deal sheet refers to a process record of the work experience of an entrepreneur or employee in past financial investment deals. The documentation of deals made by an individual in the deal sheet provides proof of suitability for working on similar projects. Most people who prepare deal sheets are looking to develop their careers and want to describe how their specific roles helped to ensure that the financial deals they were involved in were successful.
In investment banking, the specifics of every deal you’ve done, such as profit generated and yield per share, need to be kept. A business owner who wants to hire an investment banking firm or investment banker often requests to see the deal sheets of every professional on the deal team. By doing this, they are able to get information on their abilities and experience in deal-making.
Tips for Compiling a Deal Sheet
1. A deal sheet needs to be compiled early and updated regularly
The compilation of a deal sheet should be started early on, not just when you’re looking to switch jobs. If you wait a long time before composing your deal sheet, it is difficult to clearly remember all the relevant details from transactions that occurred many months or years ago.
2. Describe your specific roles
When compiling a deal sheet, particularly for subordinate associates, it is important to go the extra mile and not only describe the things you worked on, but also describe the specific role you played in each matter. This gives a clearer depiction of your experience and the work you did. It also shows that working on deals is important to you, because you take the time to keep track of your experience.
3. Don’t include any information that is confidential
You must be very cautious not to include in your deal sheet any confidential information. Generally, companies need to get consent to publicly list their clients. If you are in doubt as to whether a matter is confidential, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and not include the identity of a client.
4. Date each deal
Including the dates (year and month) of each deal indicates how recent your experience is in different sub-practice areas. For each category listed on your deal sheet, you could choose to list deals in an order that is descending and chronological.
5. A deal sheet is unnecessary if you possess little experience
For very junior people with little experience, the compilation of a deal sheet may not be necessary. However, even a little experience can be included in your resume as bullet points.
6. Note any unique legal issues in each matter
For each matter listed, include a note to offer an explanation for any particularly uncommon, complicated, or interesting legal issues that came up during your work, how you helped in handling the issue, and how it was resolved.
7. You can include deals that did not close
You can even include some of the deals that did not close, if mentioning them contributes something to the fundamental breadth of your experience.
8. Organize information through categories and headings
Your experience should be organized into logical categories that are separated by headings. For instance, a litigator may choose to list general commercial litigations, arbitrations, and bankruptcy litigations separately. On the other hand, a corporate lawyer can list capital markets offerings, SEC reporting matters, and M&A deals separately.
9. Condense comparable deals into one entry
If you’ve been involved in several almost identical deals for one client, you can condense them into one entry. You don’t need to bore your appraisers by being redundant.
10. Be ready to intelligently talk about all details in your deal sheet
You need to be fully prepared and able to properly explain what you’ve included in your deal sheet. In case you can’t fully recall the deal structure basics, the key issues that came up, the challenges you faced, and how you solved them, take some time to review them before an interview. Don’t include in the deal sheet parts of the deal that you weren’t involved in.
Completing a deal in a company requires a joint effort. Investment banking personnel need to keep a record of their contributions in completing deals to use for interviews and performance appraisals. Preparing a deal sheet is a good way to take stock of your experience and see where you can improve your knowledge and skills going forward.
A deal sheet not only helps employees to be prepared for prospective jobs but also helps the job interviewer or appraiser to prepare appropriate questions to ask according to the listed achievements.
CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful: