Saving Time Bitches (Investment Banking & Private Equity)

That's right. It's summer time.

Although doing deals and pounding out diligence is sweet, the Hamptons are sweeter.

How can we save time to get out of the office faster?

Putting together a list of best practices and techniques (applicable to junior PE & banking professionals). There are a few precedent lists out there, so repaste and steel credit for other peoples' thoughtful responses.

1. Keeping paper / Excel tracker of tasks.

There are different flavors, and everyone has their own system, but keep track of tasks by time / priority.

2. Send out all external to-dos in the AM or before the weekend (eg, consultants / accountants / bankers / lawyers).

Minimizes chance of someone else's mess blowing up my weekend.

3. Expectations

Set expectations double how long you think it will take and push back as much as possible.

4. Research

Ask friends for their research logins / access. Getting good research always a pain

5. Slide templates

I save down slide templates for generic internal deliverables (company profile, diligence deck, memo, etc.) Makes it faster to fill out a new one.

6. BamSEC

BamSEC for public co financials. I don't use public co data that often anymore, but I do read 10-Ks for relevant public peers. This shaves a few seconds off grabbing the relevant files.

7. Logointern.com for logos.

Saw this on WSO a while back. Makes it way faster to grab a couple logos or make an industry overview slide (many logos).

8. Google alerts

Google alerts for relevant portcos / industries (grabbed this off WSO too).

9. Folder in outlook / on Desktop for each portco.

Includes all latest financials, correspondence, etc. Saves time when I get the: "Hey could you send the latest ___ for XYZ co? Thx."

Mod Note (Andy): top 50 posts of 2017, this one ranks #33 (based on # of silver bananas)

Comments (110)

Jun 12, 2017

You scoundrel. +SB. This is a good list. I've borrowed a lot of these from WSO too

Jan 10, 2018

Could you please PM me that template!!!!????

Array
Feb 3, 2018

@JB1995 Do some reading.

At the end of the thread, he posted the link to it.

@BillyAckman - thanks for the great guide:
MultipleExpansion.com

Jun 13, 2017

I have a basic LBO template that I use to drop in the financials for a given CIM along with template output pages. It lets me pull together basic (but not thoughtful) CIM digest materials in < 1 hour.

    • 5
Jun 16, 2017
BillyAckman:

I have a basic LBO template that I use to drop in the financials for a given CIM along with template output pages. It lets me pull together basic (but not thoughtful) CIM digest materials in < 1 hour.

Hi, would you share it ?

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Jun 16, 2017

PM me

Jun 20, 2017

Can you please also send it my way?

    • 1
Jun 26, 2017

Would love to see this as well, thanks.

    • 1
Jun 26, 2017

Hi, could you send it to me too please? Cheers

    • 1
Jun 30, 2017

You mind PMing it here too?

    • 1
Jul 11, 2017

Can you send it to me as well? Thanks.

    • 1
Jul 19, 2017

This sounds amazing - I'd really appreciate it as well!

    • 1
Jun 23, 2017

Could you please send that my way as well

    • 1
Jun 23, 2017

Could you please share it? TIA

    • 1
Jun 26, 2017

Could you please send it to me as well. Thanks a lot.

Array

    • 1
Jun 26, 2017

Could you please send it to me as well? Thanks in advance.

    • 1
Jun 27, 2017

I would love it if you could PM me this too -- I just made a post on how my modelling skills are lacking, so this would be useful for me.

Go Carl Icahn though!

"I did it for me...I liked it...I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."

    • 1
Jul 12, 2017

Can you also send it my way please

    • 1
Aug 13, 2017

Can you please also send it my way? Many thanks!

    • 1
Aug 13, 2017

Hi, appreciate if could please send. Thanks kindly

    • 1
Aug 13, 2017

Can you share this to me as well via PM? Thanks.

    • 1
Aug 13, 2017

Any chance you can please send this my way as well via PM? Really appreciate it. Thanks

    • 1
Dec 26, 2017

.

    • 1
Jan 5, 2018

Send it to me as well!!, you da best!!

    • 1
Jan 11, 2018

can you send to me?

    • 1
Jan 11, 2018

Read the thread. He posted it on MultipleExpansion.com

Feb 3, 2018

Do you mind to share it with me too?

Mar 3, 2018

.

Mar 4, 2018

can you send it to me please?

Jul 5, 2018

Can you send to me too? Thanks.

Jun 14, 2017

Probably old news, but for checking I always compare the prior PDF with the new version I'm about to send and I go page-by-page alternating between the two (alt-tab). Makes it easy to see all of the changes.

Saves time, because then I have an answer when VP says "Why did this change" as opposed to scrambling to 20 minutes and looking unprepared.

    • 1
Jun 14, 2017

Old news but definitely a best practice.

    • 1
Jun 27, 2017

/delete was being a dick about time saving

Jun 15, 2017

Bump. Nothing else to contribute monkeys??

Jun 19, 2017

What do you guys use as base assumptions for your LBO with respect to financing (% bank debt vs % mez % vs revolver etc.)?

Jun 19, 2017

I usually do 2 - 3x TLB (bank debt) and 2 - 3x other debt (mezz vs. TLC vs. senior notes); and typically ~1x revolver commitment, but a lot of times I swag it to get a round number.

Would be great to hear from someone in LevFin with a better illustrative read ;-)

Jun 21, 2017
BankerC159:

What do you guys use as base assumptions for your LBO with respect to financing (% bank debt vs % mez % vs revolver etc.)?

Look at a comp in your portfolio...?

Jun 22, 2017

Don't have anything in my portfolio to compare, just trying to take a PE view on a certain investment and need some general high-level PE financing assumptions (if there is such a thing)

Jun 20, 2017

<>

Good list, however,

Would slightly disagree with this as seems like (now) data service providers are tracking if an account is logged in multiple times or at different IP addresses

-

    • 1
Jun 20, 2017

This doesn't make sense.

Jun 20, 2017

sorry was referring to this

Ask friends for their research logins / access. Getting good research always a pain

-

Jun 21, 2017
yelloweat:

<>

Good list, however,

Would slightly disagree with this as seems like (now) data service providers are tracking if an account is logged in multiple times or at different IP addresses

For sure have fired people for multiple people logged in to the same id simultaneously.

    • 1
Jun 22, 2017

^Lol.

yelloweat is right though. We just lost our PitchBook account for this.

    • 2
Jun 20, 2017

Make sure every excel has the majority of its outputs formatted so you can paste in as a picture. Makes updating books take 20 minutes rather than a couple hours

    • 3
Jun 20, 2017

For that matter, add "Copy as Picture" to the Quick Access Toolbar, it will show up as a green circle icon. Click it and select to copy as printed rather than as shown on the screen. Voila.

    • 1
Jun 20, 2017

I don't get this. Why?
Any changes in the Excel data are already linked directly to the Powerpoint file as long as they are in the same folder.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Jun 22, 2017

Literally never do this. Makes all your files so big and cumbersome.

Jun 27, 2017

No they aren't unless you embedded the objects, which is obviously a terrible idea unless you embed your entire workbook.

Jun 20, 2017

Dude.....it's called FactSet

    • 4
Jun 22, 2017

Preslink has saved me so much pain.

Jun 22, 2017

You should never use someone else's logins. Someone at my firm did that, the research provider tracked the IP address, sent a hostile letter threatening legal proceedings, and the letter landed on the CEO's desk. Needless to say, he doesn't work here anymore.

Jun 22, 2017

Lol bank's do this all the time. The research provider is never going to send a threatening letter to one of their largest existing / potential customers. At best it will be a "please stop this" and an offer to have one of their sales people try to convert you to their platform.

    • 4
Jun 23, 2017

Yeah I've never heard of one of the data platforms actually putting a stop to this. This is common practice

Jun 22, 2017

THIS SHOULD BE UNDER PE.

Jun 25, 2017

Thank you for the list. Much appreciated!

    • 1
Jun 30, 2017

/delete post is probably beyond the scope of this forum, see last link to www.spreadsheetguru.com

Jun 28, 2017

Any other time savers, monkeys?

Jun 28, 2017

Instead of making that chart your VP asked for, I'm a big advocate for reading WSO instead.

    • 5
Jun 28, 2017

Touche

Jun 28, 2017

Edit: joke but example of a time saver: The pivot chart connected to Sql updated after I pressed f5

    • 1
Jun 30, 2017

Regarding using the same excel file over and over again, you should seriously consider versioning in case the file becomes corrupted or you want to re-visit an assumption down the road. Also might help with any potential audits.

  1. Checks for existing files. Paste this into developer (alt+f11)!

Function FileExist(FilePath As String) As Boolean
'PURPOSE: Test to see if a file exists or not
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/The-Code-Vault
'RESOURCE: http://www.rondebruin.nl/win/s9/win003.htm
Dim TestStr As String

'Test File Path (ie "C:\Users\Chris\Desktop\Test\book1.xlsm")
On Error Resume Next
TestStr = Dir(FilePath)
On Error GoTo 0

'Determine if File exists
If TestStr = "" Then
FileExist = False
Else
FileExist = True
End If

End Function

  1. Excel version control:

Sub SaveNewVersion_Excel()
'PURPOSE: Save file, if already exists add a new version indicator to filename
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/The-Code-Vault

Dim FolderPath As String
Dim myPath As String
Dim SaveName As String
Dim SaveExt As String
Dim VersionExt As String
Dim Saved As Boolean
Dim x As Long

TestStr = ""
Saved = False
x = 2

'Version Indicator (change to liking)
VersionExt = "_v"

'Pull info about file
On Error GoTo NotSavedYet
myPath = ActiveWorkbook.FullName
myFileName = Mid(myPath, InStrRev(myPath, "\") + 1, InStrRev(myPath, ".") - InStrRev(myPath, "\") - 1)
FolderPath = Left(myPath, InStrRev(myPath, "\"))
SaveExt = "." & Right(myPath, Len(myPath) - InStrRev(myPath, "."))
On Error GoTo 0

'Determine Base File Name
If InStr(1, myFileName, VersionExt) > 1 Then
myArray = Split(myFileName, VersionExt)
SaveName = myArray(0)
Else
SaveName = myFileName
End If

'Test to see if file name already exists
If FileExist(FolderPath & SaveName & SaveExt) = False Then
ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs FolderPath & SaveName & SaveExt
Exit Sub
End If

'Need a new version made
Do While Saved = False
If FileExist(FolderPath & SaveName & VersionExt & x & SaveExt) = False Then
ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs FolderPath & SaveName & VersionExt & x & SaveExt
Saved = True
Else
x = x + 1
End If
Loop

'New version saved
MsgBox "New file version saved (version " & x & ")"

Exit Sub

'Error Handler
NotSavedYet:
MsgBox "This file has not been initially saved. " & _
"Cannot save a new version!", vbCritical, "Not Saved To Computer"

End Sub

[disclaimer: google is amazing, and this likely will need to be tweaked slightly to your file paths etc.]

Edit: on #1 change activeworkbook to activedocument

lastly start using OneNote for your tasks/list

If it isn't painfully obvious at this point start automating the repetitive tasks that take you a lot of time.

Edit: Easier yet just buy all the add in a from www.spreadsheetguru.com I think it will automate a good portion of that list.

Best Response
Sep 2, 2017

Hey betches,

Some buddies are I are putting together training materials / relevant Excel resources, including my LBO template. Check it out here:
https://multipleexpansion.com/

    • 27
Sep 2, 2017
BillyAckman:

Hey betches,

Some buddies are I are putting together training materials / relevant Excel resources, including my LBO template. Check it out here:
https://multipleexpansion.com/

Amazing. People, throw this guy some SBs.

    • 1
Sep 2, 2017

Thanks @Sil

Also folks -- feel free to reply with want you want next in terms of modeling guides / resources, and we'll throw it up there. The site is going to remain free to access forever. It's been too hard to track down good, step-by-step guides for too long.

    • 2
Sep 5, 2017

Thanks +SB

Sep 5, 2017

More advanced LBO stuff could be good:
Ability to pay, how to properly set up different cases, LBO outputs

Like @Sil said, a merger model would also be helpful.

Nov 11, 2017

Thanks a lot Billy! Have just discovered your site - incredibly valuable content!

    • 1
Dec 14, 2017

Thanks for this site. Very helpful for incoming bankers. Really appreciate the work and am looking forward to new content.

    • 1
Dec 26, 2017

adding a few others to the list...

  1. MappingIntern.com - similar to LogoIntern, but great for creating a quick map of US locations (company geo footprint, etc)
  2. Macros. Try them. One of the posters keyed me into this - great way to save time on some of the most mind numbing formatting work.
Dec 27, 2017

Does anyone who knows VBA code have any good suggestions for ways to use VBA to save time? Doesn't have to just be recorded macros.

Jul 3, 2018

Formatting macros, but interested to know if people have more of ideas

Dec 30, 2017

Trace first precedent

Sub AUDIT_TRACE_1st_Precedent()
On Error Resume Next
Selection.ShowPrecedents
ActiveCell.NavigateArrow TowardPrecedent:=True, ArrowNumber:=1, LinkNumber _
:=1

End Sub

    • 1
Dec 30, 2017

To trace precedents with multiple links:

  • Run the macro on a formula with multiple links
  • A dialogue box will pop up
  • Enter the number corresponding to the link you are seeking to audit (i.e., first linked number is in the leftmost part of the equation).
  • Enjoy!!

    Sub AUDIT_TRACE_PRECEDENT_2ND_LINK()
    On Error Resume Next
    LINK_NUMBER = InputBox("Link number...")
    Selection.ShowPrecedents
    ActiveCell.NavigateArrow TowardPrecedent:=True, ArrowNumber:=1, LinkNumber _
    :=LINK_NUMBER

    End Sub

    • 1
Dec 30, 2017

Jump to sheet navigation macro:

Sub GotoSheet() Dim sSheet As String
sSheet = InputBox( _
Prompt:="Sheet name or number?", _
Title:="Input Sheet")
On Error Resume Next
If Val(sSheet) > 0 Then
Worksheets(Val(sSheet)).Activate
Else
Worksheets(sSheet).Activate
End If
End Sub

Dec 30, 2017
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Jun 29, 2018
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