Q&As are a vital part of the M&A due diligence process, but managing the queries of various stakeholders can become bewildering and – worse – prone to accidental breaches in confidentiality.
Using traditional methods like Word, Excel and email, Q&A activity can easily take up more time than any other element of the M&A process. Online Q&A tools have been around for a decade now, and there are some sound reasons for migrating your Q&A over to the online option:
1. Everything in one place
First of all, your Q&As are all kept in one place. You can create categories for different query topics and assign experts to reply to questions in their area of expertise as they come in.
A lot of time has traditionally been wasted repeatedly responding to the same question from different people. Online, you can build up a valuable collection of FAQs for each question area. Teams can refer to these FAQs before coming to you with questions.
As for capacity, online Q&A lets you easily handle thousands of questions. Each question has its own unique ID, and is easy to tag and search. Teams can also easily find what they need by simply entering their keyword and getting a list of all related Q&As. Human error from logging individual email and Excel queries is also eliminated. With online Q&A nothing can be overlooked because every query that comes in is automatically logged, giving you total clarity on who has responded, and the status of every question.
2. A tamper-proof audit trail
Online Q&A will give you a tamper-proof audit trail, meaning total deal integrity. Every question, reply and document access exists in one online location. You can see who has accessed or downloaded what, when, where for how long.
And at deal close, your online Q&A provider can hand over a digitally signed, unalterable copy of all Q&A for your closing bible, which can’t be changed by anyone.
3. Security – encryption, audit and control
Online Q&A also protects your people from making incorrect responses. Granular permissions allow you to control who can ask, answer and even see individual questions. You can also keep your Q&A area completely anonymous, meaning numerous bid teams can be in there together without knowing anyone else is there. You can typically control when people can ask questions, and introduce closed periods with no changes allowed. Everything is encrypted and protect by login. Accidentally sending emails to the wrong person also becomes a thing of the past.
It’s quick and easy to migrate your Q&A online. It takes just minutes to set up, and if you already have a virtual data room, this most likely already has a Q&A module, so there aren’t even extra costs.
Moving online makes the whole due diligence Q&A process faster, more efficient and infinitely more secure. Reduce human error, security breaches, duplicated work and neglected queries: pretty strong reasons for switching to online Q&A.
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