Taking your company public is a monumental decision that will truly transform the way you operate. Whether the ultimate exit is through an IPO, SPAC or direct listing, companies need to objectively assess their readiness for life as a public company. Going public requires management to be prepared to meet shareholder and market expectations from day one. This includes addressing ongoing compliance and regulatory requirements, operational effectiveness, risk management, periodic reporting and investor relations.
43% of all companies who recently completed an IPO felt like they started the process too late. Starting early not only provides more time to ready an organization to operate as a public company, but even more importantly, it creates additional time to focus on marketing the offering and other crucial business decisions that will enhance investor confidence in the company’s management team.
A large majority of companies who recently completed an IPO still felt they needed additional help - whether that's internal (42%) or external resources (41%) - particularly in more complex areas like accounting and financial reporting, tax and legal. An independent advisor can help to reduce surprises, improve efficiency, and reduce the time to market.
It's important to get external help, but even more important to make sure it's the right independent advisor for your organization at the right time. Companies who recently completed an IPO noted that hiring a different law firm (42%), hiring investment banks earlier in the process (38%) or switching external auditors (35%) were items they wished they had addressed earlier in the process.
While readiness to operate as a public company is critical in order to be able to take advantage of market windows, the business needs to be ready to perform. It is crucial not to fall short of investor expectations in the first quarter or two post-IPO. Companies who recently completed an IPO wish they had delayed the offering until the company was more profitable (39%) or delayed the offering pending better market conditions (33%). Delaying the necessary upfront preparation work can result in a scramble that is both distracting to the business and risks the loss of investor confidence.
Due to the significant time and effort required to prepare for an offering, over 98% of companies performed a detailed IPO readiness assessment nine to eighteen months in advance of an all hands organizational meeting. The assessment will help you understand where your company currently stands and then identify and prioritize the gaps in your company’s public company preparedness.
Source: PwC’s Cost of IPO survey
“Without PwC’s early involvement and assistance, we never would have achieved our filing timeline or objectives. Their expertise better prepared us to be a public company. Don’t go it alone.”
PwC’s readiness assessment uses a holistic framework to take an in-depth look at your organization and its processes, systems, and overall preparedness to operate as a public company. We leverage our experience within your sector to then plot the gaps identified during the assessment alongside your IPO timeline; this overall project management is supported by PwC’s proprietary tools and technology. Our straightforward approach supports both the execution of the IPO filing process – going public – and the preparation of the organization to operate as a public company – being public.
We’re here to assist you in formulating your project plan and governance framework, monitoring the status of each workstream, balancing resources and priorities, and maintaining project timelines and communications. As with any large, complex initiative, good project management is essential to achieving success.
Our Capital Markets Advisory team can help with a number of strategic areas related to IPO execution including development of equity story, marketing and positioning, and underwriter selection and structure.
Giving you access to our latest digital assets, PwC's deal and industry specialists provide you with the insights you need to achieve enhanced value faster.
We’re here to assist you elevate your accounting and reporting to PCAOB and SEC standards. We can advise you in your preparation, presentation, and disclosure of SEC compliant financial statements and SEC reporting matters.
We advise and assist in filing the registration statement and responding to the SEC. Our team is with you throughout the entire process - Form S-1 registration statement, auditor support and SEC comment letter process.
In addition to these services, we can assist you with the development of KPIs and non-GAAP measures, finance transformation and organizational design, and uplifting your IT, internal control, tax, and HR functions.
IPO Services Co-Leader, PwC US
Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Services Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited