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9 of the best due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) examples

9 of the best due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) examples

Recently, you may have noticed an increase in due diligence questionnaires (DDQs). When you respond to them, it’s crucial to […]


Category: Tag: DDQ best practices

9 of the best due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) examples

9 of the best due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) examples

Recently, you may have noticed an increase in due diligence questionnaires (DDQs). When you respond to them, it’s crucial to get it right. Traditionally, a DDQ comes into play when an organization is considering an investment, completing a merger or assessing an acquisition. In addition, the due diligence questionnaire is now commonly used for vendor risk management.

With the increased prevalence and importance of due diligence, this refresher on DDQ basics will help you feel confident when you encounter your next one. And, with a few real-world examples, responders can improve their process.

In this post, we’ll explore the definition of due diligence, the importance of the due diligence questionnaire, who issues them, when and why. Then, you’ll find a list of the most common kinds of due diligence questions. And, finally, we’ll offer our list of the best nine due diligence questionnaire examples.

If you’re looking to optimize your response process with DDQ software, learn more here.

Jump to:

DDQ meaning: Everything you need to know

Before we jump to the DDQ examples, let’s cover a few basics. When you respond to DDQs, it’s important to answer some basic key questions like: What is a DDQ? Why use a DDQ? and Who uses DDQs? This background information will help you answer questions more efficiently and effectively.

What is a due diligence questionnaire?

A due diligence questionnaire, referred to by the acronym DDQ, is a list of questions designed to evaluate aspects of an organization prior to a merger, acquisition, investment or partnership. Sometimes, the due diligence questionnaire is called the due diligence checklist.

Investopedia defines due diligence as “an investigation or audit of a potential investment or product to confirm all facts, such as reviewing all financial records, plus anything else deemed material. It refers to the care a reasonable person should take before entering into an agreement or a financial transaction with another party.” It’s important to note that issuing a due diligence questionnaire is just one part of the much larger due diligence process.

Why do companies issue DDQs?

The goal of a due diligence questionnaire, like a security questionnaire, is to reduce risk. As a part of an investigative process, the DDQ simplifies the collection and delivery of important information that will inform the transaction. For example, the questionnaire may ask about an organization’s financial information, security policies, contractual obligations, personnel, pending legal matters and regulatory compliance.

DDQs enable organizations to gather large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. Likewise, it streamlines the disclosure process for companies providing information. While there’s no standard due diligence questionnaire, variations of the questionnaire are used globally. Consequently, many DDQs will have overlapping categories and questions.

Who issues due diligence questionnaires?

While DDQs aren’t unique to one industry, they are most extensively used in technology, government and finance. Indeed, the most common version of this questionnaire is the finance DDQ.

Additionally, you may find organizations using other DDQ variations including:

  • Vendor due diligence questionnaire
  • Private equity due diligence questionnaire
  • Third-party due diligence questionnaire
  • Hedge fund due diligence
  • Investment manager due diligence checklist
  • Technical due diligence
  • ESG due diligence

On an individual level, many roles work together to create, issue and analyze due diligence information gathered in the DDQ. Indeed, a mix of financial, legal, mergers and acquisitions, analysts, compliance, IT and procurement professionals may participate in the process.

When do companies issue DDQs?

The due diligence process is intentionally and necessarily complex. Indeed, it is designed to dig up details and surface insights that may otherwise be overlooked. So, a DDQ isn’t a good all-purpose, information-gathering tool. It delivers the most value in the following situations.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) due diligence

Due diligence is crucial in M&A transactions. Prior to completing the transaction, the buy-side organization must verify that the investment is sound and will likely pay off.

Typically, the questions cover general company records, personnel information, financial data, current contract obligations and legal matters. If a company is deciding between several similar opportunities, the information can be used to compare business risks and value side by side.

Investment due diligence

Due diligence questionnaires are useful in a variety of investment situations. For example, common projects well suited to the process include some of those listed above like hedge fund due diligence, institutional investment due diligence, IPO due diligence and venture capital due diligence. Investment due diligence questionnaires explore topics like company founders, customer and supplier information, intellectual property and competitor analysis.

Vendor due diligence

The term vendor due diligence has two distinct meanings. Once you know the difference between them, it’s easy to identify each within the context of their usage.

Proactive sell-side due diligence

When a company intends to put their business up for sale, and they expect to have more than a few interested parties, they may conduct a proactive due diligence exercise. In this situation, the term refers to completing the due diligence process to investigate risks within their own company. Often, all prospective buyers receive the resulting information once they’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This practice speeds the sales process and allows the seller to avoid completing new DDQs for each interested buyer.

Third-party risk assessment

The second type of vendor due diligence deals with managing the risk inherent in supplier partnerships. In this scenario, buyers issue vendor DDQs to potential suppliers. These DDQs are sometimes called third-party or vendor risk assessments.

As information security consultancy KirkpatrickPrice puts it, “No matter the vendor, they pose some level of risk to your organization – especially financial risk, operational risk, reputational risk and cyber risk – because they have access to your data, network, hardware, cloud and more.”

This vendor due diligence questionnaire requests information about vendor’s data security, financials, human resources policies and references. Vendor due diligence is often initially conducted as part of the request for proposal (RFP) process. In addition, the selected vendor must participate in ongoing due diligence.

Types of due diligence questions

To be effective, DDQs must be thorough. The responses must provide enough information to empower buyers to confidently determine whether or not to move forward. This means identifying risks, then taking action to either deem them acceptable, mitigate or avoid them.

Each DDQ is different, depending on the kind of project. And in some cases, a questionnaire may focus entirely on a particular type of due diligence. Financial DDQs, operational DDQs, IT DDQs and vendor DDQs are the most common examples of these category-focused, stand-alone questionnaires.

However, more often, the questions required for a comprehensive DDQ fall into several categories. These categories are subsequently centralized into a single document to suit the engagement. For instance, a hedge fund due diligence questionnaire will use a different combination of questions than an IPO due diligence questionnaire.

Categories of due diligence questions

  • Company questions
  • Founder and company background
  • Shares and ownership information
  • Employee information
  • Environmental factors
  • Diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Legal overview
  • Financial and debt statements
  • Consumer/customer information
  • Industry and market insights
  • Intellectual property
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Real estate and property holdings
  • Operational information
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Data security and privacy
  • Contractual obligations
  • Administrative information
  • Reputation and publicity reports
  • Information technology systems
  • Tax history

Sample due diligence questions

So, what DDQ questions should you expect to answer? Naturally, it all depends on the engagement and your circumstances. However, here are some common questions that may be asked in a DDQ.

Due diligence questions for investment funds

  • What is your overall strategy or approach to responsible investment?
  • Which disclosure initiatives influence client reporting for this strategy?
  • What international and industry standards or guidelines do you follow?
  • How does your organization audit the quality of your policies?
  • What stewardship methods does your organization use?

Vendor due diligence questions

  • Do you have a business continuity plan?
  • What is your pricing philosophy? How often do your prices change?
  • Describe your employee screening and background check procedures.
  • Do your systems meet our compliance and regulatory requirements?
  • How and where do you store data, both ours and your own?

Operational due diligence questions

  • Have you performed due diligence on your current vendors?
  • How often is your information security policy reviewed and updated?
  • Does your firm have a disaster recovery solution in place?

Intellectual property (IP) due diligence questions

  • List all law firms that manage IP matters for your company.
  • Which patents, patent applications and trademarks relate to the transaction?
  • What confidentiality, nondisclosure or proprietary rights agreements are in place?
  • Are there any product or IP-exclusive rights that have been granted by your company?

9 best due diligence questionnaire examples

Due diligence questionnaires are long and complex, but there are a lot of commonalities, especially within categories.

Below are nine of the most common types of DDQs with sample questions that could help you prepare for the next time you are asked to respond to a DDQ.

1. Limited partners DDQ

The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) provides a thorough, and periodically updated, due diligence questionnaire. The original document pulled questions from more than a dozen real-world questionnaires provided by limited and general partners as well as third parties. The downloadable DDQ example is available in Word and PDF formats.

It covers 14 crucial areas:

  • General firm information
  • General fund information
  • Investment strategy
  • Investment process
  • Team
  • Alignment of interest
  • Market environment
  • Fund terms
  • Firm governance, risk and compliance
  • Environmental, societal and governance
  • Track record
  • Accounting, valuation and reporting
  • Legal and administration
  • Diversity and inclusion

2. Hedge fund due diligence questionnaire

Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) is an organization founded by institutional investors to promote responsible investment. The group provides investment tools including their own DDQ checklist example. Helpfully, PRI offers a transparent overview of the questionnaire development process. 

PRI’s recommended hedge fund DDQ contains four categories:

  • Policy
  • Governance 
  • Investment process
  • Monitoring and reporting

3. Business relationship DDQ

MISC issued this due diligence questionnaire example to ensure organizations meet their ethical standards. The questionnaire details their expectations as well as the documentation they require for compliance. MISC goes on to explain its commitment to risk management, saying:

“The due diligence process of clients lies at the heart of minimizing MISC’s risk exposure as a result of activities carried out by MISC on clients’ behalf. At minimum, the due diligence exercise on our client is to ensure that the activities performed by MISC on behalf of the client will not breach our own CoBE’s requirements.”

4. Correspondent banking DDQ

The Wolfsberg Group created a helpful correspondent banking DDQ. This due diligence questionnaire focuses on banking compliance and is designed specifically for public sector organizations. The DDQ contains questions regarding compliance in areas like anti-bribery and corruption, sanctions policies and risk management.

In addition, the Wolfsberg Group provides guidance documentation, PDF and Excel versions of the template as well as Spanish and Japanese language versions.

5. Investor and consultant DDQ

This comprehensive investor and consultant DDQ provided by INREV is a hefty 41-pages long. The INREV association is dedicated to promoting best practices, sharing knowledge and increasing transparency in the non-listed real estate investment industry. 

INREV’s DDQ aims to assist “investors and consultants in the due diligence process to understand a fund manager’s structure, strategy and non-listed real estate business. It also gives insight in a specific vehicle’s strategy, risk processes, management, terms and projected performance. With it, investors can determine, in principle, whether a proposal fits their investment objectives.”

Their due diligence questionnaire template is attractive, highly organized and easy to use. The INREV website also provides helpful appendixes, translations and tools. Download it all in Word to inspire your next DDQ.

6. Environmental, societal and governance (ESG) DDQ

Invest Europe uses this sample DDQ to provide help for general partners as they seek to identify risks and maintain best practices in investing. While other questionnaires on our list deal with investment and finance concerns, this document focuses on environmental and social responsibility. 

Ultimately, organizations can use the questions in this DDQ example to identify potential issues that may need further attention. Luckily, this questionnaire is helpful both before and after the investment, so there’s no wrong time to use it.

7. IPO due diligence checklist

The days, weeks and months leading up to an initial public offering are absolute chaos. Getting the right information into the right hands at the right time can make or break your venture. However, organizations can prepare by exploring this extensive due diligence checklist provided by Find Law.

8. M&A due diligence checklist

LexisNexis created this comprehensive M&A due diligence checklist guide. Organizations can choose from their list of common requirements to fit the unique needs of each project. Choose from these 14 categories and nearly 100 checklist items to create your own ultimate DDQ template.

  • Basic corporate documents
  • Security issuances
  • Shareholder information
  • Material contracts
  • Patent and trademark matters
  • Manufacturing
  • Operations
  • Sales and marketing 
  • Tangible property
  • Litigations and audits
  • Environmental issues
  • Employees
  • Management
  • Other

9. Vendor due diligence checklist example

Procurement professionals are responsible for maximizing value while reducing risk. It’s tricky. Luckily, the best vendor due diligence checklists make finding the right fit easier. So, next time you’re issuing an RFP with a vendor DDQ, check this one-page DDQ list from KirkpatrickPrice to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

How Responsive can help

We know that responding to DDQs is time-consuming ⁠— that’s why our customers use our RFP software to manage the process.

The Responsive platform empowers you to answer DDQs quickly

  • Organize content in a single knowledge library and quickly add answers to any DDQ
  • Use AI to automatically suggest the best responses
  • Assign, manage and track workflow tasks and deadlines
  • Improve collaboration and compliance so the people work on and approve DDQs
Accelerate your RFP for asset management response process

Accelerate your RFP for asset management response process

When your financial institution receives a new RFP for asset management, is it viewed as an exciting opportunity? Or, is it just one of a dozen (or more) RFPs waiting for completion? Many financial services firms report that the number of RFPs from institutional investors has increased dramatically in the last few years. And, as organizations continue to focus on maximizing value while minimizing risk, there’s no end in sight.

For some firms, answering every incoming asset management RFP has become an impossible task. Consequently, they are forced to prioritize the best opportunities and ask their RFP teams to find ways to work more efficiently. The outcome isn’t ideal for the firm or the prospective client. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

In this post, I’ll offer insight into why the RFP for asset management workload increased. In addition, I’ll highlight the challenges facing investment firms. And finally, I’ll provide helpful tips to empower you to respond more efficiently and effectively.

The current state of RFPs for asset management

So, why are asset management RFPs piling up? It comes down to a combination of factors.

More RFPs more often

RFPs have always been a part of institutional investing. But now organizations send more RFPs to more firms per mandate. In fact, an article from Institutional Investor notes that the number of RFPs fielded by managers rose by 13 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Because the market is so competitive right now, investors use the RFP process to evaluate existing relationships as well as explore new services. However, the increased volume of RFPs means that firms must find new ways to stand out from the crowd while managing more work. Ultimately, more RFPs is good news ⁠— if you can keep up.

Demand for customized financial services

It’s no surprise that organizations that leverage their assets to pursue strategic business goals want partners who understand their needs. These organizations are no longer satisfied with run-of-the-mill service from big-name investment firms.

Indeed, the high demand for customized institutional investment services leads to longer asset management RFPs with more complex questions. Not only that, but we’re seeing buyers of these services become more knowledgeable and savvy than ever. The result is that each response in each RFP for asset management must be customized, complete and dependable. That level of detail takes time.

As the article from Institutional Investor discusses the shift saying:

“… the increase in manager evaluation documents is partly due to a shift in asset allocation among investors that emphasizes more complex asset classes and solutions, such as multi-asset funds. But it is also driven by allocators and investment consultants [are] paying more attention to the risks they’re taking.”

Emphasis on risk management

Finally, as mentioned in the quote above, the last factor influencing the volume of RFPs for asset management is the industry-wide focus on risk management. RFPs enable institutional investors to ensure compliance and transparency in their asset management firm selection. However, within the selection process and throughout the relationship they must also verify that the firm won’t put the business at risk.

So, in addition to completing RFPs to win new business, investment firms must also complete individual due diligence questionnaires (DDQ) from each existing client each quarter. Questions asked within the DDQ are similar to those found within an RFP for institutional business. For example, the DDQ will likely request updates on total assets under management (AUM), investment personnel changes and any changes in policy.

Unfortunately, DDQs are often just as repetitive and time-consuming to complete as an RFP. Because of the overlap between RFPs and DDQs, the same staff often answers both documents using their knowledge library. While these tools effectively identify risks for the client, they certainly increase the workload for the investor relations or client services staff who answer them.

RFP challenges facing asset management firms

While some firms have added dedicated RFP staff, others have their investor relations or client services teams manage incoming RFPs and quarterly DDQs. With the increased workload, team members who serve as proposal coordinators face a number of challenges.

  • Prioritizing RFPs and deciding to bid or not to bid
  • Meeting fast turnaround times and quick deadlines
  • Creating a consistent and repeatable RFP response process
  • Finding previous answers to RFPs and DDQs
  • Verifying that previous answers are accurate and compliant
  • Coordinating with subject matter experts (SMEs) to create new proposal content
  • Managing RFP workflows and approvals

3 ways to accelerate your asset management RFP responses

Regardless of how many people work together to complete proposals, every firm can benefit from a faster RFP response process. Here’s how to answer all of those RFPs for institutional business in less time and win more.

1. Build a better knowledge library

Using previous RFP responses is a quick way to save time when answering a new RFP for asset management. While businesses want customized answers, there are many similarities in the types of questions they ask. Instead of searching through old proposals individually, create a centralized knowledge library to store questions and responses.

Knowledge management is one of the many skills that make a great proposal manager. In fact, creating and managing a knowledge library is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve efficiency. Whether you collect questions and answers in a Word document, spreadsheet or RFP software (more on this later), you’ll be able to find what you need more quickly.

In addition to cataloging the content itself, consider adding metadata to help categorize knowledge records. For example, segmenting records by region, client industry and topic provides a quick way to find all of the relevant information.

Remember, more content in your knowledge library means less back-and-forth with SMEs. It’s much easier for them to review and update answers than it is to create from scratch.

RFP for investment management examples

If you’re not sure where to start as you begin to build your knowledge library, check out these RFP for asset management examples for inspiration. Each of them provides sample questions to help you start creating an RFP content library.

2. Maintain a team mentality

Successful asset management RFP responses require input from many stakeholders and subject matter experts. Together, this proposal team works together to create winning proposals. However, the members of the team are all busy people, and coordinating with them via email can be a challenge.

To work efficiently and effectively, everyone involved in the RFP process must understand the importance of the project and be invested in the outcome. To encourage a team mentality, hold a kickoff meeting to get everyone on the same page. Share your proposal timeline with the team to ensure they understand the RFP process and their role in it.

I also find that creating and referencing a RACI matrix throughout the project helps to clarify the proposal workflow and responsibilities. Additionally, keep your team engaged in the process by asking for feedback, regularly reviewing proposal content, holding debriefs and celebrating success.

3. Adopt RFP software

RFP software for financial services firms seamlessly manages all aspects of RFPs for institutional investment and DDQs. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many financial services professionals that have benefited from proposal management software, like Responsive (formerly RFPIO). The platform brings your knowledge and team together into a single, centralized workspace and offers tools to improve the RFP process.

RFP software empowers asset managers to:

Improve efficiency

Keeping up with the competition means answering more RFPs, faster. RFP software solutions empower proposal teams through the entire process.

Proposal automation ⁠— RFP software speeds the proposal process with RFP automation. Simply import the RFP for asset management or DDQ and the system will identify questions you’ve answered before. Then, it will suggest relevant answers, so your team spends less time answering standard questions.

Workflow and collaboration ⁠— All of your team’s work on your proposal happens within the RFP tool. The proposal coordinator can create workflows and collaborate in one place. For example, RFP software makes it easy to assign new questions to SMEs, collaborate on responses and request approvals. It moves the process out of email and siloed systems to create a single source of truth.

Dashboards and reporting— Keeping the proposal moving forward can be a challenge. However, the RFP management system provides at-a-glance insight from real-time dashboards. Each member of your team can quickly see what they are responsible for and when it’s due.

Ensure consistency and compliance

When your team moves quickly, it’s hard to ensure that RFP responses are compliant. RFP software protects your firm by improving consistency and ensuring oversight.

Knowledge management ⁠— As I mentioned above, knowledge management is crucial to an efficient RFP process. Luckily, RFP software makes it much easier to collect, categorize and find previous response content from investor relations, compliance and analyst teams. Leverage tagging, account hierarchies and an easy-to-use search tool, to ensure the right content is always at your fingertips.

Regular review cycles — With dozens of DDQs due each quarter, it’s crucial that the knowledge library is kept up to date at all times. RFP software makes keeping track of updates simple. Just assign the knowledge record to the responsible person and set a recurring review cycle. Then, the system automatically sends a notification. When the records are updated, metadata is automatically attached including the date of the change, who updated it and how often it has been used. Now anyone using the knowledge base can quickly verify that the record is current.

Permissions, audits and approvals ⁠— Undoubtedly, your proposals contain detailed and sensitive information. The RFP system protects this data with secure permissions allowing users access to only the information they need. In addition, it logs changes to content so tracking edits is easy.

Preparing for the future of institutional investment

As competition within the financial services industry continues to heat up, your firm must leverage every advantage possible to stay ahead. That means finding creative ways to answer more RFPs for asset management without compromising quality or compliance. To prepare for the future plan to leverage knowledge management, harness the power of your proposal team and RFP software to gain an edge and ensure continued AUM growth.

How to respond to a DDQ

How to respond to a DDQ

Entering into a business relationship, whether it includes making a large purchase or even a merger or acquisition, is complicated. With today’s security challenges, it is riskier than ever.

When a company receives a DDQ, the document shouldn’t be taken lightly. Lack of due diligence on the part of the responder can risk future deals, future partnerships, and even the company’s reputation.

What is a DDQ?

DDQ stands for due diligence questionnaire. While that sounds somewhat vague, a DDQ is all about mitigating risk by determining whether the company receiving the DDQ complies with the issuer’s standards and regulations.

A DDQ could be a precursor to an RFP, a merger or acquisition, or an audit from an existing customer. It could even be a way of creating a list of “safe” companies for future dealings.

Naturally, DDQs are as varied as the companies, and especially the industries, that issue them. Tech companies, for example, emphasize security and privacy compliance. Financial institutions want assurance that vendors won’t put them in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission, among other regulatory agencies. And those in the healthcare industry need to verify HIPAA compliance.

Naturally, it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of overlap. Every industry, for example, is concerned with security and privacy. Nearly every DDQ, regardless of sector, probes companies about their history, investments, organizational structure, etc.

In short, the job of a DDQ response team is to paint a picture of a company that is stable and compliant.

A DDQ is not a sales document. Most DDQs will not ask about product functionality, market share, hiring practices, etc., although they might ask about major new product releases, as they could affect financial forecasts.

Who issues DDQs?

While any organization could issue a DDQ, they’re primarily issued by technology companies, financial services companies, and government agencies.

DDQs can have dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of questions, but even the simplest DDQs require input from multiple stakeholders. If you’re in charge of responding to DDQs, you may need input from the following roles:

  • Financial – You could receive questions regarding your company’s financial health. These may include questions about anything from investors, to financial statements, to liens, to the amount of taxes your company pays, etc. If you work for a privately held company, you might not choose to answer those questions, but the issuer will ask.
  • Legal – Most legal questions fall under the purview of RFPs. However, you may see DDQ questions related to legal compliance.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions – Companies must issue DDQs before entering into mergers or acquisitions.
    Analysts – While raw data might be enough to answer some questions, many will need a deeper understanding and even forecasting.
  • Compliance – Gauging compliance is the core function of a DDQ.
  • IT – IT departments are at the front line of enacting and maintaining security protocols.
  • Procurement – In many companies, procurement departments are DDQs’ project managers. It’s rare, however, to see questions related explicitly to procurement.

Why do companies issue due diligence questionnaires?

Issuing a DDQ simplifies the collection and delivery of vital information needed before engaging in or continuing a business relationship.

A DDQ enables the issuer to learn about current or prospective partnerships’:

  • Financial status – It’s easy to understand why a company might want to learn about a potential vendor’s financial position. A financial misstep from a vendor could have reverberations down the line. However, many, if not most, privately held companies will not open their books to people outside their organization. Publicly traded companies are another story; their financial statuses must be public.
  • Business holdings – Business holdings are part of financial due diligence and could reveal debts and potential tax liabilities.
  • Compliance standards – Compliance requirements are numerous and deep. If a vendor is out of compliance with an issuer’s obligations, the issuer could find themselves out of compliance,

A DDQ helps a company measure risk in a variety of types of business transactions. Reasons for issuing DDQs include:

  • Completing a merger – A merger is a marriage, so to speak, between two companies. It’s a legally binding agreement that essentially states, “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” It would be irresponsible to enter into a merger without knowing what the “yours” that will be “mine” is.
  • Assessing an acquisition – An acquisition is much like a merger in that transparency is critical, and a DDQ will reflect that.
  • Considering an investment – Large investors want to vet their potential investment before writing a check.
    Third-party vendor risk management – Even if a company is 100% compliant, their vendors could put your customers at risk. Risk assessments have to dig below the surface.

Responding to a DDQ

An effective DDQ response provides enough information to empower buyers, prospective investors, or business partners to confidently move forward.

A DDQ response process has a lot in common with an RFP response process, but there are some differences. Here are the key steps for responding to a DDQ:

1. Define your response strategy

Just as responding to an RFP requires a strategy, so should a DDQ response. First, you must determine:

  • Whether the SLA (service level agreement) is defined and available.
  • Who to put in charge of intake.
  • When you will be ready to start answering questions.
  • Who will answer the DDQ.
  • How long the DDQ will be in question/answer mode.
  • When the DDQ will be ready for review.

2. Assign tasks and due dates

A typical DDQ will have several SMEs and stakeholders. Make sure everyone knows their precise roles and responsibilities and expected timelines.

3. Answer commonly seen questions

Most questions on a DDQ, or for that matter, an RFx, are identical or nearly identical to questions you’ve answered before. A well-developed Content Library should automatically provide those repeatable answers, enabling you to accept them as is or edit them as needed.

4. Consult with collaborators

Once you’ve answered all the common questions, it’s time to turn to the experts. Consult with your response team and SMEs (subject matter experts) to complete the DDQ.

5. Review

Go through the DDQ with a fine-toothed comb to ensure there are no errors or missed (answerable) answers.

6. Submit the Questionnaire to the issuer

On time, right?

Due Diligence response best practices

Even though companies send DDQs with different goals in mind, and they are as varied as any other type of document your proposal team may see, there are a few best practices you should follow for all your submissions.

Understand your position in the sales funnel

Your latest DDQ may or may not be part of the sales process. If it leads to a potential sale, you’ll typically see a DDQ high up in the funnel, perhaps as a way of selecting compliant vendors before issuing an RFP.

Occasionally you might see a DDQ after responding to an RFP and as the prospect is nearly ready to select a vendor.

Sometimes, though, the DDQ is so far removed from the sales process that it’s nothing more than information gathering, either on current vendors or maybe-one day-in-the-future vendors.

No matter where the DDQ is in the sales funnel, if it’s in the sales funnel at all, it’s not a good idea to set the document aside. Maybe it will lead to future deals, or perhaps it will expose some of your own vulnerabilities.

Aim for a consistent and systematic approach

Some DDQs have thousands of questions, which might feel intimidating, and your instinct might be to answer each question as succinctly as possible. While that approach might save you time, proving compliance requires a detailed and consistent response.

Still, you can take steps to ensure that you don’t skip questions and to help you manage the time required to provide complete answers. They include:

  • Prepare a customized checklist – Create a customized checklist of the types of information you might need, preferably categorized by industry. You could require an organizational chart, financial information, legal documents, and of course, governance, risk, and compliance documents. Here’s one you can download right now.
  • Create due diligence questionnaire templates – Consistency saves time. If you upload your DDQs into a customized template, each stakeholder will know precisely where to locate what they need.
  • Leverage RFP response management softwareRFP response management software also works for DDQs. Intelligent response management software will help you create and store both checklists and templates.

Centralize response information

Most of the questions on a DDQ are very similar to questions you’ve answered in previous questionnaires. Storing your responses and documents in a single source of truth for information can save hours, days, and sometimes even weeks on your response process. Beyond saving time, a Content Library:

  • Ensures accuracy – A company is legally bound to their answers, so accuracy is critical. The Content Library will hold on to the company-approved answers, enabling users to produce accurate responses.
  • Supports transparency – Transparency is critical for both trust and employee morale. When all the necessary information is right there for authorized users to see and use, it creates trust among the rest of the response team and potential customers.
  • Improves knowledge access – Anyone with the proper credentials can access the knowledge they need.

Automate the response process

You may not be using automation in your response process, but your competitors and many—if not most—of your customers and clients are. There are several reasons leveraging automation improves the DDQ response process, including:

  • Tracking real-time vendor completion progress – Automated response software has (or should have) project management built right in. It tracks each stakeholder’s progress.
  • Streamlining response time – Automation can answer up to 80% of your DDQ with just a few clicks.
  • Scaling ability to respond to DDQs – Automation helps determine the size and scope of the ideal response team as well as timeline estimates.
  • Efficiently managing tasks and deadlines – Define and manage tasks and expectations with automation.
  • Improving collaboration – Automated responses value and save SMEs’ time, creating more willingness to collaborate.

Due diligence checklist

While all transactions differ, a DDQ checklist facilitates a more thorough response through better organization and time management.

Common materials collected during a DDQ response include general corporate information, financial information, compliance certifications, licenses, legal documents, etc.

Organization and ownership

A DDQ might be a potential vendor’s first encounter with your organization, which means they need a proper introduction. The DDQ could ask for:

  • An organizational chart
  • Partnership/profit sharing agreements
  • Records of shareholder meetings
  • Senior leadership information (e.g., age, tenure, promotions, etc.)

Human resources

DDQs don’t generally dive too deeply into human resources issues, but you can learn much about a company’s long-term viability and potential problems from the HR department. DDQs might ask HR about:

  • Projected headcount (by function and location)
  • Benefit plans
  • Key employment agreements
  • Personnel turnover data
  • Incentive stock plan overviews
  • Employee litigation

Financial

DDQs are common in financial service organizations. Also, because DDQs might precede a lengthy business relationship, the issuer will want to know your organization is financially stable. It is important to note, though, that many privately-held companies will not provide financial documents. Requested financial records might include:

  • Annual and quarterly financial information
  • Accounts receivable
  • Capital structure
  • Summary of all debt instruments
  • Financial projections
  • Revenue (by product type, customers, and channel)
  • Major growth drivers and prospects
  • Summary of current tax positions
  • Schedule of financing history (equity, warrants, and debt)

Fund information

DDQs are necessary for mergers, acquisitions, or business partnerships. It probably goes without saying that fund information is crucial for financial or investment partner due diligence. The document might request information about:

  • Fund strategy
  • Product and fund descriptions
  • Market share
  • Timing of new products
  • Cost structure
  • Profitability

Governance, risk, and compliance

Assessing governance, risk, and compliance is the primary purpose for issuing a DDQ. Be prepared to offer documentation for:

  • Policies
  • Code of ethics
  • Fund exposure
  • Service provider risk
  • SEC communications

Legal

Legal documentation helps issuers determine whether a company is in good legal standing. You may be asked to provide information on:

  • Pending and past lawsuits
  • Environmental and employee liabilities and safety
  • Intellectual Property
  • Insurance coverage details
  • Summary of material contacts
  • History of regulatory agency issues

Streamline your DDQ response process with RFPIO

Issuing and responding to DDQs can be repetitive and time-consuming, and not just for dedicated response teams. RFPIO’s automated response software saves time, improves quality and accuracy, and helps foster good working relationships.

Due diligence software offers several features to help optimize the DDQ response process, including:

Knowledge library

RFPIO’s AI-powered Content Library is a centralized knowledge source—a single source of truth—that enables streamlined responses by intelligently answering most of a DDQ’s questions and providing the corresponding documents without asking SMEs to reinvent the wheel each and every time a similar question arises.

Answer intelligence

Using machine learning, RFPIO response management software understands the questions and knows how to respond to routine (and some not routine) requests based on previous answers. All you have to do is edit or accept the suggested responses.

Collaborative integrations

RFPIO offers best-in-class integrations with all the productivity, sales enablement, communication, and CRM tools you already use.

*Put your best answers forward with RFPIO*

Learn how RFPIO can help your company respond to DDQs with accuracy, efficiency, and expedience. Schedule a free demo – RFPIO, DDQ management software.

See how it feels to respond with confidence

Why do 250,000+ users streamline their response process with RFPIO? Schedule a demo to find out.