Due Diligence

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Due Diligence

Quick Summary of Due Diligence

Due diligence is the research usually before a purchase to insure that the assets are as expected and properly valued.

What is the dictionary definition of Due Diligence?

Dictionary Definition

Due diligence is the effort a party makes to avoid harm to another party. Quite often a party in a contract may be obligated to provide due diligence.

An example of a “due diligence report” is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), which is performed to determine potential environmental conditions that may cause harm to the surrounding environment.

Full Definition of Due Diligence

Due diligence is a formal investigation into any proposed investment. That investment can be a security, private equity capitalization, acquisition, merger, or any other contract. The term “due diligence” finds its roots in Section 11 of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933.

Although the Act does not mention “due diligence,” it stipulates that as long as an investment professional carried out and communicated the findings of due diligence on the securities they sold to private investors, the investment professionals could not be held liable for investor losses. Today due diligence is carried out by investors to find out whether the proposed investment is all that it claims to be. Due diligence into an investment may include enquiries into its real stock worth, management team, financial history, financial health, outstanding litigation, short-term and long-term processes, physical assets, strategic partnerships, credit status, revenue growth, valuation, and dozens of other legal and financial barometers. Due diligence usually falls to the investor or buyer, but sellers also do due diligence on buyers. For example, a seller may want to find out whether the buyer has the financial backing necessary to complete the transaction. Due diligence seeks to ensure that all parties have a comprehensive understanding of the quality of the investment.


In finance, for example, the term can refer to the activities of pension or investment fund managers in keeping track of the operations, solvency, and trustworthiness of the managers of a corporation in which their fund is invested, or those of the managers of an acquiring corporation toward a target corporation.

A “due diligence report” is often prepared to discover all risks and implications regarding a decision to be made. Information may be gathered by the due diligence team either by external analysis and research as is typical during due diligence for venture capital funding or information may be formally laid out using a secure data room used in due diligence for mergers and acquisitions.

In a real estate transaction, due diligence consists of the activities that follow execution of a sales contract and prior to close. The buyer is permitted to inspect the property to detect any items that might affect its value. His representatives inspect the title records to see that there are no encumberances.

When a business is acquired, the buyer sends his accountants to look over the books, and people usually visit all of the locations being purchased. They look to see that the properties exist, are properly equipped, and adequately maintained. They inspect the inventory of raw materials and products to see that they are present in the quantities specified and worthy of the value assigned. They look into real estate titles, intellectual property, etc, etc. Much of the detail depends on the nature of the business and the assets being transferred.

In a loan, due diligence involves verifying the information provided by the borrower on the loan application as well as appraisal of the property to be mortgaged, and certifications that it meets code requirements and is suitable for residential occupancy.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Due Diligence. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 22, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/due-diligence/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Due Diligence. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/due-diligence/ (accessed: September 22, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Due Diligence. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/due-diligence/

Definition Sources

Definitions for Due Diligence are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 5th August, 2021 | 4 Views.