Is your company listed on a stock exchange? Great! Once a year the attention is all yours when you publish your annual results. But you have to do it in the right way to collect bonus points with the media, investors and the public. Here are five vital tips to successfully communicate the company’s financial figures to your stakeholders:
- Use the occasion for image building
Let’s start off with your management report itself. Sometimes it might seem like an annoying duty to do all the financial reporting that is required of you – but what if you can add a nice portion of creativity to it? There’s no rule prohibiting you from using the annual report for a good degree of image building so you can point out the uniqueness of your company beyond mere numbers and facts. Your annual report is the most important source of information for all the actors on the capital market, so beyond the required management report go ahead and use the opportunity to include a meaty image part. You can be a lot more creative here than in the highly formalized parts of your report, use the opportunity to tell a wider public more about your business model, the great products and services you offer or select strategic topics for your company.
- Always consider the reader: make your report appealing
What should be self-evident for every writer often comes up short in annual reports. Too often there are still companies out there that butcher their readers with lots of repetitive, number-heavy text blocks, embedded in a dusty 90s layout with no guiding elements to be found. Even the toughest analysts will just want to be done with it as fast as possible. Don’t be that company. Companies that report transparently and with a clear language get better treatment on the capital markets. So, dig in and explain your business model and development in the most easily understandable way possible. Use charts, diagrams and tables where it makes sense and highlight your most important statements. Furthermore, don’t suffocate your readers with highly industry-specific jargon. Oh, and don’t try to save money with the general layout: most readers don’t spend too much time on company reports and the first impression counts. Show the reader what the relevant information is.
- Don’t forget the media
While it’s certainly true that attention for your company is higher than usual around the publication of your annual results, you shouldn’t completely take it for granted, either. In the busy reporting season, yours will not be the only company the public is interested in, so proactivity is key. Contact the trade press and financial media and offer background talks about your business development during the previous year. This is particularly attractive for journalists who have an eye on extra information. In this way you can not only get yourself more coverage, but also steer the narrative to a certain degree when it comes to assessing your company’s figures.
- Arrange an analyst and investor call
But let’s face it: your most important target audience on the capital markets are investors. Be proactive here, too, and set up an analyst and investor call on the day of the publication of your financial results. This way you can tackle the most pressing questions of your key investors and the analysts that cover your company and provide suitable explanations before those groups come to less informed conclusions themselves. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to provide an outlook for the ongoing business year and start steering expectations early on, so you establish yourself as a reliable communicator.
- Use your momentum: plan roadshow days
Face-to-face interaction with existing and potential investors is still the most effective way to build a great investor relationship. Most active investment decisions are based more than ever as much on the management behind a product as on the product itself. Therefore, take the initiative to actively address investors. The publication of your financial figures gives you the perfect opportunity to arrange for roadshow days with investors. In one-on-one and group meetings you get the perfect opportunity to present your investment highlights. Your existing key investors will feel valued that you take your time to inform them about your company’s goings face to face, and potential new investors get the chance to get to know the management personally. Good preparation for roadshows then is key – but, first things first: you have to arrange them.
If you follow these five recommendations, your company will be all set up to use the full potential of earnings season communication. Don’t waste your golden opportunity!