If the heart of understanding a company is the ability to parse the financial statements, then the lifeblood of the company is the data flow about current results. The smooth and orderly flow of information from the company to investors should be a given, yet it is surprising how often one has to hunt for all of the relevant information. The press release will be in one spot, the conference call replay another and governmental filings yet another.
A good practice for investor web sites is to have a page where everything concerning the most recent results is in a single spot. Because different web sites choose to label information differently, this avoids investor frustration as they try to track down all the pieces of financial information they may want.
One site that does a good job of this is BT, the telecommunications company. As can be seen in the screenshot on the right, their Results & Presentations page gives investors access to the news release, webcast, slides and KPIs (Key Performance indicators) all in one spot.
A couple of things set this page apart: first, not only can you view the webcast, but you can also download a transcript. Although transcripts do not give investors some of the flavor of management’s approach to the results, they can be reviewed more quickly than the process of viewing an entire hour’s worth of presentations. Second, transcripts are searchable for key phrases, so if in following a company you are particularly concerned with headcount or product returns or customer satisfaction levels, you can quickly search the transcript to see if the issues were addressed, again without sitting through the entire presentation.
Another site that does a good job of consolidating information about interim reports is Marks and Spencer. The approach is slightly different, grouping the information by year, but the type of information is clearly labeled and easy to find. Of note on the M&S site are video interviews with the chairman and the Group Finance and Operations director, providing additional color on the interim results.
These are good examples of web design that thinks in terms of “What does the investor need to know?’ rather than “What do we have to disclose?”
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