While every quarter is different, the “playbook” for preparing senior management for a successful earnings conference call is largely the same. Specifically, the best prepared CEOs and CFOs follow a set of key strategic and tactical steps designed to bring them through a review of all the essential elements pertinent to the investment community’s analysis of quarterly earnings. In short, CEOs and CFOs that have allocated adequate time to understanding the results, in the context of both internal and external expectations, and are capable of addressing all possible topics with ease and transparency, will succeed. Drafting the conference call script is just one piece of this important process. Below, we walk you through these best practices of an effective earnings call.
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While quarterly earnings calls may happen routinely, they should be anything but routine. Earnings calls are your opportunity to tell your story to the world — and they’re one of the few times each year you have the chance to capture the undivided attention of your analysts and investors. So, it’s essential to make these calls count.
Over the last 25 years, I have listened to hundreds of earnings calls. As a sell-side analyst, they were a routine and not-much-fun part of the job. Four times a year, you lock yourself in your office and listen to call after call of management teams highlighting their achievements or trying to sugar coat the not-so-positive news.
Most of the calls were pretty standard, and came off as well thought-out and comprehensive. But every so often you would hear that call where the sell-side analysts were unforgiving in their questions and the tone was so negative you almost feel bad for the management team. In my role here at ICR Westwicke, I’ve learned what really goes on behind the scenes to make those effective earnings calls appear effortless: a lot of hard work and practice starting about a month ahead of time. Who would have ever thought?
The continued uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to present unique challenges for public company management teams as they report Q2 earnings and attempt to provide the investment community with an appropriate update on the business.
Your earnings calls are more than just numbers – they present an important opportunity to make a favorable impression and add context to your financials while establishing expectations for investors. Prepare your team and set yourself up for a successful earnings call with these eight, simple best practices.
One of the perennial issues during earnings season is setting a date for your quarterly financial release that doesn’t clash with a dozen or so of your peers. By choosing a date that’s too crowded, investor and analyst participation may be low. The same problem can happen when choosing a date for an R&D day or investor day. So how do you go about choosing a date for your event that doesn’t clash with everyone else’s?
The answer is you don’t. Or rather, you shouldn’t waste your time thinking too much about it. First, I’ll talk a little about why you shouldn’t overthink the matter, then I’ll address what you can do to combat low live participation on your call or at your event.
We’re often asked for advice on managing quarterly quiet periods successfully, so that management can focus on tying up financials and developing good messaging for the earnings call and press release.
A well-thought out and consistently applied quiet period can provide a much-needed respite from investor communications for management around busy quarter ends. But one reason for confusion about them is that, unlike quiet periods following an IPO, which are closely regulated by the SEC, end-of-quarter quiet periods are more loosely defined and not strictly regulated.
Good CEOs and CFOs know that they only get a limited number of interactions with their buy-side and sell-side analysts each year. Analysts are busy people, with perhaps dozens of listed companies under coverage or on their watch lists. An earnings call is thus one of the few times that companies can have the undivided attention of their covering analysts and interested buy-siders. Use that time wisely. Here are some pointers to consider before you host your next biotech earnings call.
We’re often asked by clients and others for ideas on how to liven up their earnings calls. And that’s understandable. Nobody loves earnings calls. They’re tedious, repetitive, and (if things in your business are going as they should) they offer few surprises.
So the desire to make your earnings calls more compelling is certainly reasonable. Still, we always recommend that companies think carefully before they change any aspect of their usual call process just for the sake of change.
The Division of Corporation Finance (the Division) is a branch of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that supports the SEC’s mission to “protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” Among its duties, the Division “provides interpretive assistance to companies with respect to SEC rules and forms and makes recommendations to the Commission regarding new rules and revisions to existing rules.” This duty is performed, in part, through the issuance of Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (or “C&DIs”) on a variety of subjects.