Social distancing and stay-at-home orders resulting from COVID-19 will make this quarter’s earnings calls different for many companies. For most it will be difficult, if not impossible, to gather executives in one place for the call. Companies will likely need to put more effort into earnings call prep sessions with additional time devoted to logistical considerations to help ensure the calls go smoothly. With earnings kicking off this week, one resource that might help is this ICR blog that offers practical considerations and tips. Some of the considerations include:
– Pre-record opening, prepared remarks – some companies likely already pre-record opening, prepared remarks, but if not, it’s suggested that companies do so
– Evaluate whether technology like video capabilities will be helpful for Q&A
– Evaluate whether to hold a live Q&A session, ICR suggests companies do so, but if not:
Consider posting anticipated Q&As on the company website next to webcast link or earnings release
Have management speak to questions and provide key messages related to those questions as part of the call
Let listeners know that the company won’t be holding an interactive Q&A session at the beginning of the prepared remarks and that topics the company believes will be of further interest will be posted to its website
– Most conference call providers will have limited operators available right now, which could cause long wait times likely frustrating investors dialing in to the call. ICR provides options to help reduce risk of delays, one being not to include dial-in information in the advisory release and including only the webcast link. With this option, companies would email the dial-in information separately to sell-side analysts that would allow them to ask questions during the call.
– In any event, ICR recommends avoiding “internet-based” phones due to increased internet activity that can reduce call quality. Most analysts will be working remotely, so consider sending the release or presentation in an email ahead of the call.
– Last, consider reporting later than usual to give the company more insight into critical areas that investors will focus on, the blog also outlines considerations for current quarter reporting, including the current state of operations, financial liquidity/balance sheet/capital allocation and guidance.
-Lynn Jokela, TheCorporateCounsel.net April 14, 2020
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