WEEKLY WEB WATCH: Financial site gives net aid to all IROs

Organisation: Financial Accounting Standards Board

Organisation: Financial Accounting Standards Board



Issue: Investor relations report



At: www.fasb.org



The Financial Accounting Standards Board is an American organisation

that sets and governs standards of financial accounting and reporting in

the US. The latest report to be published on its web site is an

exhaustive guide to financial reporting on the internet.



The report, Electronic Distribution of Business Reporting Information,

is the first section of a broad study, the Business Reporting Research

Project, to determine the kind of business information corporations are

reporting outside of financial statements.



The growth of the internet as a medium for delivering business reporting

information has changed the way information flows from companies to

creditors.



The FASB claims the study ’casts a new light on the exciting

possibilities and problems of the internet and technology on the

business reporting universe’. O’Dwyer’s has been more blunt in its

review of the report, calling it ’a real gift to IROs’.



The 94-page report is downloadable free from the site via an Acrobat

Reader. It focuses on the Fortune 100 companies, and found that 93 of

them had some form of investor relations or financial information on the

web pages. One of the main chapters looks at the content of the web

sites, looking at more than 300 attributes, such as the use of annual

reports, press releases, e-mail alerts, site activity monitoring, and

streamlined audio and video.



Another chapter covers notable practices identified in the course of the

study, such as management presentations to analysts and individual

investors having ’front row seats’ via webcasts at previously

invitation-only events.



The working group which put together the report also carried out

follow-up interviews with selected companies to talk about their

internet reporting strategies in more depth.



The report covers the legal issues of reporting on the internet,

although obviously from the US perspective, and includes reviews of

investor relations web sites such as The Motley Fool and the Dow Jones

Business Directory.



Elsewhere, the FASB site is very dry and text heavy, although it is

written in layman’s language. The report may only cover the US, but the

global nature of the internet means many of the findings will also be of

interest to those involved in investor relations in the UK.



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