Organisation: Financial Accounting Standards Board
Issue: Investor relations report
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
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
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
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.