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What do potential shareholders look for in Quarterly Reports

7 April 2022
Parikshit Singh

With Quarterly Reporting season upon us once more, many investors will be re-evaluating their holdings given the turbulent macro-economic environment. In addition to ramifications from the war in the Ukraine and higher commodity prices, they will be trying to assess the continued impacts of COVID on supply chains, prices and workforces.

It’s the responsibility of any listed company to communicate how these broader environmental factors might impact their business. For companies that report quarterly, it’s more crucial than ever to use their Quarterly Activity Reports as a way to help build trust and confidence in their path forward.

CASH RUNWAY IS PARAMOUNT

In addition to understanding a company’s business progress and outlook, investors rely on Quarterly Activity Reports to understand a company’s financial stability, often to assess the potential need to raise capital. In assessing their cash runway, investors do a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation:

Cash balance ÷ cash burn = quarters of cash remaining

As a general rule of thumb, less than four quarters of cash suggests a potential capital raise. In the current environment, therefore, the Quarterly Activity Report should outline any cost reductions or measures being taken to lengthen the cash runway.

Most companies reporting quarterly won’t have the earnings certainty to provide earnings guidance. In the absence of formal guidance, a company’s track record, as reported in its Quarterly Activity Report can be considered quasi-guidance. Investors therefore expect a company to report any significant deviation from its prior performance trend, or previous outlook statements. It’s also important to be clear about any anticipated shifts in revenue and costs.

BEST PRACTICE CHECKLIST

  1. Highlight bullets covering core narrative and KPIs, include cash balance
  2. CEO quote or an Outlook section which summarises performance and outlook
  3. Summarise any impacts from broader macro-environment and how the business is adapting
  4. Avoid or explain industry jargon to make your announcement as accessible as possible
  5. Include the cash runway and potential catalysts that fall within this runway
  6. Consider a communication roll out for your announcement including accompanying investor presentation, webinar and replay, direct investor outreach and media strategy


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