An earnings call is a quarterly conference call in which public companies announce and discuss their financial performance. It’s a way for companies to highlight great results, break down shortcomings, and try to project the next steps they’re going to take.
Earnings call participants and listeners usually include partners, institutional and individual investors, business journalists, and Wall Street analysts. These conference calls are also made available to the public so they can listen to or participate in the discussion live. Usually, the call recording or transcript is also distributed online. That is why it is no surprise that hundreds and maybe thousands of people listen to an earnings conference call. Since it’s so easily accessible, businesses both big and small can learn a lot of information that they may not have been privy to initially. This additional information can then be used to build their platforms in a way that has been proven to work for the public companies hosting the aforementioned earnings calls. This is a wonderful benefit for most people in general, but if you’re the chief executive officer (CEO) in charge of hosting your company’s earnings call, you’ll soon realize that it isn’t as easy as it seems.
As the CEO of your company, you should be comfortable and confident in going through your earnings call regardless of the difficulties you may have to face. Whether you are delivering excellent news or discussing setbacks, it’s important that you don’t lose track of what you want to report and what message you want to deliver to the listeners. In this case, the structure of your earnings call can make or break your presentation. If you have the structure of your earnings call marked up to the last detail, then you’ll find it easier to present your findings in a way that makes it hard for others to dispute. After all, preparation is almost always half the battle. If you’re well prepared, you’ll have a better chance of conquering whatever challenges you need to face, especially in the form of skeptics and critics who take pleasure in trying to discredit your insights.
Whatever you do, make sure to structure your earnings call in four phases:
Phase 1: Introduction
The conference call starts with the introduction. The conference call operator from your provider or someone from your team acting as a host will introduce the management team that will be presenting. Usually, the team members included in an earnings call are the CEO, chief financial officer or CFO, and other executives needed for the discussion. After this, the safe harbor statement should follow.
Phase 2: Safe harbor statement
The safe harbor statement is handled by a member of the company’s management or someone from the legal team. This is where you notify the participants that the call will include forward-looking statements, in other words, predictions, expectations, or possibilities regarding the next financial performance or plans of the company.
This means that the forward-looking statements have no certainty and that they may differ from the actual results. This essential part of the earnings call is there to limit the company’s liability in case these predictions are not met. After this, it’s time to dive into the raw financial data.
Phase 3: Presentation and discussion of data
The presentation and discussion of the financial results is the essence of the earnings call. This is the part where the company’s management present and discuss the financial results of the recent quarter. You’ll be talking about the revenue of the company, the conflicts you experienced, recent milestones, and of course, the expectations for the upcoming quarter. After this, the questions start.
Phase 4: Q&A session
The Q&A session is the last part of the earnings call. This is where participants will be able to ask the company several questions regarding the data that was presented. In this session, analysts and investors will surely be the most active, asking elaborate questions about the company’s performance and more.
It is important to note, however, that the company’s management still has the right to decline to answer certain questions, in case they get too irrelevant or there is no appropriate information onhand.
It would also be beneficial if you summarize the call before you end it. A summary is not necessary for an earnings call, but it will help put everything into perspective. Three to five sentences should be enough to recall the highlights of the earnings report to all the people listening to the call.
After the call, have a professional transcription service provide a transcript, and if they also provide a meeting summary service that would be an additional help to get the call summarized with the most important details.
ConferTel offers a simple way to get earnings call transcripts and summary reports. Contact us for more details.