One of the most significant trends in investor relations (IR) is how technological advancements impact companies’ interactions with investors. Q4 recently hosted a webinar, “How to Harmonize Your Investor Relations Tech Stack for a Successful Earnings Lifecycle.” The webinar aimed to share in-depth insights into the methodologies, benefits, and practical applications of optimizing and integrating new technologies in IR to create a successful earnings experience.
The panel of experts, including Jamie Stanton, Senior Director of Investor Relations Success at Q4, Ed Miller, Q4’s Director of Investor Relations in Finance and an experienced Investor Relations Officer, and Jay Vaidya, a veteran Solutions Consultant at Q4, brought diverse insights from their extensive investor relations and technology experience.
Optimal earnings preparation
The conversation began with a discussion of what Investor Relations professionals should be focused on when preparing for earnings. Ed explained, “Before you begin, you need to understand the key messages that you want the audience to leave with.” Based on his experience, he recommended picking three key takeaways you want the audience to leave with.
He also emphasized the importance of thoroughly examining analysts’ estimates to determine whether the company has met, exceeded, or fallen short of market expectations. Effective analysis involves a comprehensive assessment of financial statements, market trends, operational efficiency, regulatory environment, and other significant factors that impact company performance, allowing for the most accurate and informed interpretation of results.
In addition, he also advised collaborating with the financial disclosure committee to ensure accurate and compliant disclosures. Once you’ve committed to your messaging, he advised sending out a save-the-date press release, preparing for the video call, and working with the C-suite to ready them for their presentations.
Integration, automation, and advanced technology
The discussion then shifted to the technological components crucial to IR, emphasizing the integration of the IR website and the investor relations tech stack. With the right IR tech stack, you can automate the key website updates that need to happen to stay within compliance. Jay explained, “We need to look at your earnings lifecycle holistically and understand your day-to-day jobs to be done and, at that same time, understand where there’s an opportunity to either automate tasks or offload and sequence them with human resources.” He understood there may be some IROs who may initially be hesitant to delegate tasks to automate. However, the right system can help save time and resources, reducing manual processes substantially.
Jay then explained how the Q4 Platform enables users to make updates, create plans, and run books in a few simple steps, allowing you to stage updates well in advance with a timer or execute them right away with the push of a button. The Q4 Platform also enables the automation of content like press releases, eliminating the need for manual intervention and reducing the risk of errors, as the information is pulled directly from the newswire and added to the IR website in near real-time via the Business Wire NX network.
“You’re really doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reviewing all the data generated during that event,” Jay remarked. A comprehensive tool like the Q4 Platform goes beyond just providing registration and attendance data; it enables users to understand attendees’ interests, positions, and engagement levels with their companies compared to their peers, facilitating the targeting of the right investors and creating effective strategies and campaigns.
Innovative approaches and future directions
The panel then shared their thoughts about the evolving nature of AI’s potential in streamlining IR processes. The panel emphasized the caution required in using AI applications, advising against using AI for material information but underscoring its utility in drafting scripts and Q&As using public data.
The webinar’s concluded with a reflection on analysts’ increasing popularity and preference for video calls, highlighting the transparency and engagement achieved through this medium. The seamless synthesis of clear communication, advanced technology, strategic implementation, and innovative approaches is crucial for achieving efficient, compliant, and successful earnings lifecycles.
Watch the full webinar here and see more insights from a roundtable discussion of “The new era of virtual and hybrid IR events: Insights from Stockholm’s breakfast meeting.”