Stakeholders need timely information from companies

Abolishing quarterly reporting would be taking a step backwards ("Quarterly reporting losing its shine"; Feb 17).

The rationale behind the proposal is based on the more important need for long-term focus and quality information.

The trend with company reporting seems to be fanciful, colourful reports, aimed at winning awards for presentation rather than keeping shareholders informed.

The fact that many companies do not present a long-term outlook in their annual reports or provide quality information is hardly reason to abolish quarterly reporting.

On the contrary, these are the companies that need to produce more frequent periodic updates.

It should not be surprising that businesses executing a long-term corporate strategy would not have a different or good story to tell all the time.

But minority shareholders and investors need timely assurance that things are on track.

Obviously, directors and management will resent having "non-essential" shareholders overseeing their progress, especially when there is little good news.

But it is short-term bad news that will alert minority stakeholders to be more cautious.

It is vital for all business owners to keep an eye on their business and detect the earliest sign of problems.

Even a small company should have weekly or monthly reports, so that the management can know exactly how the business is doing.

Hence, I do not see that there is an extra "burden" to produce a quarterly report, unless the company is not monitoring its sales, expense ratios, cash flows, balance sheets and profit and loss.

Geoffrey Kung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2016, with the headline 'Stakeholders need timely information from companies'. Print Edition | Subscribe