Insightful analysis and commentary for the US and global equity investor
Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Will Real-time Financial Reporting Kill The 10-Q?

Accountants are not given enough credit for their senses of humor.

The Big Four firms, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and Ernst & Young, have suggested that corporations release a large portion of their financial and operating data in real-time. The technology for doing this, Extensible Business Reporting Language, already exists. The accounting firms are further suggesting that companies offer other key operational numbers like employee turnover and customer retention as well.

The proposed system may sound insane, but why should corporate reporting be different from any other form of information. Software and the internet have made vast quantities of data and news information at the touch of a figure.

Investing is a dicey business. Executives at public companies always know more than investors. Some investors believe that securities analysts get more information than the general public. Investment bankers and corporate customers often have insights into a public company’s progress that investors may not see for months.

You can order a car and groceries online. Why not up-to-date financial reports on your investment?

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.


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