Recently, my colleague Susie Reinhardt and I sat down with Matthew Nicholas from Credit Suisse and Paul Biddle from Celeste Funds, for our On The Couch With Cannings podcast, to discuss what investors are expecting from listed companies as they report results this month. Here are some observations

1. A return to quality and strong fundamentals

According to Paul and Matt, there will be a renewed focus on quality fundamentals this reporting season. Investors are looking for robust business models, durable cash flow, good quality accounts and an experienced board and management team that is executing well. While these are  characteristics of attractive listed companies in a normal reporting season, there will  be a greater focus on the quality of results, as well as the extent to which your company accounts incorporate a reliance on government subsidies.

2. Make it easy; make it clear

While you are only preparing results for one company, investors are often looking at dozens of company results –  all in the same day. Keeping your story simple and clear hurdles to help the market understand your results by pulling out  abnormalities and provide a clear picture of what is driving your earnings and the underlying trends supporting your business. . Also, be clear on predicted capex and how your investment plan may have changed given the new “normal”. If COVID has added costs to your business, clarify whether these will be ongoing or one-off in nature.

3. The world is changing quickly; provide insight on trading post June 30

Many companies pulled guidance during March and April given the uncertainty in the market. Investors recognise that uncertainties such as the extent of state lockdowns, the roll-off of fiscal stimulus and also how the economy will behave when programs such a JobSeeker and JobKeeper come to end, make it difficult to provide quantitative guidance ranges for FY21.

However, insight into trading in the six to eight weeks since June 30, depending on when company results fall, will serve as a useful indicator of FY21 and add credibility to what is otherwise expected to be qualitative outlooks. Our podcast experts also cautioned against using vague words like “better” or “a bit better” when guiding earnings, which only invite questions on “how much better?” from analysts and investors.

4. Time for shorter; sharper virtual roadshows

While face-to-face meetings with company management is typically preferred in roadshows, given the amount of information communicated through body language, it is simply not feasible in the current situation. Rather than coordinating a fusion of Zoom and in-person meetings to satisfy investor requests, Matt and Paul recommend an efficient schedule of 40 minutes Zoom calls. Why? Zoom calls naturally result in less small talk, meaning 40 minutes should be ample time for each meeting. This way, CEOs could dedicate two days to speaking with investors from a Board room, without the barrier of travel, and then get back to running their business in this challenging time.

If you are looking for support for your financial results, Cannings’ dedicated team of Investor Relations professionals are trusted by small and large ASX listed companies to build enduring value for companies, shareholders and stakeholders. To speak with one of our IR consultants, get in touch at [email protected]