Michelle Savage, vice president of communications at XBRL US and former VP of IR services for PR Newswire, is interviewed by Brian Pittman for Bulldog Reporter’s IR Alert.
She cuts through the usual blather about XBRL greatness to explain what investor relations professionals really need to be thinking about now that their companies are, or soon will be, using the interactive data format.
There’s a lot of really, really good and relevant stuff in the interview, including this:
What, then, is the biggest XBRL challenge from an IRO standpoint?
The challenge is getting educated and feeling comfortable with what elements are being chosen—and being comfortable with how your own financials are converted into XBRL. That comes down to understanding not the technology, per se, but rather how your financial guys define your statements using XBRL tags, as well as how your industry or market peers and competitors do the same thing. Those are the kinds of questions analysts will start focusing on—e.g., “Your peers use this particular tag for ‘inventory’—why don’t you?” IROs need to get used to that, and need to start thinking what questions analysts and investors will be asking about how they’re using this.
The second big challenge from an IR standpoint is that management is going to begin looking to the IRO to figure out how you can use this. IROs will need to say, “This is an opportunity. What can I do when this data starts coming through and is more readily available?” For example, you’ll want to look at other IR websites to see what others are doing. You’ll want to analyze how XBRL can help you provide better answers to management. You’ll also want to determine how the tool gives you the information you need to provide better answers to the investment community, which will now be getting better and more consistent information. So, it’s a challenge with many opportunities for IR—if you’re educated on these things.
P.S. I haven’t said this before but IR Alert, which was launched in June, is turning out to be a very good web publication for the U.S. IR profession. Just wish they’d add an RSS feed :-)