Reporting requirements vary by organization and are carried out in accordance with laws, rules, regulations, and the organization’s charter. Detailed treatment of the subject is outside the scope of this book; however, it is worth a few lines to put communications budgeting and planning in context.
Financial reporting has a public or external face and an internal or proprietary face. Communications financial information is typically 100% internal and proprietary. Hardly ever does any organization make details of its communications matters public. However, as you will see shortly, the information that is released through public channels depends on accurate record-keeping and forecasting to support the accuracy and validity of the higher-level information made public.

Public Reporting and Information Release

Public, or external, information is limited, highly controlled, and subject to rigorous legal and other reviews before being released. Financial reports are released four times a year at the end of each quarter. The basic release includes short factual summaries of revenue, net income, and growth calculations. Unaudited profit and loss, balance sheet, and funds position statements are included with quarterly releases and full audited statements are included in the annual report. Figure 1 illustrates how financial information makes its way from information recorded each month through to quarterly and annual reports.

Figure 1: Information Summary and Flow
In addition to the quarterly and annual written reports, it has become customary in recent years to communicate financial guidance with respect to expectations for meeting revenue and income growth. Underpinning the public reporting and information structure is an elaborate, detailed accounting and financial planning system.
A word to the wise: If you have been invited to speak, make a presentation, or appear on a panel at a conference, find and make friends with someone in the group that deals with investors and the media well before the event. Tell them what you’ve been asked to do and ask for their guidance and support. Chances are they will jump at the chance to support and help you with your speech-writing and presentation charts. The strong advice is to avoid the temptation to not ask for their support and help. When you appear in public and say anything, you are automatically deemed to be a representative of your company, especially so if someone introduces you as ‘‘so and so from Company X,’’ or mentions your company at all. If your company is a publicly traded company, you could be deemed to be an insider under securities law. Your media relations or public relations group can help you avoid career destruction, so involve them early and to the extent they are willing and helpful.

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