Adapting Corporate Reporting to the Information Age

By Gerald Trites, FCPA, FCA, CISA

A 1999 survey showed that many of the companies listed on Canadian and American stock exchanges did not yet have a website. And, of those that did, only about 50% included financial information, which often was quite sketchy and incomplete. These were the main findings of a research study commissioned by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants on The Impact of Technology on Financial and Business Reporting.[1] The aim of the survey was to learn the extent to which listed companies were offering financial reporting on what was then called the World Wide Web. The survey encompassed 370 companies drawn from the 10,000 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. 

A lot has changed in the 20 years since that survey in 1999. Now, all listed companies have websites. Almost all of them include comprehensive financial information on those websites – often under the heading of “Investor Relations” or simply “Investors” or “Investor Information” – and this disclosure is widely acknowledged as a (perhaps the) major source of information for corporate stakeholders. The websites don’t replace the traditional information, like financial statements, MD&A and news releases; rather, they incorporate this information in a different communications vehicle.

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The Restoration of Data Analytics

Over recent years, predictive analytics has become an essential part of business management, especially in the era of big data. But now, the models being used have been blown by changing behaviours. People are working at home, ordering more take-out, using less cash and more electronic payments, shopping online – the list goes on. Predictive analytics depends on historical data. There’s really only one good answer; companies need to focus on rebuilding their data banks to reflect the new behaviours – a necessary but time-consuming activity.

Cybersecurity after the Pandemic

One of the major implications of the pandemic has been the necessity for people to work away from the office at home or elsewhere. Many companies were not ready for this and in fact had avoided it out of fears for security and privacy. But now they have had to implement security for systems moving off premises. It includes people working at home and also people working on the move, using mobile devices, including phones and tablets.

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CPA Founding Partner

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, has chosen to become a founding partner of ThinkTwenty20.