We are in the midst of a crisis that disrupts our personal day-to-day life and our business life, across the world. Every day, new and additional measures are imposed; changed and sharpened by regulators and governments to keep us safe and support our economies.
A crisis where uncertainties are unprecedented, lacking visibility regarding length and impact. These unprecedented events of the last couple of weeks mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing fast. Within this turmoil, it is important that due consideration and time is given by companies to these events in preparing their disclosures.
Your shareholders expect insights and guidance on how you are navigating your company through this storm. They also expect your company to bear responsibility preventing that investors act on out-of-date information. However, this out-of-date information is of course a totally new reality today. Within this context, do not communicate too swiftly by keeping in mind that the first priority – as always – is to communicate reliable information; take time to get your information in order. An example of this is the FCA asking corporates to delay the publication of preliminary results by two weeks.
Like in every crisis it is important to keep your stakeholders close and well informed. Communicate on how the situation is affecting your markets and your business and how you are doing everything possible to assess the impact on your company, by taking a close look at your supply lines, your internal capacity and customer demand. Communicate on what measures your company is taking to keep the business running and at the same time making assessments on potential financial consequences; consequences regarding dividend measures, remuneration measures and of course consequences of the potential financial impacts on the results.
Recognize that we are all dealing with unprecedented uncertanties and that the impact is not known. Communicate, communicate, communicate, but do so well prepared and diligently. Intensify your communication with your stakeholders to build trust by managing uncertainties.