The third-quarter earnings season is starting to wind down, giving us at MarketWatch time to look back and remind ourselves of something — just how annoying it was. That’s because of the many things companies do to make our jobs more difficult, from failing to issue a press release with a clear table of key metrics up top, to leaving out important numbers in the first release, to including far too many nonstandard, or non-GAAP, numbers. GAAP, or generally accepted accounting principles, is a standard U.S. companies are obliged to follow.
More and more companies opt to disclose their earnings in a shareholder letter, or a PDF, with lots of images and tables that are, for our purposes as journalists if they don’t include comparisons from the year-earlier period, almost entirely useless. As reporters are the first to process these numbers, and earnings come in fast and heavy at the peak of each quarterly earnings season, we’re hoping this article can persuade companies to spare a thought for us. As we’ve outlined before, you don’t want angry, or underinformed, people writing up your numbers. So please stop doing all of the following. From the archive: Here’s how investors are duped each earnings seasonWhere’s the press release? Putting numbers into a shareholder letter is a big no-no. Those companies that do that — Netflix
has done it for years — seem to have no …