Importance of This Chapter
If there is no Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the controller is likely to be in charge of investor relations. This group can include directors, senior managers, and a variety of outside interests, all of whom can variously sue the company or be ready sources of more funds, so it calls for a considerable amount of circumspection and skill in dealing with them. This chapter covers a number of key areas in determining the information needs of various constituencies as well as how to disclose information to them.
Very little has been written about the controller's role in investor relations (IR). This is partially because many controllers, by all outward signs, are not actively engaged in this function—at least as far as the public is concerned. In Chapter 2 IR activities of the controller are included in the category of “Additional Controller Functions.” To many outsiders with an interest in investments, the controller is variously regarded as the “inside man,” the number cruncher, the figure man, or the introverted accountant. To be sure, many of these same representatives do not have a real understanding of what the controller should do or can do.
In contrast to this view of the controller, in discussions with security analysts, they have expressed opinions to the author concerning a preference for talking about financial matters with the controller because “he has the facts” (while many of the non-accounting-trained ...