I'm not sure if this is even the right forum for this question, but I've been asked by a student to give some information on financial calls, the problem is that we don't do them in Ireland and so I don't really know very much about them. Any information on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi, Michelle. I have not worked on financial calls in a few years, but I don't think the format has changed. Public corporations report their earnings once each financial quarter, often by holding a conference call or webcast to update stock analysts on the company's financial health and any other announcements they feel are newsworthy. The calls last typically one hour, the first half hour devoted to prepared remarks by corporate officers and the second half hour devoted to answering any questions the analysts might have.

From the perspective of the writer/captioner, these calls are tremendously challenging. As we all know, people read much faster than they would speak in a conversation. The portion of the call devoted to the financial outlook is both fast and number-intensive. If you blink and miss a number, there's no way you can intuitively fill in that blank. The difficulty of the subject matter differs from company to company. A corporation like Applebees restaurant might not cause you grief, but the next call from a Portuguese pharmaceutical company could leave you demoralized.

I think if a person were to, as I did for a while, devote themselves to these calls, s/he could build the necessary speed, become accustomed to the pace, develop writing shortcuts that help immensely, and enjoy earning their living that way. I would absolutely NOT recommend this work for new reporters.

That's just one person's perspective. Please feel free to ask me for clarification. Or I can refer you to reporters I know are still doing these calls four times each year.

Karen Yates
Karen, thank you so much for that, it's great to get some sort of information on it. They sound very challenging to say the least!

I think that you may have been sitting next to me at one of the lectures in Boston, Chuck's CART talk??
How does one get a job captioning the financial earnings calls? I know some captioning companies provide these services, but not all. Are there a list of companies out there that provide captioners for financial calls?
Karen gave an EXCELLENT description.

I wanted to add one more thing. Be prepared for CRAPPY and hard-to-hear audio. As Karen said, the speakers are fast and furious, and the audio may sometimes be a teleconference recording as opposed to being there in person. It can be difficult to hear whether they said "million" or "billion," as an example, or whether some words are plural or singular.

Click here is a brief sample of one: Wal-Mart Q4 Earnings Call

Thanks for the comment. It sounds less and less appealing with every comment :)


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