I reckon that technology-ignorant clients are a double-edged sword. The Law states that whatever sophisticated concept you manage to run by them with no resistance, thou shalt be smitten with much rebuking about low-end things, eg:
- this content management tool doesn’t accept my MS Word tabs and indents! Shriek!
- I just want to print one piece of paper off this website page, not all 20! Rant!
- Search on my site doesn’t find the document I put up on the intranet last week! Rail!
Most US investor relations officers (IROs) are not directly involved in disclosure technology and have a very poor understanding of it. This is mostly because about 75% of investor relations sections on US corporate websites are outsourced to hosting services. IROs have generally been entirely hands off when it comes to these sites so they’ve lost out on a lot of important learning over the years. They don’t understand what HTML is, so XBRL is even more alien to them.
As much as we think of expediency and taking problems out of the clients’ hands (or outsourcing those to us in these times), it makes us party to them not knowing more about the technology issues. The cycle continues.
Taking a leaf out of the “teach a man to fish” parable, I’m going to escalate the training of clients. Not just in terms of social knick-knacks, but along the lines of: What Every IRO Should Know.