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Monday, July 7, 2008

Financial Earnings Calls -- An Overview

A financial earnings call is a conference call in which a publicly-traded company announces their earnings results from the prior quarter and/or year. These calls generally follow a specific format. Most companies try to keep the calls under an hour.

Transcriptionists will transcribe the calls within a short turnaround time and are responsible for the specific formatting and accurate details that are covered in the call. Some companies have one transcriptionist type the entire call, while other companies break the call up between several transcriptionists to do in even shorter turnaround times.

A) Full call method – These calls are usually assigned several days ahead to a single transcriptionist. The transcriptionist is responsible for recording the live webcast via Total Recorder or another recording software such as Start Stop. The transcriptionists immediately begins transcribing the call upon completion of the call. The TAT for this method is generally 5-6 hours, which includes completely proofing the call to audio.

B) Segment method – These calls are generally broken up into 5-10 minute segments, and the transcriptionist is required to download the segment, type it immediately, do the basic research and perhaps utilize glossary lists provided by the transcription company, and return it to them ASAP, meaning 20-40 minutes on average. The transcription company then compiles all the segments into one complete transcript.

Due to the nature of the timing of companies filing their quarterly reports, financial earnings transcription has a certain seasonality to it. Peak times are in January, April, July, and October and usually last for a period of about three weeks. The January season is a little more drawn out with a lot of research firm sponsored conferences mixed in.

Transcribing financial earnings calls requires you to have the ability to work well under pressure and have excellent research skills. You also need to have some familiarity with financial jargon. We will go over the terminology and research for these calls later this week in greater detail and also ways to stay productive under the stress of the turnaround time and how to make the most of the season.

We're looking forward to a full week of financial information to share with you and hope everyone will find it a valuable resource. Thanks for reading!