The 5th Symposium of Economic and Financial Communications took place at the Vienna Stock Exchange on June 6, 2019. This year’s topic was “Trends in (Digital) Financial Communications – Which Developments You Should Keep Track of”.
The content included everything from digital financial reporting and big data to artificial intelligence in financial analysis, the visualisation of financial data, and illegal cryptomining.
New Cultural Techniques
“Digital financial communication requires new techniques of thinking, communicating and, ultimately, of culture. If we want digital financial communication to develop its full potential, we have to internalise these logics of thinking. If we truly commit ourselves to digitalisation, however, we have to address the topic of IT security as well. If we do not, we endanger not only ourselves but also others”, says Monika Kovarova-Simecek, Academic Director of the master degree programme Economic and Financial Communications at the St. Pölten UAS and organiser of the symposium.
Digital Reports and Fast Analyses
“Online first“ is the new motto in reporting. Eloy Barrantes, CEO of nexxar, one of the world’s leading agencies for digital reporting, used best practice examples to show why digital thinking is important when it comes to business reports. There are plenty of examples: by now, almost half of the 500 biggest European companies publish their annual reports in digital form only because they have understood the possibilities of digital reporting. This seems to be a logical development as nearly 90 percent of stakeholders in the capital market read annual reports exclusively on their computer screen.
Stefan Maxian, financial analyst at Raiffeisen Centrobank AG and vice president of the Austrian Association for Financial Analysis and Asset Management (ÖVFA), emphasised in his speech that it is not only investors who want digital reporting and concise presentations but financial analysts as well. A wish list drawn up by financial analysts and presented by Maxian shows that there is still a lot to be done.
Matthias Wabl, senior editor for Bloomberg News, demonstrated how Bloomberg creates analyses after companies have published their business and financial figures. He also stated which demands news agencies have for company releases in order to be able to guarantee fast analyses. The requirements include comparability and a standardised structure of the releases as well as sufficient figures from previous years.
Big Technologies, Big Data and Blocked Cryptogenerators
Sabine Prodan, Head of Business Development at MDD Switzerland and co-president of XBRL Switzerland, presented how companies can bring their data into structured form. XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), a digital reporting format, is prescribed by law in financial reporting from 2020. Based on the example of an international pharmaceutical group, the participants of the symposium had the opportunity to experience what XBRL means in practice.
Werner Weingraber, Head of Research Sales and Operations at Raiffeisen Bank International AG, talked about big data and artificial intelligence in financial analysis. Finally, Sebastian Schrittwieser from the Institute of IT Security Research at the St. Pölten UAS, presented the “Coin Eater”, a browser add-on which detects and blocks unwanted cryptomining on computers.
Workshop and Poster Session
Prior to the symposium, Dennis Münkle (Reportix) and Sabine Prodan (MDD, XBRL Switzerland) hosted a workshop on the topic of “successfully implementing XBRL”. A study by Monika Kovarova-Simecek from the St. Pölten UAS showed the current state of investor relations websites of Austrian companies and last but not least, students of the master degree programme Economic and Financial Communications presented how a good visualisation of financial data contributes to their understanding.
The 5th Symposium of Economic and Financial Communications was supported by the Vienna Stock Exchange, CIRA, IV Niederösterreich, ÖVFA, dragonfly finance, PRVA, CCR, Finanzjournalisten-Forum, CFO aktuell, and Sparkasse NÖ Mitte West.