January 29, 2006
The proposal discusses a cost-benefit analysis of the matter at hand. Although it may be cost effective to display annual reports via the Internet, what about the benefits of sending out hard copies of annual reports? Receiving a letter in the mail instills a certain trust and sincerity that the Internet does not provide. When a company takes the time to send out financial information to their investors, it shows they care about their investors. I fear this is a slippery slope scenario and if this proposal is approved, how long will it be until all hard copies of financial information are eliminated? Thus, we vest our trust in a man-made machine where information can ultimately be lost forever by the simple click of a button.
Furthermore, to assume that all investors have access to the Internet is discriminatory. The proposal states that, up to 75 of Americans have access to the Internet in their homes. What about the 25 who do not have access to the Internet? This proposal, in essence, is implying that 25 of the population will be left behind as financial investing turns into for digital age only. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are approximately 300 million people in the United States accordingly, financial investing will not be addressing the needs of 75 million Americans because they will not have access to financial information.
The business sector in general, particularly the accounting profession has been struggling with accountability the past several years as seen by financial scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. Why take away hard copy annual reports which actually promote accountability by companies to the financial investors and users?