PracticePeople In PracticeBusiness websites are fine but clarity is a virtue.

Business websites are fine but clarity is a virtue.

Companies from all corners of the world have been reaping the benefit of the internet by posting all sorts of information on websites - from financial data to product launches and details of social and environmental policies.

And investors are turning to the web as a source of information about potential investment targets.

But problems arising from the lack of borders in this online world are causing consternation for regulators. This global reach has led to unforeseen legal implications. Companies in one country may unwittingly infringe on another’s laws as internet users from different regulatory jurisdictions use the same site.

Bodies such as the Auditing Practices Board should be applauded for their efforts to introduce guidelines in this area. But finance professionals in business should start getting their act together. There are some very good examples of company websites, but there are also some very poor ones.

Results are all mixed up with analysts’ reports and it is often unclear what information is audited and what is not audited.

Often such problems arise because the finance department has left the control of websites to a company’s marketing and promotional staff.

Those that have lost control need to wrestle it back, and ensure the information they present online is clear, accurate and kept up to date.

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