With phrases like “stock pummeled”, “disappointing guidance”, and “revenue misses”, one must surely think this story is nothing but bad news.
I see it differently.
You see, in spite of the Street’s expectations, Amazon has apparently posted the results of its 4th quarter financial operations lower than anyone had planned.
A move that is easier said than done.
Earnings Estimates, Analyst Projections, Wall Street Expectations – heady pressures for any publicly traded company. But when your name is Amazon, well, you have a reputation to uphold.
I can only imagine the hand-wringing and late-nights the accountants and C-Suite executives have contended with as they’ve headed into this recent reporting cycle.
But unlike their counterparts at WorldCom, Enron, and HealthSouth (to name a few), they took the miss on the chin. In spite of what was likely insurmountable pressure, in spite of their “status” as a Wall Street darling, in spite of knowing the significant impact on stock price, they apparently chose to report their reduced revenues accurately.
I see this as leadership. I see this as a bold move. I see this as great news for investors who want to make sure they can rely on the financial reports they’re reading.
When one sees the headlines and fallout from today’s news, one can understand how easy it would have been for Amazon to have cooked the books. To have booked 4th quarter expenses in the new year, to have recorded revenue early. You know, cut a little here, embellish a little there. What are a few more journal entries to post just to make it through the quarter, to make it through the reporting cycle, and hopefully reverse the trend in the new year?
Rationalizations are so easy to come by.
Business, like life, is messy. We have dreams and goals. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and we take risks (and if you haven’t watched Amazon’s “risky” and “risqué” Goliath, you should). Sometimes, we are thoroughly disappointed. And other times, our luck takes our breath away. In other words, there is no straight line to success. Why is it then, when a Company like Amazon misses its financial projection in one quarter, the reaction is so deeply negative?
It is these very negative reactions, from the “pummeling” of the stock to the undesirable headlines, that cause so many other companies to more easily arrive at those rationalizations. To make the choice to “just get through the bad times” by painting a picture that isn’t real.
I get it. One need only log into their personal social media to understand this concept. How many of us report that we gained a few unwanted pounds, that someone we loved disappointed us, or that our kids really are imperfect. Heck, no!
So too, it goes, with business.
And so today, I celebrate Amazon. I thank them for restoring a little ounce of confidence in our reliance of big-corporation financial reporting and I am hopeful they will continue to make sound business decisions and take measured risks that will return big payoffs for their investors.