Investor relations officers (IROs) manage the integration of finance and communication between an organization, the financial community and its current and potential investors. These mutifaceted practitioners are not strictly back-room number crunchers. In fact, they wear many hats and often sit at the “big table” with presidents, CEOs and CFOs.
Well versed in financial strategy and law, IROs must also excel in written and verbal communication with varied publics.
- Answer tough questions posed by knowledgeable financial analysts and government officials.
- Explain opportunities, setbacks and current state of affairs to investors.
- Report and propose objectives to senior company officials.
Traditionally, IRO is a temporary and rotating role in an organization. A 2 to 5 year stint in IR benefits both the company and the financial executive chosen for the position. As new IROs rotate in, they bring fresh perspectives to top executives with an ‘always hiring’ mindset. For the IRO, this is an opportunity to develop valuable communication skills.
‘It shows you’re considered a well-rounded individual, and that you can do both the finance and communications sides … It’s definitely a pat on the back,’ says Nathan Elwell, managing director at FTI Consulting in Chicago.
Today, companies embrace an IRO’s role as a permanent and integral position. Diversity of experience in an increasingly fluctuating marketplace is key to attract and inform investors.
Research done by The Fisher School of Accounting at the University of Florida found that IROs are holding more centralized positions of power and influence than ever before.
How we do business is evolving. And informed communicators are no longer temporary solutions to momentary crises. The importance of strategic information sharing has taken root in the boardroom.