You're probably tired of wondering whether that earnings statement you're reading is true or just another piece of fiction better suited for beach reading.
Gregory FCA suggests you simply give up. The Philadelphia investor relations and public relations firm is sponsoring a summer contest to find the Best Fictional Earnings release. The contest is "open to those who would rather laugh than cry, those who are sick of lies but still love fiction, those fleeced investors who now need the money, the soon-to-be-unemployed and all of us who just can't take another hideous headline," according to the rules.
Contestants are invited to pick the infamous public company that most offends or appeals to them and to rewrite its latest earnings statement in the style and words of their favorite author. Winners likely will capture not only the author's voice, but also will foreshadow the company's sleaziest practices - swollen revenue, improper expense recognition, off balance sheet transactions, insider stock transactions.
Entries should be between 400 and 600 words, double-spaced. Contest rules forbid use of numbers or tables, as "they are irrelevant now, and were then." Entries should be e-mailed to [email protected] by Aug. 9. First prize is $500, second prize is $250 and third prize is $100. The money might come in handy, given low expectations for year-end bonuses.
By way of sample, Gregory RCA suggests the following lead paragraph a la Ernest Hemingway about WorldCom Inc. and its former CEO, Bernie Ebbers: "It was harvest in Mississippi. Ebbers squinted in the sun off across the fields and out onto the world where the past and future were one and true. All that the harvest had cost him in one year was eternal and stretched away over the horizon. All that mattered, the thing that allowed his run with the bulls, was this year's bounty and so he announced WorldCom net income of..."