There is a stock market joke about a chairman (think of Mr Burns from the Simpsons), who sacks the CFO and then insists on conducting the interview for the replacement himself, much to the HR department’s horror.

He starts the interview off with the same question.

“Can you tell me what 1+1 equals?”

“Two” is the first answer, to which he would shout “NEXT”.

The next candidate is then ushered in and gets hit straight up with, “Can you tell me what 1+1 equals?”

“Eleven” and again it’s greeted with a “NEXT” reply.

The third person then comes into the room, “Can you tell me what 1+1 equals?”

“Yes Sir I can. What number would you like it to equal?” to which the chairman instantly jumps up to his feet and offers out his hand and says, “Excellent. When can you start?”


So, I now have this image of Mr Burns signing off on a listed company’s accounts with Smithers standing behind him whenever its financial reporting time and this is approaching very soon for all of us who live in ASX land.

Wednesday 31st of July, to be precise is quarterly (4C) lodgement time. No quarterly report lodged by then will then automatically suspend the company and sod the shareholders.

It’s like the start of the duck shooting season, with announcements flying around everywhere and only a very short time to work out which ones are worth shooting and eating and which ones are worth, well, just shooting.

I always end up on the last trading day of this period, exhausted and with the Simpson’s theme music playing over and over again in my head, as I hit the pillow.

So, to try and cope with this flurry of activity, I have had to devise a system for myself.

Like Mrs Broker does with my wallet, I go straight to the cash balance and no matter what Mr Burns or Mrs Broker would like it to be, it is what it is.

Only after seeing this figure, will I start to work backwards and look at their next quarter estimated expenditure and then at any income received.

From these three things you can quickly work out the health of the company and how many weeks/months before the cash runs out.

Then and only then (and if it is all looking healthy) will I start to read the fluffy bit that the company attaches to the beginning of their announcement.

So, good luck in preparing for this calendar event and whilst you await it, have a look at this scene from Ma and Pa Kettle to work out which ones Mr Burns would jump out of his seat to employ.

Quack Quack!

The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU. Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips, so he can lead a simpler life.