by Scott Chaikin

December 21, 2009

A kind and funny client sent me the following.  I’ve scrubbed the names to protect the guilty—feel free to plug in the names of your executives.

The Night Before Earnings

(with apologies to Clement Moore)

‘Twas the night before earnings, and all through accounting,

The figures weren’t footing, and pressure was mounting.

The results were all due by the morning trade open,

Or at least by the close, we all were sure hoping.

The release was re-drafted, with changes checked in,

But key figures lacked support, and that’s surely a sin.

And (IRO) in his office, and I up in mine,

Had just settled in for the rest of the grind.

When down on eleven there arose such a clatter,

I phoned (CEO’s assistant) to see what was the matter.

Away to (CFO’s) office we looked in to check,

Peeked in at the door, then yelled, “What the heck?”

The CFO’s office was crowded with guests,

Some sitting, some standing, some up on the desk,

Not investors, not lawyers, not bankers (what luck!),

But Santa and his elves, come to see (CFO) and (CEO).

“We’re here to help finish,” said Santa, “You bet!”

“From Comp NOI to early extinguishment of debt.”

And with HPs and 10-keys, his elves they did hustle,

Down to floor seven, to offer their muscle.

“Now revenue!  Now earnings!

Now E-B-D-T!

Now progress on all the debt maturity!

To the balance sheet, pipeline and S-74s!

The 8-K, the call script, Supplemental and more!”

As they went to their work, we all looked on in awe.

Their tables were perfect, their exhibits – no flaw!

They even gave opinions on Reg G compliance,

Reg FD, safe harbor and convertible debt finance.

And then, in a twinkling, as they footed each column,

I heard a low murmur, and the mood it turned solemn.

As I looked down the hall to see what was coming,

It was St. Nick, (CFO) and (CEO), all seventh-floor slumming!

(CEO) dressed in a sweater, and likewise for (CFO),

Not St. Nick, though, he liked to dress up for his job!

Red suit, pants and cap, black boots and a belt,

(The fabric looked regal, but was probably felt!)

A stump of a pencil he held tight in his teeth,

And a green eyeshade encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a sack of work papers and a round little belly,

From too many late-night meals from the deli.

As he strode to the elevator with his CPA elves,

We looked on, still wondering if we should be pinching ourselves,

But I heard him call out before he disappeared from sight,

“Happy earnings to all, and to all a good night!”