Lessons Learned from Lyft’s Earnings Report Press Release Error

Summary of Lyft’s Earnings Report Press Release Error

In Lyft’s earnings report recent press release on Feb 13, 2024, there was an accidental addition of an extra zero to the 2024 earnings margin outlook that sent the company’s shares soaring by 67% and later plummeted after the error was corrected. The press release initially noted an increase in the 2024 earning margin outlook by 500 basis points and was subsequently corrected to a 50 basis points increase later that day. The ‘clerical’ error in the press release created a major public relations (PR) issue for Lyft trying to manage the communication associated with the error.

Importance of Public Relations (PR) Communications

In the current dynamic landscape of financial markets, investor relations (also a subset of PR) and related content management (such as press releases) play an important role in shaping the perception of companies among shareholders and potential investors. PR teams collaborate closely with finance, legal, and compliance departments to craft messages that align with the company’s financial reality and ensure timely and accurate disclosures. Press Releases are official statements on behalf of the company conveying important information about financial performance, strategic initiatives, and other developments. Whether it’s an earnings release, a merger announcement, or a restatement of financials, PR professionals play a critical role in drafting the story.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also mandates stringent reporting standards for public companies, including maintaining internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) and disclosure controls and procedures (DCP). These communications provide investor confidence, credibility, trust, and transparency to all stakeholders who rely on this information to evaluate investment, financial, and strategic decisions. Proactively managing these communications in a well-controlled manner can help companies avoid missteps that might trigger regulatory scrutiny, affect stock prices, cause reputational damage, and lose long-term shareholder value. Clear and accurate communication minimizes confusion and prevents market volatility.

Best Practices for PR-Related Internal Controls

Entity-Level Controls (ELC): PR controls should be integrated into the overall corporate governance and ELC framework. Collaboration between PR, legal, finance, and compliance teams ensures alignment with business objectives and regulatory requirements. Appropriate executive review and Board review need to be implemented and consistently executed.

Policies: PR and Investor Relations (IR) communications need to be governed by policies that define minimum review and approval requirements for messaging before press releases and other company-specific communication are published or shared with the public, such as press releases, investor presentations, or earnings calls. PR and IR professionals must understand the impact of their messaging on stock prices, investor sentiment, and compliance. Awareness of materiality thresholds and quiet periods is crucial.

Evaluate your PR process and control structure: For any external communications, a company must evaluate, document, and communicate its process of collecting the data, building the narrative, and ensuring appropriate checks and balances of “every” word, number, and metric is performed thoroughly via multiple independent reviewers.

No last-minute changes: While creativity and perfect wording are valuable, last-minute changes and reconciliations can be detrimental. The benefits of these changes may outweigh the incremental risk created by last-second changes. Implement a 48-hour rule to ensure no changes are made to the original document to allow for multiple independent reviews and a ‘fresh’ set of eyes.

Single source of truth: It is important that a company uses a systematic platform such as Workiva that connects the different sources of data to the various documents and ensures they are the same source of truth.

Continuous Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of PR activities ensures consistency and compliance. Regular evaluations help identify areas for improvement.


In the interconnected world of finance, PR controls drive accuracy and build trust. SEC reporting companies must recognize the intersection between financial reporting and PR. By prioritizing effective communication internal controls, they can navigate the complexities of the market while safeguarding investor interests and building trust.

Behind every financial statement lies a narrative that is published in press releases, which tells a story that shapes perceptions and influences decisions. The key is to design processes and internal controls to ensure the accuracy of these communications and maintain reputation and trust in the public markets and investor community.

At Centri, our team of risk advisory experts can help you identify, prioritize, and find actionable solutions to manage your governance, risks, and compliance obligations. We take time to understand your unique needs and find a comprehensive approach that solves them. Contact us to learn how our risk advisory solutions can align with your business strategy and objectives.

Mihir Jhaveri

Partner | Risk & Sustainability Practice Leader | CPA, CIA, CISA, CFE, CITP, CGMA

Mihir is a Partner at Centri Business Consulting and the leader of the firm’s Risk & Sustainability Practice. He has over 15 years of experience helping large Fortune 500 publicly-traded and private companies drive process improvement, minimize company risks, and enhance corporate governance. View Mihir Jhaveri's Full Bio

About Centri Business Consulting, LLC

Centri Business Consulting provides the highest quality advisory consulting services to its clients by being reliable and responsive to their needs. Centri provides companies with the expertise they need to meet their reporting demands. Centri specializes in financial reportinginternal controlstechnical accounting researchvaluationmergers & acquisitions, and tax, CFO and HR advisory services for companies of various sizes and industries. From complex technical accounting transactions to monthly financial reporting, our professionals can offer any organization the specialized expertise and multilayered skillsets to ensure the project is completed timely and accurately.

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