Back in September, I took a brief glance at Internet connector-for-travelers iPass (NASDAQ:IPAS), and concluded that investors' concerns with its management might be a bit overblown. And, more importantly, I thought, if that proved to be the case, the company's valuation made it quite an interesting prospect. In support of the second part of that thesis, I cited the company as having a run rate on free cash flow generation that suggested iPass could generate $28.6 million worth of cash by the end of the year. Only time could tell how close that estimate would lie to the truth.

As it turned out, however, even time failed to tell. Or at least, not yet. 2004 has come and gone. iPass has published its annual earnings report. But we still don't know how much free cash flow the company generated. You see, like all too many investor-unfriendly companies, iPass failed to include a cash flow statement with its earnings report. (Ever the nag, I've recently cited companies as small as drugstore.com (NASDAQ:DSCM) and as large as SUPERVALU (NYSE:SVU) and Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) for similar infractions of investor etiquette.) While company management made happy-sounding noises about its "strong positive cash flow from operations," it did its investors a disservice in concealing the precise amount of that cash flow from them.

Now mind you, I'm not disputing the fact that iPass made some cash over the past 12 months. Indeed, with the amount of green on its balance sheet growing by more than $13 million, despite the company's making nearly $30 million worth of acquisitions over the course of the year, I've got a pretty good hunch that iPass did make some money. But as an investor, I'd rather not invest based on hunches.

Perhaps it's Foolish to suggest this, but it seems to me that iPass did not only its investors a disservice yesterday, but itself as well. You see, not all of us potential buyers are impressed by news of 22% revenue growth. Or even 37% growth in GAAP profits (especially when, by the time the profits filter down to the per-share level, the growth in profits has shrunk back down to 26%). GAAP earnings results are all well and good, but some of us like to double-check those numbers against something more substantial.

And so I say: iPass, next time, please show us the cash flow statement. If you've got nothing to hide, it's just plain silly to shoot yourself in your investor-relating foot by creating the suspicion that you might. It's not something that Caesar's wife would approve of at all.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.