Board papers are an absolute necessity but have become the bane of many company secretary’s life.
Their purpose should be to give board members a ‘feeling’ for how the business is going; providing essential information, intelligence and insight into the state of the organisation enabling board meetings to be productive. They exist to allow board members to make accurate decisions for the future, well-being of the business. Their aim should be to make the board effective.
Unfortunately, board papers are literally and figuratively weighing us down. Their compilation has become an onerous task for many and is not leading to board effectiveness; in fact, the opposite. Incidents of board papers being over 200 pages long are common place. That’s not only highly resource intensive in its creation, but it’s sheer size, invariably and understandably, leaves board members unable to digest information quickly, thus slowing down meetings.
Sending board papers in plenty of time prior to the meeting might allow board members sufficient time to prepare. In many cases though, information is provided late and/or edits are made at short notice which requires a monumental effort of reprinting the board pack under pressure, and further upsets board effectiveness.
A large number of organisations still use email to distribute board papers which adds to the workload of the company secretary due to their cumbersome nature as previously mentioned. But this also raises the issue of security of a company’s most confidential documents as email is now the most common attack vector, meaning sensitive information is vulnerable to cyber threats.
Collating documents from various departments and directors is no mean feat, but due to the scale of the task, it can result in being poorly presented with a variety of styles and layouts making it awkward and time consuming for board members to read.
No doubt, board papers are a major contributor to board effectiveness, but the traditional manual method of preparation can actually detract from board effectiveness.
This is where digitisation is transforming the boardroom. By adopting digital technology in the form of board portals, company secretaries can produce better board papers and improve board effectiveness.
Digital technology can simplify the creation and distribution of board packs while offering the flexibility to update and amend in real-time. The time, cost and resource efficiencies that can be realised are plainly obvious. Board papers become better controlled and much more manageable. Being digital also enables board members to have secure access to sensitive information from any device thus enhancing sharing and collaboration abilities.
Boardrooms are the places where board members decide the future of the business. Their time and knowledge is invaluable so it makes sense to provide them with easy and secure access to board papers that contain the most accurate information in a readable format that allows them to make the best decisions and be most effective. Cut the stress, turn off the printer and go digital.
Download our eBook highlighting best practices for effective board papers.