Why your board of directors need a board portal
Preparing hard copy board packs can be a logistical nightmare. Whilst many company secretaries and administrators are aware of the benefits of using online software to easily upload, remove, reprint and replace documents, what are the advantages from the perspective of the end user – the board director?
A fully encrypted board portal eliminates potential security risks associated with producing and distributing traditional hard copy board packs. Physical copies do not need to be sent to board directors via email or courier; they can simply log on, view and print the documents directly from the portal. As some directors still enjoy the familiarity of a hard copy pack, a portal can provide the best of both worlds. However, in this digital age, most directors have access to iPads and surface tablets so they may find a transition to paperless meetings is the way-forward.
Company secretaries and administrators can easily add or remove directors at any time and can restrict individual access to specific documents. This feature is particularly helpful when there are possible conflicts of interest.
Better access to information
Storing current and previous board packs and important information within an online portal allows directors to access documents from previous meetings, such as minutes, strategic plans and audit reports, all with a click of a button. Other useful company information such as committee terms of reference and policy manuals can be also be stored. The added search function allows directors to easily search previous packs or projects for relevant information.
Most, if not all, board portals work on all major operating systems and can be viewed on most tablets, PCs and mobile phones. The interface from device to device usually remains consistent, allowing directors to easily navigate board packs regardless of what device they are used to using.
Increased board engagement
Using a portal doesn’t just restrict board engagement to the boardroom; instead of having to wait for the next meeting, online board management software allows directors to discuss and share ideas, notes and annotations in real-time, when it’s convenient for them. This not only increases the efficiency of the board itself, but it may also reduce the frequency and length of the meetings. As previously highlighted, any notes directors make on the portal are secure and are can be restricted to specific individuals they are willing to share that information with.
Non-executive directors (NEDs) often serve on several boards and the utilisation of an online portal across organisations may help ensure they don’t miss vital communications. Board packs will always be available on the portal and reminder emails can be sent to NEDs to notify them that new documentation is available.
This also applies to directors that are required to travel and usually their use travel time as an opportunity to catch up on company issues; they may previously have had to carry numerous hard copy board packs with them but using an online portal eradicates this problem.
Modernised board administration
Online portals significantly reduces the meeting preparation time from hours to minutes by cutting down the number of manual hours involved.
Replacing documents in already produced hard copy packs has always been an issue – most directors have attended a meeting at some point where the wrong version of a document has been circulated. An online portal allows secretaries and administrators to quickly replace and share updated documents instantly.
By using a portal as a task management tool, secretaries and administrators can set tasks for those directors they are expecting papers from and grant them specific access to upload their own documents.
Cost-effective and good for the environment
Every year, companies spend a large amount of time and money on the printing, assembly and distribution of board packs. With increasing pressures on organisations to work towards green initiatives and implement enhanced corporate social responsibility processes, using an online portal reduces the reliance on paper, the impact on the environment and sends a positive message to key stakeholders.
The market for board portals is expanding. As the benefits of board management software are highlighted, more and more organisations are ‘going digital’ in a bid to be more efficient and reduce costs. With robust security permissions and tight version control, using a portal ensure their directors can access real-time confidential information wherever they are, whether this be in the office, on the move or at home.
How can we help?
We have partnered up with a dedicated secure solution for the provision of a board portal. For more information contact Ben Harber.