What are the advantages of paperless board meetings? | Aprio
October 28, 2021
Dee Sicklesteel

Top 10 advantages of paperless board meetings

Board meetings are an essential opportunity for board members to analyze performance, make executive decisions, and discuss steps moving forward. Depending on the number of board members, accessing and communicating accurate and consistent information can be difficult. That’s where paperless board meetings come in. 

What are paperless board meetings?

Paperless board meetings are a new take on office tradition. In order to positively impact traditional board meetings and allow for a seamless transaction of information, the paperless board meeting solution was introduced out of the modern reality that mail-out board packages have become a thing of the past. Now board members prefer digital communications by email and on mobile. 

In order to make board meetings and board communication simpler, companies are deploying paperless board management software. The software streamlines meeting preparation and makes it convenient for board members to stay up to date with board materials in one centralized portal. Board members follow a digital agenda with links to relevant documents that keeps everyone more engaged and on track through the entirety of the meeting. 

For organizations that are looking to make board communication more efficient, switching to paperless board meeting software is an effective option. 

The top 10 advantages

We’ll discuss 10 main advantages of paperless board meeting software.

1. Simplified board management 

Efficient management of board meetings is the best way to ensure an engaged and productive board. With several participants, meetings can often get off-track and members can become distracted.

Having a clear outline of talking points and important matters that all members can refer to is the best way to boost morale and stay organized. Members can override when necessary, but ultimately, paperless meetings provide the structure that’s necessary for a successful meeting. 

When it comes to successful organizations, there is nothing more detrimental or glaring than disorganization. Implementing effective and ordered management minimizes time spent on menial items and reduces the risk of forgotten tasks

2. Board tasks made easier

You may think there is nothing more simple than paper, but digital tools such as e-signature, online voting, and digital board evaluations make some board tasks far easier. 

paperless board meeting software have additional features that minimize board effort and meeting preparation. Some of the most valuable features include:

  • Agenda templates that save time creating and cloning agendas
  • Drag and drop build tools that take hours off-board pack preparation and distribution
  • Online voting and digital signature for an immediate turnaround on decisions and documents 
  • Meeting minutes builder that draws in your agenda and streamlines recording and circulating minutes and motions 
  • Online surveys that support annual board and director evaluations.

Paperless board portal software is easy to use, simple to implement, and a sure way to avoid forgotten tasks around board meetings. 

3. Easier note taking 

Make the job of your board secretary easier. With paper meeting minutes, there is often a delay between the meeting and when the board members get access to the minutes. This can deter proper review of minutes and increase the risk of errors.  With board management software, minutes tools let you take notes to live in the meeting adding in motions, signatures, and key document links in real-time. 

For directors, paper note taking can feel familiar, but so can the experience of leaving those notes elsewhere and arriving at the meeting unprepared. With board portal software, board members access board materials online and make digital annotations right in the documents.  Those notes or questions can be shared with other board members, and they are never left behind as directors can access annotated documents later on any device. 

4. Foolproof board updates 

Keeping everyone’s eyes on the correct, latest version of documents is one of the main headaches of paper-based board communication. With paperless board management, information can be kept up-to-date electronically, with only current versions of documents available to avoid version confusion. Last-minute changes can be relayed instantly to all, allowing all members of the board to stay on the same page. 

With traditional board packs, it’s challenging to alter information in what can be an inch-deep stack of paper. Unexpected changes will lead to editing documents, reprinting booklets, and redirecting conversations. With paperless board meetings, the flow of information can remain flexible to changes. 

5. Enhanced board engagement 

One of the most important factors of a meeting is that all members feel comfortable participating and that they are given the opportunity to engage. This can be especially challenging when meetings become remote. 

paperless board meeting software enhances convenience for all board members, regardless of where they are located. Each participant can simply join in without being in one central venue. Furthermore, paper-focused board meetings miss the opportunity for online discussion, which can be more comfortable for some. 

6. Simultaneous transparent access

With paper-focused board meetings, information can get lost in delivery or not reach board members who are traveling. The unintended consequence can be a bias to include some board members on a more timely basis than others. 

All boards are seeking to ensure their meetings and board communication bring in diverse voices and timely, transparent communication is a big part of that effort.  With board meeting software, every board member has transparent access to board materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

7. Positive environmental impact 

By limiting paper products, organizations have the opportunity to minimize their ecological footprint and become more sustainable. 

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that paper recycling is unlimited. However, paper can only be recycled five times. As the recycling process commences, fibers in the paper begin to break down and become weak. Though recycling is an excellent step forward for many businesses, there are other ways to become eco-friendly. 

By transitioning to digital options, your organization can lower its paper consumption and have a positive impact on the environment. With ESG emerging as a top board priority, it’s important to take every possible step towards social responsibility. 

8. Cost-reduction over time

There is a significant cost reduction by switching to paperless board meeting software. Two factors contribute to cost reduction: time savings of preparing paper board packages, and cost saved by eliminating printing and distribution costs. 

Gathering information for a board pack is a significantly time-consuming process for staff. If any errors are made, it takes the board administrator or governance team considerable effort and hours to make corrections and reprints of individual board packs. By transitioning to paperless board meetings, updates are made digitally, shared in an instantly accessible secure link in an email, without a delay in notifying board members. 

Going paperless also decreases the cost of paper, ink, and toner used as well as eliminates the cost of couriering or mailing documents. 

9. Improved security 

Board meetings often touch on confidential and privileged information. Ensuring complete security of information is essential to keep the company safe. Hard copies of documents can easily lead to weakened security measures. 

Traditionally, board members would receive printed board packages with sensitive information, and take physical notes in notebooks and papers. Those documents could easily get lost or misplaced – either by theft or by accident. This lends the company to breached privacy and leaked information, which can be extremely damaging. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure the utmost safety of all confidential information. 

With paperless board meetings and quality board portal software, confidential information is kept secure behind a portal login. Encryption protects data in transit and in place. And in the event of a lost device, data can be remotely wiped.

10. Modern governance best practices

We are living in a digital world. Through our work, consumer habits, or even communicating with friends and family, we’ve all become accustomed to technology for convenient communication and tasks. Taking advantage of these solutions is a part of embracing modern board governance and achieving transparency, security, reporting and audit readiness, and efficiency with your board management.

Make the switch today

If you’re considering switching to paperless board meeting software, now is a great time to assess your options. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how efficient, time-saving, and cost-reducing going paper can be. 

We’d be glad to show you how a paperless board runs more efficiently – talk with Aprio.

And here’s a great case study on a board that made the shift: BlueShore Financial Case Study.

See the Aprio difference.

We’re happy to help assess your needs and the fit with Aprio. Take the first step.

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