Is your board meeting preparation as efficient as it could be? Chances are, there are at least a few parts of the board meeting preparation process that your board could improve upon.
From automating your board meeting agenda creation, to creating an online forum for directors to collaborate, here are our top six tips to help make your board meeting preparation more efficient with board portal software.
Do you find it easy to determine best-fit meeting dates? Are all your board activities and meetings easily visible to your entire board?
If your answer was “no” to the above questions, it may be time to consider using your board management software to centralize the logistics of your board meetings.
Board management software makes meeting scheduling a breeze with a calendar that integrates with board members’ digital calendars, including Google, iCloud, and Outlook.
What’s more, board management software can provide visibility into all board activities with a central calendar that provides at-a-glance meeting information. If anyone should need to reach another board member, all board member contact information can be stored in the software, too.
Having an effective board meeting agenda is key to productive board meetings and efficient board meeting preparation. Not only do agendas organize and help to frame the main meeting goals in board members’ minds, they also help to promote engagement. The best board meeting agendas are clear, follow an organized template, and allocate time for each item, as well as for strategic conversations.
However, good agendas don’t just happen and often require a lot of time to prepare. That’s why it’s helpful to automate your board meeting agenda creation process as much as possible. Board portal software like Aprio can be helpful in this regard, allowing you to easily create your meeting agenda online. In addition, board administrators can add links to the agenda pointing to other board documents so that directors can quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for without having to search through endless files or emails. With the documents they need at their fingertips, directors will be able to come to meetings more prepared.
When you’ve created your board meeting agenda, be sure to send it out to board members at least a few days in advance of the meeting to give everyone time to read it over and prepare. If for some reason your agenda needs to be modified, board portal software makes it easy to make the change and notify all board members in real time.
Creating your board meeting package can be a daunting task, so don’t make it any more difficult than it needs to be. Once your material is ready, make life easier for yourself by using board management software features like one-click board package upload, aggregation, and distribution. These features also make it easy to notify directors when their board packages are ready for their review, and as long as they have access to a computer or tablet, they can log in and access the information.
Technology like board management software also makes the distribution of board materials more secure, as all notifications come directly from the software itself and materials are not attached to any email. It also eliminates confusion, paper waste, and courier costs, allowing directors in any location to access board information at the same time.
When all board materials, including past meeting minutes, agendas, board packages, policies, procedures, strategic and business plans, reports, bylaws, and budgets are housed in the same digital, secure space, scavenger hunts and calls to board administrators to find information are eliminated. Instead, directors can easily access board information directly in the software, where information is archived according to date and meeting material type.
Since Aprio’s library of information is easily searchable, there’s no need to ever print, mail, or even attach any document to an email. This is particularly useful for new directors during their onboarding, and is also convenient for any board member who wants to reference previous meeting materials as they prepare for board meetings.
However, not every online document storage solution works the same, and corporate data leaks make headlines every day. You can be confident that Aprio board portal software conforms to the highest industry standards for data encryption and security controls, protecting board members from cybersecurity risk as they work. Should one of your board members lose his or her mobile device, Aprio allows board administrators to remotely lock and wipe board data from the device to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
With only one secure login, board members can conveniently access their materials from their mobile devices, and permissions to certain documents can be restricted to specific committees, sub-committees, or even individuals if needed. What’s more, because of continuous access, directors come to meetings feeling more prepared, meetings run smoother, and the board itself can be more effective and efficient.
It happens. You make a mistake. Or, maybe some new piece of information just became available, and documents need to be updated. Or, better still, a crisis emerges and updates need to be quickly provided to board members.
Handling the communication process to board members can be a hassle. What’s more, having a board culture of inclusion means providing same-time access to same board communication, and that’s important to uphold. Why try to manually manage the process yourself when there’s a better way?
With Aprio, ensuring transparent communication with same-time delivery of sensitive updates and document revisions before and between meetings is easier thanks to electronic automation. All board members will have the same access to it regardless of their location.
Furthermore, when you have to replace a board document with a newer version, it’s no longer a hassle to update directors. You’ll be able upload the new version directly to Aprio, and an automatic notification alerts all directors of the update. Version confusion ceases to exist, and directors can more efficiently prepare for their board meetings.
Finally, to make your board preparation the most efficient it can be, create an online forum where your directors can collaborate. In this space, directors should be able to have discussions, vote, add and share their notes on board documentation, and complete board performance evaluation surveys, all in one centralized and secure location.
Board portal software like Aprio easily provides boards with an environment where all of the above is possible. With board portal software, all communication between directors can be done in one place without having to worry about links or files getting lost in an email swirl. Discussion tools can be used to answer background questions before the meeting so that meetings themselves can be used for more strategic conversations. In addition, Aprio allows you to conduct votes and collect signatures online in order to accelerate decisions between board meetings.
With digital annotations, directors will no longer need to carry around a highlighter and pen to take notes on paper board materials. They’ll be able to add their annotations directly to digital documents through your board portal, even while they’re offline, to more efficiently prepare for board meetings. If needed, they can also share their notes with other board members for easier collaboration.
For a board chair, ensuring that all directors have same-time access to same board communication is priority #1 to create a board where every member has an equal voice. Inviting input through votes, polls, and online discussions is a valuable way to invite every director to have their say beyond the board meeting, and it’s effortless to do so in Aprio. In addition, tasks can easily be assigned to directors, meaning that it’s easy for the board chair to hold directors accountable.
With so many moving parts, it’s important to have the right tools in place to facilitate better board meeting management and communication. Aprio board management software enhances meeting efficiency and makes the work of board members, corporate secretaries, and board admins more convenient. It also provides you with the tools and automation you need to centralize planning, build clear and informative agendas, streamline board package distribution, centralize all board information and communication, and provide instant board updates online. With this functionality, your board can more efficiently prepare for board meetings and onboard new members more effectively.
Aprio’s dedicated support team members are all former board administrators themselves, and they’ve advised hundreds of other Aprio customers on board best practices. Don’t hesitate to contact them for free training, information on all of Aprio’s time-saving features, and board portal setup best practices.
If you’re a current Aprio customer and are interested in optimizing your current board portal setup for better board meeting preparation or would like more information on training, reach out to our support team here. Or, if you’re currently using another system but would like to see our board portal in action, let our sales team know today.