What is a board pack and how to make it effective | Aprio
what is a board pack and how to make them more effective
April 7, 2021
Karen Peacey

How to prepare more effective board packages

Bringing your board up-to-speed on key activities is the most critical action you can take before a board meeting starts. A well-prepared board package establishes the shared understanding among all board members to set the stage for strategic decisions at the meeting. Board packs define and inform your board meeting discussions and must equip directors with well presented, convenient-to-access information and insight.

What is a board pack?

A board pack is a compilation of documents and reports a board uses to guide their upcoming board meeting. It includes the key information the board needs to stay updated such as the organization’s financial standings, progress of plans, and any pertinent updates since the last meeting. 

Board packs act as a holistic toolkit that enables your board to make accurate decisions, assess risk management, and foster solution-focused discussions that will ultimately shape and mould the strategic direction of any organization.

Supplying a well-organized, easy-to-review board package is key to effectively engaging board members and contributes to the proper governance of your organization. Here are 6 steps to help ensure your board packages are effective.

 

Prepare effective board packs in 6 easy steps

Step 1: Start with strong templates.

Start by defining what information will be included in each and every board package. Consider length, readability and ease of comprehension for board members – provide useful examples of how to boil up the detail into key points for consideration, key background and clear direction on input/decision needed. Presenting the information in a consistent format will take some guesswork out for you, provide a natural structure for the board, and reduce clutter. 

Commonly included items for a board pack include:

  • Agenda
  • Previous meeting minutes
  • Support documents for approvals
  • Department updates 
  • Project progress reports
  • Board committee reports
  • Action items

 

Step 2: Include knowledge experts.

Gather documents and reports from your organization’s executives and leadership team. Ensure people contributing to the board pack understand that information needs to be relevant to that quarter, easy to understand for board members not in the business day-to-day, and relate the organization’s KPIs. You may also provide insight from outside your organization from third-party experts – again just make sure it is brief and clear. Be sure to provide timely deadlines that allow for review and distribution of materials by the board admin team. 

 

Step 3: Keep it high-level. 

It may be tempting to provide every morsel of information available in each board package, but it’s not necessary. Ensure board packs provide the most pertinent information in a digestible manner, like charts, spreadsheets, financial comparisons, and appropriate appendixes that lead board members to be impactful through topic-focused conversations. This is their roadmap for the next meeting, so guide them wisely.

for more effective board packs see our 6 steps including keep it high-level

Step 4: Tailor board pack content as needed.

Depending on your organization and time of year, your board meetings and board packages will vary. If your Annual General Meeting (AGM) is coming up, or if you need to prepare for a special committee meeting or emergency meeting, specific documents will be required. Take time to consider the purpose of each meeting and showcase what’s relevant. For example, see our checklist if you’re currently planning your next annual shareholder meeting.

 

Step 5: Timing is everything.

Board members lead busy lives, so it’s your job to consider the timing of the delivery of information and set a schedule for when members can expect the package. Two weeks might be too far out to dedicate headspace to, but 7-10 days is the sweet spot. Anything less might leave members ill-prepared in time to read, digest, and focus.

 

Step 6: Make accessing board packs convenient and paperless. 

Respect that your board members are busy people, many juggling professional lives, other work commitments and family. In order to ensure that access to your board pack is inclusive for all members – you need everyone to get it at the same time and with the same opportunity for discussion and questions. Digital board packs are a modern method to provide this convenient, timely access.

 

Deliver your best board pack with Aprio

Aprio’s board portal software makes it easy to distribute board packages and alert board directors to new changes with a few clicks. Cut paper and courier costs and make access timely and simple with Aprio

See how board packages are made easy with Aprio and why our board portal software is a cost-effective board management solution for boards of any size by requesting a custom demo.

Ready to see other benefits of board portal software? See our related posts:

 

About the Author

Karen Peacey

Karen Peacy, Director of Customer Relations 

Karen has over 20 years of board administration experience in various industries including credit unions, forestry, software, and the sports sector. She takes real pleasure in supporting and training our clients to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

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