It has been said that the cost of not having a board portal can be greater than the cost of using one.
How true is this statement? Can a portal really pay for itself?Here we look at the ways that an online approach can pay dividends.
The risks of hard copy board packs - bigger than you think
The factors that drive organisations towards board portals are often financial – or have an element of cost in them. There are numerous risks and downsides to producing papers the traditional way – with reams of paper and labour-intensive manual processes. Some of these relate to:
Good governance is an increasing focus for businesses, public sector and third sector organisations.
A report earlier this year suggested that boards themselves need better governance. The need for strong ethical performance, both within the boardroom and across the organisation as a whole, is evident.
Your board paper production process may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to upping governance standards – but there are many ways that your meeting packs can lead to shortcomings.
- Confidential information is included in hard copy papers posted or couriered to your directors, posing a risk of data breaches. Recent data leaks, like the much-publicised one involving Equifax’s customer information, represent a huge compliance and reputational risk.
- Similarly, delivery of hard copy papers risks your corporate strategy reaching the public domain. Board packs contain confidential company information and plans. Security is a huge issue.
- Do you email out your papers, rather than deliver in hard copy? You’re not off the hook. Delivering confidential via insecure email servers also presents huge potential risks. Any good portal will guarantee the highest levels of security, with encryption preventing data breaches.
Using a board portal for highly-secure data delivery can significantly improve corporate governance, reducing your risk of costly regulatory breaches and compliance failings.
Aside from the hidden costs of regulatory breaches and security risks, there are some overt administration costs when it comes to producing board papers.
- Print costs. Producing packs manually involves vast amounts of paper. And that’s before you factor in the last-minute swap outs, when a paper is updated or replaced, and the waste this generates.
- If you use an external printer, it’s not just the cost of paper you need to consider, but the print firm’s charges.
- And if you produce packs in-house, have you ever added up the hidden cost of your staff, your electricity, the wear and tear on printers and copiers? Producing the monthly paper mountain comes with significant overt and implicit costs.
- Then there’s the postage or courier costs – multiplied by however members you have, every single month. The costs of hard copy packs can really mount up.
Meeting your board members' needs
Your directors are probably your most expensive resource. Wasting their time has huge financial implications – yet this is exactly what many firms do, by failing to make their monthly meetings as efficient as possible.
The implied costs of inefficient meetings are significant. A portal can make the most of members’ valuable time by presenting information in the best way to get important decisions made as quickly as possible. Read our tips on how to brief your directors effectively for meetings and how to make your board meetings more efficient for more.
Choosing the right portal is essential
Of course, not all board portals are created equal. Making the right investment means ensuring that the solution you choose is highly secure. There are good security-related reasons for choosing a solution where hosting is outsourced – and check the security accreditation to make sure it has the highest rating.
It also means choosing a solution that represents good value. Make sure you are not paying too much for your portal, or the financial benefits will be reduced.
Select the right solution, and your investment in board technology really can pay for itself, in many ways.
If you want to know more about the implications and advantages of adopting a paperless approach, you can download our whitepaper on Board portals – their implications and advantages. It’s free and you can get a copy here.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.