With more and more organisations transitioning into remote and online meetings, traditional in-person Board meetings are becoming a thing of the past.
In order to maintain order within your organisation, effective Board reports are key to keeping things running smoothly.
What Is A Board Report?
A Board report is information from several departments or committees condensed into a short and readable format. These reports are kept as records and are a part of the Board meeting minutes. These reports are useful as they document the actions of the Board and so can be called upon at any time, especially if there are any legal issues.
Board reports should be reviewed by every member of the Board of directors and it should be made sure that the details of the report remain intact.
Board reports are usually prepared by the executive committees, as the organisation's executive branch reports to the Board.
What Is The Purpose Of A Board Report?
A Board report can serve a lot of different purposes. It can be used for setting milestones in fundraising or for financial reporting.
They are useful tools for bringing Board Members up to speed, reminding said members of the commitments they have made to the organisation and creating a space for discussions and questions to be initiated.
It condenses the information from committees reporting on their tasks and the executive director’s report on the performance of the entire company into a single, easy to digest document. This is then sent to the Board and presented during the Board meeting.
Board reports are crucial documents for every organisation. Knowing how to effectively communicate your organisation's performance, processes, activities, and direction is an important part of good governance.
It informs the Board about company performance, what’s happened since the last meeting, and where the organisation is headed. They can really help in establishing the big picture for an organisation.
Here’s our Top Tips for ensuring your Board reports do their job:
1. Keep it short and succinct
Your report should be short and sweet, and you should resist the temptation to add pages of appendices and FAQs. The writing should be clear and plain, and any jargon, abbreviations and technical language should be either understandable, explained or just avoided.
A Board report is more likely to be thoroughly read and appreciated by Board Members if it isn’t too long and difficult to comprehend.
You should also keep in mind to measure only what matters.
The Board of directors should receive comprehensive financial and managerial reports in order to make informed decisions about corporate governance, evaluate and implement the company's strategy, and carry out specific duties related to auditing, risk management and compensation. Financial information must be material, relevant, reliable, comparable and understandable.
2. Make it easy to read
A Board report being easy to read means not only it being understandable but also visually accessible. A well laid-out report is far more enticing for the reader than a messy or unorganised one.
As well as it being linguistically clear it should be visually clear too. It is worth having a set template that you reach for with every report, one that you know is easy to read, to keep your reporting organised and uniform.
Members of the Board need the key information, clearly presented, to enable a decision or to form a view.
3. Get to your point quickly
In a Board report, you are helping the Board with their tasks, and you need to make sure you're removing the friction from this process.
Put your main point at the beginning, make it clear the information you’re putting forward, and keep it a short, succinct summary.
By bringing the most important aspects to the very front, you are ensuring that they get read and understood.
When a report features multiple contributors without a clear brief, creating a cohesive piece can be difficult. To prevent this, it is vital that executives and their team collaborate on a strategic plan that establishes the main objectives and how it will all fit together.
4. Raise questions within the report
The Board report is composed of the contributions of the committee members, consolidated into one paper to be shared with the rest of the organisation. There will undoubtedly be thoughts and questions that arise within the report itself from this collaboration.
By raising these questions in the report you are giving Board Members the chance to bring answers into the meeting already prepared, and streamlining the process further. Board Members will be able to see what questions the report opens up while reading it, and an important part of Board reports is initiating these discussions within the organisation.
5. Get inside the Board’s head
It is important to establish the audience for your Board report and what its purpose is.
Keep these questions in mind when writing:
- Who will read the report?
- What do they want from it?
- What should it help them to understand?
- How much do they know already?
- How interested are they?
This will help you to concentrate on the information that is important to the Board, not necessarily just what you think is crucial.
How Can Convene Help You With Board Reports?
From creating an agenda to establishing a strong admin trail, every step of the process should be as smooth as possible. With the right software, the complex task of management can be much easier! Our comprehensive features include:
- A Document Library, with role-based access to ensure your sensitive documents are protected.
- A built-in Audit Trail, so you can be sure you are compliant with all regulations.
- Integrated Video Conferencing, so you can make the switch from remote to hybrid working seamlessly, whilst still viewing your Board Pack all on one screen.
- Surveys, with the option for anonymity, so you can be sure you are aware of your employees' opinions.
- Action Items, so you can follow up on any tasks automatically.
- Accessibility Features, including text-to-voice, which makes us the leading accessible Board Portal.
- Fully GDPR-compliant security, including AES 256-bit encryption and ISO 27001 accreditation.
Our software now also comes as an integration with Microsoft Teams, which provides the benefits of both Teams and a Board Portal. So your organisation at every level can enjoy streamlined communication, ensuring ease of use when creating your Board reports.