Top Benefits of Using a Board Portal for Paperless Board Meetings
By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO | Posted June 19, 2017
In the past, we used to hear a lot about "going green" or "going digital" in the corporate world. Today, with mounting concerns over the environment and restricted budgets, there’s an even greater case for going paperless—especially when it comes to board meetings. And a board portal can be the ideal way to make this happen.
A board portal provides a virtual environment for creating, distributing and storing board materials and other corporate information. So instead of having to hassle with heavy board packets, directors can access the information they need for meetings instantly online. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the advantages of having paperless (or nearly paperless) meetings with a board portal.
At any rate, here are some other top benefits of using a board portal to support paperless meetings:
At the risk of sounding overly practical, the most obvious advantage to paperless board meetings is…well, that they’re paperless. Paper-free meetings save trees, ink and other resources, which is great for the environment. They’re also good for your bottom line because digital documents reduce the time and costs related to printing board materials. Think about the amount of time a board secretary can save by not having to create, print and distribute board packs—and that doesn’t include updating the information.
The convenience factor with paperless board meetings starts long before the members convene. Directors can access information through a board portal anywhere and anytime using a computer or mobile device. So there’s no waiting for board packets to be delivered through the mail, courier service or some other means. This makes it easier for directors to review materials ahead of time, including updates to the agenda, schedule and meeting files. They can also browse through the company’s policies, procedures and other information to get better prepared for meetings.
Efficiency is another key benefit of having paperless meetings through a board portal. Using a board portal to preview information prior to meetings reduces the time spent in meetings and improves the productivity of the board. Plus before, during and after meetings, directors can add notations, bookmarks and highlights to make their electronic board packet easier to read. In between meetings, they can use the portal to vote on credits and other items, and their votes will be automatically recorded by the system. This leaves directors more time to spend on their governance tasks and other obligations.
Having a paperless environment give directors secure access to board materials, so they can be better informed before, during and after meetings. Board portals have various security features that control who is authorized to enter the system, view meeting minutes and modify documents. Passwords, encryption and other protective measures ensure directors can access the different types of sensitive information they need to perform their duties.
Improves Communication and Collaboration
Having reliable access to digital information enhances overall communication between board members during and in between meetings. It also makes it easier for directors to collaborate because they can interact in real time online, instead of having to travel for a face-to-face discussion.
As another benefit, using a board portal to have paperless meetings can have a positive impact in the area of compliance. The portal tracks information as it flows through the system and builds a historical archive. This, essentially, generates a permanent record of the board’s materials and other corporate files, which can facilitate regulatory compliance and audits.
Lastly, I should mention that there’s an important indirect result of all of the benefits I just discussed: enhanced governance. Since a board portal is designed to provide access to the most up-to-date corporate information, it can promote clearer and more strategic thinking. In turn, this can lead to better decision making that can benefit the entire organization.
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