February 12, 2018
Ian Warner

Five ways to increase your board’s transparency

Being on a board can feel like living in a fishbowl.

Disclosure requirements continue to amp up and there’s a shift underway to what Harvard Business Review describes as transparent business leadership.

External voices and views, including those of board directors, now must hold businesses to higher account. It’s not enough to bravely trust that the CEO and board chair are sharing full information – you need to actively ensure that you are informed and be ready to ask the tough questions.

But how can directors fulfill their roles as governance accountability gatekeepers? How can boards make transparency practical and economical?

Board management software can play a significant role. A board portal ensures ongoing transparency among all directors, and some tools like Aprio are easy-to-use and affordable. Here’s why technology for board transparency is worth considering:

  1. Centralized, one stop access to board documents.Provide all directors with full access to board information in the same instant, from any device, anywhere in the world. No more lost emails or time-consuming catch up discussions at board meetings.
  2. Automatic archive and audit trail– No hiding secrets in a closet. Meeting minutes, motions and information reported is logged in a library for future, open access.
  3. Convenient, equitable update alerts. All directors receive electronic notice of changes to meeting timing, requests for votes and access to the latest information at exactly the same time. Favoritism, nepotism? There’s no risk of communication bias.
  4. Valid online voting– Important decisions sometimes must occur between meetings. Voting via board meeting software makes decision-making transparent and provides equitable input and influence for all directors. Remove the temptation for an inner circle to direct choices versus including everyone.
  5. Assessment of director and board performance– The board’s biggest accountabilities are to oversee CEO performance and that of directors, but it’s easy to let evaluations get casual, or infrequent, then you lack a baseline for monitoring performance changes over time. Board management software survey tools make it simple to schedule surveys and share results for directors’ as well as to confidentially evaluate the CEO.

Do these five steps still feel daunting?

Consider that your board could be fully trained and using the Aprio board portal in as few as 3 weeks. Why not improve transparency before your next board meeting?

If transparency and affordability are critical to your board, see how Aprio can improve information access, voting, and governance.

Curious? Find out more.

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