Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives
What are board reports?
Board reports are high level reports containing all the important summaries that have occurred in an organization for a definite period of time. It gives an overview of the actual direction the organization is headed as compared to the targets and goals that the executives have set for the company or organization.
For an organization to survive and remain competitive in its field, the effectiveness of the decision making processes of the executives and directors is the key element. Executive level decisions, when implemented properly, could steer the growth of the company into the right direction.
Board reports provide the Board of Directors and the managerial executives of the company the information that they need in order to keep the company into this right track and direction. Finance, operations and conduct of the organization are kept in proper functioning order through the policies and strategies developed by the directors using the information from board reports.
The coverage of board reports span multiple areas of interests and are not exclusive to the financial aspects of company operations. This multi-dimensional reporting of data is a logical way of addressing the variety of issues that modern organizations must adhere to in order to provide products and services to the society. Issues like the environment, the society , religion and ethics must also be addressed even if their effects are minimal so as to ensure the smooth dynamics of the company. Marketing strategies, budgeting, operations and risk assessment policies of the company are also main topics in the board report.
Who uses board reports and why?
The first order of organizational personnel who conducts reviews of board reports are the members of the Board of Directors. Board members analyze the reports they receive and verify it for application into the company’s goals and objectives. Board members are responsible for the information they receive ( whether its relevant or not). They are the chief planners of the company’s overall state of being. This means that standard board reports must have a two way process of exchange between the personnel involved in procuring the report, and the board members who are the recipients.
Board members should not just passively consume the information from board reports, but instead must take part in an active discussion of the board reports’ subjects. Probing and questioning on the board members’ part gives further clarification on key issues that helps in taking the right decisions and actions for everyone involved.
Finance directors are special members of the Board who are tasked with the presentation of the business performance reports of the company. Finance directors gain insights from the standard board report in order to put his business report into the context of the present issues confounding the Board.
Managerial executives makes use of the information from board reports as additional data to supplement or complement day to day transactions information of the company.
Board reports are also markers of either good or bad relationship between managers and the Board of directors.
How to write board reports
In order to write a presentable board report, these steps are necessary to follow:
- Determine the information needed for the occasion. Certain board meetings are called to address specific issues that may have arisen, and the reporting staff needs to underscore data related to the issue at hand.
- If there is sufficient time before the start of the board meeting, the reporting staff could conduct brainstorming sessions that may bring new ideas to the report.
- Documentation to support proposals and interventions should be made available and presentable for the board members to review.
- Outline the structure of the report. Give it an orderly appearance for easier understanding of the key issues presented.
- Begin writing the report. For any section of the report, relevant ideas must be presented complete with supporting visual aids.
- Keep it short and simple. To the point and consistent.
- Check the report for errors.
These steps are just the basics of an organizational board report. The reporting staff can further enhance it with extra research and functions.
Advantages of having board reports and its pitfalls
Board reports ensure the production of goods and services by the company’s production lines. This is because the company’s production depends on the board’s decisions and the right board decisions can only come through the guidance of board reports.
A large company simply cannot exist without the help of board reports. It is basic and ultimately necessary to the company’s survival, growth, expansion and competitiveness.
Some pitfalls can befell the procedures in making board reports. One very common annoyance in the review of a board report is the sometimes too large amount of papers that needs to be perused by each member of the board. The Board of Directors of any given company is not really interested in minor details that would concern minor employees more than concern them. Overviews and summaries should be the orders of the day when it comes to making board reports.
Another problem that could arise is the timing of the reports. The staff in charge of the report should do their best to have the report available days before the meeting so as to give everyone adequate chance to review it. Making the report only available during the meeting or a day before is simply not enough time for proper reviewing of the material.
The best practices in making board reports
A good board report depends not only on the reporting staff submitting the report, but executives are also accountable as to what kinds of information gets discussed in the board report. It is the duty of the executive that he receives the right information. Board directors and executives must take a pro-active stand in the creation and the delivery of the report to ensure that the information contained therein are accurate and relevant to the company.
The staff creating the report, on the other hand, must exercise integrity and transparency in the making of the report. Integrity to ensure accuracy and truthfulness; and transparency to ensure fairness in liability issues.
Teamreporter facilitates creation of board reports
Teamreporter is a web based email application that is very helpful in keeping remote working teams regularly updated on the team’s and the project’s status.
Teamreporter’s design as a tool for getting reports from remote workers and then collecting these individual reports into an overview of the project can be harnessed to aid in the making of board reports. Even the overview created by Teamreporter can be a significant part of a board report’s structure, it being a comprehensive collection of individual reports from remote and non-remote workers. In operation, Teamreporter is accessible by:
- Creating questions that the team members will answer.
- Tailoring the questions to be asked to fit project needs
- Scheduling the sending out of email queries.
- Team members replying with their status reports.
- Upon receiving individual team member reports,scheduling of overall status updates to every team member.
- Adopting preset business scenarios.
- Prompting team members who forget their reports.
- Arranging an archive of team status reports
It has the following advantages:
- Ready in 5 minutes
- Free startup
- Accessible even to novice users and managers
- No IT software or hardware requirements
- Only email login required for Team members
With these abilities, Teamreporter would greatly facilitate the making of board reports.
Alternatives to board reports
Standard board reports are done with all board members listening on site and discussing issues face to face real-time. Alternatively, the contents and the summaries of board reports can be relayed to executives and directors in virtual environments that have all the functionalities of a board meeting. Executives in remote locations will benefit greatly from this arrangement as they participate and share in the discussion through Internet enabled communications.
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