A guide to creating a board pack
Also known as board papers or board briefings, a board pack is what directors receive before each board meeting.
Board packs are prepared by the company secretary and in this guide to creating a board pack we examine what goes into a board pack and how to prepare one.
What should be included in a board pack?
- The most important thing you can do before a board meeting is to keep your board informed about key activities.
- When a board pack is well-prepared, it sets the stage for strategic decisions to be made at the board meeting.
- In order to prepare for board meetings, board packs must provide directors with well-presented, easy-to-access information and insights.
What is a board pack?
The board pack contains documents and reports that the board uses to prepare for upcoming board meetings.
Packs contain key information the board needs to stay current like the organisation’s financial standings, the progress of its plans, and any updates since the last meeting.
A board pack facilitates strategic decisions, assesses risk, fosters solutions-focused discussion, and ultimately shapes the strategic direction of an organisation.
A good pack is key to engaging board members and contributing to the proper governance of your organisation to provide a well-organised, easy-to-review set of insights.
Commonly included items for a board pack include:
- Previous meeting minutes
- Support documents for approvals
- Department updates
- Project progress reports
- Board committee reports
- Action items
Board members should be encouraged to ask questions that will help them identify potential financial upsets, fraud, unforeseen risks, or the downside of proposed business moves.
Remember to include the leadership reports in your board pack
- The leadership team and executives of your organisation should provide you, the company secretary, with documents and reports.
- Make sure the people contributing to the board pack understand that the information needs to be relevant, easy to understand, and directly related to the organisation’s KPIs.
- In addition, you may also seek input from third-party experts – just be sure to keep it brief and clear.
- Make sure the board admin team has enough time to review and distribute materials before the deadline.
Don’t overload the board pack with information
- There’s no need to provide every piece of information available in each board pack.
- Incorporate charts, spreadsheets, financial comparisons, and pertinent appendices in board packs to help board members be effective through topic-focused discussions.
- The next meeting will be driven by this roadmap, so guide them clearly.
Distribute the board pack on time
- Members of the board lead busy lives, so it’s your responsibility to figure out when the information will be delivered.
- In terms of time, two weeks might be too far away, but 7-10 days is the sweet spot.
- Members might not be able to read, digest, and focus with any less time.
Use software – board packs can be paperless
- Consider that many of your board members juggle work, family, and professional commitments.
- If you want your board pack to be accessible to all members, everyone must receive it at the same time and have the same chance to discuss and ask questions.
- To provide this convenient, timely access, digital board packs are a great option.
What makes an effective board pack?
Great board packs are concise and informative, allowing the board members to ask the questions they should be asking.
In board meetings, members should not just look back on the past; they should also be free to look forward.
With a great board pack, board members should be encouraged to ask questions that will help them identify potential financial upsets, fraud, unforeseen risks, or the downside of proposed business moves.
A great board pack allows board members to peer into the future.