Most offices today rely very little on paper as email and file sharing services have made it possible to skip printing, faxing, and copying in order to distribute information. Administrators who have long struggled to print and courier board books that could be several hundred pages long to directors potentially travelling anywhere in the world, however, have experienced a harder time moving over to digital platforms. The volume of information contained in a board book lends itself to getting lost in various email chains and file sharing services, and documents like financial reports that may be updated several times before a meeting are emailed so many times it can be difficult to make sure directors have the most accurate information.
Board portals are the answer that many administrators and directors alike have been waiting for to simplify the distribution of materials as well as make it easier for directors to work from laptops and tablets. Purpose-built for board work, better software programs like the one available at Aprio.net are more than just file sharing services, they also incorporate electronic signatures, voting, surveys, and committee privileges. Whether you use paper, email, or a free file sharing service, your organization can receive better results from its directors when they spend less time looking for information and more time making decisions. Below are some of the features that make the most difference to your directors that you should look for in a software when you decide to upgrade.
Unlike free file sharing services, which can be hosted on servers anywhere in the world, portal software like Aprio Boardroom guarantees home country hosting, protecting potentially sensitive documents from falling under foreign legislation. Many don’t know this, but an organization’s documents fall under the jurisdiction of the country where the server hosting its information is located, meaning, for example, that a Canadian company’s information could be subject to the Patriot Act if the server is located in the U.S.
A secure board portal is also one that requires password access however they enter the portal, regardless of the device. For example, users receive real time email notifications whenever materials are updated on their Aprio Boardroom Portal, including a link to the updated material; the user simply clicks the link to proceed to the document, but not before entering their password. Multi-layered viewing privileges can also be established by the administrator to account for committees, In Camera sessions, and conflict of interest issues, making it easier to adhere to the board’s own bylaws respecting security.
A portal should also allow administrators to keep track of director expenses, training requirements, and see when and by whom a document was accessed; directors who have used portals like these often self-report that the accountability keeps them better prepared for meetings. Board work is often something busy individuals perform on top of countless other responsibilities, and while they may have a keen mind and a passion for the work, it never hurts to hold individuals accountable for preparing for meetings. There is far more to adopting a portal than just going paperless; it’s a secure, efficient, and easy-to-use way to introduce better governance to your organization.