A board report package, also called a board pack, is a collection of company updates, metrics, KPIs and financial statements that provide context into the health of a company, its performance and perceived outlook.
What you include in your board report package is dependent on your industry, most important KPIs, metrics and the needs of your board and investors.
When devising your board package, consider how often your board meets. How often your board meets is entirely up to your management and investors, though most bylaws cite that the board of directors meet at least once per year. If the company faces an urgent matter, one-off meetings are called to address circumstances promptly.
Many companies follow a quarterly board meeting cadence, though it’s not uncommon to have them on a more regular, even monthly basis. Much of your board meeting frequency will depend on the state and maturity of your company. Startups and other growth companies with only a few years of operation, tend to meet more frequently to support the drivers and decisions of the company’s trajectory.
Be certain you check the state bylaws your company is incorporated in, as different states require different board meeting specifications. For example, Texas requires companies to hold a board quorum at least once per year, while Delaware does not cite any specific frequency requirements.
If you’re a founder or it’s your first CFO role, dealing with a board for the first time can be intimidating. To overcome this fear of let down, it’s critical you have your numbers and metrics accurate and accessible for meetings.
Numbers are necessary for revealing trends and forecasts, but not everyone learns or consumes information the same way. Some board members will have general and even advanced finance acumen, while other members will require more visual elements, and prefer to see charts and graphs that easily convey the relationship between metrics.
Regardless of how you incorporate your metrics, board members and investors expect reports to include the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Finalizing board packs for the period, only to realize a portion of your metrics are missing the latest update from sales that the department head revised in a different spreadsheet version leads to inaccuracies and puts Finance in a negative light in the eyes of your board. It’s issues like these that emphasize the need for Finance to maintain version control over data, which can be easily facilitated through robust FP&A software solutions.
62% of board members report spending between 100 and 250 hours per year on their board duties, or between 2-5 hours per week, on average.
Board members are typically involved in executive roles elsewhere and wish to have metrics and reports that are easy to digest to maximize the time they allocate to board duties. Therefore, it's best to send your board packs well in advance of the official board meeting.
Your board members will greatly appreciate the additional time to peruse through the metrics, charts and prudent company updates without compromising their busy schedules. To give your board a chance to prepare, we recommend you send board packs 48-72 hours prior to your scheduled board meeting.
A board package, board pack or board report is necessary to provide board members and investors with visibility into your Company’s metrics, strategies and other updates associated with the overall mission. They also provide a framework for the board meeting agenda and lead to much more productive meeting outcomes.
When developing your board report package, it should include a healthy amount of visualized data in the form of graphs and charts that are large enough to analyze and reveal trends in an easy to consume manner.
Some of the items to include in your board package are:
You should always include a brief agenda to set the stage for the board meeting — even if the meeting focuses the majority of time on certain items. An agenda can include discussion items, report highlights, approval items and other strategic conversations the board should participate in.
Any updates or business activities of interest to the board that require their involvement should be at the forefront of your board package. This could be items such as votes for new appointments, options or employee benefit expansion such as adding 401k matching.
Often referred to as “minutes”, your pack should have a recap of the most important takeaways from the previous meeting, any consensus decisions and other important initiatives that could be revisited in the upcoming meeting.
This is a summary from your CEO highlighting recent achievements and milestones, while providing an outlook for upcoming forecasts, initiatives and drivers for the Company. The CEO report should touch on the priorities and direction of the Company, while further strategic details will be covered later on in the meeting (and package).
Include anything prominent or milestones achieved annually or quarterly worth sharing. This could be productivity-related items, exceeding revenue targets and budget utilization, among other important items of interest for your board.
Your monthly financial reports are great starting points to include in your board pack, but you shouldn’t stop there. Forecasts, budget versus actual analysis, revenue trends and revenue per customer presented visually in graph or chart format allow the board to discern great details in a short amount of time and further enable their potential impact to benefit the Company.
Key performance indicators (KPI) should be set for both the Company and each department or business unit. If you’re a SaaS company, metrics like customer acquisition costs and lifetime value should be incorporated, while manufacturers will be interested in inventory, productivity and revenue per unit. These targets help hold your team accountable, while providing the board visibility into operational results at the department level.
Building off of the department highlights, you should touch on potential roadblocks and issues facing the Company. These should be accompanied by specific strategies to overcome pressing issues and achieve the objectives set forth. You can also incorporate roadmaps and timelines for new initiatives and product or service updates.
It’s not uncommon for your board package to exceed 100 pages, especially given the need for charts, graphs and other data visualizations that can single-handedly fill an entire page. As we highlighted, consider the needs of your board earlier, you should also consider their time.
Board members are often involved in other companies, with full-time positions or serve on the board of others. Therefore, delivering pertinent information in a digestible format is critical for boards. Following the order of information and metrics we outlined will ensure your board remains informed and engaged. But there’s always more that can be done.
Incorporate branding, images and other visual elements that bring life to the numbers — remember, you want your board and investors to be excited about the information you are presenting and look forward to the company’s prospects. If you’re not affluent in brand design standards, put together the framework of your board package and consult your marketing or design team for assistance. A little design love can go a long way.
Having to create a board package can be a time-consuming, error-filled process. There are countless metrics to calculate, charts that need to be created and strategies to outline. It will require both project management and cross-functional collaboration skills to pull together all of the necessary information.
That said, you can set yourself up for success by automating the production of financial reports.
FP&A Software, like the FutureView Platform, centralizes financial and operational data from your ERP, CRM and other systems through direct integrations (which can be set up for you).
These integrations are dynamic, so information is updated in real time, with an ongoing synchronization. Board report packages can be configured for you, without manual data aggregation and exported directly from the Platform. If saving time and ensuring accuracy are on your shortlist, reach out to us, we’d be happy to help.