ChemCert is an industry based non-profit organisation established in 1999. As the peak accreditation body it works with all industry sectors throughout Australia for the training, up-skilling and industry accreditation for users of Agricultural and Veterinary chemicals. They have been using Convene since June 2016.
Brian Halse, Chief Executive Officer of ChemCert Limited & ChemCert Training Group, shares how Convene is helping in productivity by cutting down board paper preparation – from one whole week to one whole day.
Every single year prior to adopting a board portal, Brian used to prepare 194 board packs that are 80 to 100 pages thick for directors, finance and audit committee, and the company secretary. “Firstly, everyone wants the board packs two weeks before the meeting.
Therefore, you start putting board packs together three or four weeks before the meeting.” Because the board packs are delivered weeks prior to the meeting, the information provided are already outdated on the actual day of the meeting. This led him to look for a simple, efficient, and effective board meeting solution that can be used across various operating platforms. When he discovered Convene through an internet search and tried the demo product, he recognized how easy it is to use and work with. “All directors were able to use Convene without an enormous amount of training and instruction,” Brian added.
The switch from paper-based to cloud made it easier for Brian to prepare for two organizations: the ChemCert Limited and ChemCert Training Group, along with their respective finance and audit committees.
“As CEO, I decided to make the change. I had to create a more efficient workflow. My board members live outside Sydney, in rural New South Wales or South Australia. Some of them work overseas periodically. The need to have up-to-date financials is impossible with board packs if you need to physically mail them out,” Brian shared.
“Our goals have been achieved and exceeded. I reviewed all other board portals as part of the process, and most are far too expensive for a small not-for-profit to purchase. Governance and compliance are huge issues within all organizations and Convene allowed us to balance this objective. The board meetings are more efficient and have enabled us to hold more teleconferences, run the quick meeting, and get decisions from the directors in between the regular meetings.”
Having moved their business to the cloud three years ago, ChemCert made an easy transition from paper-based meetings to a board portal.
“I knew that once the directors got used to the system, electronic papers and cloud-based system, things would be easier for them and me. Essentially, I was able to deliver papers into the directors’ inboxes, so finally I was driving the board papers rather than the board papers driving my time. The only problem with the implementation of Convene was the first meeting, with all parties getting familiar with the way the portal works and its various features. Once everyone understood how it worked – what he or she could note – and the minutes, it was a smooth transition.”
Better Than Other Competitors
Before Convene, ChemCert tried Google Drive for distributing board packs and the board meeting itself. “It is complicated and unclear where you are up to in meetings. We cannot reference other materials, and we also can’t make notes without downloading the whole document.”
ChemCert also tried all the demos on all available board portals before. He also shared that he uses BoardEffect in another organization that he is involved in; but thinks “Convene is better, simpler to use and work with.”
“I just find Convene easy to use when I upload files, update, and vote. I don’t have an experience with the admin side of BoardEffect, but it is not as user-friendly as Convene.”
When asked about his favorite features, Brian mentioned about “the ability to update new file versions almost instantly. Particularly with financial documents, you can always update with the most relevant information.”
Brian also talked about the capability of Convene to conduct voting and the storing of files in the Document Library as some of the features he likes best.