For many organisations, the promise of cost savings is the primary motivation for switching to electronic board papers. In fact, a big chunk of the inquiries we’ve received so far is focused on the financial impact of going digital, which prompted us to make our own Paperless Board Meeting Savings Calculator to help you estimate just how much money your organisation can save when using a board portal for either Android or iOS. We encourage you to try it out and see the numbers speak for themselves.
As you can see from our calculator, your organisation can completely eliminate printing and courier fees, resulting in 100 percent savings in this particular aspect. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. Without a board portal, corporate secretaries need to print out every page of each board pack. If a board pack is 50 pages long and there are seven board members who need their own copy, that’s easily 350 pages of paper used up for one meeting alone. For four quarterly meetings, that equates to 1,400 sheets, or almost three reams. And that’s just for paper. You still have to think about ink and binding costs on top of it all, along with courier fees. And of course, don’t forget the hours of effort expended by corporate secretaries on organizing these board packs and then sending them off one by one. These secretaries are paid for every hour they work on putting together a board pack. It’s not a very efficient process money-wise and time-wise.
With a board portal, those numbers boil down to zero*: zero pages printed out, zero board packs inked and bounded, zero board packs sent out via mail. Expended effort, though not totally zero, also goes down considerably because the process is automated. Corporate secretaries can create and email electronic board papers with only a few clicks. Better yet, directors can receive them in real time instead of waiting for days before the package arrives in the mail.
And then we go to the actual board meeting itself. A paper-based meeting that doesn’t use any digital solution is essentially face-to-face meeting, so there are other costs that come into play: transportation (including airfare for overseas board members), lodging, venue, and food. For example, Oregon State University’s first Board of Trustees meeting in 2014 cost 7,600 USD to fund, with 4,000 USD going to catering alone. That’s just for one board meeting!
It goes without saying that with electronic board papers and a board portal, your organisation will not have to spend a single cent for transportation, lodging, venue, and food. If you were Oregon State University, you would have saved that 7,600 USD.
This is not to say that your organisation should get rid of face-to-face meetings. In some cases, social interaction in the flesh is necessary to establish strong professional bonds. But it’s advisable to have alternative options because spending thousands of dollars for every meeting is not practical.
But let’s go beyond the obvious and tackle the other areas where a board portal can make a difference in your organisation. Although money and cost savings are important, these factors are also worthy of your considerations:
Positive environmental impact
It’s easy to assume that with the growing popularity of digital solutions for all kinds of needs, paper consumption in recent years would have gone down. But the truth is surprisingly quite the opposite: The overall consumption of paper is on the rise, with 40 percent of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper. Considering that the paper and pulp industry is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing sector, this news is rather alarming.
The statistics will only show a decline if organisations around the world are willing commit to a paperless initiative. Your organisation can do its part by starting from the top — when directors change they work, the paperless practice can make its way to everyone else and become part of the company culture. The result is a positive environmental impact and a reduction in carbon footprint.
Sustainability is a major concern for many people. Nowadays, customers favor organisations that have a strong focus on environment-friendly practices. By going paperless, your organisation is doing the environment a favor — and itself as well.
The possibility of developing a better reputation may sound like a self-serving reason for going digital, but it’s really a win-win situation from which all parties benefit. It’s always a good practice to give back to the community, so to receive something in return is just an added bonus that goes hand-in-hand with doing the right thing.
Paper-based meetings are a logistical burden to organize. As mentioned above, there are too many things your organisation will have to consider, from preparing printed board packs to getting directors in one place for the board meeting. At one point, you’ll have to stop and ask yourself: Is it worth spending resources on something essential, but still peripheral? Why not simplify the process so that we can focus on our core business?
A board portal automates the board meeting process and enables remote meetings so it removes the burden of logistics off your organisation’s shoulders, allowing it to focus on top priorities. Because if you think about it, what would you prefer directors to do — spend their time trying to coordinate their schedules so that a majority can meet in one place, or spend their time strategising over key decisions, regardless of where they are? You decide.
We understand that making the switch to a digital solution like a board portal sounds great on paper, but not necessarily in theory. It’s because not all solutions are made equal, and many of them are difficult to use. But if you want a great user experience and an effortless transition, we invite you to request a demo of Convene, our paperless, multi-platform board meeting application for Android and iOS devices. Most board portals in the market claim to be highly usable, but you’ll know the difference only when you’ve experienced their solutions alongside with ours.
*Zero expenses refer to typical costs associated with paper-based board meetings. They don’t include initial expenses for board portal software and devices. But in general, digital solutions offer return on investment after long-term use. The exact ROI is dependent on many factors, so feel free to ask us to help you work out accurate calculations.