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Men in Suits

A Guidance and Format for Board Report

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Importance of Effective Board Reports for Sound Judgements


Effective board reports are crucial for board members to make informed decisions and exercise good governance. Board reporting is a vital component of corporate governance, and effective reporting ensures that board reports are clear, complete, and relevant. Clear and concise board reporting is essential to enable the board to fulfill its responsibilities without ambiguity and facilitate timely decision-making.



Key Takeaways

  1. Reports are critical for the smooth operation of the board.

  2. Reports should enable effective decision-making.

  3. Poorly integrated systems can impact board reporting.

  4. Reports allow board directors to gather insights from various stakeholders.

What Constitutes Effective Board Reporting?

Good board reporting should provide management with relevant information to base their decisions upon. Board reports should cover both financial and non-financial reporting, enabling trend analysis and projections. Boards are increasingly considering information from diverse stakeholders on issues such as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Financial data in board reports should be relevant, material, comparable, reliable, and presented clearly.


Challenges in Good Reporting

Businesses may face challenges due to poorly integrated or inadequate business information systems, which can hinder effective reporting. Centralizing information systems can help integrate data from various sources and streamline reporting to the board. Another challenge is that board packs are often more focused on historical data than necessary, which may not be beneficial in guiding the board's future strategy. Board packs are also becoming longer and more costly to produce. To overcome these challenges, recurring documents should be prepared well in advance, and processes should be optimized. When providing financial information, report generators should look for ways to tell a compelling narrative around the data.


Types of Board Reports

Board reports can vary in content depending on the type of report, such as CEO reports or HR reports. CEO reports may include a summary of financials and progress towards specific goals, while HR reports may cover topics such as hiring efforts, employee turnover, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement. Reports should also include information on recent, ongoing, and planned projects, financial review, and recommendations. Additionally, reports should cover sales, marketing, finance, production, and other relevant areas, presented in an engaging manner. Good board reporting should be clear, relevant, provide comparable facts, and be delivered on time, ensuring board members can rely on the information provided.


Template for Board Reports

Using a well-structured template can help in writing effective board reports as it provides consistency in branding and structure. The report should have appropriate headings to provide context and facilitate data comparison. Consistent formatting should be maintained throughout the report, and the report should have a clear purpose. Incorporating visual and text-based information can be beneficial for busy board members. Including a summary can also be useful for directors who need a quick overview of the report. Understanding the requirements of board reports is crucial as they are critical components in the effectiveness of board meetings, providing a framework for assessing the organization's performance, and should include takeaways and recommendations. Depending on the nature of issues discussed at board meetings, different types of reports may be required.


Characteristics of a Good Board Report

In summary, board reports are documents provided to board members before board meetings, aiming to provide data for efficient meeting management. To avoid information overload, board reports should be concise and have a straightforward format. Reports should analyze the current situation while focusing on future initiatives, and be delivered in a timely manner. Effective board reporting plays a pivotal role in supporting board members in making informed decisions and ensuring good governance practices in organizations.


Our Directors’ Institute- World council of Directors can help you accelerate your board journey by training you on your roles and responsibilities to be carried out in an efficient manner helping you to make a significant contribution to the board and raise corporate governance standards within the organization.


Our ESG Expert certification will help you to amplify your understanding of corporate governance in a detailed manner paving a way for you to become a globally recognized ESG leader.

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