How to build a great board report pack for your clients

Business owner shows board member financial report on clipboard and on laptop #cashflow

The board report can feel like a thankless task. With so much information to sift through and compile for your client, it’s discouraging if you know most of it is going to be skipped over.
But you will have a positive impact on proceedings when you build a clear and concise report that directs your client’s focus to the key areas of discussion.
Not only will it benefit their ability to manage their business effectively, it will also ensure they are making informed decisions based on current data. And you’ll set a long-term process in place rather than sporadic agendas month on month which don’t build momentum.

Information vs detail

A board meeting functions to discuss the broad overview of a business’s performance, so don’t get bogged down in operational detail. Rather, prioritise key matters that have or will impact the business.
The amount of information included should be limited, as directors of the business have many more things occupying their time and their minds. Helping your client keep board meetings short, productive, and to the point will earn you some deserved gratitude.
If there any issues that are necessary to highlight, include recommendations or an outline of what is currently being undertaken to address them.
Further to this, as the accountant, you will be privy to the financial health of the business. As such, avoid jargon or unlabelled tables or diagrams so that you are communicating this information to non­-executive directors in the clearest, most concise method possible.

How to format information

Although most businesses will have different priorities, keeping to the following format will help you create clear and easy to understand reports:

  • Bullet point key information in place of lengthy paragraphs. In Futrli, we’ve created Text Cards to allow you to annotate and bring data to life.
  • Provide as much as possible in a visual format. Business owners want to get the point quickly, and good visuals will support that effortlessly.
  • Explain technical terms in a glossary area, if relevant.
  • Tell a balanced story of the business’s performance, both the positive and the negative. Be constructive with your language.

What to include

The contents of any given board report pack tend to be quite similar from business to business. This means you can create a template and use it for multiple clients for speed.
They should all contain the following:

  • A clear agenda
  • Minutes of the previous meeting
  • Documentation to support any submissions that require decisions from the board
  • The MD’s report, which should include a report on risk and compliance
  • Financial reports
  • Important correspondence
  • Other material for reading by directors, including any key industry or legislative updates

Accurate financial information is key

When it comes to building a board report that your client will find useful and actionable, you must ensure they are acting off of only the best and most accurate financial information you can provide them.
Futrli can help you create crystal clear reports, covering financial and non-­financial KPIs, providing your client with a bird’s-eye view of their business. What’s more, they are not static or only available at a point in time. You can use them dynamically in the meeting and even invite board members to have a dashboard to monitor daily performance. As their accountant, you could set up a board for the investor which shows their entire portfolio and how it is performing against target in one place.

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