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Winning CFOs: Implementing and Applying Better Practices, with Website by David Parmenter

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CHAPTER 4

Limit the Time Invested in Board Reporting

It must be one of the classic catch-22 situations: Boards complain about getting too much information too late, and management complains that nearly 20 percent of its time is tied up in the board reporting process. Boards obviously need to ascertain whether management is steering the ship correctly, and the state of the crew and customers, before they can relax and strategize about future initiatives. The process of reporting the current status of the organization, last month’s board report, is where the principal problem lies. This process needs to occur more efficiently and effectively for both the board and management.

Selling Change to the Board

We need to see why selling change to the board has not worked in the past. As accountants, we are commonly selling by logic as we are thinking and judgmental people, in Myers-Briggs1 terms. We need to sell change by the board’s emotional divers, a concept that is covered in the Introduction.

The corporate accountants should work with the CEO and the board to carry out these tasks:

  • Commence an education process regarding the cost versus benefit of the board reporting process; start with costing out each board paper, and the board will be the first to complain about the waste.
  • Ensure all requests for information are properly scoped and costed first.
  • Instigate an empowerment program so reports are not rewritten unless absolutely necessary.
  • Table board papers electronically, using some of the ...

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