The Pros and Cons of Going Public

Going public IPO

If you’re a board member for a large or fast growing company, there may come a time when you and your colleagues will be asked to determine whether that company should “go public.” Investopedia explains, “Going public refers to a private company’s initial public offering (IPO), thus becoming a publicly traded and owned entity. Businesses usually go public to raise capital in hopes of expanding.”

Companies that decide to go public are not only faced with enormous opportunities to grow their organization, they also have to deal with the downsides or challenges associated with the transition.

According to a survey by The Next Million, these are some of the major challenges of going public:
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What Is an External Auditor? (And Do Boards Need One?)

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When it comes to reviewing a company’s financial status, every organization needs a good auditor. Auditors cull through in-depth accounting information in order to ensure that the reporting is a true representation of the company’s financial position. Auditors also assess things such as risk in order to help guide organizations to a healthier and more prosperous financial future.

Internal audits happen frequently within an organization. Companies utilize their own hired talent to review the work of others or the overall validity of the company’s financial reporting. As the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners explains it, “The internal audit function helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. The scope of internal auditing is broad and may involve the efficiency of operations, IT controls, the reliability of financial reporting, deterring and detecting fraud, and compliance with laws and regulations.”
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What Should You Do After Every Board Meeting?

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Your latest board meeting has just ended, but that doesn’t mean your responsibilities are over until the next gathering. In fact, there are several tactics that should be employed after every single meeting to ensure that your board is functioning as effectively as possible.

  1. Send a survey.

Send a brief survey after every single meeting. This 3-5 question survey should ask directors to rate their experience of the board meeting. Use this opportunity to determine whether board members feel that the agenda was adequately covered and if they have suggestions for future meetings. It’s important to send the survey shortly after the meeting while the details are still fresh on directors’ minds. (A yearly, more in-depth survey is also a boardroom must.)

  1. Distribute the minutes.

It’s important that board directors can quickly and easily review the meeting minutes for accuracy. Board software simplifies this process in a big way and encourages more involvement from directors. Create a clear process for editing the minutes, so board members can follow the time frame.
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How to Strategically Build Your Boardroom

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Outstanding board members certainly don’t grow on trees. In fact, finding the right group of business leaders to impact your organization for the better is a true challenge. Not only must you consider individual fit and ability, but also how the group will work together. Here are some tips to help you tackle this undertaking in pursuit of exceptional corporate governance.

  1. Think strategically about the organization of your board.

Before you can expect directors to think strategically about your organization’s future, you need to think strategically about your board. First, take some time to consider what size board makes the most sense for your organization. Perhaps you’ve been operating with 7 members, but changing to 9 members makes sense for tactical reasons. Don’t choose a number at random; be sure you can back up the decision with consideration and research. Next, update your board member job descriptions. Make sure that the expectations for directors are clear. You can’t anticipate success from anyone unless you’ve provided them with an outlook for their role.
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Why Boardrooms Need Great Marketing Leaders

commphotoHistorically speaking, boardrooms have favored business leaders with backgrounds in business strategy and finance. As the technological landscape has progressed, though, they’ve also been eager to embrace individuals with vast experience in cyber risk. Marketing and communications professionals, however, have remained on the perimeter of boardroom involvement. But as news and PR cycles continue to grow more powerful, invasive, and easily accessible online, it’s high time for boardrooms to embrace their media-savvy peers as vital corporate leaders.

Just ask United Airlines. In the wake of their current PR nightmare (which involved dragging a man off one of their flights), their CEO released a statement that came across as tone deaf to many readers. Not to mention, United Airlines stock has dropped $1.4 billion in the wake of this crisis. Combine this event with the recent confusion over two teens who weren’t allowed to fly wearing leggings, and you can bet that the United Airlines’ board isn’t having a very good couple of weeks.
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How-to Revive a Disengaged Board of Directors

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Although boardrooms are filled with successful business leaders, they’re still comprised of human beings who will occasionally falter. General disengagement is one of the most common struggles that boards—particularly nonprofit boards—will face. It’s not a death sentence, though; a disengaged board is not beyond repair! In fact, here are some tips for reviving your boardroom and getting on the path towards a high-functioning and involved leadership team.

  1. Set clear goals.

Many leaders are deadline-oriented and need extremely clear objectives in order to know how much effort they need to exert to meet or surpass expectations. Don’t be afraid to set high goals, so your board members feel the push to excel.
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Better Board Agendas

Better Board AgendasThe agenda and the board book have been the centerpieces of board meetings for decades. While the board book provides important information and reporting, the agenda acts as the guide for the course of the board meeting. It may seem like nothing more than a simple list, but the agenda wields serious influence over a board meeting’s progression.

You’re probably thinking, how can a basic list be improved? But we’re here to say that it can be done!

  1. Ask: Does this agenda item involve everyone?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often boards include agenda items that should actually be discussed in smaller committees or one-on-one outside of the board meeting. Boardroom time should be focused on group-oriented tasks and decision-making in order to get the most collaborative value out of your gathering.

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Board Software Communication Vs. Emailing Board Documents

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These days, most boards are making the  choice to go paperless. While some opt for centralized communication through the use of board software, others have simply stuck to email for their needs.

In fact, according to a 2014 Thomson-Reuters study, approximately 43% of boards were still emailing their sensitive board documents.

While email prevents added costs to board operations, it also poses many potential downfalls and risks.

Email isn’t secure.

You’ve seen the headlines. Email hacks are a dime a dozen these days. Not long ago, we wrote a blog about the infamous Salesforce leak, which originated with an email from Colin Powell.

Because they sent their board documents via email, their hypothetical plans for 14 different company acquisitions became public knowledge.

When boards switch to board software communication, however, they’ll be able to rest easier knowing that there’s dedicated security and heavily monitored data encryption protecting their materials.

Email doesn’t enhance board member communication.

The typical board member already receives hundreds of emails every day. When board documents are emailed, it’s easy for them to get lost in the email landfill, so to speak. Not to mention, when changes need to be made to reports or agendas, board members are inundated with more emails—easily causing confusion over when the latest draft was sent and what’s the most up to date information.

Board software eliminates these issues with centralized communication. Not to mention, with board management software, documents can be edited at any time, and board members will automatically be able to open the latest version—cutting down on confusion and the stress of administrative preparation.

Email doesn’t lead to better decision-making.

Put simply, email just can’t match up with the growing benefits of board software. Companies that use Directorpoint not only get an impactful communication tool, but they’ll also be able to access reports about the effectiveness of their board. They can use these statistics and reports to figure out when the best time to send board documents it.

Committees can use the board portal for votes and discussion outside of meeting time—thereby creating more space for important, group topics during meetings. Not to mention, board members can hop on the web or on their iPad for an experience that removes the headaches from board member prep.

Using email for board communications may be “free,” but ultimately, it comes at great costs—in security, precision, and effectiveness. Skip those costs today by scheduling a demo with Directorpoint, so we can show you how our board software will elevate your boardroom experience.

Directorpoint’s “ActiveConvert” Builds Board Books in Seconds

board bookIn most cases, board books are quite large. For companies who’ve smartly chosen to go paperless, they know that uploading hundreds of documents can also take some time. Thanks to our new “ActiveConvert” technology, though, Directorpoint customers will be blown away by how quickly their board book comes together in our software.

We’re so proud of this major time-saving tool, and we’ve decided to call it “Active Convert” because our software begins converting your board books the second that you upload a document. In other words, as you’re adding information, our converter is working quickly behind the scenes to prepare the files as a cohesive board packet.
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The Limitations of Board Meeting Software Alternatives

The Limitations of Board Meeting Software Alternatives

It’s no secret that effective board meeting software comes with a price tag. While that amount can range from low-cost to fairly expensive, some companies are eager to seek out what they see as “cost-free” file-sharing options such as Dropbox or Google Drive. While both of these board meeting software alternatives provide file storage and the ability to share documents, the “free” versions of these accounts have serious limitations. Plus, this style of file sharing can create frustration for board members who are forced to access board information through multiple platforms: email, cloud storage, calendar tools, etc.

Not So “Free”

Although Dropbox and Google Drive both have a free account option, it doesn’t take long for boards to surpass the allowed amounts of data storage, which can lead to monthly costs for the organization based on file sizes and/or their number of users. Plus, board members must create and manage their own accounts using this type of file sharing tool. Unlike Directorpoint, which provides unlimited storage and is perfect for archiving past meeting information, file-sharing alternatives make their profit by nickel and diming customers for more storage.
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