While some companies spend unreasonably large amounts of money, time, and resources to host a traditional board meeting, others opt for paperless board meeting software. Such a solution provides both corporations and nonprofit organizations the ability to organize board meetings in an online format.
This means that board members don’t have to worry about the time needed for attendees to gather or for them to receive any updated documents. With the help of paperless board meetings, you can do all of the processes in a few minutes and clicks.
All you need is an internet connection and access to paperless meeting software. This allows you to participate in a board meeting from anywhere in the world.
Besides such conveniences, this digital solution helps to cut down on spending for preparing necessary information. Instead of spending thousands of dollars every year to print out all the needed documents, many companies use board book software. It not only saves money but also reduces prep time.
Still, face-to-face board meetings have been a long-running tradition, so why should companies go virtual? Let’s dive in deeper and find out the pros and cons of paperless board meetings software and the traditional in-person format.
Advantages of a paperless board meeting solution
- Reduced costs
Traditional face-to-face meetings are costly — the price of printing documents alone may reach hundreds or thousands of dollars. On the other hand, when using paperless board management software, you won’t spend a cent on copies.
Besides, such a virtual solution allows you to cut spending even more. For example, as all the attendees need to take part in a board meeting, you save on travel and accommodation expenses.
- More time-efficient processes
How much time do directors need to inform all the board members about any updates or changes in relevant documents? Spoiler: a lot. Firstly, they have to edit those documents. Then, send them out to each member. And finally, everyone has to check out the files.
With the help of paperless board documents, this process shortens to several minutes and a couple of clicks. All the directors need to do is upload the files. Once they do, all the files are instantly sent to everyone.
- 24/7 document access
Paperless meeting solutions, in contrast to the traditional ones, can be viewed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. That means no time is wasted on waiting for paper documents.
Thus, board participants are always only a couple of clicks away from all needed documents. That way, they constantly have access to the most up-to-date information.
- Increased data protection
According to the 2021 Thales Data Threat Report, nearly half of US companies have experienced a data breach. Of the 2,600 executives surveyed, 45%revealed that they had, at some point, suffered a cyberattack. The threat of a confidential data leak is real and can happen to any company on any given day.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to protect all the vulnerable information exchanged during board meetings. Using a paperless boardroom guarantees bank-grade level protection due to such safety features as two-factor authentication and encryption.
- Enhanced meeting management
A board meeting is always about keeping control over up to a dozen actions, such as assigning tasks or creating minutes. Moderating the whole meeting process would be much easier if using paperless board management software.
With the help of such a virtual solution, directors have a wide range of tools that can significantly improve meeting management. Once they automate the needed processes, it frees up more time for attendees to concentrate on discussing the company’s plans and strategies.
Disadvantages of paperless board meeting solution
- The lack of personal interactions
The ability to check other people’s body language is an important aspect of communication. Unfortunately, paperless meeting solutions don’t provide attendees with the opportunity. The only thing they see are other members’ headshots.
In most cases, this isn’t enough to check attendees’ facial expressions and gestures. Needless to say, how disappointing it might be when some team members turn off their cameras. It’s especially crucial for those people who speak and need eye contact.
- Technical issues
Hosting a meeting with the help of a paperless boardroom might be absolutely unreliable, as it depends on a quality internet connection. Any technical problems might immediately break up audio or video, which interrupts or stops the whole process.
As a result, a meeting can turn into an awkward situation of repetitive phrases like “Can you hear me?”, “Is it better now?”, and “Okay, now I can’t hear you.” All of these confuse board members and distract them from concentrating on the discussion. As a result, it lowers the meeting’s productivity.
- No proper hardware or software
Such a significant change in the work process requires relevant preparations. A digital format means that each of the attendees must have a device, a proper internet connection, and access to paperless board management software.
As a result, companies incur additional costs to provide every board member with all the needed components. Additionally, management must train members on how to use virtual board meeting tools.
Advantages of an in-person board meeting
- Familiar format
Traditional in-person meetings don’t require attendees to learn new technologies and board meeting tools. For many people, especially older generations like baby boomers, it might be especially challenging to adapt to such a change from real life to virtual reality.
The internet is full of those awkward moments when people don’t know how to use paperless board software. Hosting a paper board meeting guarantees a situation like this won’t happen.
- Personal contact
Attending paper board meetings means all the participants have the opportunity to personally discuss all the issues that are not for phone calls. It’s always crucial for board members to see each other’s reactions. However, it’s crucial to check the details of body language in some special moments.
Why is it considered bad manners to break up with your partner over the phone? Why do people only tell you the great news face-to-face? Because real emotions are what all of us look for every day, and the business world is no exception.
Disadvantages of paper board meeting
- Resource consumption
Paper board meetings require more money, time, and team members’ resources. The preparation includes up to a dozen steps, from printing out copies for each board member to gathering at an office, which means spending time commuting and covering travel and lodging expenses for some attendees.
Unlike paperless board software, the traditional format doesn’t allow board members to participate from their homes or other suitable places. Additionally, it doesn’t provide them with constant access to needed documents.
- Low level of security
How is the company’s sensitive data protected if you host a paper board meeting? Do you have printers that create encrypted copies? Or is there an authentication process that third parties delivering the documents go through?
All of these security features are out of reach for companies and organizations that don’t use paperless board software. If yours is one of them, it’s high time to consider whether you’re fearless enough to endanger your valuable documents with a threat of a data breach.
- Inefficient process
The time participants of paper board meetings spend commuting to and from the office, as well as waiting for a board material delivery lowers productivity, especially because of the constant changes to the board book.
While paperless board software streamlines board meeting processes, the traditional format unreasonably prolongs each of them, starting from creating the agenda to getting feedback.
Paper vs. paperless board meeting
Weighing all the pros and cons of both board meeting types, you might notice a few significant aspects. The in-person format is a traditional way that everyone is used to. Yes, it requires no additional hardware or training, but at the same time, it gives no such new opportunities as paperless meeting management software.
Inconstancy is the main feature of the era we all live in. Every day the business world faces an ever-growing number of changes. A paperless board helps both enterprises and nonprofit organizations to adjust to this situation. Moreover, it provides them with many more benefits:
- better time-, cost-, and resource-efficiency
- higher level of data protection
- accessible information
- enhanced meeting management
- improved board effectiveness
- eco-friendly solution
Adjusting to paperless meeting management might take some time and funds, but as a result, it always pays off, as it’s a long-term game. So, why should companies waste valuable resources if there’s a solution that can help save them?
After all, a board meeting is about team collaboration that has to lead to the company’s greater development and achievements. Choosing a hosting format is equal to deciding whether you’d like to streamline this process or complicate it.
A paper board meeting may have its own advantages, but they don’t compare to those of a virtual meeting. A digital board takes care of all the boring and time-consuming meeting processes, so the board members can concentrate on improving the company.
Who can benefit from paperless board meetings?
Paperless board meetings are useful for any company or organization, be it a school or a big corporation. Generally, it benefits any board of directors that would like to:
- save time on printing out board packs
- cut down costs on material and human resources
- have access to documents at any time or place
- store the needed information in a secure place
How can you conduct a paperless board meeting?
Before starting a meeting, the executive director should prepare an agenda and share it with board members in advance. Meanwhile, your task is to use the company’s virtual board portal and start a meeting on your preferred device. Also, don’t forget to use meeting tools that help you make your meetings more productive.
What software will be useful for paperless management?
You should choose a software provider that meets your company’s needs and budget. Most importantly, pay attention to the data security settings, built-in tools, and compatibility with OS and other software.