Are companies finally realising that paper-based board meetings are inefficient and costly?

Paperless boardroom

We’ve been busy over the last few months, conducting research with company secretaries at UK-based businesses, asking them how they prepare board packs, how often their boards meet and what tools are used to prepare a board pack.

Old fashioned boardrooms remain resistant to change

The findings showed that 48% of respondents are still using paper for their board packs. Of course, an optimist could rightly point out that that means more than half of respondents are no longer using paper for board packs, but scratching beneath the surface a little more would suggest that optimism is misplaced.

The research revealed that very few organisations are actually using an online board portal (such as BoardPacks), with many relying on either email or Dropbox to share information around board meetings. This is certainly preferable to using paper, but only a little.

Furthermore, what also became clear is that many organisations are still using a LOT of paper for their board packs. Our research revealed that the average board pack contained 96.7 pages, and with the average company having 8.1 directors on the board and holding 7.9 board meetings each year, this equates to around 6,200 pages printed each year, just for board packs.

The exact cost of all this printing is hard to say, but in addition to the price there are other issues with remaining steadfastly analogue, as our CEO Alister Esam notes:

“It seems archaic that in this era of digital transformation, some organisations still use paper to produce board packs. Not only are the printing and production of them a drain on resources, but they can be easily lost, are inefficient and do not make for transparency at board level. Even email is only slightly preferable to paper, so with many areas of business now fully digital, why do many board meeting processes remain firmly in the 20th century?”

Paper boardroom survey showed 48% still use paper board packs

Improved governance with online board portals

There is also the issue of governance to consider. The past few years have seen a number of high-profile governance issues at a board level, so maintaining high standards of governance is higher up the corporate agenda than ever before.

An online board portal can play a major role in supporting the information sharing, decision making and risk management associated with good governance, in a way that paper-based board packs cannot hope to achieve.

BoardPacks for example, provides a single platform for managing board and committee meetings, risk, decision making and other governance related activities. This means decision makers have easy access to all relevant documentation, meaning more informed decision making.

Such balanced and measured decisions are well-known to lead to better corporate governance, as Alister Esam explains:

“Governance should be the number one priority for organisations in 2016. This is even truer in the turbulent post-referendum economic and politic climate. With organisations potentially looking at relocating and making major decisions about their future, board level transparency is even more important.”

If you’d like to hear more about our research, or are interested in learning more about how BoardPacks can improve your organisation’s governance and board meeting efficiency, do get in touch – online at, via email at or call the head office on +44 (0) 845 200 7829.

posted on & filed under Paperless Boardrooms.