How governance software can shape your board/family office for the better
An effective board of directors is one that is able to successfully balance entrepreneurial ambition, swift decision-making and the need for prudence. It must have a solid understanding of the structure, capabilities and workings of the business in order to be accountable for its actions. Although it has a significant responsibility towards employees, shareholders and other stakeholders, the board is expected to be primarily focused on the long term success & sustainability of the business itself. The same principles can be applied to the responsibilities of the modern family office. As business families evolve into diverse multi-generational entities, greater levels of efficiency and agility are required in order to achieve long term success. For this reason, the family office needs to evolve into a new era of professionalism, one which leverages good governance-not just as a tickbox exercise-but to drive effective decision-making at the right level, at the right time with the right information.
Key Governance Challenges In Family Offices
The current global business & investment environment is becoming increasingly complex. Over and above the increasing demand for greater transparency and ethics, family offices need to tackle the growing risks associated with inefficient decision-making, maintaining continuity through generational leadership transitions and information security breaches. Effective governance thus becomes critical to manage this complexity and typically results in various governance bodies being created e.g. Family councils, family office boards, Investment committees, audit committees, project boards etc. Commonly, various advisors or subject matter experts join these bodies and the net result is many meetings taking place amongst different people where numerous decisions are being made. This in itself creates further complexity due to the challenges relating to effective meeting preparation, process guidelines, terms of reference, roles and responsibilities, and the management of outcomes. Additionally, the records of meetings and decisions need to be managed in a way that allows the right people to have access to the required information for visibility and to support decisions, while maintaining privacy and security.
The Future Of Governance In The Modern Family Office
Governance has, in recent times, been transformed from a traditional process framework mostly based on paper or email, into new innovative online tools that enable more efficient and secure information sharing and access. Recent advancements in governance software have accelerated this transition, with functionalities including:
- Scheduling and organizing meetings
- Taking minutes Online
- Creating board packs with attached documentation and annotations
- Accessing information on mobile Phones and Tablets with offline access
- Approving and signing documents electronically
- Taking digital annotations on documents and boardbooks in advance of meetings
- Digital permissions and access rights to ensure content is archived correctly and is accessible only to those who are permitted to see it, in accordance with your organizational structure
- Recording who accessed what data and when for accountability purposes
All of which today can be found integrated into a user-friendly package that provides a safe and effective platform for every generation and every level of staff.
Governance As A Tool For Success
Family offices now have access to innovative technologies that help streamline all governance responsibilities linked to the decision-making process and provide a safe and confidential platform to manage sensitive information and internal planning & meeting processes. Embracing governance software can have significant benefits and is an option that should be explored by every family office.