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CFOs & Board Committee Chairs

 

"Does the CFO take the intiative to sit with each board committee chair and develop a joint board presentation or do the Chairs come to the CFO or do they not present together at all?"

This question was asked at a recent webinar, now available on-demand:

"The Role Finance Plays in the Boardroom"

Please add your thoughts about it below. Thanks!

Answers

Topic Expert
Blair Cook
Title: Partner
Company: Executive Finance
LinkedIn Profile
(Partner, Executive Finance) |

A great agenda item to add to your next board meeting is talk about the board information needs. How much information does the board expect, how often, and at what level? This is the best answer you'll get because for different boards, the answer is going to be different.

Management almost always prepares the presentations for the Board. Committee chairs typically welcome providing their input in advance of the meeting and I encourage management to take this extra step, because it buys you a friend at the board meeting. Its much better to come into a board meeting and reassure the other directors that there is an ongoing conversations between management and the committee chair so that all the minor little pieces have already been dealt with. This allows the full committee or the full board to really focus on the important aspects of the agenda item.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

I had the responsibility of both preparing the agenda as well as preparing the committee minutes for 13 years at a publicly traded company. While it takes time and effort away from other day-to-day responsibilities, not only did I have a friend on the two committees I worked with I gained a mentor in the process. This relationship and the guidance my mentor has provided me over the years has been invaluable and has allowed my career to grow beyond what I would have imagined.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

First, it does NOT matter who initiates. The Board and the Management Team should be all on it together.

Second, this reflects on your Board Chairman. A strong Chair will make sure that the Board (and all it's existing committees and chairs) that they have all the information they need, in what format and even frequency.

Third, if one is really concerned about "who" initiates, it should be the CEO asking the Chair. The quality, completeness, format, frequency etc of the reports should be mentioned and discussed either on a per Committee basis or full board discussion.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

My experience has been a combination of both. I suppose the initial presentation was laid out by the CEO and CFO. The "straw man" was floated by a few key Board members. As time passed, input from the monthly/quarterly meetings was incorporated. Sometimes it was as a result of a question. Others were specific requests for changes i.e., "I would like to see a page tracking inventory control." I do recommend a housecleaning review from time to time to eliminate things no longer deemed useful or relevant. At a company I previously worked for, our monthly Board deck had grown to 460 pages. Finally, the Board chair started one meeting saying we are not going to do the normal review. Instead, we are going to figure out how to get this deck down to 25 pages that tell us what we need to know about the business.

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