PDF Your Board Package

Thankfully I no longer get fedexed binders of board packages from my portfolio companies in advance of a board meeting.  Through the modern miracle of email, the board packages show up in my inbox – hopefully a few days (rather than a few hours – or even minutes) before the board meeting.  The board packages tend to show up in three different formats – one that is easy to deal with, one that is ok, and one that sucks.

  • Happy Version: The entire board package is in a PDF file, formatted nicely, and easy to either read on the screen or print out.
  • Ok Version: The entire board package is in a PPT file.  While this is ok, there are often pages – such as financials, board minutes, or other Word documents – that are weirdly formatted or missing lots of info as they’ve been “transcribed” to fit in a PPT.
  • Bad Version: Each subdocument (Word, Excel, PPT, and occasionally a PDF file) is simply attached to the email, in no particular order.  Just try to print this out, especially the Excel spreadsheet that doesn’t have any print areas set.

Having dealt with this across lots of board meetings, I much prefer that the whole shebang be incorporated into a PDF file.  This is easy to do, gives the CEO complete control over how the information is presented, and makes it easy for board members to deal with, especially if they just want to forward the email to their assistant and say “print out the board package for me.”

  • David Duey

    Wouldn’t it be cool of the board package was delivered via a secure rss feed?

  • Andy

    Why print it out at all? And waste all the paper?

  • I agree – I never print them out – but some people like the good old fashioned paper thing.

  • Eric Risley

    I wrote a bit of rant on this subject recently. You can see it at:

    While I know that many don’t print, I find it essential as I write notes all over the documents as I analyze them.


  • I totally agree. I have received reports before that are 10 attachments, with all kinds of weird formatting. If somebody really does their job right when they put together these reports they can create a decent set of bookmarks, hyperlinks, and make it very interactive. It is a reflection of how much pride someone puts into the document.

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