10 Questions to ask before joining a Board
Joining a board is a significant commitment, and asking the right questions can provide valuable insights into the responsibilities, culture, and expectations associated with the role. Here are ten questions to consider asking before joining a board:
Can you tell me about the business?
- What does the business do?
- How does it make money?
- What is its sustainable competitive advantage?
- What is the biggest challenge facing the company?
- What is its biggest threat?
- What is the biggest opportunity?
- Could you please describe the culture?
What is the company’s current financial position?
- What is the current and forecast cash flow, borrowings and interest cover?
- Can I speak with the Chair of the Audit Committee?
- Who is the Auditor, are there any current disputes with them?
- What accounting standards and policies have been used by the business?
What legal and regulatory environments does the company operate in?
- Are there any legal actions or major disputes pending against the company, including action by any regulator?
- How does the board oversee risk management?
- What is the legal form of the business?
What is the quality of the information which I will be provided with?
- the last 12 months’ board minutes and any committee minutes;
- the last set of board papers;
- the last two years’ annual reports;
- the board charter and any committee charters; and
- the company’s code of ethics and /or conduct.
- What protocols are in place for directors having access to management outside of board meetings?
Can you please tell me about the board?
- Who is the Chair?
- Who are the other directors?
- How long have they been on the board?
- Who is the CEO? Can I meet them?
- What are the relationships between the directors, and between the directors and the CEO, like?
Why does the board need a new director and what are they looking for?
- What contribution am I expected to make?
- Is there a draft letter of appointment I could review?
- Why are you seeking a new director now?
- Is someone leaving? Can I speak with them?
- What are you looking for in a new director?
- Why did you approach me?
- Who else will be joining at the same time?
- Is there a succession plan for the board, and in particular the Chair?
Who are the shareholders and stakeholders?
- What is the ownership/corporate structure of the company?
- What is the current attitude of shareholders and stakeholders to the company, board and management?
- What is the attitude of the board to stakeholders?
- Has the company been receiving positive or negative media coverage lately?
- What happens at AGMs and how are they run?
Why am I interested in taking this directorship?
What can I contribute?
Do I have the capacity to do the job?
- What is the time commitment?
- When, where and how long are the meetings?
- What style of meeting does the Chair favour?
- What does it pay?
- Will I be expected to buy/sell shares?
- Can I see a copy of the Directors and Officers insurance policy?
- Do I have any conflicts of interest?
*WOB acknowledges these questions were produced by CPA Australia
and Cameron Ralph Pty Ltd.