What to Look for in a D&O Solution: Why Technology Simplifies the Process

Nicholas J Price
5 min read
While boards are keenly aware of the necessity of preparing, completing and filing directors' and officers' (D&O) questionnaires, it's generally not something anyone looks forward to. Why? Mostly because it takes a lot of time away from things that board directors consider to be more important.

D&O questionnaires can take somewhere between hours and weeks to prepare. Corporations expend much time and expense in distributing questionnaires. The challenges get compounded from the directors' end.

Directors typically have the best intentions of doing a thorough job on their D&O questionnaires, but time constraints often force them to put the task on the back burner. As a result, lack of time creates two additional challenges. First, some directors rush through them and don't complete them as thoroughly as they should. Corporate secretaries often have to nudge directors and others a few times before they receive all questionnaires back. Once the corporate secretary receives all of the questionnaires, the corporation still needs many hours to analyze them.

Second, while the steps involved are paper-intensive and time-consuming, the most important challenge in the entire process is how to keep the information secure as it travels through email, postal mail and courier services.

From start to finish, Diligent Corporation solves every challenge of manually processing D&O questionnaires with online D&O processing and reporting.

Putting D&O Questionnaires Online Saves Time

Proxy season is a hectic time for corporate secretaries and board directors. In today's world, board directors are more tech-savvy than in the past, and they're looking for ways to do things faster and more efficiently without sacrificing accuracy and completeness as it pertains to every task they do.

Busy board directors know that tech solutions exist for regular tasks like D&O questionnaires, and they're eager to implement them. It takes little convincing for them to accept that technology provides a way to process D&O questionnaires in ways that are customized, cost-effective, user-friendly and, most importantly, secure. Mobility and the fast pace of business demand that the way to improve D&O questionnaires is to transition to online D&O questionnaire processing and reporting.

Facing Inherent Challenges in Manually Processing D&O Questionnaires

Governments require much information about directors' background, experience, securities ownership, independence, insider trading compensation and more to be reported on the Form 10-K reports and proxy statements.

Preparing new D&O questionnaires or modifying existing questionnaires often requires excessive hours during the week. With the guidance of an outside legal firm, corporate secretaries are responsible to review the questions and add, delete or change them to reflect current regulations. In the race to meet deadlines, corporate secretaries don't always have time to revise each question as necessary.

The manual process involves getting the most recent questionnaire, changing the dates and pre-populating as many fields as possible. Once the questions have been updated, the questionnaires need to be distributed by email, postal mail or courier service.

Reducing Time and Manual Effort in Processing D&O Questionnaires

Diligent's online D&O software solution is far less time-consuming and far more efficient than redesigning D&O questionnaires manually. Diligent's software helps corporate secretaries develop questions that are relevant and concise.

With an online solution, the process takes the administrator through each question, so they can ensure that questions are necessary and relevant. The program also saves time prefilling information the portal already has.

The software makes it easy for the corporate secretary to build new questions from scratch, modify existing questions and fix typographical errors. The D&O software can even set fields to require an electronic signature.

Online software for D&O questionnaires alleviates reams of paper, bulky packets that are difficult to manage and onsite storage limitations.

The software gives the corporate secretary the ability to make one questionnaire for all and to restrict access so that each individual only sees the questions that apply to that director. This is a time-saving win for board directors. There's no need to prepare multiple versions for directors, officers, the audit committee and the CEO. This means directors can start the questionnaire and finish it in record time.

Online D&O Questionnaires Net a Quicker Response From Directors

Board directors are usually happy to complete a task that used to take them several hours in just a couple of hours, which is just one reason that makes online D&O reporting so valuable. The corporate secretary or governance team can even see their responses in real time. The online software only shows them questions that apply to them, so they're not wasting time skimming over questions that don't apply to them.

Online reporting gives them peace of mind in knowing that they can return their answers on a highly secure platform.

Online D&O Questionnaires Streamline the Analytical Process

Most corporations designate a response team that reviews and analyzes responses. The online questionnaires ensure that all fields are filled out completely and are legible, and all answers are complete and clear.

The software also gives the response teams the ability to export the information on the questionnaires onto a spreadsheet for ease of evaluating information in .pdf form. Faster analysis usually equates to faster filings.

How Secure Are Online D&O Questionnaires?

There's no comparison between the security of manually processing D&O questionnaires and processing them electronically. Diligent Corporation invests in the latest, most secure encryption and other security processes to ensure that D&O questionnaires are secure while being transmitted, while in storage, during backups and while being transmitted between servers.

Why Diligent D&O Questionnaires Offer the Best Solution

Diligent representatives work closely with board directors to design the exact solutions that make their duties and responsibilities more accurate and efficient. Diligent's products were designed with collaboration from over 145,000 executives and board directors across the globe. The D&O software is easy to use and to customize and channels all of your data into one convenient, secure, online place in real time. Diligent even offers unlimited training to increase your confidence in using the product.

Diligent Corporation's D&O Questionnaire software integrates seamlessly with other products in the Diligent Governance Cloud. Board directors and executives are sure to appreciate how Diligent's D&O software helps to minimize errors and create a 'win' for corporate secretaries, board directors and executives.