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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Managing Indigenous Organisations

Create Systems and Procedures for Your Office

For many Indigenous corporations, there is a huge gap between what management knows should be done, and what actually gets done. Substantial management time is taken, particularly in administrative matters, reinventing the wheel, doing the same thing in different ways, taking longer to do something that was done efficiently yesterday, and making mistakes along the way. But imagine if your corporation were a business franchise. Have you ever seen a good franchise like McDonald's or Coffee Club produce different products from store to store? No matter where you go or when you go, everything happens exactly the same way, taking exactly the same time, producing exactly the same result. How do you get those outcomes for your corporation? (more…)...
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Improve Your Board Induction Process

As an Indigenous Corporation incorporated under the CATSI Act, or even if you chose to incorporate under the Corporations Act or remain as an Association, you will have a Board with serious responsibilities and an important role in the governance of your corporation. From time to time, your Board members will change, or new ones are admitted. How do you handle their induction, if at all? Inducting an employee is an accepted process, and you probably have written procedures and some process to nominate a mentor to take them through their job responsibilities and introduce them to colleagues and so on. Yet, when it comes to Board members, many corporations leave it to the new inductee to learn about how it's done all by themselves! You are doing well if you have a Directors' Board file with copies of the Rulebook or Constitution and previous Minutes, and welcome the new member with an informal coffee before you hand over a pile of reading. But we are all busier than ever today and often a new Board member may not be fully exposed to what the Board does. (more…)...
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Managing Conflicts of Interest

Directors of a corporation incorporated under the Corporations Act and the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act have a duty to avoid conflicts of interest. This duty is derived from statutory provisions, as well as common law, and this duty requires Directors to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with reasonable care and diligence, act in good faith in the best interests of the corporation, not use their position to gain an advantage for themselves or a third party, and not to improperly use information gained through their position to obtain an advantage for themselves, a third party, or to cause a detriment to the corporation. (more…)...
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How To Establish An Effective Audit Committee

An Audit Committee is one of the major operating committees of the Board. An Audit Committee is in charge of overseeing financial reporting and disclosure. In some corporations, this committee is combined into a Finance, Risk, and Audit Committee and in this form also takes into its purview the areas of risk management and other financial matters including investment policies. While an Audit Committee is generally a committee of the Board, and therefore will comprise mainly of Directors, one of its main objectives in the oversight role is to be independent of the operational functions surrounding finance, corporate reporting and risk management undertaken by the CEO and staff. Hence, depending on factors such as the size of the corporation and any inherent conflicts of interest, its membership is likely to comprise of those Directors who are not also employees (Non-Executive Directors) of the corporation and is likely to include "independent" Non-Directors. (more…)...
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