Management reporting

The CFO's guide to impactful board decks (slides included!)

Updated: July 27, 2023 |

Christina Ross

CEO & Co-Founder, Cube Software

Christina Ross
Christina Ross

Cube's founder and CEO, Christina Ross is a 3x CFO and former finance transformation leader. As a well-recognized finance expert in all things FP&A, she is passionately mission-driven to help finance leaders become the heroes of every org. She currently resides in NYC.

CEO & Co-Founder, Cube Software

The CFO's guide to impactful board decks (slides included!)

Cube CEO, Christina Ross, was joined by Michael Brown of Battery Ventures in a recent CFO Leadership Council webinar to discuss how to craft a concise and captivating quarterly board meeting deck that instills confidence in a board. 

Check out highlights from the webinar below. 


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Board meetings are stressful, especially preparing that infamous quarterly meeting deck. As a serial CFO turned CEO, I've worked with boards of all sizes and backgrounds, and presented at my fair share of board meetings. 

Michael Brown of Battery Ventures and I offered our advice on creating and delivering an impactful board deck. Check out the highlights below. 

10 tips to level up your board deck

  1. Define 2-3 key topics and build your agenda and deck around it using words and pictures. Your deck should have a flow with transitions and a place for business performance vs. strategy.
  2. Be transparent and balanced in your messaging. Share what’s working and not working, so you can focus on solutions, not what might be missing.
  3. Start with the high-level takeaways and be prepared to drill down. Don’t try to share everything on a slide all at once. Let the board ask questions and you will shine.
  4. Always share context on the numbers. Is $1M good, bad, or on track? Variance or using Red/Yellow/Green to highlight progress is a simple way to share a lot of context at once.
  5. Share callbacks. Refer back to previous presentations/conversations to ground the meeting and provide greater context for recommendations.
  6. Add page numbers. Yes, seriously! You’d be surprised how frequently “go to slide 17” creates mass confusion during a board meeting.
  7. Provide a clear call to action. Ask the board for what your business needs: approvals, support, and answers. Provide space in the agenda for discussion with a clear takeaway.
  8. Send the appendix/data deck ahead of time. It will answer all of the questions upfront that may derail the meeting.
  9. Keep the font size 14 or larger. Ensuring you only present the most crucial info.
  10. A picture is worth a thousand words. Wherever possible, use visuals (graphs, charts, scoring systems, etc).

4 common pitfalls CFOs and CEOs should avoid

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Board prep should start about a month before the board meeting takes place.
  • Don’t create too much new work for the board meeting. Design a set of standard KPI slides and use them for managing your business and reporting out to the board.
  • Don’t forget to practice your mental math. If you don’t know the answer to an on-the spot question, you can often share parts of it (e.g., it’s roughly 20% of last quarter’s number).
  • Don’t be too precise. Accuracy is good, but too much precision can dilute the message. Know the board's materiality threshold and report on it (e.g., $millions vs. $thousands).

Check out the full deck for deeper dives into:

  • Creating a prep timeline so you, your team, and the board are all on the same page
  • Tailoring your presentation to what the board actually cares about
  • Presenting your data so it makes the right impact
  • Being prepared for what lies ahead
  • Avoiding common board deck pitfalls

Click the image or button below to view and download the slide deck.

Header image cfolc webinar blog 

View the deck