Governance overview — business.govt.nz

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Governance overview

Governance is about the checks and balances and expert advice that keep your business on track. It includes all the practices, processes and policies that help you guide your business in the right direction.

Governance is the responsibility of every registered director — whether your business has one or many. Even if you’re not officially a director, governance is good practice for all business owners. Good governance can help you grow your business, stay ahead of risks, improve compliance, and improve trust and reputation.

Our quick self-assessment tool will help you reflect on your current governance practices. Our pages, visualisations, templates, and quiz will help you think strategically about governance.

Check out the topics available in this section. Use the links or the navigation pane to browse through the pages.

Governing your business means taking care of the ‘big picture’ — things like finances, long-term strategy, and risk management. You’re probably doing some of these things already. Use this tool to reflect on how much governance you’re already doing and where you could improve.

At the end of this assessment you’ll get:

  • a better idea of what you could focus on
  • practical tips and links to expert advice.

5-10 minutes

Self-assessment: Governing your business

Importance of governance

Two farmers

Did you know...

Deciding what governance looks like for a small business depends on the size and stage of the business, the input needed, and the nature and level of risks, according to Liz Wotherspoon of The Icehouse, an Auckland-based business growth centre.

It’s important to regularly look at the ‘big picture’ of a business — things like finances, long-term strategy, and risk management.

Importance of governance

builder and businessman

Did you know...

Governance applies to all businesses, including start-ups and those focused on achieving high growth, according to the Institute of Directors.

Looking at the big picture is something I do in my business.

Finding time and people

woman business planning

Did you know...

Obviously, no one wants to miss a short-term forecast or sales goal. But it’s much more costly to focus your time and energy on today at the expense of planning for the long term , according to Harvard Business Review.

I struggle to find the time for looking at the big picture of my business.

Finding time and people

Tool group talking

Did you know...

The people you choose to help govern your business need to bring specific skills that you’re missing and will be important to your business’s success, according to Forbes.

I know how to find the right people to help me govern my business.

Directorship

Tool business woman

Did you know...

Directors play an important role in making sure a business follows the law and stays financially secure, according to the Institute of Directors.

I understand my legal duties as a director.

Directorship

people at desk

Did you know...

It’s important to understand your liabilities before joining a company as a director, according to the Institute of Directors. Ask about indemnities and Directors and Officers Insurance, and about any legal claims you might become responsible for.

I know how important it is to fulfil my director duties.

Risk management

Tool woman with paper

Did you know...

Only a few businesses grow if they are completely risk-averse, but reckless decision making also causes business failure, according to the Institute of Directors. Effective risk management sits at the heart of good governance.

I’ve identified current and upcoming risks to my business.

Risk management

group of people

Did you know...

Independent directors often play devil's advocate and challenge conventional thinking when risk rears its head, according to the Institute of Directors. They can help a board take advantage of something exciting at the same time as ensuring the risk doesn’t outweigh the benefits.

I have a clear plan for managing the risks to my business.

Boards

Tool workers talking

Did you know...

Properly structuring your board could be one of the most important things to determine the success of your business, according to Forbes.

The benefits of having a formal board are:

Boards

Tool painter

Did you know...

What makes boards great? It’s not rules and regulations. It’s the way people work together, according to Harvard Business Review.

A difference between an advisory board and a board of directors is:

Tell us about your business

Just one last step before your self-assessment results. So we can shape future tools and services around your needs, please tell us about your business size, location, age and industry.

Checks and balances

Tips and tools to help you run your business effectively