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By: Matthew Rowan •  2 years ago •  

The traditional way of managing clubs and associations with paper and shoe boxes is no longer holding up with the requirements put on organisations these days. Volunteers are hard to come by and the workload continues to increase. Just as accounting has been through a transition from manual to full digital disruption of the process, governance is on the same path.

Governance may not be the most appealing task to focus on, but when we look at what governance really is, the processes of interaction and decision-making, we can see its vital importance to ensuring we continue to achieve the impact we desire of our clubs and associations.

We’ve seen many changes to many systems and processes as computers have permeated all areas of our lives.

Within our clubs we see finance, members, coaching, and communication software and apps available in every niche. This is all in attempts to reduce workloads and increase engagement. I propose however we are only at the beginning phase of this digital disruption.

Software goes through ebbs and flows, like anything else, and we are on the edge of another transition.

Anything a computer can do, you shouldn’t have to.

Software is getting smarter so that what our current processes are can be completely distributed by platforms that take away the busywork and leave you to only focus on the unique value you add to the process. We can see how this transition has happened with accounting software.

Originally, accounting was done with pencil and paper. To do this, you needed training and expertise. It was slow and error prone.

Enter the early days of desktop computing and introduce original spreadsheet programs like VisiCalc and then Microsoft Excel.

What a boon! It adds everything up for you, has formulas, is more accessible and can be copied and shared unlike the paper beforehand.

It still required you to be well trained in accounting processes and practices though. Next up came in MYOB and others like it.

These account packages changed the game. No longer did you need to be an expert, you could follow what the software told you to do and get about 80% there, and then use your professional services at a lower cost to ensure everything was correct.

Xero has taken this even further with automatic bank feeds, a simpler user interface, and online and mobile access from anywhere.

With the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and large amounts of data these platforms sit on top of more will be done automatically for you, leaving you just the important things to evaluate.


Here though is where we come into the governance story. Governance is just as important as finance to clubs. The governance processes ultimately dictate how the club or association operates and whether it will remain viable into the future.

Everyone involved in the club from the members, players, spectators and coaches are affected by the decisions of the management committee or board. So, having good governance, with clear visibility and transparency is vital.

Unfortunately, what we see is the same as the early days of accounting. Pencil and paper for the minutes and a shoe box for the records.

This can no longer happen. The decision-making processes that have wide repercussions need to be structured, consistent and clear. Records need to be kept and accessible.

Today, many organisations have moved beyond paper and use Word and some online storage like Dropbox. But this still ends up the same mess as a physical box with lots of manual administration. It will no longer be acceptable into the future.

When the government is looking at handing out grants, they are looking into how clubs are being governed so they have visibility the funds will be well applied.

Those that are lacking good governance are going to be hit from three directions.

1. A reduced ability to access government grants and funding opportunities..

2. Less engagement from volunteers not willing to waste their time in a club that doesn’t have their act together.

3. A dwindling membership due to unclear process, poor decision-making or infighting within the management committee.

I personally came across this problem when I joined an association management committee as Secretary.

There was no training, no consistency and no visibility yet as an office bearer I am personally liable for the operations of this association.

A box of papers was my only records.

As a software engineer, I decided I could come up with a better way.

I built Process PA to tackle this problem and build affordable software to support volunteers and staff on associations, clubs and NFPs.

The Xero for governance.

Stress free meetings

Process PA helps committee members to keep up to date with their commitments via online documentation.

Secure cloud-based documents

Process PA helps with secure online cloud storage system compliant to the top industry standards.

Netball Queensland is on the forefront of the move to more accountability and better governance structures. They have been working on their Horizon 3 project, a governance process that works for managing both current and future opportunities for growth.

Early indications show interesting insights such as the ratio of spending on coaches compared with umpires and fee structures for members related to growth of the club.

These insights can only come about with cooperation from widespread groups, which can be done efficiently with good use of technology.

Catherine Clark, CEO of Netball Queensland, says

One of the greatest opportunities that we have as a sport is to use our scale. However, to do this we need a consistent and well managed approach to both finance and governance. This allows us to better inform both suppliers and sponsors about the opportunities that exist to partner with us.

In the future, I expect the available software platforms to do even more.

In governance, they will record your meetings, generate your minutes, follow up actions, suggest policy reviews & improvements.

Most importantly, they will guide the committee to spend time on making good decisions that matter to all those involved in the club, so we can continue to have a thriving sporting community into the future.

For more information visit

Matthew Rowan – Founder & CEO

Matthew is a Software Engineer by trade and in that role has continually worked to improve process efficiency with technology. He started Process PA to build tools that give people the knowledge and process they need for real time governance after experiencing a bad handover when joining a management committee. Through this role Matthew has helped hundreds of boards and committees run more effectively and efficiently.

ProcessPA – Cloud Software for Easy & Enjoyable Governance for Management Committees

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