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In most jurisdictions, a board of directors is not required for privately held companies.  However, many of these companies have appointed what might be termed advisory boards.  Although they may not have any legal authority, owners of these privately owned companies have discovered that this team of outside advisors can assist them in many ways.

One important way they can help is just by having their name and/or company affiliation attached to the company.  This can open doors to new customers and new relationships.  Appointing advisors from both the accounting and legal fields can help insure that the company maintains strong controls on these important areas.  This board can also assist in developing company strategy and systems.  A business-savvy board can also help in management succession and can help prepare the company for sale.

In order to create a strong and helpful advisory board, “cronies” should not be included. The advisory team can consist of two to four people. They should meet several times a year, or in emergency sessions when necessary, and be available by telephone.  They should also be compensated for their time just as any consultant would be.