February 28th, 2013
Volume 6, No. 1

In this Issue:


Savvy Stock Plan Spreadsheets

Free SOS Educational Webcast - Executing Exceptional Expensing for ESPP

SOS Product Spotlight: SOS Stock Plan Participant Portal

SOS Across Our Desks

SOS Xposé

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From the SOS YouTube Channel:

SOS Stock Plan Portal

Deliver stock plan tax and transactions information, obtain employee consent for electronic 6039 delivery, ESPP enrollment, grant acceptance, all in one place!

SOS Employment Opportunities
From the SOS Library:

Stock Plan Vendor Analysis

Let SOS "Prove" your DTA Balance

Click here for more information and pricing

From the SOS Webcast Archive-

Options for Underwater Options

Our Services:


Equity Compensation Projects/Consulting

SOS-TEAM Outsourcing

Contact Us:

On our webpage


Ideas or Questions:

Do you have ideas for our next newsletter or webcast? Topics you're dying to see addressed but haven't yet? Please send us an e-mail with your ideas to: xtra@sos-team.com.

Aspirations Logo

With the holidays behind you and the weather keeping you cooped up inside, you may find yourselves wondering what there is to look forward to. SOS has just the event...at least if you are a private company looking to get a handle on your stock plans. Drum roll please...Aspirations planning is well underway! We've got a date, a location, and much more going on behind the scenes that we will share soon.

SAVE THE DATE:  Aspirations, our third annual all-day event for private companies with equity compensation, happens on November 12th, 2013 at Villa Ragusa in Historic Downtown Campbell, California.  We plan to wow you again this year with phenomenal speakers (yet again), outstanding food and networking, a beautiful and conveniently located venue, education credits, and the indepth presentations on the equity compensation topics most important to you.

Our 3rd annual conference for private companies promises to be the best yet. Mark your calendars, stay tuned for more details, and prepare for the event that could change the course of your stock plans.

Read more about Aspirations here, and keep checking back for updates.

Shawna Casey
Marketing Coordinator
Stock & Option Solutions


Savvy Stock Plan Spreadsheets

Every equity compensation software vendor strives to ensure that their product provides clients with the information they need in the format they require; and experts will tell you that, from a SOX perspective, you should minimize the calculations you do in spreadsheets.  However, the reality is that often there are calculations that, for whatever reason, need to be done in a spreadsheet.  As a result, working with spreadsheets is a required skill set for almost every equity compensation professional.

Since coming to work at Stock & Option Solutions, I've been amazed and impressed at the complexity of some of the spreadsheets that clients, or their consultants, have created.  However, while the information being manipulated may by necessity be complex, that doesn't mean how the information is being presented has to be.

Don't be afraid to use tabs:  It can be tempting to have all of the information on one worksheet so you can see everything "at a glance."  That philosophy may work well when the spreadsheet is new; however, that may not be the case two to five years down the line.  If you are calculating data such as peer group volatility in a spreadsheet, use a separate tab for each peer company and then create a summary worksheet to consolidate and display current period information. This will make life easier for you and for the people who inherit your spreadsheet when you move on the greener pastures.

Whenever possible, leave a breadcrumb trail:  Have you ever worked in a spreadsheet someone else created and clicked into a calculated cell to see how they got that number only to find that the value is a hard-coded number, and now you have to search for the source (and you may not find it)?  Obviously, raw data will be hard-coded values; but, if you want to make it easier for subsequent users (e.g., auditors, other departments, etc.) to understand how you arrived at your numerical conclusions, try to retain the formulas in cells.  When bringing in the values from another worksheet, it's just as easy (and less prone to error) to reference a specific cell than it is to type in the actual value.  If you need to hard code the data (i.e., Copy | Paste Special the Values) in order to do roll forward calculations the next quarter, simply keep an archived version of the spreadsheet that does retain the formulas/references. Your co-workers will thank you for it.

Feel free to show your work:  We've all seen those formulas that are so complicated it takes you 10 minutes just to figure out what the person is trying to calculate.  Many formulas can, and should, be broken down into their individual components in separate columns.  Doing so will not only make it easier for you to arrive at the logic for the entire calculation; it will make it much easier to trouble-shoot if that calculation isn't accurate.  Columns containing interim calculations can always be hidden until such time as an auditor, whom you may be paying by the hour, comes in to double-check your work.

Barbara Richley,
Senior Equity Compensation Consultant
Stock & Option Solutions


Barbara Richley is a Senior Equity Compensation Consultant with Stock & Option Solutions. She assists clients with all manner of equity compensation challenges. Some of her recent projects have included a financial reporting system conversion and reconciliation, a re-creation and reconciliation of an equity roll-forward, a DTA balance reconciliation, and the update to Black-Scholes assumptions for a recently public company. Barbara has been working in equity compensation since 1988 and volunteers for the CEPI and the Silicon Valley Chapter of the NASPP.

Free SOS Educational Webcast:

Executing Exceptional Expensing for ESPP

March 12th, 2013

Click here to register

Please join us for our next educational webcast on March 12th at 11am Pacific Time, 2pm Eastern Time.


Are you faced with the challenge of accounting for your 423-qualified Employee Stock Purchase Plan? Many systems have no or limited support for the "bells and whistles" that are often required by accounting for these seemingly simple plans. So how do you manage it effectively for your company?

This webcast will start with an overview of accounting for ESPPs, delving into the different components of the fair value and discussing inputs and expensing methods. Our expert panelists will provide insight on estimating contributions, estimation and application of forfeiture rates, truing up to actual shares purchased (or not), and the joys of modification accounting, diluted EPS and tax accounting.

The panelists will also explore some best practices for accounting and some tips and tricks to help ensure the compliance of your approach.

Whether your system does the heavy lifting or you do the calculations in a spreadsheet, whether you are responsible for the accounting, or you just provide data to the system or the department that performs the calculations, this session will give you the knowledge to help you get it right.


(One hour of Certified Equity Professional continuing education credit is available for attending. See the CEPI website for more information on CEP continuing education requirements.)

Product Spotlight: Stock Plan Participant Portal

Our customizable portal can be seamlessly integrated with your stock plan database and into your communications structure/intranet to give your participants 24/7 access to all their equity compensation information

Are you still sending out paper communications at year-end to your participants? Do you find that much of your day is spent answering basic inquiries or resending information pertaining to employee taxes, holdings, and confirmations? Have you found that even by using mail merge or other means to email this information to your participants, that they still can't find it when they need it, and end up coming back to you? Are you looking for a way to gather consent from your participants to allow for electronic distribution of Forms 3921/3922?

With the SOS Stock Plan Participant Portal, you can now put vital information at your employees' fingertips. The Portal can be customized to the look and feel of your company, it sits behind your secure firewall, and it can accept multiple forms of source data to easily work with any stock plan platform allowing you to display both historical and current information on:
  • Portal_ScreenshotForms 3921/3922
  • Purchase Confirmations
  • RS/RSU Release Confirms
  • Exercise Confirmations
  • Pre-vest Communications
  • Year-end Tax Summaries
  • Option & Award Summaries
  • New Grant Notices
  • Educational Materials, Plan
  • Documents, and FAQs
  • A Message of the Day
                                                                                              (Click Image for Demo)                                                 
By utilizing SOS's state-of-the art technology, your company will save time, money, and provide excellent customer service to your employees worldwide.

SOS Stock Plan Participant Portal Features and Benefits:

  • 24/7 access to a secure, customized website (no more scrambling to answer participant tax questions on April 15th!)
  • Posting information about your stock plans is easy; if the data exists, we can display itThe website is customizable to your specifications; match or enhance existing paper or electronic communications and reduce the time and cost associated with printing and mailing this information
  • It will import required data from your existing stock plan administration platform
  • You can view /review stock plan data retrieved before posting to website
  • Easy-to-understand interface lets your participants find what they are looking for quickly, including historical records
  • Installs at your site behind your firewall and can be integrated with single sign on
  • Automatic or manual e-mail notifications are sent to the participant letting them know when new data has been posted
  • Links can be posted to educational materials (FAQs, Webinar Recordings) and plan documents, making the website the first stop for any participant with questions
  • Get real-time, comprehensive reports on all employee activity, non-activity, etc.
  • Saves Time: countless hours printing, stuffing, and mailing confirmations & statements
  • Saves Money: on printing, paper, envelopes and postage
  • Reduces Risk: Eliminate the danger of manual processes like the risk of a statement being mailed to the wrong participant
SOS 6039 E-delivery Consent Module

Many companies are looking to deliver 6039-related forms 3921 & 3922 electronically. With the SOS Participant Portal, you can generate these forms and display them on the website, AND you can also utilize the built-in Consent Module to obtain the necessary permission to do so.

Consent Module Features

  • Employee Access: 24/7 access
  • Displays required legal language
  • Consent or decline to consent
  • Automatic e-mail notification to the participant, confirming consent or decline
  • Participants can make changes to their consent status at anytime
  • Administrator Access: Easy, electronic distribution of required legal language and receipt of consent, reducing the time and cost of creating, printing and mailing
  • Effortless reminder emails to employees who have yet to logon or indicate their consent
  • Instant access to review and update individual employee data Real-time, comprehensive reports on all employee activity
Click here for pricing and information about the SOS Stock Plan Participant Portal

Across Our Desks

Domestic Tax Law
From myStockOptions.com - The Alternative Minimum Tax Calculation: Major Changes Under New Tax Law...The NASPP Blog discusses supplemental withholding.

International Tax Law
Baker & McKenzie cover the effects of the French Finance Act on the taxation of awards.

Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
The NASPP Blog two part coverage of how the HSR Act affects stock compensation : Part 1 and Part 2

The NASPP Blog explores the most common best practice myths that may still be governing your universe here.

...is bad for your career.

SOS Xposé

Opportunity knocking...  Jeannette Bjoernsen is now working at FireEye as Director, Stock Administration in the Legal department...Sue Berry has taken a new position as Senior Manager, Global Stock Programs & Risk Management at Santa Clara-based Infoblox in the Legal department...Brian Dufour has joined the Stock Plan Services department at Fidelity as Vice President, Business Development...AnnMarie Folignani is now working as Managing Director, Equity Compensation for Fidelity Stock Plan Services....Michael Boese has made the move to EASi and is the new Chief Executive Officer...Robyn Shutak has taken on the role of Senior Director of Programs and Member Services at GEO...Congratulations to everyone!

CEP round up...Congratulations on adding those three big letters - Kate Sullivan, Percy Monroe and James White have been added to the ranks of Certified Equity Professionals working at Fidelity Stock Plan Services.

Me time... Anne Silver is set to retire from Equinix towards the end of March. Anne is looking forward to spending more time with the grandchildren, traveling, reading, being crafty (sewing, knitting), doing nothing, cleaning closets, doing volunteer work and...  She wants to take continuing education classes and has resolved to exercise regularly.  Happy trails, Anne!

Rock a bye baby... Jennifer Lopez of EASi delivered a baby boy, Andrew Chase Lopez, on November 26th, 2012. He weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21.25 inches in length, see a pic!...Liz Stoudt from Radford gave birth to her son, Robert Stoudt III (or RJ3 as they affectionately know him), who weighed 6 lbs and 15 ounces on January 17th. The pic is here!

Who has joined SOS... SOS is hiring and here are the recent additions to the SOS Team:

Sandra Briggs (People Solutions)

Bobbi Miller (People Solutions)

Apollo Mok (People Solutions)

Industry News...  

Elizabeth Dodge is pleased to welcome a successor into the role of President of Silicon Valley Chapter of the NASPP; Inta Abele of Schwab  was elected last fall and will serve as President for the next two years. Elizabeth will continue to serve on the Program Committee, but she has decided to commit more time to her family and to focusing her volunteer efforts on her kids' schools and activities.

Accurate Equity initiates deployment into the Finnish market-read the press release here.

EASi Summit is coming up in New Orleans March 6-8, 2013!

Solium...Registration for Synergy 2013 is now open! Stock plan administration requires constant learning. The conference will be held in Calgary, Alberta from May 5- 8, 2013. You will learn how to make the most of Solium Shareworks™ and Solium Transcentive™ and hear from industry thought leaders on best practices that you can apply to both your equity compensation strategy and day-to-day administration. Register here.

Corporate Focus is excited to become part of the Solium team; you can read the announcement here.

GEO's 2013 California Forum is on April 18th, 2013 at Dominico Winery. Register here

Did you miss an issue of Xtra? View our complete newsletter archive from our website here
Miss a webcast? You can find links to recordings, as well as the materials, on our Webcast page

Information provided in this newsletter is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not provided as professional service or advice. Moreover, this newsletter should not be relied on as legal, accounting, auditing, or tax advice. Anyone reading this newsletter should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel and/or input from their advisors. The preceding information does not necessarily represent the official views of Stock & Option Solutions, Inc. with respect to any of the issues addressed.
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