SOS Xtra 12/13: Another Year Bites the Dust, Aspirations Recap, SOS Consultant Corner, SOS Advanced Training Courses in Accounting for Equity Compensation, Excel Webcast, Xpose

December 18, 2013
Volume 6, No. 6

In this issue:

Another Year Bites the Dust

Aspirations Recap

SOS Consultant Corner

SOS Introduces Advanced Training Courses in Accounting for Equity Compensation

Free SOS Educational Webcast: Excellence with Excel for Stock Plan Professionals

SOS Xposé

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Electronic Delivery of Section 6039 Participant Statements

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From the SOS Webcast Archive-

Hindsight is 20/20: IPO Lessons Learned

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Equity Compensation Projects/Consulting

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Another Year Bites the Dust

It is almost incomprehensible that another year-end is upon us.  I absolutely love this time of year as most people are smiling, humming, thinking of their loved ones, and sharing what they're thankful for.  I also abhor this time of year as I start feeling guilty about all of the things I promised myself I would accomplish this year but have fallen short.  Instead of beating ourselves up this year over misses, I suggest we take an inventory of all we have gotten done and create a refreshed list of resolutions for the new year.

Need ideas on where to start?  How about your calendar?  Look back at how many releases and ESPP purchases you have processed.  Run reports to find out exactly how many exercises you handled, how many shares were issued, and/or how many employees you dealt with over the past twelve months.  Get an idea of how many emails you received and sent, how many reports you ran, and maybe even how many phone calls you handled.  In other words, if somebody asked you for your stats, what could you tell them?  I will bet you will surprise even yourself.  Turns out, we actually did do an awful lot which is why the year flew by so quickly!  Feeling better?

Next on our agenda, what's up for 2014?  I like to start with calendaring the "have tos".  Examples - ESPP enrollment/purchase dates, quarter-ends, releases, focal grants, board meetings, and proxy reporting.  Then fill in the details around those events - sending out emails, working with IT, meeting with other departments, payroll reporting, setting up new broker accounts, etc.  Don't forget to also note the important things such as holidays and vacations!

Now it's time for the fun part.  Since you have a good, clear plan for getting your Have To List's time to dream!  What else do you want to accomplish?  Brainstorm with yourself and make a long list - it could include coming up with a better way to handle a certain task, reorganizing your files/day, re-upping your employee education program, learning how to use a new software, or making time to do things for yourself.  From there, prioritize so that you know where to start and which things MUST happen versus MIGHT happen.  Check in on that list throughout the year to make sure you keep on track or make adjustments.

It's our time!  Let's be sure to use it wisely and in the way we CHOOSE to use it.

Marianne Snook, Chief Executive Officer
Stock & Option Solutions

Aspirations Recap

Our third annual conference, Aspirations, was a smash hit! There were lively workshops, a buzzing vendor hall, excellent company, good food and great drinks. Aspirations was held on November 12, 2013, at Villa Ragusa in Campbell, California (a suburb of San Jose) and the venue proved to be very accommodating, offering a central location and a great deal of space, which allowed us to have a good flow throughout the day. See the pictures here.

With 11 educational workshops, 30 outstanding speakers, and well over 100 attendees, Aspirations brought education on stock plans to the pre-IPO companies eager to learn. After a full day, the attendees mingled in the vendor hall (that conveniently had a bar!) and enjoyed a hosted cocktail reception.  This year we again offered CPE credits for CPAs as well as CLE credit for attorneys and CEP education credits. Stay tuned for details on our next conference offering!

Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors:
Pearl Meyer & Partners
Charles Schwab
Fidelity Stock Plan Services
Equity Administration Solutions, Inc.
Global Shares
Compensation Venture Group
Morgan Stanley
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Perkins Coie LLP

Shawna Casey
Associate Director, Marketing

Stock & Option Solutions

Visions of extra help around the holidays? Hoping to spend the end of the year with loved ones and less time managing your stock plans? Outsourcing might be just the stocking stuffer you hoped to find. Check out our three-tiered relationship management structure we have created to ensure your needs are met.

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SOS Consultant Corner - Planning for an Equity Project

As 2013 chillingly comes to a close, we welcome 2014 with renewed spirit, a revitalized budget, and another opportunity to complete unfinished equity projects.  For overworked and under-resourced equity departments, utilizing external consultative services is often the most efficient and effective approach to tackling larger and more time consuming equity projects.

While you ponder the projects ahead, there are some simple steps that can be taken to maximize on available project dollars, facilitate a timely delivery of project goals, and meet deadlines.  The use of an experienced and qualified equity consultant can be one of the keys to overall project success.  In my experience, it is often simple preparatory steps, before the arrival of the consultant, which can create an organized platform from which to launch your project.

  1. Set Your Sights On the Finish Line.  What does your finished project look like?  What are the components of a successful project?  A vision of the final product is a great place to start when preparing to kickoff the project.  It is also a suggested, as best practice, to ensure that all team members agree as to what a completed project will look like.  If the project involves the audit of data within a database, what are the critical points of data to be audited?  Do all agree?  During regular team meetings, query the group on the scope of the project and utilize the experience and creativity of your team before the arrival of the consultant.  This type of discussion can ensure that all are on the same page, identify key elements of the project, and encourage group thinks on what the finish line looks like.
  2. Create a General Project Plan.  Your consultant will arrive with his or her own ideas on how to tackle the project.  Using the ideas from your team's discussion, create a general project plan to review and discuss with the consultant.  By creating your own general project plan and adding the ideas and suggestions from your consultant you can reduce the risk of unnecessary work and assist with on-time completion of the project.
  3. Centralize Supporting Documents.  We all know that in a perfect world everything is organized and centralized for quick and easy access.  In the real world, inherited documents, busy teams, and a variety of organizational styles result in documents everywhere but where you need them.  To the greatest extent possible, centralize the files and documents that the consultant will need in order to complete the project.  Pull soft-copy files into a single point of reference, place hard-copy files and binders on the desk for the consultant's reference.  By preparing the workspace for the consultant ahead of arrival, you can eliminate extra, and potentially costly, efforts in locating those documents that are necessary to the project.
  4. Identify Key Internal Players.  Your office likely has an IT team, a Legal team, a Human Resources team.  If it is critical to the project that your consultant work with teams outside of your Equity team, identifying key points of contact within those departments and preparing a reference guide for your consultant is a terrific way to keep the project moving and avoid the pitfall of having to figure out who might have certain information.  In addition, notify the key points of contact within your organization that your consultant may be reaching out to them for information.
  5. Plan for Regular Status Update Meetings.  Holding regular status update meetings to allow your consultant to review and discuss the project is highly recommended.  These status update meetings can help to keep the project on track and will allow you and your Equity team an opportunity to refine or revise the project's scope and course based upon findings and progress. 
We all know that projects that fall outside of the scope of everyday work events can seem daunting and undesirable. By preparing in advance and following simple preparatory steps, you and your Equity team can help to maximize on budgetary dollars, work collaboratively with an equity consultant, and work together towards a timely and successful project finish.

Carolyn Fox, Equity Compensation Consultant
Stock & Option Solutions
Carolyn is an Equity Consultant for Stock & Option Solutions. With 15 years of experience in equity, she has worked with privately-held and publicly-held companies on matters related to equity administration and compensation.  Carolyn holds a BA in Business Administration from Menlo College.


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Stock & Option Solutions Introduces Advanced Training Courses in Accounting for Equity Compensation

Online classes developed and delivered by SOS accounting experts will focus on 4 key topics offering you the keys to the equity accounting kingdom.

Mastering the various aspects of equity accounting can be difficult, but remains a critical skill set necessary for stock plan professionals who want to take their careers to the next level. If you are looking to build your knowledge in this area, you have come to the right place. The equity accounting consultants at SOS continue to provide expertise and thought leadership to companies in our industry and have developed a basic curriculum that is designed to distill that knowledge into four training sessions, giving our students the accounting knowledge they need to succeed.

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About the training:
SOS Online Accounting classes will begin on February 11, 2014, and will occur every other week from 11am to 12:30pm Pacific Time with each class covering a different topic.   The cost for each 90 minute online class will be $149.  The training will be delivered by Elizabeth Dodge and Barbara Richley, and includes training materials, a comprehensive and interactive discussion of the topic, and a quiz to assess your understanding of the information presented.

Class schedule:
2/11/14: Expense Recognition
2/25/14: Tax Accounting (ASC 740)
3/11/14: EPS Reporting (ASC 260)
3/25/14: Accounting for ESPP

Register for all 4 classes and SAVE!

Why you need it:

Give yourself the tools you need to succeed - Whether this is a refresher or you are learning about this topic for the first time, these sessions offer opportunities to make sure that you have an understanding of both the fundamentals and the best practices/tactics for ensuring that these things are being properly handled within your organization. 

Learn from the best - Elizabeth Dodge and Barbara Richley form the nucleus of the SOS accounting team, and are renowned and sought-after industry experts in the field of equity accounting.    With over 40 years of combined experience in the field of equity compensation, much of which has been focused on providing equity accounting consulting and solutions to clients across the country, they are adept at making the most complex accounting topics accessible and easy to understand for everyone.

Put yourself ahead of the curve - Equity accounting expertise is quickly shifting from a "nice-to-have" to  a "must-have" at the higher levels of the stock plan profession.  Don't let your lack of knowledge in this crucial area stall your career.   Our training sessions promise to put you ahead of the curve, allowing you the opportunity to expand your role within your company or gain an advantage over other applicants when seeking a new job. 

Did you get our holiday e-card? See it here.

Free SOS Educational Webcast:

Excellence with Excel for Stock Plan Professionals

 Register Now Button

Please join us for our next educational webcast on March 20, 2014 at 11am Pacific Time, 2pm Eastern Time.


Most of us are forced to use spreadsheets to get parts of our jobs accomplished, no matter how great a stock plan system we have. Do you wish your spreadsheet processes were more efficient and less manual? Do you secretly think there must be ways to do things more efficiently in Excel? The good news is that there ARE tricks and tips that are out there that will help you save time (and your sanity) when working with Excel.

In this educational webcast you will learn, from our Excel experts, some common and even some less-common features that you can use immediately in your day-to-day tasks. Join our panelists and learn how to get more by doing less with your spreadsheets.


(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.)

Have you SEEN the SOS Portal?
(It helped Synopsys win the Best Use of Technology Award from GEO this year!)

SOS Xposé

...tender tidbits about people and players in our industry...

Fresh start...Colleen Ledesma is now the Senior Stock Administrator at Nimble Storage.

Going places...David Bienstock of UBS Wealth Management Americas has been promoted to Head of Product for Equity Plan Advisory Services.

Snowed in...Jeremy Wright (of Corporate Focus fame) has moved to Calgary (Alberta, Canada) in order to lead Sharework's product team at Solium. In that capacity, he has been promoted to SVP Product. Jeremy, wife Lisa and sons Alex and Austin are now fully enjoying the Calgary winter!

P.S. I love you...After getting engaged in the spring, Larry Reynolds, of E*TRADE Corporate Services, and Cathy Pecora, of, were married November 9, 2013 at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Down on the field...Scott McDonald and Apollo Mok of SOS put their feet on the grass at the Stanford/Oregon game last month. See the pic!

Looking out for others...A few folks at SOS donated turkeys this Thanksgiving to Sacred Heart Community Service. In the end there were 4,127 turkeys donated this year!

Just in time for the holidays...Priyendu Bhardwaj of SOS and his wife, Shakti, just welcomed their second daughter to the world on December 4th, 2013. Ishi came in at 21 inches in length and 8 pounds, 10 ounces.  See the new baby here!

SOS is hiring and here are our recent additions:
Jamylani Awana (Outsourcing)
Vijayakala Biligiri (People Solutions)
Achaessa James De Garibay (People Solutions)
Troy Smith (People Solutions)
Gilbert Szeto (People Solutions)

Aspirations Logo
             See pics from the event here!

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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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SOS Xtra Editor: Shawna Casey