January 15, 2015
Volume 8, No. 1

In this issue:

New Year, New You, New Knowledge 

Aspirations Rundown

Blogging Around: SOS's Andrea Best Shares Insight From Her NASPP Blog Posts in 2014

SOS Online Demo

January Market Research Survey

Free SOS Educational Webcast: Proxy Project Primer: A Beginner' Guide to the Proxy and Annual Meeting Process

Formatting Mail Merge in MS Word: A Follow Up from the SOS November Webcast

SOS Xposé

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SOS Employment Opportunities

From the SOS Library:

An Excel Function You Shouldn't Be Without-Index Match

From the SOS Webcast Archive-

Don't Be Caught Wearing Last Year's Communications: Communications That Work for a Multigenerational Workforce

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Equity Compensation Projects/Consulting

SOS-TEAM Outsourcing

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New Year, New You, New Knowledge

Happy New Year!  We all make the standard New Year's resolutions regarding our physical health; lose 10 pounds, hit the gym, eat healthier, etc.  But what about your mental health and knowledge level?  The New Year is a great time to take stock of what you know (and what you don't know) in equity compensation and personal/software skills and make a plan for improving your knowledge. 
People tend to ignore areas in equity compensation they don't understand due to a fear of the unknown.  These areas largely go unexplored and misunderstood.  In our experience, the most feared topics are accounting, tax accounting, diluted earnings per share (EPS), spreadsheets, securities law and Section 16 reporting.   The easiest way to overcome your fear and gain more knowledge is attending webcasts or live in-person events.   If you don't see any events on the topics you are interested in, speak up! Committees are always looking for suggestions from members on the topics they want to see presented.  Suggest topics to your local NASPP or GEO chapter  - or even the national organizations! - in areas you want to improve. Don't let fear hold you back!
You don't have to spend a fortune to gain knowledge, especially related to software skills.  Free videos are available directly from Microsoft for Excel, Access, Visio, Word and other Office programs.  Also, SOS has free recorded webcasts on some handy, dandy tricks in MS Excel and MS Word.   If your company doesn't use Microsoft programs, contact your software vendor or search the web for free tutorials.  For technical equity compensation skills, vendors frequently offer free webcasts, such as the SOS webcasts.
While expanding your technical knowledge, don't be afraid to use what you are learning.  You don't have to be an expert to help other groups.  By digging in and understanding just a little, you can make an impact.  For example: Yesterday the auditors asked a client for expense booked for restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock appreciation rights (SARs) vesting in the next fiscal year. Why? They want to do short-term deferred tax asset (DTA) calculations. These calculations show what DTA is currently on the books and what will be reversed in the next year as equity awards are settled for tax purposes.  So what's wrong with their request? SARs should not be included.  Like a stock option, you can't predict when a SAR will be exercised - but you do know when an RSU will vest and be released. The auditor doesn't know what a SAR is, so they asked for the wrong thing. I didn't just send what they asked for, I asked why they need it... and prevented a mistake.  I'm not an expert on DTA accounting, but I know the basics and know to ask questions.  Don't be afraid to educate yourself and dig in, don't shy away and say, "they must know what they're doing since they are the experts".   Many times they don't know details that you do!


Elizabeth Dodge, CEP, Vice President
Stock & Option Solutions

Elizabeth is the Vice President of Product Management for Stock & Option Solutions, Inc. (SOS). She also runs the Strategic Solutions and Accounting Solutions groups. Her responsibilities include monitoring new developments in the equity compensation arena, performing market research, speaking at industry events and helping SOS clients with all kinds of equity compensation challenges.

Aspirations Rundown

We hit it out of the park with a grand slam this year at our fourth annual conference, Aspirations. There were stimulating workshops, an exciting and interactive vendor hall, good food and drinks, and great company. Aspirations again offered CPE credit for CPAs as well as CLE credit for attorneys and CEP education credits.

Aspirations was held on November 4, 2014, at Villa Ragusa in Campbell, California for the second year in a row. We occupied the entire venue with our most-attended conference to date! See the pictures.

Pre-IPO companies that craved education on stock plans didn't leave hungry for more at this year's Aspirations.  There were 11 educational workshops, 32 phenomenal speakers, and over 150 attendees. After a jam-packed day, the attendees gathered in the vendor hall (that conveniently had a bar!) and enjoyed sponsor-hosted raffles (gift cards, Fitbits, NASPP memberships, &  more!) and a hosted cocktail reception. 
Stay tuned for details on our next conference offering!

Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors:
Pearl Meyer & Partners
Equity Administration Solutions, Inc.
AST Personal Wealth Solutions
Global Shares
Morgan Stanley
E*TRADE Corporate Services
Accurate Equity
eShares, Inc.
UBS Financial Services
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Compensation Venture Group
Perkins Coie, LLP

Shawna Casey
Associate Director, Marketing
Stock & Option Solutions

Why you should outsource 

 Become a fan of SOS



Blogging Around: SOS's Andrea Best Shares Insight From Her NASPP Blog Posts in 2014 

If 2014 has meant anything in our industry, from where I sit, it has meant movement.  We are seeing mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, and many job postings out there, all evidence of an economy that is causing a lot of movement in our industry. 

A quick review of the blogs I posted this past year in the NASPP Career Center's "Career Corner", reflects this trend of movement as many of my posts focus on discovering inspiration and deep satisfaction in your current role, shifting relationships and attitudes towards a more supportive and enjoyable work environment, and making the decision to leave your employer to explore new opportunities.

Movement Within

The movement I witnessed all around me made 2014 an ideal year for self reflection and self improvement. What I found is that, movement comes first from within.  Back in October 2013, I started a four part series "Working from Your Core"; the third part of that series, "Working from Your Core: Step Three, Making the Connections", kicked off 2014's postings in January.  Essentially, the series invites readers to get in touch with the core values that drive their behavior and set the tone for their professional philosophies.  By owning those values and making a conscious decision to uphold them in my day-to-day life, I experience a great sense of empowerment knowing that the steps I take are intentional and in alignment with my beliefs and purpose.  This feeling is freely available for all who seek it. 

Making Moves on the Job

As I already pointed out, making a move does not require leaving your job.  Instead, it can mean shifting your way of seeing and your reactions in such a way as to create a more positive working experience that supports your continued growth and advancement. 

For example, there are things you can do to reduce your stress level that don't require quitting your job and backpacking through Europe for a year, as many dream to do.  In "4 Steps to De-Stress", I talk about the importance of accepting what is and  getting those nagging to-do lists out of your head so that you can focus on the most important things first.

Looking to earn more this year?  Who isn't, right?  If that is true for you, "4 Steps Towards Earning More This Year" recommends injecting a large dose of enthusiasm, self-confidence, and committed action into your day-to-day work life for optimum results.

Managers who are ready to take on the challenge of growing as leaders for the betterment of their team moral, retention, and departmental results, may find food for thought in "From Management to Leadership: Cultivating Loyalty and Retaining an Enthusiastic Team".  In it, I urge managers to see themselves as powerful leaders who nurture, empower, recognize, and inspire to build team cohesion and trust.

Finally, before allowing stressful interactions with colleagues and management to  cause resentment and distrust in your workplace, I invite you to consider some of the suggestions I share in "4 Ways to Build Better Relationships on the Job" and "Transforming Difficult Relationships on the Job - Part 1".  Key insights I share involve understanding those you work with and what drives their behavior so that you can proactively look for ways to support them in achieving their goals and work synergistically for mutual support and growth.

Moving On

If you are still considering making a break with the old to start over with new company, in a "Time to Let Go" I share the importance of excitement, balance, appreciation, and growth in your career.  If you are unable to cultivate these things where you currently reside, it may be time to move on.

Finally, if the kind of movement you seek is taking you away from your current employer and leading you to greener pastures elsewhere, "Interview Snafus: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid" provides a few suggestions for what not to do in an interview. 

Whether you are making moves within, on the job, to some as of yet unknown destination, I do hope that you will take some time to check in with me at the The NASPP Career Corner Blog for more career focused discussions in 2015.   

Andrea L. Best, Ph.D., Managing Director, People Solutions
Stock & Option Solutions, Inc.
Andrea Best is the Managing Director of People Solutions at Stock & Option Solutions.  Andrea has been a part of the SOS team for over eight years.  In her role as Managing Director of People Solutions, Andrea manages the SOS consulting team that handles the stock administration needs of hundreds of clients across the country.  Currently, she writes as a guest blogger for the NASPP Career Center's Career Corner.  Before joining SOS, Andrea worked for Kelly Services in the staffing industry and was an Instructor of English at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.  Andrea earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Lynn University, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Miami, and Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from Florida Atlantic University.  

SOS Online Demo

Elizabeth Dodge works through COUNTIFS, an Excel function every Stock Plan Professional should know how to use.

January Market Research Survey

Complete the survey and be entered into a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card!

Periodically, SOS will ask for issuing companies' participation in a market research survey to enhance our understanding of current practices and trends in the industry and to provide our clients insight into the practices of other issuing firms. Our surveys are brief, taking no more than 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey today!

Please note that only issuing companies, not vendors or consultants, should complete the survey and are eligible for the drawing. Thank you for your cooperation!

Free SOS Educational Webcast:

Proxy Project Primer:
A Beginner's Guide to the Proxy and Annual Meeting Process 

Please join us for our next educational webcast on February 26, 2015 at 11am Pacific Time, 2pm Eastern Time.


Is this your first time involved in the proxy filing?  At a new company where stock manages the annual shareholder meeting?  Clueless regarding where to start and who to talk to for D&O questionnaire information?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this session is for you.  We will discuss the process from a beginner's perspective starting with the D&O questionnaires through the proxy filing and finally on to the annual shareholder meeting.  We will talk about the stakeholders involved in each part of the process and what information they provide, including the role of outside service providers.   


(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.)


 Start a career with SOS, we're hiring.

Formatting Mail Merge in MS Word: A Follow Up from The SOS November Webcast

In November we presented, Mastering Mail Merge and Other Word Functions, with the hopes of providing a quick reminder of how to do some simple mail merging and other useful functions using Word that would be helpful to stock plan professionals throughout the year.   
During the webcast, a number of questions arose that we did not have time to answer or to which we did not know the answer, but other webcast attendees provided responses. The following is an answer to one of those questions.    
Please note that this article was developed using Word 2007. If you are on a newer or older version of MS Word, your steps and menu commands are likely to differ.

How can you format the text within the merge document? 

Even when your source data is formatted correctly, that formatting may not carry into the merged document as you expect.  Dates, prices, numbers can be challenging and require certain format requirements.  So after receiving several suggestions we did test one suggestion that worked like a charm.  The only struggle is identifying what the syntax (specific format rules) should be.     
Using the tool allowing you to toggle your field to the actual field coding will allow you to create the correct format.  The following steps and screen shots explains how to format common equity type fields.   

  1. Set up your mail merge by inserting the merge fields you want to capture from your source data:

   2. Highlight the fields and right click your mouse and you will see the following dialog box, choose Toggle Field Codes:

  3. Choosing Toggle Field Codes, you can see that format change on the merge document you are building to the true syntax or rule:

  4. Now you can add the correct syntax within the brackets to establish the format you want.  Maybe you want to format the date so it is shown as Month xx, 20xx.  Next, format the price to show $#,###.####.

  5. Place your curser to the left of the closing bracket and insert the desired syntax as follows:

  6. Once you have entered your syntax rules, select Finish & Merge and Edit Individual Documents:

  7. Now you will see the format as you requested and you can save your final documents.

Julie Kenia, CEP, Senior Equity Compensation Consultant
Stock & Option Solutions, Inc.

Julie Kenia began working in equity compensation in 1993, managing the AT&T long term incentive program. She led the stock administration team during AT&T's challenging years of corporate actions up through the final acquisition of AT&T Corp. by SBC Communications, Inc. Julie joined the team at Stock and Option Solutions, Inc. (SOS) in 2006 and has been assisting clients with an extensive array of projects including stock option exchanges and repricings, data clean up and conversions, vendor searches, 6039 compliance, stock plan best practice reviews, training, day-to-day administration, and accounting related reconciliations. Julie became a Certified Equity Professional in 2008 and is a member of the strategic solutions group at SOS. 

SOS Xposé

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

The best for the job...Kelley Wall is now the Director of Technical Accounting and IPO Services at Connor Group. Ron Smolokoff is the new Director of Sales at Certent (formally EASi). 

All you need is love... SOS's Andrea Best married Alvaro Domene in Delray Beach, Florida at the Moriko Gardens (what a beautiful spot!) on November 5, 2014.

Calming down...Denise Miller Hooshiar is now semi-retired and is dedicating more time to her family and contemplating a mini-encore career.

Toys, toys, toys... SOS donated toys for different ages to Toys for Tots this year with the money raised from our recycling efforts.
A change of pace...SOS's Marianne Snook retired on December 31st, 2014. She is thrilled to be able to spend more time with her children and focus on her family. The SOS Team will miss her dearly, but wishes her the best. Read the press release.
SOS is hiring and here are our recent additions:
Tanya Barnes (People Solutions)
Monse Barrita (People Solutions)
Oria de La Cerda (People Solutions)
Stephen Paratore (People Solutions)
Glen Sutton (People Solutions)
Nathan Tang (Outsourcing)

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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.

Stock & Option Solutions | (888)SOS-0199
SOS Xtra Editor: Shawna Casey