September 28, 2015
Volume 8, No. 5

In this issue:

Year-end Will Be Here Before You Know It...Are You Ready?

Succeeding with Succession Planning 

Product Spotlight: Stock Plan Participant Portal 

SOS Online Demo


Free SOS Educational Webcast: Extreme Makeover: ESPP Edition

SOS Xposé

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From the SOS Library:

Disposition Tracking and Reporting: Drudgery or Delight? 

From the SOS Webcast Archive-

Executing Exceptional ESPP

Our Services: 


Professional Services


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Year-end Will Be Here Before You Know It...Are You Ready?

Don’t be fooled by the calendar, year-end is fast approaching and the work will be piling up and the panic will be setting in.  Creating a checklist can help you keep on track over the coming months as you juggle your “day job” and complete all those year-end tasks. 

A checklist should include deadlines, best practices details or tips, responsible parties and a box for that big red X you can enter after completing each task.  Your checklist can be posted right in front of your computer, or other visible location, so you can see what you need to accomplish, when and how.  This will also allow others to step in should you be overwhelmed with work that day or simply just need to finish your holiday shopping. One year-end task that always gets blurred is when and how to reset your YTD wages to zero in your equity platform.  Performing this task on December 31st can be problematic if you haven’t entered any transactions from that day, resetting the YTD to zero prior to entering an exercise from December 31st can result in over or under taxation. Likewise, forgetting to reset prior to entering any transactions from the new year, can also be an issue.    

We’ve been busy creating a checklist with best practices for equity compensation. Get it now.

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

Julie joined the team at Stock & 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. 

Succeeding with Succession Planning

In any career, it seems one of the most neglected areas in planning for the future is planning for when you leave your job. Whether you accumulate substantial wealth from your well-designed equity compensation plans and you retire to Bora Bora, receive that well-deserved promotion, or you are simply are changing career paths, you should add succession planning to your priority list. While succession planning is generally considered to be grooming your replacement from an internal pool of candidates, some of the pointers in this article apply to looking outside the company for your next stock plan professional instead.

Finding the Fit
What makes you good at your job? Yes, of course, your terrific equity comp skills. However, one of the least considered areas in succession planning is personality. Yes, those special traits that make you fit in with your company culture, and have earned you the respect of your boss and direct reports. Again and again we see stock plan professionals who have the right skills to succeed in a role, but not the right personality move from job to job until they find a good fit. High turnover in stock plan roles can be disastrous, especially when it is a one-person department. Information gets lost, processes are incomplete or undocumented and material weaknesses abound.

Take a moment to consider your traits and how you fit well in your current role. Are you a take-charge, get it done, full speed ahead person? Or do you do best when a path is precisely defined for you in advance? Do you provide white glove service to your participants no matter how much help they need? Or do you provide them with the tools to help them help themselves? Does your boss map out your priorities for you? Or does he/she let you manage yourself, only stepping in to offer guidance or support as needed?

Also consider traits you lack that might make you even more successful in your role. Should your replacement be a carbon copy of you? Or would a more or less assertive personality work even better?
Think about it. Write it down. Discuss these traits with your boss and your team and internal partners, so that when you (or they) are considering internal or external candidates for a potential replacement, you consider people with similar traits.

Define Your Role
If you’ve worked at multiple companies in stock plans (and most of you probably have), you know that there is huge variation in the definition of Manager, Stock Plan Services (or whatever your title happens to be).  Accounting, insider forms, 10b5-1 plans, tax accounting, diluted EPS, 10-Q and 10-K reporting, country specific filings, participant communications, plan governance and design, board meeting preparations are all things that some stock plan jobs may include, but many don’t.

Also consider the level of external support and training provided. Do you have a current subscription to Romeo & Dye for those tricky insider form questions? Do you have a budget for help from external counsel for those complicated international issues? Or are you expected to get the support you need from your peers and your network and the only budget for stock plans is your salary? What do you have? What don’t you have? Write it down. Circulate it for input. Discuss it with your colleagues. If you don’t have access to external resources, what training might be available and is there a budget for training?

Defining your role can be extremely critical in understanding the requirements for future job candidates for your position. 

Document, Document, Document
I can’t tell you how many companies we’ve worked with where the process documentation is either non-existent or entirely outdated. I know, I know, how do you squeeze in writing down what you do when you already have a more than full time job doing what you do? Chip away at it. Bit by bit. 10 or 15 minutes a day. We help companies with this frequently, whether creating Policy & Procedure documents, or updating them, but you really can do this yourself. Force yourself to make the time. And no, this is not “documenting yourself out of job”. Hoarding knowledge is not the best path to job security. In fact, if you leave your company in dire straits because no one can step in to do your job effectively, it may impact your references for other positions (assuming you’re not in Bora Bora yet).  Remember, this is a small industry. Leaving a disordered and undocumented process behind will not improve your job prospects.

In addition, the more information you can capture in your database, referencing external documents (with document names and dates) the better off your company will be. Avoiding “forensic” accounting where your successors have to “back into” what was done several years ago will enhance your legacy/reputation, and by the way…you may also be able to take that long awaited vacation too.

Though you may not have any plans to leave your job in the near future, since you don’t know what the years ahead hold, a little succession planning now will reap benefits from here to eternity. 

Elizabeth Dodge, CEP, Vice President
Stock & Option Solutions, Inc.

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.

Find out why outsourcing could be the answer.  

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 it. The 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

SOS Online Demo

Julie Kenia shows us how to move through an end of quarter function in Excel. You should master this


SOS is heading to the 23rd Annual NASPP Conference in sunny San Diego October 27-30, 2015! 

Cash, an Apple Watch & Prize Giveaways!
We'll host our famous cash drawing again this year but why wait to fill out your entry form? Do it now and be entered twice!  All advanced form submissions will be entered into a drawing for an Apple Watch! 

Come by the booth during the opening reception on October 27th to see if you are the winner! Can't make the conference? No problem, you are still eligible to participate. 

SOS Presenters: SOS's Elizabeth Dodge and Julie Kenia are our subject matter experts attending this year's conference and will be presenting throughout the conference. Don't miss the Keynote: Family Feud: NASPP Style, Elizabeth Dodge also will be presenting in that exciting session! See the agenda.

Ask the Experts Booth: Elizabeth Dodge will be answering your burning questions as they relate to accounting and Excel on Thursday, 10/29 from 9:45 am-10:30 am during the morning break.

Expert in the SOS booth: Julie Kenia will be available for questions as they relate to conversions and implementations and spin-offs during the afternoon break on 10/28 & 10/29. 
The SOS Booth:  Come by booth #14 to try your hand at corn hole! We have amazing prizes (cash included) this year! Plus we will be participating in the Trick or Treat event on 10/29 at 2:30 pm. 

Free SOS Educational Webcast:

Extreme Makeover: ESPP Edition

Please join us for our next educational webcast on
October 13, 2015 at 11am Pacific Time, 2pm Eastern Time.


The humble ESPP is enjoying a resurgence of interest. But, has your plan kept up with the current fashion, or is it starting to look a little dated? While not as radical as the TV makeovers, this session provides a host of ideas for your ESPP. Whether your plan needs just a touch up, or a whole new look, this panel identifies a wide range of ESPP design fixes, focusing on the potential effect on participation, the possible impact to your administration, and the likely accounting cost. Getting the right look for your plan will help you leverage your ESPP as an important mechanism for attracting and retaining talent in a market that is increasingly competitive. By mixing and matching, you can find a whole new look for your plan, that fits just right in your budget.


(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.)​


A new job would look good on you.

SOS Xtra needs your news! 

Know anyone in our equity comp industry who's taken a new job? Anyone expecting an addition to the family? Anyone moving, getting married, releasing a new product, rolling out a new program, etc.?

Please send over any ideas/thoughts you have to xtra@sos-team.com, we're happy to track down the person/company to confirm the news and get their acceptance to include it in Xtra. (All news is reviewed and approved by the person and/or company involved.)

SOS Xposé

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

A new routine…Kelly Geerts is now the Practice Leader, Advanced Data Solutions at E*TRADE Corporate Services. Paz Dizon is the new Head of Stock Administration at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Sheila Matias is now working as the Senior Manager, Global Equity Administration at The Coca-Cola Company.

An anniversary date to remember…Christina (Howell) Purvis married her long time sweetheart, Jack, on their 12th anniversary at Cannons Grill Dana Point overlooking the harbor. Christina also has recently joined the team at Solium as a Client Relationship Manager.

Industry NewsThe 23rd Annual NASPP Conference in San Diego in October is shaping up to be a great event!  The NASPP has some exciting new things planned for this year, including remarks from the FASB chair and the SEC’s Director of Corporate Finance, Family Feud—NASPP Style, TED-style presentations, and much more! Miss it and you'll be sorry!

SOS is hiring and here are our recent additions:
Marilin Turner (People/Staffing Solutions)
LoAn Nguyen (People/Staffing Solutions)

Follow SOS

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