By Marisa Ruffles. In a recent poll, Certent surveyed a cross section of public and private company webinar attendees to find out what participants felt was their biggest challenge associated with year-end close. Over a quarter of all attendees agreed that the time crunch makes navigating year-end close significantly more challenging. In order to beat the year-end squeeze, there are a few activities that you and your team can plan ahead of time.
- Find out what each department (e.g., payroll, tax) needs from you and what the deadlines are for gathering that information. Develop a spreadsheet to reference and use year after year.
- Process dispositions and transfers frequently (i.e., monthly or quarterly) throughout the year. Don’t let these tasks pile up. Schedule a reminder in your Outlook calendar as a reminder.
- Send disposition surveys at least twice per year so you don’t find yourself entering all the data in December. Keep on top of rolling tasks.
- Start thinking about 6039 requirements and what things you can get done early. For example, if the final ESPP purchase of 2015 is prior to December, try to complete 6039 requirement earlier in the year. Make sure the data input in your system for Forms 3921 and 3922 is correct.
- If you have a 12/31 purchase, make an effort to get that purchase approved and processed as quickly as possible in order to tee up data for your 6039 reporting.
- Think about outsourcing the most time consuming tasks. You may find it to be more economical than you think based on time savings.
- Be sure to request disclosures from your auditors well in advance so you can be prepared. Be proactive and discuss what they might need ahead of time.
- Maintain clean data! The better the data, the more accurate your reports will be.
By implementing these few best practices, you can eliminate some of the time consuming tasks that take up precious time during year-end. Be sure to download our equity plan year-end checklist to stay on track while you’re in the midst of the crunch. Also, watch our on-demand webinar, Preparing Your Equity Plan for Year-End Close for more tips on how to be ready ahead of time.