How Performance Shares Are Treated After a Death

The phone rings on Gerald’s desk. He’s the stock plan administrator for Wynlap*. Denise, the wife of a recently deceased executive, is calling to determine how her late husband’s performance share units (PSUs) will be handled. Forty-eight-year-old Chris was senior vice president of security at Wynlap, a real estate search company, when he died in a tragic car accident, leaving behind Denise and their two children. Gerald, who has been the stock plan administrator for four years, hasn’t encountered the death of an executive or the question of performance shares and beneficiaries.

The Quickest Way for CFOs to Become Better Leaders

Unless they’re particularly reclusive or brand-new to the organization, it shouldn’t be difficult for most employees in a company to know who the CFO is. What can be challenging though, is identifying the next-generation CFOs. Recently consulting firm The Hackett Group released a report, The CFO Agenda, which profiled a number of financial leaders to identify their biggest priorities. This included some things you might expect, like planning a financial roadmap, reengineering processes and installing BI or ERP tools….and something you might not expect.

The CFO Evolution

For the past five years, Armanino has surveyed CFOs in our Annual CFO Evolution Benchmark Survey, where west coast CFOs are asked about responsibilities, roles and strategic priorities. Based on their responses, market research and our extensive experience as a leading CPA and Consulting firm, we’ve developed an in-depth report titled “Turning Trends to Tactics,” which outlines our findings on these leading trends including IPO, Expansion, M&A, Analysis & Reporting, Mobility, Regulations and Project Management. There is a shift occurring in the CFO role, and Armanino is surveying the CFO community to better understand what is driving this transformation. Matt explains our survey findings in his article.

Being a Better Human: An Interview with Geoff Colvin

As I count down the days until our annual user conference next week, one of the things I’m most excited about is hearing from Geoff Colvin, our keynote speaker and author of the book Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will. I had the opportunity to speak with Geoff recently, and I asked him my most pressing question – how do you develop these skills if you are already firmly established in your career and behaviors? In other words, can you teach an old dog new tricks? Here is what he had to say.

Stock Compensation In The Media Spotlight At Prominent Companies

In the novel Scoop (1938), a satire about journalism by British writer Evelyn Waugh, a character declares: “News is what a chap who doesn’t care much about anything wants to read.” Respectfully, we disagree. Here at, we both care about equity compensation and take a keen interest whenever news about stock comp flashes across our radar screens. In this week’s blog commentary, we summarize some recent appearances of stock compensation in the mainstream news media, including stories about equity awards to high-profile figures at prominent companies.

6 Questions Financial Reporting Professionals Should Ask Themselves

Company executives, boards, and investors are relying more and more on their financial reporting teams to provide the information and analysis necessary to make crucial corporate decisions and drive strategy. To get this data more quickly and accurately, financial reporting professionals need to ask these 6 questions about their processes.

Should You Vest Only at a Liquidity Event?

Alicia worked for a great entrepreneurial company. As a promising young marketing staffer, she was excited to get non-qualified stock options that she hoped could be worth a lot of money not too far down the road. The options had a six-year vesting rule, by which time she would have the choice to use after-tax dollars to exercise the awards and get the options, paying income tax on the spread. But Kevin, the owner, assured her that by that time, the company would go public or, more likely, be sold to a well-heeled buyer, so she’d never actually be out of pocket. But things didn’t go as planned.

FASB’s Dedication to Smooth Implementation

Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been tasked with establishing standards of financial accounting that govern the preparation of financial reports by nongovernmental entities. Arguably even more difficult than the task of maintaining and updating accounting standards is guiding and supporting the implementation of these new standards across all reporting companies. The FASB understands the importance of the two way conversation between preparers and the organization – and the impact feedback can have on successful adoption of new accounting standards. The FASB recently published an article describing their three strategies for the consistent application of new standards and discussed their dedication to facilitating a smooth transition.

Don’t Overlook Domestic Mobility Tracking Obligations

When employees are transferred to a new location, they are probably thinking about packing, selling their house, and finding their way around a new city. Meanwhile, their stock plan administrators are thinking about the complicated world of stock plan taxation they have just entered. Different jurisdictions have different tax laws. As a stock plan administrator, you are responsible for tracking where participants live throughout the life cycle of their stock awards – from grant through exercise/release – and properly withholding taxes in each jurisdiction.