Help! Harnessing Technology to Solve Your Toughest Problems

By Robyn Shutak posted 04-11-2016 19:30


All companies want to offer equity on a global basis. It’s a noble goal, but an administrative nightmare when your internal systems such as HR, payroll and stock administration do not interface across borders.  How do Human Resources and Payroll communicate vital employee information to you?  How do you communicate back? How do you track and tax mobile employees appropriately?  What do you do when there aren’t any resources available to you?  Before you develop that manual process involving never ending spreadsheets, consider this:  The answer may be to turn to tech tools – or maybe not! 

Before you can use tech tools to solve all your administrative problems, you need to ask some hard questions about your data:

·       Data Privacy: Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should!  Does the company have the right to transfer this data over country borders?  (or any borders, for that matter). What rule or exemption does the company rely on and how often do you revisit that authorization?

·       Data Security:  Once you know that you can (legally and physically) transfer the data, how can it be done securely?  Is email encrypted within your company? Is encrypted email even “good enough”? Do you have secure networks?

·       Data Access and Storage:  Who can see what data?  What controls are in place to limit data access to only those who need to know?  What do you do with the data when it is no longer in use? How long are you required to keep it?

·       Data Type and Tracking: Are you tracking all the data you need to facilitate global equity administration? Does your platform assist you in global administration or does it hinder you – and do you actually know what your system can do?

            Once your data questions are answered, you have still more challenges to face in administering global equity programs:

·       Payroll reporting:  there is no truly “global” payroll system.  How do you make sure that the equity gains and taxes withheld are reported back to local payrolls in a timely manner and in local currency!

·       Country specific securities law and tax filings:  How do you keep up with a global calendar when every country has different filing requirements and deadlines and they keep changing? How do you send information securely to those who are completing the required filings and forms?

·       HRIS systems:  Are you receiving world-wide information feeds?  What information are you receiving and do you really need all of it? Does every HRIS contact understand the importance of making timely updates?

·       Mobility:  The wandering employees who just won’t settle down.  Who is tracking their travels and how you are making sure appropriate legal compliance is met and their taxes are accurately withheld and remitted by local payrolls?

·       Communication:  Language barriers are just one challenge!  How do you ensure that country specific grant details make it to the intended audience?

·       Knowledge: Do you have the knowledge you need? How about the colleagues you rely on in all those local offices? Or, senior management? Are there any tools to assist?

·       You REALLY want to automate at least some of your processes.  But should you?  Will automation save you time and produce an auditable result?

We will explore several case studies during our session at GEO's 17th Annual Conference next week in Boston where these questions were asked, examine the tech tools developed as a result and consider whether or not automation was the right solution.