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Spreadsheets: Enemy #1 for Efficiency and Compliance

By: Jennifer Baehr, CEP - Director, Solutions Engineering

Spreadsheet-based equity plan management can be inefficient and risk non-compliance. Discover how we helped Atlantic Capital Bank overcome this challenge. 

Equity compensation is a tried and tested way to attract and retain talented employees, and offer competitive benefits that go beyond just salaries.

But for organizations using spreadsheets and paper documents to record and manage equity plan data, the additional – and often unnecessary – challenges can be significant.

Spreadsheets are still the backbone of finance processes for the majority of organizations. But the truth is, using manual processes for equity plan management can introduce unnecessary complications and compliance risks.

Spreadsheets breed inefficiency

Research from our Stock Administration Operational Benchmark Survey shows that 65% of organizations lack the right resources to effectively manage their stock plans.

So, it’s little surprise that the majority of the organizations surveyed feel that overcoming inefficient processes is their biggest challenge.

This is because every time an employee joins or leaves a company, regulations change, or even just when day-to-day tasks are performed, the changes need to be reflected on a spreadsheet – creating unnecessary manual labor.

For larger businesses without a dedicated equity management team, complexities can quickly mount, putting significant pressure on already overstretched personnel.

This was the challenge Atlantic Capital Bank faced before it approached Certent.

Atlantic Capital Bank’s USP since its inception has been to provide superior levels of service and local market expertise for mid-market and emerging growth companies.

It’s been recognized by American Banker as one of the best banks to work for, and that’s thanks in part to its compensation plans. But as the bank underwent rapid growth and an IPO, it realized it had no one dedicated to administering its equity compensation scheme.

Couple this with the fact it was using spreadsheets and paper-based processes to manage its existing scheme, and it soon became clear to Atlantic Capital Bank’s management that it needed a more sophisticated solution to overcome these inefficiencies.

What’s more, Atlantic Capital Bank had acquired Tennessee-based FSG Bank – introducing additional complexity when both banks’ equity compensation plans were merged.

The bank chose Certent Equity Management – a comprehensive, web-based equity compensation management platform – to handle the bank’s entire equity portfolio, from stock options to performance share awards.

Using the platform’s automation capabilities, the bank has eliminated its manual equity management processes, such as producing accurate figures and external reporting, enabling it to focus on more important activities.

The bank’s employees also benefit from the solution. Not only can the bank send reminders for employees to complete their agreements, employees can also check, manage, and sign off their awards using the online portal – reducing Atlantic Capital Bank’s risk of non-compliance.

You can read more about how Atlantic Capital Bank overcame its challenges using Certent Equity Management in our full case study.

“The folks at Certent are very knowledgeable, I’ve used their support when I’ve just had a question about an accounting or tax-related matter and received a prompt answer. Sometimes I feel like I need some expert backup – and with Certent I have exactly that.” 

             -Shannon Morrison, SVP, Director of Risk Analytics, Atlantic Capital Bank

Certent Equity Management: tighten compliance, minimize risk

Equity compensation management doesn’t need to be taxing. It’s why we created Certent Equity Management.

It’s designed to help you stay ahead of constantly changing regulations, eliminate manual processes, and streamline end-to-end equity management tasks – enabling you to focus on more value-added activities. 

If you’d like to find out more about how Certent Equity Management can help you optimize your organization’s equity management processes, contact our team of product experts today. We’d love to talk through your options.


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