Before the dot-com boom of the late 90s, employees used to write checks to their employer when they decided to exercise their stock options. In return, the company would deposit the check and issue a paper stock certificate to the employee. Now that banking and financial management have mostly moved online, stock ownership is managed digitally. What was lost in the way of fancy paper certificates has been replaced by the ability to manage your stock options with the click of a button. But this convenience has also led to an increasingly complicated digital stock management market that can be intimidating for businesses to navigate.
Having the right stock plan management software is critical for any business, whether you’re a startup or a publicly traded company. But with all the options available, how can you be sure you’re picking the best software for your business?
Think about this from your employee’s point of view. When they exercise their stock option, it’s a big deal! In many cases, the employee has been a part of your company for years, and this is their opportunity to become a shareholder — an owner — in the business. They are using their own money to purchase equity that, in many cases, they cannot sell right away. That’s a massive leap of faith for any employee to make, and in return, it’s important for your business to provide a seamless experience.
Using stock plan management software that is accessible, responsive, and transparent ensures that your employees are getting an experience that instills trust when exercising their stock options. Let’s look at what that means.
As remote and hybrid work environments become ubiquitous, it’s important that employees can exercise their stock options from anywhere in the world. Employees need to be able to access the software from whatever country they are in, and to exercise their stock option using their native currency through whichever processor is available to them. Want to take your accessibility to the next level? Pick a software that enables employees to use their digital wallet (like Apple Pay, PayPal, or Google Pay) or debit card to pay for their stock option exercise.
With the ease of exercising stock options online, it’s also important that your payment options are responsive. Most software only supports ACH transfers, which are expensive and time-consuming. ACH transfers don’t process payments in real time, and international transfers can take up to 10 business days to process. When so many other aspects of financial management are instantaneous, employees don’t want to deal with a system that is lagging in comparison.
Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of ACH transfers is the lack of transparency with your funds. ACH transfers commingle the employee’s funds with other company assets. Should an auditor inquire about your funds between the time the employee pays to exercise their stock option and when the company receives that payment, you may have difficulty tracing the progress of the transfer. If funds are “lost,” who is responsible? The bookkeeping this requires for your business and the stock plan management provider can be a hassle. Finding a software that can transfer funds in real time will provide you and your employees with more transparency than ACH transfers, and can save you the headache of tracking commingled funds.
Stock plan management doesn’t have to be this difficult
Astrella’s stock plan management allows our clients’ employees to exercise their stock options online, using the VISA Gateway that covers 190+ countries, 45+ different currencies, and 100+ processors. Employees can use their digital wallets or their debit cards to pay for their stock option exercise. Regardless of which payment option they choose, the funds are automatically deposited in the currency required by their company on the same day the employee sends the money, leaving no questions about the official exercise date.
Go with an equity management software that is accessible, responsive, and transparent with its payments. Learn more about what Astrella can do for your business.