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Debunking DTAs: Tracking, Proving, Supporting, and Surviving the Audit

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August 29, 2019 | Susan Garvin, GoPro, Inc.

Debunking DTAs: Tracking, Proving, Supporting, and Surviving the Audit

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 27th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Susan Garvin of GoPro, Inc., who will lead the session “Debunking DTAs: Tracking, Proving, Supporting, and Surviving the Audit.”  Here is what Susan had to say:

NASPP: What is the elevator pitch for your topic?

Susan:  Tax accounting is one of the most misunderstood areas in accounting for equity compensation. What is it? What is a DTA (Deferred Tax Asset) or DTL (Deferred Tax Liability)? Why should I care? How do I track these amounts? Recently the complexity increased (it never decreases, does it) with changes to the tax code that impact Section 162(m)—did you even know these two topics were related?

And with those changes your auditors are looking to you to prove the amounts you are carrying as your DTA/DTL balance. How do you make it go away—both as a practical matter at settlement and as a painful process? Come join us as we expand your knowledge, give you helpful information to keep your auditors happy, maximize your output while minimizing your time, discuss what's new in the software tracking arena, and altogether make tax accounting your new favorite cocktail party topic!

NASPP: What is one best practice companies should implement?

Susan: Don't wait—do a DTA/DTL audit proof dry run ASAP!! Your auditors will want information on your DTA/DTL balance and you need to be prepared.

Most third-party administrative solutions have added DTA/DTL tracking and reporting capabilities in the last couple of years. Do you know what package your equity team is using and what new(ish) support might be available for this task? You really need to spend some time digging into what can be utilized and determining how you will incorporate this new functionality into your reporting/tracking going forward.

Find out what can be automated within your system (the equity data is already there—use it!) and what can't (don't assume your system will do it exactly how you want). What will it take to reconcile the new reports/tracking back to your historical reporting? Once you can reconcile, you can come up with a process to balance your DTA/DTL on a regular basis and be prepared for your auditors requests. Spend the time now to discover what is new, what you still need to track separately, and how to present to you auditors—dry runs will set you up for the real thing.

NASPP: What is the silver lining to tax accounting?

Susan: As always, there is ongoing change (and we're still waiting for some final (?) regulations), but as this topic is becoming more complex, many of the providers are responding with new functionality/reporting. Take advantage of what is now available—and speak up! While the providers often hear from stock administrators, if you are a tax professional get involved, too. If the new product doesn't meet your needs, discuss what you need with your provider—as these topics change, the vendors do respond to client requests—make your voice heard and help design the future of the function. Fewer spreadsheets mean less manual entry, less potential for error, and smoother audits.

NASPP: What is your favorite tourist attraction in New Orleans?

Susan:  Aside from the incredible food, booze and live bands in every restaurant? One of my very favorite things to do when I get to NOLA is to look up Bloody Mary's Tours and see what walking tours are on the calendar. They have really amazing tour leaders, and you can't beat walking around the French Quarter at night in the dark on the "Ghost Hunting" tour, or doing "Haunted Pub Tour"—drinking and hearing about all the crimes/scandals, or the "Midnight Ghost Hunt"—it’s education, entertainment, and a really fun time! I've made lifelong friends with folks on these tours—even if they were just regular tourists and not with the NASPP conference.

Don’t miss Susan’s session, “Debunking DTAs: Tracking, Proving, Supporting, and Surviving the Audit,” at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 27th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from September 16-19 in New Orleans. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

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The National Association of Stock Plan Professionals is the largest and oldest professional association for the stock and executive compensation community, with over two decades of leadership providing expert resources, education and other benefits for our more than 6,000 members across 32 affiliated chapters.

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