Menu

KeepUP™ Blog

4/25/17 9:56 AM

How to Merge Unclaimed Property with Other Duties

It can be difficult to smoothly add abandoned and unclaimed property management duties to primary business responsibilities. It’s not simply a matter of squeezing in extra work. Escheatment involves spikes of activity rather than steady work—often at inconvenient times of year when other responsibilities are also spiking (notably when tax returns are being prepared). It doesn’t help that personnel often do not have needed expertise. 

Some of the spikes in work can be managed by cross-training staff to pitch in when needed. Working with outside unclaimed property specialists can help, not only with the extra work of reporting cycles, but also by providing deeper expertise than it’s possible for in-house staff to acquire. This blog will define the challenges of merging unclaimed property work with other duties and provide advice for overcoming the challenges. 

Getting Perspective on Unclaimed Property Workflow Issues 

Year end, quarter end and month end are all peak times for accounting and finance staff in general. Most of the state’s unclaimed property reporting deadlines fall within the same timeframes. For tax professionals, half of the spring unclaimed property season falls exactly into peak tax season. 

On the other hand, unclaimed property management really has to be a year-round endeavor to ensure all supporting records are in place and a plan is followed for accurate reporting. You also need time to lay the groundwork for successfully meeting the challenges of unclaimed property audits. 

Here’s what often happens: Accounting or finance professionals find themselves busy with other duties, then unclaimed property hits their radar and they realize they haven’t completed due diligence requirements—maybe even haven’t done due diligence (pun intended) on what those requirements are! They have to scramble to meet the deadlines, often taking shortcuts resulting in under-reporting or over-reporting the unclaimed property they hold. 

The truth is, when peak reporting time rolls around for abandoned and unclaimed property, it is an intense effort that leaves little time for other duties. 

[More]

Topics: Best Practices, Staffing

10/6/16 1:13 PM

Advice for Midmarket Companies – the Next likely Unclaimed Property Audit Target

In the past 15 or 20 years, it’s no secret that the states and their third-party unclaimed property auditors have been targeting large business entities with potential substantial amounts of unclaimed property in order to engage them in multistate audit processes. Now, a good percentage of these companies have completed audits and the pool of larger auditable companies has shrunk. It has become apparent that the states are now extending their audit efforts to midmarket companies.

Through audit trends that we are seeing in the industry, we've noticed an increase in requests for service from midmarket companies.

A midmarket company can be defined in many ways. For our purposes, MarketSphere defines a midmarket company as a business entity with revenues between $250 million and $3 billion. These companies tend to have:

  • less robust policies and procedures in place
  • fewer available resources to handle unclaimed property compliance requirements
  • less knowledge of unclaimed property processes and strategies

Because midsize companies are more numerous, there may be a tendency to believe the odds are lower that any given company will be audited. However, the states now have better protocols for identifying noncompliant entities than ever before. The fact remains that unclaimed property compliance is a statutory requirement in 55 U.S jurisdictions and various Canadian provinces. If a company fails to file or misfiles, it’s likely not a matter of if, but when, it will get a “knock on the door” from an unclaimed property auditor representing one or more states.

[More]

Topics: Compliance, Staffing

8/11/16 2:58 PM

Passing the Baton: Successful Transition to New Unclaimed Property Personnel


Your abandoned and unclaimed property staff has spent a great deal of time learning about unclaimed property, exploring different approaches, implementing policies and procedures, and uncovering all stale dated properties in your organization. Suddenly, a critical member of your unclaimed property team announces she is resigning her position. If you haven’t prepared, this situation can lead to stress, confusion and potential losses. The situation is doubly problematic if you haven’t prepared for transitioning ahead of time.

When you reassign unclaimed property duties or bring in new staff to replace those who have left, it can feel as though you’re starting all over from the beginning. What can be done to more easily pass the baton from one person to the next?

Unclaimed property process sustainability

The key to easy transitioning of unclaimed property duties lies in preparation, procedures and records management.

  • Team approach. Make sure unclaimed property knowledge for your company is not held by only one person. It’s important to take a team approach, so team members can support one another under any number of circumstances. You may go so far as to assemble an unclaimed property task force with cross training that makes it possible for task force members to fill in for each other. When you lose personnel, this will help bridge the gap until a new person can be identified, hired and trained.
[More]

Topics: Best Practices, Staffing

8/1/16 3:26 PM

Unclaimed Property Mojo: How to Get People Engaged and Processes Running Smoothly

Most companies know they are only as good as the people who run them, from frontline staff to executive leaders. In the unclaimed property world, it’s worth taking some time to understand what can be done to enhance the efforts of unclaimed property management and process teams.

[More]

Topics: Best Practices, Staffing

6/17/16 11:08 AM

One Expert’s Opinion: 8 Ways the Unclaimed Property Industry Has Changed

For those who work on the front lines of unclaimed property, the whole abandoned and unclaimed property world can be annoyingly difficult for many reasons. As time goes by, the “industry” is working through some of these difficulties.

[More]

Topics: Audit, Best Practices, Staffing

1/29/16 11:01 AM

How to Effectively Allocate Unclaimed Property Staff

When planning to ensure adequate recordkeeping and reporting cycles for unclaimed property compliance, one item often gets overlooked: staffing. This blog will help you maximize labor resources and avoid staffing issues that can lead to higher liability.

First, determine who is responsible for unclaimed property

In many companies, unclaimed property responsibility falls to a general finance department, such as tax, treasury or accounting. Some companies assign unclaimed property to dedicated compliance departments or industry specific departments, such as Deposit Operations in a bank or the Land/Division Order Department in oil and gas. In a way, it doesn’t matter who does it. The number-one criteria is simply the ability to keep up with the process and report effectively on behalf of the entire organization.

Because unclaimed property originates in different departments throughout an organization, it often is best to assign early process steps to those who best understand where the property comes from. Payroll, for example, best understands outstanding paychecks. After each individual department completes due diligence, remaining outstanding properties are turned over to an assigned department for collected recordkeeping and reporting. An outside advisory company can manage this part of the process, but a company liaison should be provided to gather records from all departments.

[More]

Topics: Best Practices, Staffing