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 unclaimed property, it is an intense effort that leaves little time for other duties.
Rules of Thumb for Managing Unclaimed Property Workflow Spikes
In our years of work with hundreds of holders, we’ve identified specific rules of thumb we recommend holders follow to manage the inconvenient spikes in escheatment activity. Read through the following list and check off the advice that could apply to your company and your unique unclaimed property situation.
If you know areas of focus that are causing issues but aren’t contained in this list, contact us for consultation. We probably can give you some ideas immediately, and our experts are prepared to step in and handle much of this activity if would help you free up staff for other important business competencies.
The key is to take a broad perspective that keeps things flowing throughout the year, rather than “saving” unclaimed property tasks until you are finished with other common business cycles.
Another consideration to incorporate into your workflow is the recovering of unclaimed funds that are owed to your organization known as Corporate Asset Recovery. This process can be tedious and time consuming. Recovery should also be handled with care to avoid audit risks.
Contact MarketSphere for a no cost/no risk consultation to discuss the questions or concerns about your unclaimed property compliance program. Let our team be your go-to resource for implementing your Just Right Compliance® solutions.
If you received a letter or an email, please check out our FAQ section to learn more about next steps.
We offer a customized approach to fit your specific needs.