Backdating a check
A practising certificate must be applied for on or before 1 February in each year in order to be dated 1 January of that year and thereby operate as a qualification to practise from the commencement of the year.
Any applications for practising certificates that are received after 1 February in each year will result in the practising certificate being dated the date of actual receipt by the Registrar of Solicitors of the properly completed application form and full payment, rather than 1 January in that year.
For instance, if the board meeting is on January 3, 2012, and Company XYZ stock closes at per share that day, then the exercise price of John's 2012 stock are backdated, then his exercise price is only per share.
He pays the per share exercise price and can turn around and sell those shares on the exchange for each, netting a profit of per share, or ,000.
This is important to note, because the grant date is what determines the exercise price on the options.
Two days after the Securities and Exchange Commission issued executive-pay-disclosure rules mandating that corporations report on the backdating of stock-option grants, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board issued guidance to auditors on the same subject.
In putting out Friday’s guidance, the PCAOB sounded the alarm for independent auditors to be on the lookout for backdating and other finagling related to the reporting of options-related costs in their clients’ financial statements.
Granting stock options to employees is a generally accepted and perfectly legal form of compensating employees. Critics of backdating argue that the practice is difficult to detect and thus encourages boards and executives to use it to synthesize more creative compensation packages.
In our example, backdating the options is the same as giving John Doe a check for ,000 -- without recording that ,000 on the within two business days.