Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs)

This page is a guide to all Equity Methods publications related to employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs).

ESPPs are back in vogue. These programs, which allow employees to purchase shares in the company at a discount, are a potentially valuable benefit for attracting and keeping talent. But they also can be somewhat tricky to manage. Get the lowdown on modern ESPP plans, including emerging design trends and ways to stay on top of their many nuances.

Need more? We’re here to help. We have services to help you with ESPP financial reporting and plan design. You can also contact us directly.

Employee Stock Purchase Plan Design and Accounting: A Checklist of Key Considerations

David Outlaw, Therese Sebastian, Taylor Jensen, and Bradley Hayes · 6/30/2022

Whether you’re creating a new plan, overhauling an existing one, or simply want to improve your reporting process, navigate the unique world of ESPPs with our checklist.


Accounting for Your First ESPP Reset or Rollover

Srivathsan Vaidhiyanathan Uma and David Outlaw · 4/2/2022

What happens with ESPPs when the market drops? Here are some of the scenarios and the accounting framework’s implications for expense and EPS dilution.


Unintended Consequences of ESPP Design Changes

Matt Gabrielson and Taylor Jensen · 9/1/2021

We selected five case studies to illustrate the various accounting implications caused by creating a new ESPP design or revamping your current one.


Employee Stock Purchase Plans: Why Offer One?

David Outlaw · 7/12/2021

ESPPs offer wide flexibility and drive employee engagement while being both cost-effective and cash flow-positive. In this video, we discuss the importance of ESPPs in the Total Rewards portfolio.


Effective ESPPs: Mastering the Design, Implementation, and Accounting

David Outlaw and Taylor Jensen · 6/10/2021

In this webcast, we cover the choices and tradeoffs to make in the ESPP design process in addition to the myriad financial reporting challenges and how to proactively manage them.


Case Study: ESPP Performance Across Economic Cycles

David Outlaw and Nick Faris · 6/15/2020

We explore some of the costs and benefits that different ESPP types can deliver to help employees ride out economic volatility.


The Key to Engagement: Designing an ESPP to Drive Your People Strategy

Takis Makridis and Therese Sebastian · 2/1/2019

In this article, which originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Workspan, we discuss the different flavors of ESPPs and ways to help you determine which type is right for your organization.


ESPPs: Financial Reporting Complexity

David Outlaw and Nick Faris · 11/9/2018

This issue brief, originally published in 2016 and newly updated for 2018, details the rise in popularity of ESPPs. It also looks at exotic design features that are intended to deliver more value, as well as financial reporting best practices.


Five Ways that West Coast Companies Design ESPPs

David Outlaw and Therese Sebastian · 11/3/2018

ESPPs are again in vogue. How are firms designing them to maximize employee benefit at a reasonable cost? Here’s what some SEC disclosures reveal.


Bang for Your ESPP Buck: Maximizing Perceived Employee Value

David Outlaw and Scott Bellinger​ of Computershare · 7/10/2018

Replay this webcast to hear the latest trends in employee stock purchase plans along with the benefits of the latest design features.


ESPPs that Work for You: Top Five Lessons Learned

David Outlaw · 5/29/2017

Get key takeaways about how to make an ESPP suit your specific needs. (From the the WorldatWork 2017 Total Rewards conference.)


Bang for Your ESPP Buck: Maximizing Perceived Employee Value

David Outlaw · 5/8/2017

Discover practical examples of plan features that are likely to drive employee engagement and maximize ROI. (From the WorldatWork 2017 Total Rewards Conference.)


EPS for ESPP: Simple Calculations to Help You Get it Right

Takis Makridis · 2007

Get an in-depth look at calculating earnings per share (EPS) for these cost effective, but often complicated, share-based programs. (From a 2007 meeting of the Silicon Valley NASPP.)