Tracking legal entities can be daunting, especially for organizations with multiple entities and subsidiaries, each with its own unique ownership structure and compliance requirements. A spreadsheet can be a valuable tool for organizing entity data, but it's important to use it effectively to ensure accuracy and compliance. Here we'll explore some tips for tracking entities within a spreadsheet.
1. Use a Consistent Naming Convention
One of the most essential things when tracking entities within a spreadsheet is to use a consistent naming convention. This means that each entity should have a unique name that is used consistently throughout the spreadsheet. This will make it easier to search for and find specific entities and avoid any confusion that might arise from using different names for the same entity.
2. Include All Relevant Entity Information
When tracking entities within a spreadsheet, including all relevant entity information is important. This includes basic information such as the entity's legal name, address, and tax ID number, as well as ownership information such as the percentage of ownership held by each owner. Additionally, it's essential to include information about compliance requirements, such as the date of the entity's next annual report or tax filing deadline.
Athennian offers an entity tracking spreadsheet template that includes all tracking requirements. Download it here.
3. Use Separate Columns for Each Piece of Information
To make the spreadsheet easier to read and navigate, it's helpful to use separate columns for each type of information. For example, you might have one column for the entity's legal name, another for its tax ID number, and another for its address. This will make it easier to sort and filter the data and avoid any confusion that might arise from having multiple types of information in the same column.
4. Utilize Formulas for Automated Calculations
To save time and improve accuracy, consider using formulas for automated calculations within the spreadsheet. For example, you might use a formula to calculate the total percentage of ownership held by all owners of an entity, or to calculate the total number of entities within the spreadsheet. This will help avoid any manual errors that might arise from performing these calculations by hand.
5. Keep the Spreadsheet up to Date
One of the most important things when tracking entities within a spreadsheet is to keep the spreadsheet up to date. This means updating the spreadsheet regularly with any new entities or changes to existing entities and ensuring that all information is accurate and current. Failure to keep the spreadsheet up to date could result in missed deadlines or other compliance issues.
6. Consider Using a Template
Consider using a template if you're just getting started with tracking entities within a spreadsheet. This template can also be customized to meet your specific needs, making it easier to get started with entity tracking.
7. Backup the Spreadsheet Regularly
Finally, it's important to backup the spreadsheet regularly to avoid any loss of data. This can be done by saving the spreadsheet to a cloud-based service or external hard drive, or by using a backup software program. Regular backups will ensure that your data is safe and secure, even in the event of a computer crash or other unexpected event.
8. Know When You’ve Outgrown Your Spreadsheet
Tracking entities within a spreadsheet can be a useful and effective way to manage legal entity information. As your organization grows, you may find that conventional manual methods are no longer effective. Consider upgrading to a cloud-based entity management software like Athennians to maintain a secure and trusted central source of truth that increases business velocity and efficiency.