Desperate Hiring

I have been following Nick Corcodilos’ blog “Ask The Headhunter” for the last few years.

His current blog entry truly resonated with me. Why? Because I have seen employers and clients make some monumentally bad hiring decisions. Someday, ask me about my client who was finishing his day at the office when he was visited by local police officers looking for an employee who was wanted for sex crimes. Then, there is the client who discovered that his production foreman was selling cocaine to the other employees.

Nick’s blog starts with a hiring manager who asks the question: “Hiring great people is a noble goal but it raises two challenges, how to attract candidates with those rare, valuable qualities into your pipeline, and how to identify them in the interview process when everyone is telling you how talented, motivated, curious and ethical they are…”

Nick begins his reply with “Let’s talk about two fatal flaws in the entire recruiting/hiring process. First, we try to attract people when we need them. That limits us to cold, calculated, rushed recruiting methods that don’t work well.”

To read the entire blog, which I highly recommend, go to: Yada, Yada, Yada: Desperate Hiring

Trust …But Verify

I recently wrote an article entitled ”Not every good-looking financial statement tells the truth” that was published in the Puget Sound Business Journal on March 9, 2012. This article relates some of my experience with financial statements that were deliberately falsified. The link to the PSBJ for my article is at the bottom of this blog entry.

When I wrote the article, space constraints prevented me from listing more examples. Some of these examples are presented below.

Trust… But Verify

During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan was asked how he knew that the USSR would abide by their agreement to reduce their nuclear weapons. His reply was “Trust – but Verify”. We need to apply the same process to financial statements.

Clearly, business people make very important decisions based on the financial statements that they receive. Unfortunately, in my years of being a CPA in public practice, and a Controller and Chief Financial Officer in private industry, I have seen many financial statements that were purposely falsified. Let me tell a few of those stories.

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While working at a public accounting firm, I brought in a new client. Since I was in the tax department, the audit of the client’s records was conducted by “Sam” from our accounting & audit department. Early in the engagement, Sam told me that the client has asked him to falsify the financial statements by reducing the company’s income. Odd, since normally clients want their income increased!

I talked with the client who explained that he wanted to understate his income since the payments he was making for the purchase of the business were based upon the financial results of his business. Sam and I told him that we would not falsify the financial statements. The icing on the cake was that the person to whom he was making the business purchase payments …… and wanted to defraud……was his mother!

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A new client, who had a B&B, asked my assistance in creating financial statements so he could obtain a much needed loan. During this process, he sent me financial information, albeit in dribs and drabs. One day he sent me the balance sheet that he had prepared for the banker. I looked at the balance sheet and noted that he had omitted several significant liabilities. I called him to inquire why some liabilities were missing. His answer was that the balance sheet “looks better that way”. Clearly, he had no compunction about falsifying financial statements that were going to his bank.

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A client was considering buying a small business. Based on the financial statements supplied by the seller, I made projections of the income and expense for the next 5 years. The results looked very good. At my insistence, my client engaged a CPA firm to look at the financial records of the seller. This was done so that we could determine whether or not we could trust the financials supplied by the seller. Long story short, the seller’s financials were materially misstated. My client walked away from the purchase.

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The last example is a local startup company that had received large amounts of funding. One day, a company employee found copies of company financial statements. Not wanting this important information to be left around, he gave the reports to the controller. The controller looked at the statements and realized that he had never seen financial statements with these numbers! Clearly, someone had prepared financial statements showing the company to be much more profitable than they actually were. The Board Members and the corporate attorney were contacted. An interim CFO was brought in to prepare accurate financial statements for an emergency board meeting.

The upshot of this was that the CEO and CFO were preparing and presenting the false financial statements to the board and investors to make it appear that they were in better financial condition than they were. I read in the newspaper that they were both arrested by the US Marshalls Service and subsequently sentenced to prison.

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So what can you do to protect yourself from relying on falsified financial statements? As I said in my published article “There are two solutions. First, you can place reliance in financial statements audited by a reputable Certified Public Accounting firm. Second, you can send your own trusted CPA who has your interest at heart, into the business to determine if the financial statements fairly represent the financial condition and operational results of the company”.

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Want to see the published article? Obviously if you get the paper, you can read the article. If you do not get the paper, the following link will pull up my article. The downside of the link is that, for the first 30 days after publication, the link may only work for subscribers. After that the link works for everyone. The link to my latest PSBJ article is:  http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/print-edition/2012/03/09/not-every-good-looking-financial.html

Please feel free to leave your comments. Thank you.

Eliminate resumes?

Blogger Seth Godin, known for his very short blog posts, wrote about eliminating the resume.  Then, Matt Youngquist, a career counselor and coach wrote a blog entitled “Time to Ditch the Resume & Embody Your Greatness?”

Seth and Matt make some very important points – most resumes alone do not give the hiring manager enough information to make an informed decision.

In my opinion the resume is not a perfect vehicle to display one’s talents. Over the years, I have reviewed hundreds of resumes for my clients. And yes, all by hand. In most cases the resumes were merely a listing of job titles, company names, dates and locations. It was very difficult to tell what value, if any, the person brought to these positions.

I certainly agree with Matt that the more creative hiring methods involving people instead of machines will require much more time (people + hours) to process. It will also remove the illusion that race, age and other prohibited qualifiers were not used in the decision process. No longer can the company say “The machine picked this applicant–not a human”.

Probably 95% of the job announcements for my field state “5 years of experience in industry X is required”. If there is no resume, how are those unqualified applicants with only 4.99 years of experience going to be eliminated? Oh, wait – is it possible that the person with 4.99 years has better experience than the person with 5 years plus? If the company is requiring a degree and or certification, how will the company know that you have those qualifications without a resume?

My proposed solution to this dilemma is in two steps. First, use a resume that tells the reader “What you can do and have done” instead of just a listing of jobs. Secondly, add examples of (or links to) examples of your work.

We need to begin with a revised resume format. I suggest the following sections:

  • Who You Are – name, city and state, phone number, e-mail and website
  • Position You Want – the name of the position that you are seeking
  • What You Have Done – a few lines of text highlighting the skills and experience you possess that directly relate to the position you are seeking and show the (hopefully upward) progression of your prior positions
  • Key Skills & Qualifications - these are keywords that expand upon  the skills and experience shown in the section above – also, you never know if someone is going to scan your resume
  • Professional Experience & Accomplishments – this section shows your title, employer, beginning and ending dates of employment and MOST IMPORTANTLY the value that you brought to your employer.
  • Community Service & Professional Affiliations - a listing of your volunteer work, especially serving on a non-profit Board of Directors, and your professional affiliations.
  • Education, Certifications & Military Service -  list post secondary education, professional certifications and military service (if applicable)

In addition to your resume, I suggest that you supply examples of, or links to, your work such as:

  • your website
  • your blog
  • articles published in newspapers or magazines
  • speeches / classes that you have given
  • past employer / client testimonials
  • videos you have created

This combination of your resume and examples of your work should help set you apart from the completion.

As an example, I offer the movie “Legally Blonde”. In the movie, the character Elle Woods (played by actress Reese Witherspoon) wants to be admitted to Harvard Law School. As part of her application, she creates a video in which, wearing a bikini and standing in a hot tub, she presents her “arguments” as to why Harvard should accept her.

The chairman of the all-male panel concludes by saying to the panel “Miss Woods welcome to Harvard”.

Unorthodox? Certainly, but it worked for her in the movie.

A Tale of Two Receptionists

The job of receptionist is seriously undervalued in the business world.  It is typically viewed as an entry-level position and staffed and paid accordingly.  It is frequently eliminated altogether.  I believe that businesses ignore the reception function at their peril.  The receptionist may be the first contact a customer has with a business and first impressions are tough to change.  Two recent experiences reinforce my opinion.

I approached the reception desk in a medical office.  The two women behind the counter ignored me.  It wasn’t busy in the office, but neither woman spoke or looked up.  Eventually, I had to announce my presence.  Reluctantly, one of the women consulted her computer to verify my appointment and requested my co pay.   I gave her $25 and she proceeded to argue with me.  “No, no, it’s $15!”  I explained the recent increase in my co pay, but she obviously believed her computer, not me.  Finally I said, “You have 2 options.  You can take my $25 and give me a receipt, or you can take $15 and bill me for the additional $10.  I think it’s simpler if you just take the $25.”  Clearly, my presence was an interruption of her day.  Some welcome.  I sat down, pulled out my magazine, and waited to be called for the appointment.

The wait stretched out to over an hour.  The doctor’s nurse finally came out and looked at me in surprise.  “Dennis, how long have you been waiting?”  I told her more than an hour.  She apologized profusely, saying, “We did not know you were here.”  The receptionist had added insult to injury by not even troubling to tell the medical staff that I was there!

Some weeks later, I visited a different medical office and approached the reception desk, this time staffed by 3 women.  One looked up promptly and smiled. “May I help you?”  She proceeded to check me in, pleasantly and efficiently.  When I told her my co pay was $25, she looked puzzled. “The card says $15.”  She wasn’t arguing, just requesting clarification. I explained that the co pay had increased, but we had not been issued new cards.  Question resolved, she took my money and gave me a receipt. “Do you need parking validation?”  All checked in, I sat down in the waiting room.  While waiting, I observed the 3-woman reception team in action.  They were all courteous, pleasant, prompt and efficient. 

Later, I complimented the reception team to my doctor, telling him what a positive impact they make on the patient’s impression of the practice.  I commented that, in my experience, the attitude of receptionists reflects the attitude of management.  Someone was doing a great job of hiring and training of his staff.   He thanked me, saying that he considers the impression given by the receptionists critical to his practice.  Receptionists are the first contact, either in person or by phone, that the patients (i.e. customers) have and it’s important that it be a positive experience.  This doctor clearly “gets it”.  He understands not just the medical side of his work, but also the management side.

 So how are the receptionists at your office? Are they treating customers and potential customers the way you would like?  Good first impressions are critical and tough to change.  Remember, the main issue here is attitude and attitude flows primarily from management.  Make sure yours is reflected well in the people who greet your customers, clients, patients, and prospects.

Customer Service – Remember my name

A client of mine, someone who has traveled and entertained extensively, told the following story. It is a story with a message worth remembering, especially by any of us attempting to provide a service or a product for a fee.

My client was entertaining a group of business associates at an elegant restaurant in another city. He anticipated a productive evening and an excellent dinner. Even more importantly, at least to this oenophile, was a fine wine to complement that dinner. Although perfectly capable of selecting an excellent pairing himself, he requested the assistance of the restaurant’s sommelier. A good sommelier may know of something new, untried, and incredible. A wine connoisseur is always searching and learning.

This sommelier may have been very knowledgeable, but he was a sommelier with attitude. He was arrogant and off hand in his service to this client. Put out, our client decided he had had enough. He beckoned to the sommelier, and then waited as he came forward. He gestured again, encouraging the sommelier to bend over so he could speak softly. The sommelier bent over.

“I think you’ve forgotten my name,” the client said. The sommelier was somewhat taken aback. Part of his job was to remember the bigwigs. He had one of those “Oh my God” moments. Who was this guy? Mr Big? A serious VIP? Was the sommelier in serious trouble for missing the presence of a celebrity? Arrogance beginning to crumble, he bent and listened again.

“My name is Customer.”

Message received. How often have we all experienced that irritation caused by arrogant service people? It seems so pointless and stupid, at least to all of us customers. After all, we are paying them for service, right? You would think they’d get a clue. All we ask is that they smile when they take our money. Seems the least they could do.

And yet, how many of us forget this simple lesson when we are on the other side of the transaction? My partner remembers attending a class in the basics of telemarketing. They call it “smiling and dialing”. To be successful, one must have the right attitude. Smile before you dial.

I believe this applies to answering the phone as well. Yes, we all get busy and that ringing phone is one more interruption in the work flow. But, what if the person calling is named “Customer”? Or is the voice on the other end of the call Ms. Potential Client? How about doing some “smiling and answering”? Might be a good idea.

At the very beginning of my working life (I won’t say just how many years ago), I worked for Sears Roebuck. I held a number of different positions there, including sales, department management, even customer service management. In those days, Sears employees actually received their pay in cash. Hard to believe in this day of computer generated checks and direct electronic deposits, but they received an envelope every week filled with cold, hard currency, both bills and coins. Customers paid for their purchases in cash, too. There is a hard reality to cash transactions that we have lost in these days of checks and credit cards. Sears provided goods. Customers picked out what they wanted and paid for those goods in official legal tender. Those hard-earned bills and coins went into the cash register. At the end of each business day, the money from the register was transferred to a bag, which went to the cashier in the cashier’s cage for counting, then into the store’s safe. On pay day, that same cash found its way into the pay envelopes of the employees who helped Sears customers make their selections and smiled when they accepted their cash payments. Is there a message here? Yes. It was absolutely clear to Sears employees that their wages came from their customers.

Just in case any of the Sears employees missed that obvious message, however, there was an even more direct message delivered with each pay envelope. Written, in script, on the outside of that pay envelope was the following important reminder:

“Satisfied customers make our jobs more secure.”

Helloooo. Remember my name? My name is Customer.

Buying a Busines – 7 steps to get you there

There are two basic ways to become a business owner. You can found a new business or you can buy an existing one. Many would-be business owners choose to buy, not because they lack ideas for a new business, but because they prefer to skip the infancy of a brand new company, come in during adolescence and then guide the company to adulthood. In short, they look for a good company they can take to greatness.

But how do you determine if business ownership is right for you? How do you find the right business, make an offer, and complete the purchase? Based on my experience, I see the process in a series of 7 steps.

1. Deciding to Buy – Doing Some Serious Soul Searching
2. “Shopping” for a Business
3. Let’s Make a Deal….
4. Due Diligence – Checking Under the Hood
5. Closing the Deal – Congratulations, It’s Yours!
6. Transition from the Old to the New (or “There’s a New Sheriff in Town.”)
7. Running the Business and Making it Grow

Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Deciding to Buy

This step is critical and too often given short shrift. Owning a business is an exciting opportunity, but it is NOT for everyone. Do some serious soul-searching and be brutally honest with yourself. Assess your skills, leadership qualities, financial status and requirements, the type of business you think you want and, most important, how you would make it better. For any company you consider purchasing, it is vital that you be able to articulate what you bring to the table that will help the company grow. It is also vital that you remember that you are buying a business, not a job. Viewing a business as a job is one of the biggest mistakes potential owners make. You have to be thinking like a business owner, not an employee.

Step 2: “Shopping” for a Business

There are lots of businesses for sale and many resources available to help you locate them, from newspapers and the internet to business brokers. Investigate each potential acquisition very carefully, learning and refining your requirements as you go.

Step 3: Let’s Make a Deal….

Once you’ve found a business that interests you, it’s time to make an offer.
1. Determine the price. How much should you offer? Almost universally, business owners believe their businesses are worth more than they actually are. After all, it is their baby! But paying too much for a business is the biggest mistake new owners make, so do your work carefully here and hire an expert to help you. How much is the business worth to you? After careful analysis, how much is justified by the financial history of the company and its potential for future income?
2. Structure the deal. Usually, you will begin with a Letter of Intent, which is basically an agreement to date, not marry.
3. Negotiate. Agree to a price and basic terms with the seller.

Step 4: Due Diligence – Checking Under the Hood

Now that you have basic agreement on the sale, it’s time to dig into the details. It’s also time to bring in more expert help, in the form of a CPA, attorney, and a consultant experienced in buying or selling businesses. Your purpose during this step is to learn enough about the inner workings of the company to reach final agreement in the form of a Purchase Sale Agreement, or to walk away.

Step 5: Closing the Deal – Congratulations, It’s Yours!

This is one small step in the process, but one giant leap in your quest to own a business. This is when the Purchase/Sale Agreement is signed and money changes hands.

Step 6: Transition from the Old to the New (or “There’s a New Sheriff in Town.”)

Any transition is a time of uncertainty, so this is a critical phase in the process. It is important for you to set the right tone with employees, suppliers and customers. With proper planning and preparation, you can hit the ground running and help the business move smoothly into its new ownership.

Step 7: Running the Business and Making it Grow

This is it, your opportunity to put all of your effort and planning into action. There are a number of initial steps to take as you assume the full reins of leadership, but ultimately this is now your chance to implement your ideas, build your company from good to great, and achieve your dreams. Congratulations and best of luck!

A Tale of Five Monkeys OR We’ve always done it that way!

There is a story floating around, one that I call A Tale of Five Monkeys.  Here is the story.

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result – the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and goes to climb the stairs. To his horror, the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt, he knows if he touches the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer joins in the punishment with enthusiasm! Then, replace a third monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time a newcomer takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

 Most of the monkeys beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys has ever been sprayed with cold water. Still, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.

As a business consultant and an outsider, I frequently see client business processes that are not needed or are cumbersome and ineffective. Typically, when I asked why it’s done that way, I either get a blank stare or the person says, “That’s the way I was trained”, or the always famous, “We’ve always done it that way”.

While I fully recognize that I have the benefit of coming in from the outside and looking at the process with a fresh set of eyes, there is no reason that management cannot take a look at the processes and determine if they are the most efficient way to handle the work, or if they are even necessary. Is there a way that we could streamline that process? Is there a way that we could automate the process, or at least part of it? Even if the process is valid, are the right people performing the process?  Examine the process as it passes through the hands of each person or department. Is what they are doing necessary?

If you need to, get someone from the outside to take a look at your processes.  A fresh look from someone from the outside can provide valuable perspective.

Yes, I realize this is a huge task. There is the old riddle, “How do you eat an elephant”? The answer of course is one bite at time.  I take the approach of examining processes that are involved in a specific area. For example, follow the process of a customer placing an order (via phone, Internet, e-mail or in person) and follow it from the beginning through the end (shipping the product, and following up with the customer to assure customer satisfaction).

Ask yourself, is the way we are doing these tasks working, is it the most efficient way, is there a way we could make this process easier or faster?

I close with an example. Several years ago I ordered a computer, over the Internet, from IBM. Using their online configuration tool, I selected the components of my new computer. I printed the list of my configuration and place the order. When the computer arrived, it was missing half the RAM that I ordered. I examined the shipping documents and found that sure enough, it specified half the RAM that I had ordered. So, they built the computer according to the documentation they had instead of a way I ordered it. How could this happen? I called IBM, and eventually got the representative to admit that the order information I created online does not go directly to the shop where the computers are assembled. Instead, my order is printed out and then someone retypes my order into the computer system used by the shop where the computers are assembled. Clearly, this redundant activity caused an error in the order.

Does your business have processes like this?

My CPA doesn’t do that!

When I started my own public accounting firm, most of my work was preparing tax returns and financial statements. This work is certainly necessary since the Federal government requires the filing of tax returns and banks will not issue, or renew, a line of credit without a financial statement prepared by a CPA.  In the ten years I previously spent at a medium sized CPA firm, the majority of my time was spent auditing, preparing financial statements, preparing, and reviewing income tax returns. So, I thought, that is what a CPA does!

I soon realized that, even though I was providing an important compliance function to my clients, I was not contributing any value to the company’s bottom line. So, I thought about how I could help my clients streamline their operations and improve their profitability. I became proactive in asking my client questions about his/her business and looking at the big picture of how he/she runs the business.

In short, I changed the way I viewed myself, from a provider of tax returns and reviewed financial statements, to a trusted advisor – essentially the client’s interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO). I decided to learn all that I could about each of my client’s operations, so that I could provide as much assistance and advice as possible.

 I usually began by asking my client this question:  “What major concerns do you have about your business?  What keeps you up at night?”   This question would get them thinking and talking.  I would listen intently and ask follow-up questions. I probed deeper into other aspects of the company. Is management receiving the timely and accurate financial information that they need to make informed management decisions? Typically, I would develop sample reports, either from their accounting system or from raw accounting date using Excel, and ask “Will this information help you run your business?” Do the members of management know how to apply this information?  I would suggest ways to use financial information to produce better operational results.

The upshot of this is that my clients appreciated my observations and began to ask more questions. One client invited me to lunch and peppered me with questions and problems for almost two hours. I spent so much time answering questions and taking notes, that I was not able to finish lunch. Other clients would call me and say, “I have been thinking about buying another business, or opening a plant in Illinois, or taking on a new line of products, or this other business I invested in is not doing well, or …. . Dennis, what do you think?”

I even interjected myself into non-financial areas. If I did not know the answer, I brought in an expert. One quick example: I was at my client’s office and I asked the CEO if the receptionist, who was eight months pregnant, was going to return to work after her maternity leave. His answer was “I am going to fire her today!”. I stood up, closed his office door and advised him of the potential consequences of that action. With the assistance of his corporate attorney, I was able to dissuade him from proceeding. And, yes, this really happened.

Recently, I met with a potential new client and described some of the ways I could help her. She appeared shocked and said, “My CPA does not do that!” I told her that what he did, and did not, do was very common among CPAs, but that I have a different approach.

What do you want your CPA to do for you and your company?

Cash Flow in Tough Times

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know our economy is still struggling.  As a result, many businesses are strapped for cash.  This is particularly true for small businesses, which haven’t had government largesse to fall back on the way some of the big guys have.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of business.  When its flow is restricted, bad things happen:

  • All management efforts focus on chasing cash and finding a way to pay bills, leaving no time to actually run the business.
  • Can’t pay for advertising to promote the business for growth.
  • Can’t make necessary improvements in equipment and facilities.
  • Can’t buy or stock more inventory.
  • Can’t pay bills in a timely fashion, losing early-pay discounts or, worse, having vendors demand payment up front.
  • Can’t hire new staff.
  • Have to lay off current staff.
  • Can’t pay the owner’s salary!

Positive cash flow (when cash receipts exceed cash disbursements) allows effective business operations, including expansion and growth. The business owner can put his or her efforts and energies into running the business without having to spend time worrying about cash flow. In short, the business owner can focus on growth rather than just chasing dollars.

So, especially during tough economic times, how do you address cash flow problems?  What should you consider if your company is short of cash?  The answer depends on how much cash you need and how soon you need it.  Begin by considering the following:

  • Increase collection efforts on past due accounts receivable.
  • Try to negotiate longer payment terms with your suppliers and vendors. 
  • Look at your expenses and identify those you can reduce or suspend temporarily, without hurting operations.  Be thoughtful and reasonable, avoiding the knee jerk reactions that could hurt your recovery.
  • Talk to your banker about a loan.  (Hopefully, you already have a good relationship with a banker.  The best time to establish one is BEFORE you need money!)  Don’t wait too long!  If your company is in really poor financial health, banks may be reluctant to take the risk.
  • Explore other possible sources of funds, such as corporate officers, shareholders, family members and friends.

Most businesses experience negative cash flow at one time or another. The key here is to pro actively monitor and project cash flow and, if at all possible, have a line of credit available to tide the company over the rough spots. When you spot an upcoming problem, take immediate action.  Ignoring the issue is not a valid business strategy and could risk your business.  On a more positive note, a company with well managed, positive cash flow when times are tough may actually have a leg up on its competition!

Intellectual Property – a finance perspective

Intellectual Property (I.P.) can be protected by patent, copyright, trademark, etc.  Companies that create, or purchase, intellectual property presumably create value for their business. (More on this “value” later.)  As such, the costs incurred in acquiring the I.P., whether done in-house or purchased from an outsider, should be capitalized and shown on the balance sheet. Showing the intellectual property on the balance sheet reminds everyone, including bankers, shareholders, and eventually the potential purchasers of the business, that the company has intellectual property which may increase the company’s value.

The actual value of the I.P. is determined by the competitive advantage that the I.P. gives the company. For example, the company has a patent that allows them to make an item that is superior to the competitor’s items. This may result in a higher unit price for the item and/or an increased number of units sold – simply because they are better. Or the company may have a process that allows them to make an item, of the same quality, for a lower cost than their competitors. Again, this places the company at a competitive advantage.

This competitive advantage can be measured in terms of greater sales and/or profit compared to their competitors. When a company is being valued, either as a potential purchase or for succession planning, the value that the I.P. adds is taken into account. One client of mine produced a copyrighted product that was of much higher quality than the competition. As a result, his company produced and sold more than 90% of these items that were sold in the United States.  (Please do not tell the Federal Trade Commission!)  When the company was sold, the copyright increased the price of the sale. I have also seen companies purchased mostly to gain access to their intellectual property. 

 

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