Being Present And Aware

Seeing the moment for what it is, is important for how we relate to it. Without construing false pretenses or imagining outcomes, we let the moment be just as it is without further interpretation. To let the moment exist how it is, to be present with it, allows us to not only fully experience it, but to be part of it. We create a separation from our reality when we pull ourselves into our heads; our thoughts destroy our interaction with it. We become someone who is relating by memory, with fear of the outcome, or are simply too lost in thought to be present. On the other side of things, we can also be too wrapped up in our emotional state to fully see what is truly happening around us.

When we are preoccupied by our emotions, relating to them rather than to the moment, we can never be fully present. In relation to the moment, we can exist purely from a state of no withdrawal, no ulterior motives, no internal mental or emotional battles, and most importantly simply allowing ourselves to be where we are. We very often choose to pull out of the moment. Why? Because we find our thoughts are more important, we give them a value over our existence. In addition, we sometimes rule our days by our emotions. Often, the two of them interacting and filling our day up, and we never fully come to peace with where we are. We miss the moment.

We have lost the value of experiencing the moment for simply what it is. We let ourselves get lost in ourselves, in what we think is important, and choose to exit reality. We may think we are doing a good job at being where we are. But take a moment, relax, and ask yourself how much of the day or even this very moment have you really felt present? Why do we hide from the moment, why do we pull ourselves away so often? It is like we are fixated on anything but being fully present. However, the truth is that when you can be present and not be pulled in many different directions by thoughts or emotions, all else falls away and the constant struggle you feel can dissipate.

The importance you placed on figuring things out, on worrying over the future, on delaying your responses out of fear–all of this is nonessential, because the moment does not require this. The moment exists as part of us; therefore, there is no future, no past, no struggle, no aftereffect, or even anywhere to get lost in, because we have not complicated the moment with our ideas, perceptions, memories, fears, or anything else. When we are present and fully engaged in the now of the moment, we can see clearly and feel what is important. We can understand what really matters for us at that time. We can relax and become ourselves without stress, without managing or pulling ourselves in different directions. By letting ourselves stay grounded with where we are, we are present. We are connected and therefore need nothing else. All the big problems tend to fall away because we no longer give them so much importance in our lives. We can then see them for what they are with nothing else added to them. Let go of yourself long enough to be present. Engage in the moment. Feel, see, and think about where you are and nothing else. Life’s purpose is not about struggle or always doing something; rather, it is about being where you are.

Software Contract Negotiation Tips

Negotiating software contracts is a very important part of your software selection project. The software vendor writes the contract to protect their interests in the engagement. You need to negotiate the contract to protect your interests.

Enterprise business software (ERP, HR, CRM, Financial software, etc.) contracts are typically very negotiable because the software vendors are looking to lock up a long term customer. They know that if they can get a customer in the door even at a discounted rate, they will have a long term maintenance revenue stream that should last at least 5-10 years. The reason for this is that after such a big investment, companies are reticent to change software solutions for many years. Therefore, it is important to remember that the time you have the strongest leverage with the vendor is during the negotiation before signing the contract. Make sure you use that leverage to your advantage.

There are basically 3 contracts that you will sign for a standard on-premise implementation.

1. Software License – This contract outlines the terms of use of the software. The pricing for the software license is typically set by module on a user or concurrent user basis. The software license is usually heavily discounted in the sales process so the software vendor can acquire the new customer.

2. Software Maintenance – This contract outlines the terms for support, maintenance, updates and upgrades. The cost for this service is usually an annual fee of 18-22% of the list price for the software license.

3. Implementation Services – This contract outlines the statement of work, hourly rates, and plan for the implementation. The cost for implementation services is based on the hourly rates of the implementation consultants and the estimate of hours to complete the project. A good rule of thumb for implementation cost in a mid-market environment is a 1:1 ratio with the software license cost. In other words, for every dollar of software license cost you pay, you can expect to pay a dollar for implementation services. For larger companies in more complex environments, this cost can end up being much higher – 2:1 or even up to 10:1 ratio.

If you are buying software in a Software as a Service or SaaS environment, then you will have a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This agreement includes the right to use the software as well as the hosting and data ownership clauses that will be necessary for the engagement.

A few key software contract negotiation tips to remember:

1. The software license is typically heavily discounted up front. Make sure that you look at the whole cost of the software over a 5 year period including maintenance, support, and implementation services.

2. Make sure that you define the terms of the agreement. For example, some vendors will include full payment upon software “installation.” This means that they can charge you the full cost of the software license when they come into your offices and insert the CD, even if there have been no modifications or implementation services.

3. Negotiate the statement of work before you sign the software license agreement. Make sure that you understand exactly what you are buying – including the implementation services plan.

4. Negotiate near the end of the vendor’s fiscal year or quarter end as large discounts can be negotiated so the software vendor can achieve sales goals. We have seen clients sign contracts late at night on December 31 and recently had a customer that was offered a 40% discount if they would sign by the end of the quarter.

Finally, understand that some clauses are negotiable in a software contract and some clauses are not. We recommend that you get assistance with the contract negotiation from a consultant experienced in this area. Their understanding can save you thousands of dollars and can help protect your interests in the contract.

The goal of software contract negotiation should be to have a long-term partnership with the software vendor. This means that the negotiation should not be adversarial. Instead, negotiate with the intent to reach an agreement that is a win-win for both parties for a successful relationship.

Financial Statement Basics and Presentation: The Balance Sheet

Financial Statement Basics: The Balance Sheet

The Canadian Balance Sheet shows the financial position of an entity which is why this statement is commonly referred to as ‘The Statement of Financial Position.” The first key point to note is that the balance sheet is prepared to show the company’s position at a specified single point in time (Example, as of December 31st, 20xx) whereas other financial statements such as the Income Statement are reported to show the company’s operational performance for a specified length of time such as, “for the year ended December 31st, 20xx.” In this example, the income statement is said to cover an entire year from January 1st – December 31st which is also known as a calendar year-end.

Furthermore, the balance sheet consists of three important elements to consider. It reports the balances of all assets, liabilities and equity accounts for the company. It is critical to understand the fundamental accounting equation in the preparation and presentation of the balance sheet where Assets = Liabilities + Equity.

Assets: contains all resources that the company owns at the balance sheet date. This includes both current and non-current assets that the company utilizes in order to generate future economic benefits. The most common current assets listed on the balance sheet includes cash, accounts receivable and inventory which are resources that are anticipated by management to be converted into cash within a year or the entity’s operating cycle, whichever is longer. Accounts receivable is simply the amount of money owed to the company by its customers which is generated from the sale of goods and services on account. Non-current assets, therefore, contains all resources owned by the company that have a useful life of more than one year. These assets are often referred to as Capital Assets which include equipment, buildings and land. Notice that all assets mentioned thus far whether current or non-current can be classified as Tangible Assets which contain physical substance. However, the balance sheet also presents Intangible Assets which are reported as non-current capital assets as well, since they have a useful life of more than one year but do not have any physical substance such as goodwill and patents. The sum of the current and non-current assets will equate to and be reported on the balance sheet as Total Assets of the company.
Liabilities: represents the claims against the company’s assets that have not been paid at the balance sheet date. Therefore, they are obligations to the company’s creditors. Just like assets, liabilities are subdivided into current and non-current. Accounts Payable is a frequent account that can be seen on the balance sheet and is essentially the direct opposite of the accounts receivable balance. While accounts receivable are amounts owed to the company from a customer sale on account, accounts payable are amounts owed by the company to its creditors arising from purchases on account both of which are either expected to be collected or paid typically within 30 days. Non-current liabilities represent obligations that will not be settled for more than one year or the company’s operating cycle, whichever is longer. Long-term liabilities (non-current) found on the balance sheet include long-term bank loans and notes payable. The creditor’s claims against the assets can be seen by examining the fundamental accounting equation stated above where the entity’s assets equal the creditors’ claim which represents liabilities plus the owner’s claim of the assets representing the company’s equity.
Equity: according to the fundamental accounting equation if we rearrange this to solve for equity, one can conclude that Equity = Assets – Liabilities. Upon closer examination, it can be clearly seen that equity represents the value of a business after liabilities have been reduced from the company’s assets. Often equity is referred to as the residual interest of a company. Also, it is important to note that the creditors’ claims to the assets are always settled first before the owner’s claim can be realized.
Presentation Example for the Statement of Financial Position

ABC Company (COMPANY NAME)

Statement of Financial Position

As at December 31st, 20xx

ASSETS

Current assets:

Cash $2,000

Accounts Receivable 1,000

Inventory 3,500

Supplies 500

Total Current assets $7,000

Non-Current assets:

Building $75,000

Equipment 7,000

Total Non-Current assets $82,000

TOTAL ASSETS $89,000

LIABILITIES

Current liabilities:

Accounts Payable $3,000

Wages Payable 1,500

Total Current Liabilities $4,500

Non-Current liabilities:

Lease liability 1,000

TOTAL LIABILITIES $5,500

OWNER’S EQUITY

OWNER’S NAME, Capital 83,5000

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND $89,000

OWNER’S EQUITY

The above illustrated example for the statement of financial position shows various key features. The heading indicates the name of the company, clearly indicates what type of financial statement is shown and what period it is covering. Furthermore, the statement of financial position is visual a representation of the fundamental accounting equation. The left side of the statement represents assets which is also the left side of the equation. The right side of the statement represents liabilities and owner’s equity which in turn captures the right side of the equation. As a result, the statement of financial position is perfectly balanced only when total assets equals total liabilities and owner’s equity.

After examining the above illustrated equity section of the balance sheet and noting the name of the company reporting the statement, it is important to recognize that the form of organization in this example is that of a proprietorship and not a corporation. The difference in the balance sheet reported by a proprietorship and by a corporation lies primarily within the equity section. In a proprietorship, the owner’s capital includes the initial investment in the business, net income (profits) or net loss (losses) and is reduced by any drawings (withdrawals made by the owner for personal use). However, in a corporation, these amounts are split up into two common accounts: Contributed Capital and Retained Earnings. Contributed capital also known as share capital represents the investments made by the shareholders’ of the corporation. Retained Earnings is the cumulative income/loss amounts of the corporation since inception and also includes all dividends paid out to the shareholders. Dividends are similar to drawings in that they both reduce the equity account since they are distribution of equity payments to the shareholders’ or the owner respectively.