Doing the right thing

I enjoyed solving problems and helping people achieve great things. I got a lot of scope to achieve this in my role because our software was pretty awesome – but at the end of the day the measure of my success was how many licences I could help to sell. I wanted the measure of my success to be how well I solved the problem.

These were my words. I wrote them in a blog post last year where I introduced the world to DLM Consultants and our mission. Since articulating those words I have never doubted them. They are the reason I took a the leap and it’s been an enormously rewarding journey.

But there will always be times when your principles are put to the test.

Earlier this year DLM Consultants started to officially partner with both Redgate and Octopus Deploy. I wrote about what those partnerships involved here. I also wrote about what those partnerships did not involve.

I’m not looking at my partnerships as a new revenue stream. While there certainly will be some joint marketing opportunities, I have absolutely no interest in taking any cut in any licence sales.

And I believe that.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting a customer and conducting a DLM Health Check. You can read about it here. During that engagement we created various proof of concept (PoC) technical solutions using different technologies and the customer chose the one they liked best. This kicked off a procurement process for various licence sales. One of DLM Consultants partners, as a result, offered us a rather large sum of money.

I’ll admit, it would have been easy to pocket the cash. No-one would ever have known. I knew in my heart that I had provided the three solutions that I honestly felt were the most appropriate and the customer had made the decision which one they liked best – unanimously. Many other consultants have told me that I’m mad to turn down the money – but for me it does not feel appropriate to accept such kick-backs while at the same time claiming to deliver unbiased advice.

I was up front with the customer about the situation when I presented the three PoCs and I suggested that they nominate a charity.

That’s why DLM Consultants is donating $5,500 charity. They’ll be splitting it evenly between the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and Metro United Way. And we are enormously proud to be in a position to make donations such as this. In fact, Zac, the DLM Consultants guide dog, might be a little jealous.

Although, I’ll be honest, when I told my wife that I’d donated that much money to charity she did find it hard to forgive me.

Edit: 21st Dec 2017 – Enter taxman

Unfortunately, due to unexpected tax reasons that I have learned about since writing this post, the amount DLM Consultants has been able to donate is slightly less than expected. Here is why:

When UK companies donate to charity, they are usually allowed to do this before calculating their annual profits. This would mean that the commission that DLM Consultants received from its partner could be passed on in its entirety before tax was paid on it. This was what I wanted to do.

What I learned was that this only applies to donations to EU charities. This means that DLM Consultants will still have to pay 19% corporation tax on the whole commission, regardless of how much of it is donated.

With this in mind, we did some sums and held back enough money to pay our taxes. At first I was annoyed by this, but then I reminded myself that schools and hospitals are pretty good too. At least all the money will be going to good causes.


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