Question of Morality?

A few weeks ago, a CFO that recently joined his company called us up asking to quote Microsoft Dynamics NAV to them. This company had gone through a couple of management changes, got sold to another company, and then resold again to a group of private investors. Needless to say, none of the current employees have been there very long.

It just so happens that the CFO had used Navision before and loves it very much. He had gotten several quotes from different solution centers which were all about the same price.  In the end, for whatever reasons, we were able to win the deal.

By this point, the budget was approved for the amount specified on the quote. When we place the order with Microsoft, to our surprise, the company had purchased Dynamics GP back in the 90’s that no one knew about. This meant that we were able to receive credit from Microsoft and apply the credit to the cost of the software. The amount of the credit was 50% of our total software deal. So this is a significant amount and would cut into our profit for this deal.

At this point, two scenarios quickly came into my mind:

1.       Keep my mouth shut and fulfill the amount as specified on the original quote. Basically we would be able to book the difference as pure profit.
2.       Tell the customer of the credit from Microsoft and apply the credit to their quote

This basically came down to whether or not we should pocket the money or be honest and give the customer the credit they deserve.

It took me some time to decide what to do. The choice was hard but it was a decision that I would expect myself to make and the people we work with to make. It’s the way we’re brought up. Its’ way we build trust. It’s making the world a more pleasant place to live: I was to give the credit to the customer from the software purchase.

Before making the phone call to inform our new customer the good news, another thought came to my mind; was this good news for the CFO? I could only imagine the questions he would face if we invoice him for something that was significantly different than the amount specified on the quote:

“Why didn’t you do your due diligence and realize that the company had purchased GP before?”
“Why didn’t you know that you could’ve applied the credit the company had in GP?”
“What other things the board hired you to do are not done properly?”
“How can you propose such a budget if you don’t have the grasp on the proper information?”
“How can the company trust your decision making ability in the future?”

Would I be the person that will cause his loss of credibility with the CEO and the board and ultimately his job? Or was I just thinking too much?

I picked up the phone and delivered the whole story about the Microsoft credit to him privately. As I expected, there was no congratulatory remarks or a word thanking us for our honesty. He listened intently, paused for a few seconds, and then said, “Hmm… We bought the software that long ago and they still recognized it? Go ahead and send us the invoice then.”

From his paused, I can sense that for a few seconds, millions of thoughts went through his mind as well. What were his thoughts? God only knows, because I wasn’t going to ask him.

In the end, there was no right or wrong. It could be right or wrong depending on how you look at the situation and who you are. I did what I thought was the right decision; it was information that I would’ve liked to receive if our roles were switched. I would not like it very much if I found out this information on my own at a later date.

I guess that’s why we were able to win the deal.

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