back to article Here's what Autonomy told its salesmen they were allowed to do

With the Autonomy Trial in full swing over HPE's allegations that the British software company fiddled its accounts to inflate its buy price, what exactly were the corporation's internal rules on recognising revenue? An internal presentation from its general counsel, obtained by The Register, sheds some light. Joel Scott, …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Anybody else tired of popcorn yet?

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Nope. I'm absolutely riveted and still this has either a long way to run, or it will be dismissed in a rapid fashion.

      I feel it will be the former.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Anybody else tired of popcorn yet?

      "Albatross!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >"Albatross!"

        Do you get wafers with it ?

      2. Phage

        Ocelot's noses !

      3. Colintd

        What flavour is that?

    3. Velv
      Pint

      I'm onto the beer

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Can we have both beer and popcorn?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As the former Head of Finance for a similar organisation (which has now been subsumed), I can see exactly how this happens.

    We were often referred to as the 'Sales Prevention Team' because we had to be all over Sales and local management to get this right. Once you find yourself in a culture like that being displayed here, sometimes the only thing you can do is quit.

    (Depending on evidence you may drop an email to the Audit Committee on the way out.)

  3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alert

    Do what we want you to do, not what we say you should do

    Double standards abound in every company I've ever seen. It's not illegal until we get caught, right? (Wink Wink, nudge nudge)

  4. Mr Sceptical
    Trollface

    It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

    Hardcore?

    1. Snowy
      Joke

      Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

      Or any of the following habitude, hackable, hackette, hairlike, hairline, hairwove, halazone, halflife, halfpace, halfpipe, halftime, halftone, halicore, halidome, halimote, hamulate, hamulose, handlike, handmade, handsome, hangable, hangfire, harambee, harangue, hardbake, hardcase, hardedge, hardface, hardline, hardnose, hardwire, harelike, harplike, hateable, hawklike, hawknose, headache, headcase, headgate, headline, headnote, headrace, headrope, healable, healsome, hearable, heatable, heatwave, hebetate, hebetude, hebraize, hegumene, hellfire, hellhole, hellkite, helotage, helpable, helpline, helpmate, hematine, hematite, hemipode, hemocyte, hemolyze, hemplike, henhouse, hepatise, hepatite, hepatize, herblike, herdlike, heritage, herniate, herolike, hesitate, hetaerae, hexamine, hexylene, hiccatee, highlife, highrise, hillside, hireable, hittable, hivelike, holdable, holesome, holocene, holotype, holydame, holytide, homelike, homemade, homepage, homesite, homicide, hominine, hominize, homodyne, homotype, homuncle, honeybee, hoodlike, hooflike, hooklike, hooknose, hooplike, hornlike, hornpipe, horologe, horrible, hoselike, hosepipe, hothouse, hotplate, huarache, huggable, huisache, humanise, humanize, hummable, huntable, hurtable, husklike, hylobate, hymnlike, hyoscine, hyperope, hypnotee, hypobole, hypogene.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

        habitude, hackable, hackette, hairlike, hairline, hairwove, halazone, halflife, halfpace, halfpipe, halftime, halftone, halicore, halidome, halimote, hamulate, hamulose, handlike, handmade, handsome, hangable, hangfire, harambee, harangue, hardbake, hardcase, hardedge, hardface, hardline, hardnose, hardwire, harelike, harplike, hateable, hawklike, hawknose, headache, headcase, headgate, headline, headnote, headrace, headrope, healable, healsome, hearable, heatable, heatwave, hebetate, hebetude, hebraize, hegumene, hellfire, hellhole, hellkite, helotage, helpable, helpline, helpmate, hematine, hematite, hemipode, hemocyte, hemolyze, hemplike, henhouse, hepatise, hepatite, hepatize, herblike, herdlike, heritage, herniate, herolike, hesitate, hetaerae, hexamine, hexylene, hiccatee, highlife, highrise, hillside, hireable, hittable, hivelike, holdable, holesome, holocene, holotype, holydame, holytide, homelike, homemade, homepage, homesite, homicide, hominine, hominize, homodyne, homotype, homuncle, honeybee, hoodlike, hooflike, hooklike, hooknose, hooplike, hornlike, hornpipe, horologe, horrible, hoselike, hosepipe, hothouse, hotplate, huarache, huggable, huisache, humanise, humanize, hummable, huntable, hurtable, husklike, hylobate, hymnlike, hyoscine, hyperope, hypnotee, hypobole, hypogene.

        Found it !

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

          Get out.

          1. Joe W Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

            Funny, to me that's two words... (not beginning with h and ending with e either)

            Sorry... *ducks*

        2. Thrudd the Barbarian

          Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

          Oh and here I assumed it was Homicide.

          Hat + coat

          Mine is the not so stylish one in kevlar.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

          None of those is was HARDWARE. They were reselling hardware and the reporting blurred the distinction between hardware sales and desirable software sales. Hardware resellers are almost valueless (they add nothing to the product) whilst software development houses are valued at multiples of revenue.

          <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hp-autonomy/hp-was-aware-of-autonomys-loss-making-hardware-sales-ft-idUSBREA1H08O20140218>

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

            Bet you're fun at parties.

            1. m0rt

              Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

              I bet you lose always at gambling.

          2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

            That whoosh sound was so high it had contrails.

    2. Fat_Tony

      Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

      holesale dummy

      1. Thrudd the Barbarian

        Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

        Wholesale.

        Better clean that keyboard, your keys are sticky.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

          It's the sales department; sometimes they gotta do what they gotta go to make that sale, so "hole sale" might be appropriate in some cases.

          *puts on +5 diplo armor and sprints to the bunker*

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It begins with H and ends with E and is 8 letters long:

      With all those references to S&M on the slides, it stands to reason.

  5. K

    as much revenue .... recognised within each quarter

    I've seen this before, typically in smaller/struggling companies that survive month to month, desperate to see an uptick in the management graphs!

    I say desperate, because they are are usually operating close to bankruptcy or just lack the skill and leadership to see past the next month or two..

    1. David Hicklin

      Re: as much revenue .... recognised within each quarter

      Yup been there, at the other end where towards the end of each month the finance department come round with a begging bowl for "Anything we can invoice for?"

  6. David Austin

    "Selling Products we don't sell"

    Do.. Do sales people really need that one written down?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Selling Products we don't sell"

      Yes.

      Although writing it down does not seem to make a blind bit of difference.

    2. scepticat

      Re: "Selling Products we don't sell"

      Written down, tattooed on the back of their hands, stapled to their foreheads, and carved into their eyelids!

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "Selling Products we don't sell"

      Yes, definitely.

      See for the example https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/05/13/who-me/

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Selling Products we don't sell"

      @David Austin

      I don't often post AC but:

      3 times in the last 12 months either sales or a proj manager has promised new or potential customers things that our software does not do, and was not being worked on at all. We write software that sells to healthcare providers.

  7. StuntMisanthrope

    Pick a song.

    Advancement after advancement, superceded by lack of timely capital or let's sell or load debt/equity to either ruin or foreign purchase. You can understand the dysfunction required to produce a financial, legal and inaccurate audit swamp with cambridge econonics. #climbthruthechair.api

  8. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I wish there

    was a fast forward button in this trial....

    <<out of popcorn and starting on the chocolate covered raisins

  9. cdrcat

    Follow the money

    What matters is the commissions that were given...

    No good salesperson gives a damn about written rules.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Follow the money

      The only good salesperson.....

  10. FozzyBear
    Happy

    Now if they

    Published the deck as a Dr Seuss Book the sales drones might have been able to understand it

    It must be in a VAR to get that car.

    A purchase order will solve your money disorder

    If your in the duffer don't ask Stouffer

    If it's in a mail you go to gaol.

  11. eldakka Silver badge
    Coat

    Term Licenses slide:

    S&M after first year optional

    Glad it's optional, as I don't swing that way!

    Damaging Revenue Recognition slide:

    Not charging for or specifically declining S&M

    Doesn't sound very optional if it's considered bad to decline it. Hey, at least I can charge for it.

  12. Ptol

    recognition of a sale at 100% for a software license required it to be for at least 2 years, and paid upfront? Sure sounds like trying to boost the sales figures for now, without ensuring the money is still coming in to cover the promises made for 18 months time.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Sounds right for non-'SaaS' licence sales. So customer buys a 2-year licence, pays up front and then the company has the cash to recognise. Requiring S&M is also sensible (sorry HR) because otherwise there's a tendency to cut those charges and end up giving away free support.

      Usual trick is for sales to get a 3-5yr deal to boost commission, but argue that having annual benchmarking exercises with break clauses means it's still worth the full value. Sensible finance types tend to disagree.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lynch next? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48260772

  14. The Mole

    Not Zero Tolleance

    he testified to the High Court that he "violated this with permission and tolerance and guidance at times", before agreeing that in general, there was a "zero tolerance policy" towards breaking the "no side agreements" rule.

    Must be a sales and marketing definition of zero then, that looks to be a 1% tolerance of 'no side agreements', certainly not zero tolerance if they sometimes tolerated it.

    1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

      Re: Not Zero Tolerance

      Doesn't the entire trial revolve around a complaint of "rounding down to zero"?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software not ready? Ship a blank CD!

    It's a little before HP days, but from the very start there was emourmous pressure to meet the quarterly targets using what ever means possible - including shipping a black CD if the software wasn't ready (it's okay, the customer will understand...)

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