There are many divisions and departments in a typical company such as marketing, sales, planning, finance, human resource, etc. But no matter what they call it, they can be segregated into 2 distinct parties… the profit centre and the cost centre.
Profit centre (“PS”) simply means those fellas that actually make money for the company. They are the salesmen, the marketing guys, product development geeks, just to name a few. And yeah, in any company, someone somewhere will have to make a sale all the time. If not, how’s the company gonna survive?
Oh, if you’re thinking there’re no salesmen in those glamorous professional firms… you’re damn wrong. Those promoted to managers are expected to do sales and marketing. You’ll be surprise how many times their ass-es get screwed by the partners for not bringing in enough sales. So if you’re one of those who are dreaming of the stage where you will do nothing but just sign on the dotted lines… please wake up.
As its name speaks for itself, cost centre (“CS”) refers to those fellas whose existence only lower down the company’s profit. These are the financial controllers, the internal legal advisors, the risk managers, quality control, basically people who make life difficult for PS in the name of compliance and reporting. They are there to ensure that the company complies with all the rules and regulations.
One thing for sure, CS people are very proud of themselves and they tend to look down on PS. I mean, it’s natural right? You graduated with a business, finance or law degree… you spent 5 years or so in a glamorous firm and now that you’re in a big corporation with title such as manager this and controller that… you certainly feel you’re a damn big shot. In their eyes, those salesmen are nothing but people who didn’t make it in college and uni.
With such pride and a huge sense of self-worth, CS people think they run the company, which of course, is partly true. A CS fella once said to me that they are the people looking after the interest of the shareholders (i.e. the owner of the company) and that they are the “watchdog” of the big bosses. Oh believe me… when that fella said that to me… I can feel the sense of pride and power. You can practically hear I-AM-IN-CONTROL hidden within the words uttered.
Of course, that is very true. CS is the “watchdog”… because they all work like dogs and only know how to bark. Also, they fail to know that their barking often means nothing. Don’t believe me? Picture this scenario…
A sales fella brings in 1million worth of revenue… the legal dogs bark about whether there is a proper contract, the finance dogs will bark about whether it has been properly recorded, the risk dogs will bark about whether the sales will pose any kinda threat to the company, the regulatory dogs will bark about whether the gomen will allow such sales, etc.
A meeting will then be held to facilitate the barking. Oh trust me, such meetings can be really interesting. To those dogs, everything is a problem. This cannot, that cannot, this must follow that, that must follow this. But somehow, a conclusion will be reached. Why? Cos those dogs are smart people… they are employed to solve problems, not knowing that they are the problems most of the time.
A contract will then be needed by tomorrow. It’s always tomorrow or the day after. Why? Because the client says so. So the sales fella will say… “Ok, you
lawyers, accountants, risk managers, etc, please get the contract ready for tomorrow. I am going home, ciao”. And this is where stop-barking-and-work-like-a-real-dog begins.
The next day, the contract will be presented to the client a.k.a. “waterfish” and he will then say he is not happy because too many conditions inside the contract. So he won't sign and the sales fella will panic! “Fuck, I’m gonna lose 1million worth of sales!” Thus he pleads to the dogs to relax some rules. But of course, all dogs will be united in one word and say… CANNOT… must follow law!
The sales fella will be thinking…”KNNCCB a.k.a. fucking hell, I bring in money to pay all your fucking salary and you fucking make things so damn difficult. Ok, I will go and talk to the big boss!”
As the sales fella talks to the bis boss, those dogs will continue their barking… this cannot, that cannot, high risk, woo woo wuu wuu. Then the boss will think…”Oh yeah, very risky, bad for the company”. Then the sales fella will say…”But boss… 1million worth of sales”.
$$$$ kaching kaching $$$$$
The dogs will continue to bark but this is the part where the big boss will screw all their dogs doggie style for making life difficult for the sales fella. And thus begin stop-barking-and-work-like-a-real-dogs part 2 begins. Why? Because the contract needs to be amended, and amended quick a.k.a. don’t-need-to-go-home-until-work-is-done.
Yup, that’s a typical scenario is any given company. Those who are in the corporate world long enough will know what I am trying to say.
In a nutshell, PS are the people who do the selling, who brings in the money. They are the people who are often looked down at by society, particular by the affluent bunch. But they are the reason why a company grows.
The CS fellas are those who only know how to bark of their ability, their knowledge. They think that because they are smart, they are in control. But most of the time, that’s not the case. Power lies in the hands of those who bring in the dough.
The best part? At the end of the year, the bonus payment for those salesmen will be much much much higher compared to those who are smart. And I mean, much much much higher. And of course, those smart ones will continue to
boast about their knowledge while those salesmen are just… lowly salesmen.