Legal and financial
Singapore, 12th October 2010
Designers are generally good at what they are supposed to be good at…finding creative solutions and design concepts for their clients who have often no idea what it means to be a creative soul. It is rare that outstanding designers also are outstanding at the business side of things. I am talking about the legal and financial side of our business. Yet our clients are big multi-national project developers who have a huge financial and legal department to their disposal to make sure their interests are protected. So when big contracts are thrown on our desk we have quite a challenge on our hands. As a small practice we may have a project administrator in our team, but for serious legal and financial issues we need to rely on outside resources, at least we do.
Financial matters are quite straight forward. We are able to keep our books with some accounting software and sent the accounts of to an outside company once a month for the official paperwork. Then at the end of the (financial) year they can easily compile our income and company tax returns for lodging with the authorities. You need however some understanding of financials to be able to read all the figures which do not always make sense to us. As long as it all tallies at the bottom line and you are in the black… 🙂
Legal matters are much more complicated as this can be anything from project contracts to shareholders agreements to employment contracts and resolving disputes. Knowing your legal rights as a director or as an employee should be a given, but how well do we actually know our rights (and duties)? A lot of the legal writing looks like from another planet and by the time you have reach the end of a clause you have absolutely no idea anymore what it is about…you know what I mean? So not only do you need a legal eagle to put such documents together, you subsequently also need one in conflicts to actually tell you what it means! In the process you pay hundreds of dollars per hour. When things go well we have no such worries, it is only when things turn sour that we find out how well we are legally prepared and protected!