Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Business and summary of significant accounting policies (Policies)

Business and summary of significant accounting policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2017
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Principles of consolidation
Principles of consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of MAXIMUS, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries. All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
Where MAXIMUS owns less than 100% of the share capital of its subsidiaries, but is still considered to have sufficient ownership to control the businesses, the results of these business operations are consolidated within our financial statements. The ownership interests held by other parties are shown as noncontrolling interests.
Use of estimates
Use of estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during each reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Our significant estimates include revenue recognition, estimates of the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in business combinations, estimates of the collectibility of receivables, estimates of future discounts in performance-based contracts, evaluation of asset impairment, accrual of estimated liabilities, valuation of acquisition-related contingent consideration liabilities and income taxes.
Revenue recognition
Revenue recognition
Revenue is generated from contracts with various pricing arrangements with total revenue contributions in fiscal year 2017 as follows:
performance-based criteria (42%);
costs incurred plus a negotiated fee ("cost-plus") (35%);
fixed-price (18%); and
time-and-materials (5%).
We recognize revenue on arrangements as work is performed and amounts are earned. We consider amounts to be earned once evidence of an arrangement has been obtained, services have been delivered, fees are fixed or determinable and collectability of revenue is reasonably assured.
We recognize revenue on performance-based contracts when earned, which occurs when we have achieved the performance obligation. This may result in revenue being recognized in irregular increments. In certain performance-based contracts, we may negotiate arrangements where we are reimbursed at higher levels at the beginning of an arrangement. Where we believe the rates in the latter part of the contract represent a significant and incremental discount to the customer, we recognize revenue at an average per-transaction rate. This results in a deferred revenue balance and requires us to estimate future volumes over the life of an arrangement. Adjustments to estimates of future volumes result in adjustments to revenue.
Revenue on cost-plus contracts is recognized as services are performed, based on costs incurred plus the negotiated fee earned. In certain contracts with the U.S. Federal Government, we may be paid an award fee, based upon the quality of the service we perform. Where this fee can be objectively determined, it is recognized ratably over the period of performance, which is between four and six months. Where the fee cannot be determined objectively, all revenue is deferred until the fee has been earned.
We recognize revenue on fixed-priced contracts when earned, as services are provided. Revenue is generally recognized on a straight-line basis unless evidence suggests that revenue is earned or obligations are fulfilled in a different pattern. The timing of expense recognition may result in irregular profit margins.
Revenue on time-and-materials contracts is recognized as services are performed, based on hours worked and expenses incurred.
Where contracts have multiple deliverables, we evaluate these deliverables at the inception of each contract and as each item is delivered. As part of this evaluation, we consider whether a delivered item has value to a customer on a stand-alone basis and whether the delivery of the undelivered items is considered probable and substantially within our control, if a general right of return exists. Where deliverables, or groups of deliverables, have both of these characteristics, we treat each deliverable item as a separate element in the arrangement, allocate a portion of the allocable arrangement consideration using the estimated relative selling price method to each element and apply the relevant revenue recognition guidance to each element.
Sales and purchases in jurisdictions subject to indirect taxes, such as value added tax, are recorded net of tax collected and paid.
New accounting standards
New accounting standards
We have adopted two new accounting standard updates during the current fiscal year.
In March 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-09, Stock Compensation, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. We adopted this standard in fiscal year 2017. The new standard requires us to record the tax benefit or expense related to the vesting of RSUs or the exercise of stock options within our provision for income taxes in the consolidated statement of operations; this benefit was previously reported in the statement of changes in shareholders’ equity. The cash flow effects of the tax benefit are now reported in cash flows from operations; they were previously in cash flows from financing activities. The new standard allows us more flexibility in net settling RSUs as they vest. The new standard also allows for changes in accounting for the forfeiture of stock awards; we will continue to estimate our stock award forfeitures as we expense each award. This new standard has had the following effects in fiscal year 2017:
During the year ended September 30, 2017, approximately 0.5 million shares were issued through the vesting of RSUs and the exercise of stock options, resulting in a decrease in our provision for income taxes of $6.6 million and a corresponding benefit to our cash flows from operations.
Our diluted weighted average shares outstanding was higher by approximately 90,000 shares than it would have been if the former standard had been in place.
The combination of these factors resulted in a net increase of $0.10 to our basic and diluted earnings per share for the year ended September 30, 2017, compared to what would have been recorded under the former accounting guidance.
The new standard does not require us to adjust previously reported results. Accordingly, we have made no changes to our consolidated statements of operations, cash flows or changes in shareholders' equity for any comparative periods.
In August 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-15, Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity's Ability to Continue as a Going Concern. The new standard requires us to evaluate whether there are conditions or events that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern and to provide related footnote disclosures in certain circumstances. This new standard would only affect our financial reporting in the event that substantial doubt over our existence was identified. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the financial statements.
We are evaluating the effects of guidance issued in two significant areas of financial reporting. These new standards will have a significant effect on how we report and disclose transactions.
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. In addition, the FASB has issued additional updates covering technical items and changing the date of adoption. This new standard will change the manner in which we evaluate revenue recognition for all contracts with customers, although the effect of the changes on revenue recognition will vary from contract to contract. We will adopt this standard during our 2019 fiscal year. We have established a cross-functional steering committee which includes representatives from across all our business and support segments. The steering committee is responsible for evaluating the impact of the standard on our operations including accounting, taxation, internal audit and financial systems. Our approach to analyzing these impacts includes reviewing our current accounting policies and practices to identify potential differences that will result from applying the requirements of the new standard to our existing contracts. In addition, we are in the process of evaluating the changes needed to our business processes, systems and controls in order to support revenue recognition and the related disclosures under the new standard. The standard permits a retrospective or cumulative effect transition method. We anticipate that we will adopt the new standard using the retrospective method.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases. The new standard will change the manner in which we will present our leasing arrangements. We will adopt this standard during our 2020 fiscal year. We are evaluating the likely effects on our business.
We are also evaluating the effect of a new standard related to goodwill impairment. This standard would only have a significant effect on our results if our goodwill balance was determined to be impaired.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment. This standard will not change the manner in which we would identify a goodwill impairment but would change the manner of the calculation of any resulting impairment. Under existing guidance, we would calculate goodwill for each of our reporting units by calculating the fair value of all existing assets and liabilities within that reporting unit and comparing this to the fair value of the reporting unit; to the extent that this difference is less than our existing goodwill balance related to that reporting unit, we would record an impairment. The new standard will require us to calculate goodwill based upon the difference between the fair value and reported value of a reporting unit. This standard would be effective for our 2021 fiscal year, although early adoption is permitted. We do not anticipate any significant effect on our financial statements as a result of adopting this standard.
Cash and cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents
We consider all highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. Where we are obliged to hold cash balances as collateral for lease, credit card or letter of credit arrangements, or where we hold funds on behalf of clients, this balance is reported within other current assets. These restricted cash balances totaled $13.5 million and $14.1 million at September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Accounts receivable - billed, billable and unbilled
Accounts receivable—billed, billable and unbilled
Billed receivables are balances where an invoice has been prepared and issued and is collectible under standard contract terms.
Many of our clients require invoices to be prepared on a monthly basis. Where we anticipate that an invoice will be issued within a short period of time and where the funds are considered collectible from within standard contract terms, we include this balance as billable accounts receivable.
Both billed and billable balances are recorded at their face amount less an allowance for doubtful accounts. We re-evaluate our client receivables on a quarterly basis, especially receivables that are past due, and reassess our allowance for doubtful accounts based on specific client collection issues.
We present unbilled receivables as a separate component of our consolidated balance sheet. Unbilled receivables represents a timing difference between when amounts are billed or billable and when revenue has been recognized or has occurred as of period end. The timing of these billings is generally driven by the contractual terms, which may have billing milestones which are different from revenue recognition milestones. Our unbilled receivables balance also includes retainage balances, where customers may hold back payment for work performed for a period of time to allow opportunities to evaluate the quality of our performance. Our unbilled receivable balance is recorded at fair value which is the value which we expect to invoice for the services performed, once the criteria for billing have been met.
Business combinations and goodwill
Business combinations and goodwill
The purchase price of an acquired business is allocated to tangible assets, separately identifiable intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based upon their respective fair values. Any excess balance is recorded as goodwill. Costs incurred directly related to an acquisition, including legal, accounting and valuation services, are expensed as incurred.
Intangible assets are separately identified and recorded at fair value. These assets are amortized on a straight-line basis over useful lives estimated at the time of the business combination.
Goodwill is not amortized but is subject to impairment testing on an annual basis, or more frequently if impairment indicators arise. Impairment testing is performed at the reporting unit level. A reporting unit is the operating segment, or a business one level below that operating segment (the component level) if discrete financial information is prepared and reviewed regularly by segment management. However, components are aggregated if they have similar economic characteristics. The evaluation is performed by comparing the fair value of the relevant reporting unit to the carrying value, including goodwill, of the reporting unit. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds the carrying value, no impairment loss is recognized. However, if the carrying value of the reporting unit exceeds the fair value, the goodwill of the reporting unit may be impaired.
Our reporting units are consistent with our operating segments, Health Services, U.S. Federal Services and Human Services. We perform our annual impairment test as of July 1 of each year. We performed the annual impairment test, as of July 1, 2017, and determined that there had been no impairment of goodwill. In performing this assessment, we utilized an income approach. Such an approach requires estimation of future operating cash flows including business growth, utilization of working capital and discount rates. The valuation of the business as a whole is compared to our market value at the date of the test in order to verify the calculation.
Long-lived assets (excluding goodwill)
Long-lived assets (excluding goodwill)
Property and equipment is recorded at cost. Depreciation is recorded over the assets' respective useful economic lives using the straight-line method, which are not to exceed 39 years for our buildings and seven years for office furniture and equipment. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of their useful life or the remaining term of the lease. Repairs and maintenance costs are expensed as incurred.
All of the Company's capitalized software represents development costs for software that is intended for our internal use. Direct costs of time and material incurred for the development of application software for internal use are capitalized and depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the software, ranging from three to eight years. Costs incurred for upgrades and enhancements that do not result in additional functionality are expensed as incurred.
Deferred contract costs consist of contractually recoverable direct set-up costs related to long-term service contracts. These costs include direct and incremental costs incurred prior to the commencement of providing service to our customer. These costs are expensed over the period the services are provided using the straight-line method.
We review long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be fully recoverable. Our review is based on our projection of the undiscounted future operating cash flows of the related asset group. To the extent such projections indicate that future undiscounted cash flows are not sufficient to recover the carrying amount, we recognize a non-cash impairment charge to reduce the carrying amount to equal projected future discounted cash flows.
Income taxes
Income taxes
Deferred tax liabilities and assets are determined based on the difference between the financial statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities and are measured by applying enacted tax rates and laws for the taxable years in which those differences are expected to reverse. In addition, a valuation allowance is recorded if it is believed more likely than not that a deferred tax asset will not be fully realized.
We recognize the financial statement benefit of a tax position only after determining that the relevant tax authority would "more likely than not" sustain the position following an audit. For tax positions meeting the "more likely than not" threshold, the amount recognized in the financial statements is the largest benefit that has a greater than 50 percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement with the relevant tax authority.
Foreign currency
Foreign currency
For all foreign operations, the functional currency is the local currency. The assets and liabilities of foreign operations are translated into U.S. Dollars at period-end exchange rates, and revenue and expenses are translated at average exchange rates for the year. The resulting cumulative translation adjustment is included in accumulated other comprehensive income on the consolidated balance sheet. Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions are included in other income, net.
From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings, including contract and employment claims, in the ordinary course of business. We assess the likelihood of any adverse judgments or outcomes to these contingencies, as well as potential ranges of probable losses and establish reserves accordingly. The amount of reserves required may change in future periods due to new developments in each matter or changes in approach to a matter such as a change in settlement strategy.
Fair value measurements
Fair value measurements
Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in the principal or most advantageous market in an orderly transaction between marketplace participants.
Assets and liabilities subject to fair value measurements are required to be disclosed within a fair value hierarchy. The fair value hierarchy ranks the quality and reliability of inputs used to determine fair value. Accordingly, assets and liabilities carried at, or permitted to be carried at, fair value are classified within the fair value hierarchy in one of the following categories based on the lowest level input that is significant in measuring fair value:
Level 1 - Fair value is determined by using unadjusted quoted prices that are available in active markets for identical assets and liabilities.
Level 2 - Fair value is determined by using inputs other than Level 1 quoted prices that are directly or indirectly observable. Inputs can include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets or quoted prices for identical assets and liabilities in inactive markets. Related inputs can also include those used in valuation or other pricing models such as interest rates and yield curves that can be corroborated by observable market data.
Level 3 - Fair value is determined by using inputs that are unobservable and not corroborated by market data. Use of these inputs involves significant and subjective judgment.
The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable and other amounts included within current assets and liabilities that meet the definition of a financial instrument approximate fair value due to the short-term nature of these balances.
We hold investments in a Rabbi Trust on behalf of our deferred compensation plan. These assets are recorded on our consolidated balance sheet at fair value under the heading of "Deferred Compensation Plan Assets". These assets have quoted prices in active markets (Level 1). See "Note 13. Employee benefit plans and deferred compensation" for further details.
We have two acquisitions where our payment is contingent upon events which take place after the acquisition date. The related liability is recorded on our consolidated balance sheet as a liability at estimated fair value and updated on a quarterly basis as an acquisition-related expense or benefit. The valuation of this liability is derived from internal estimates of future performance and not from inputs that are observable (Level 3).