Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2021
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
(a)Basis of Presentation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, and have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or U.S. GAAP, and the rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
The consolidated financial statements and notes of the Company include its subsidiaries over which the Company has a controlling financial interest.
The Company's fiscal year ends on September 30 and unless otherwise noted, references to fiscal year or fiscal are for fiscal years ended September 30. The accompanying consolidated financial statements present the financial position of the Company as of September 30, 2021 and 2020 and the Company's results of operations for fiscal 2021, 2020, and 2019.
The preparation of these financial statements, in conformity with U.S. GAAP, requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent liabilities, and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses. At each reporting period end, we make estimates, including those related to revenue recognition and cost estimation on certain contracts, the realizability of goodwill, and amounts related to income taxes, certain accrued liabilities, and contingencies and litigation.
We base our estimates on historical experience and expectations of the future that we believe to be reasonable. The economic and political effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic increase uncertainty, which has reduced our ability to use past results to estimate future performance. Accordingly, our estimates may be subject to greater volatility than has been the case in the past.
Our balance sheet includes a number of long-lived assets, including property and equipment, capitalized software, operating lease right-of-use assets, deferred contract costs, and intangible assets. These assets are depreciated or amortized over their estimated useful economic lives but are subject to impairment if events indicate that the carrying amounts may not be recoverable.
As disclosed in "Note 4. Revenue Recognition," revenue for some of our employment services contracts in the Outside the U.S. Segment is based upon achievement of future outcomes as defined in each contract. Specifically, we are paid as individuals attain employment goals, which may take many months to achieve. Revenue is recognized on these contracts over the period of performance. Employment markets worldwide suffered a significant shock during fiscal year 2020 due to COVID-19, which resulted in significant reductions in work performed and outcomes reached. Although we experienced some recovery in fiscal year 2021, this revenue remains volatile.
As disclosed in "Note 6. Business Combinations," we acquired three businesses during fiscal year 2021. For assets acquired and liabilities assumed, we are required to identify and recognize these balances at their fair value as of the date of acquisition.
(c)Cash and Cash Equivalents
The company considers all highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents.
Restricted cash represents funds that are held in our bank accounts but which we are precluded from using for general business needs through contractual requirements; these requirements include serving as collateral bonds and letters of credit or where we hold funds on behalf of clients. We report our restricted cash balances within "prepaid expenses and other current assets" on our balance sheet.
(d)Revenue Recognition
We recognize revenue as, or when, we satisfy performance obligations under a contract. We account for a contract when the parties approved the contract and are committed to perform on it, the rights of each party and the payment terms are identified, the contract has commercial substance, and it is probable that we will collect substantially all of the consideration. A performance obligation is a promise in a contract to transfer a distinct good or service, or a series of distinct goods or services, to a customer. The transaction price of a contract must be allocated to each performance obligation and recognized as the performance obligation is satisfied.
Although our services may have many components, these components are not necessarily distinct performance obligations as they may be interdependent on or interrelated to each other. Where our contracts contain more than one performance obligation, we allocate the contract's transaction price to each performance obligation using our best estimate of the standalone selling price of each component. This method will vary from contract to contract. Where available, we utilize standalone selling prices of similar components. If this information is unavailable, we utilize a suitable metric to allocate selling price, such as costs incurred.
In most cases, we view our performance obligations as promises to transfer a series of distinct services to our customer that are substantially the same and which have the same pattern of service. We recognize revenue over the performance period as a customer receives the benefits of our services. This continuous transfer of control is supported by the unilateral right of many of our customers to terminate contracts for convenience, without having to provide justification for this decision. Where we are reimbursed on a cost-plus basis, we recognize revenue based upon our costs incurred to date; where we are reimbursed on a fixed price basis, we recognize revenue based upon an appropriate output measure that may be time elapsed or another measure within the contract. When we have variable fees, such as revenue related to the volume of work or award fees, we allocate that revenue to the distinct periods of service to which they relate. In estimating our variable fees, we are required to constrain our estimates to the extent that it is probable that there will not be a significant reversal of cumulative revenue when the uncertainty is resolved.
Other performance obligations are satisfied at a point in time, rather than over time. We recognize revenue only when the customer received control over the goods provided. Revenue recognition on these performance obligations does not require a significant level of judgment or estimation.
Where we have contract modifications, these are reviewed to determine whether they should be accounted for as part of the original performance obligation or as a separate contract. Where the modification changes the scope or price and the additional performance obligations are at their standalone selling price, these services are considered a separate contract. Where there is a modification and the additional performance obligations are not at their standalone selling price, we consider whether those performance obligations are distinct from those already delivered. If services are distinct from those already provided, the contract is accounted for prospectively, as though the original contract had been terminated and a new arrangement entered into. Where the modification includes goods or services which are not distinct from those already provided, we record a cumulative adjustment to revenue based upon a remeasurement of progress towards the complete satisfaction of performance obligations not yet fully delivered.
(e)Accounts Receivable-Billed, Billable, and Unbilled and Deferred Revenue
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 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 credit losses over the contractual payment terms of the receivable. The Company periodically reassesses these amounts by analyzing reasonably available information as of the balance sheet date, including the length of time that the receivable has been outstanding, historical bad debts and aging trends, and other general and contract specific factors.
We present billed, billable, and unbilled receivables as one component on our consolidated balance sheets. Our deferred revenue is presented as a separate item on our consolidated balance sheet, broken out by current and long term portion. These balances represent timing differences 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 that 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. The balance also includes estimated fees where performance outcomes are anticipated but have not yet been achieved. Our unbilled receivable balance is recorded at fair value that is the value which we expect to invoice for the services performed once the objective criteria laid out by the contract have been met. We defer revenue where we receive up-front funds to establish the infrastructure needed for a long-term contract.
(f)Credit Risk
Credit risk has not historically been significant to our business due to the nature of our customers. For example, many of our U.S. state government agency programs receive significant federal funding. We believe that the credit risk associated with our receivables is limited due to the creditworthiness of our customers.
(g)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.
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. We have the option to assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, including goodwill. If we conclude that such an impairment is not more-likely-than-not in all cases, no impairment is recorded. If such an impairment is more-likely-than-not, or if we choose to bypass this qualitative assessment, an 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 is determined to be impaired.
Our reporting units are consistent with our operating segments, U.S. Services, U.S. Federal Services, and Outside the U.S. We perform our annual impairment test as of July 1 of each year. We performed the annual impairment test using the qualitative assessment as of July 1, 2021, and concluded it was not more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting units was less than the carrying amounts.
(h)Intangible Assets
The majority of our intangible assets are acquired through business combinations. They are separately identified and recorded at fair value.
We use judgment in identifying, valuing, and assigning a useful economic life to assets as they are acquired. The judgments required vary with the type of asset but may include projections of future results, estimated costs to recreate or replace assets, the cost of utilizing other, similar assets provided by a third party, and an appropriate cost of capital. Where appropriate, we utilize the services of a third-party specialist to assist us in these valuations. We amortize our intangible assets over their estimated useful lives on a straight-line basis. We believe this reflects the manner in which the value from our customer relationships, technology, and other assets is realized by the business.
(i)Property and Equipment
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 7 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.
(j)Capitalized Software
All of the Company's capitalized software represents development costs for software that is intended for our internal use. Direct costs of time and materials incurred for the development of application software for internal use are capitalized and amortized 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.
(k)Deferred Contract Costs
Deferred contract costs consist of contractually recoverable costs to fulfill 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.
(l)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.
(m)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 loss on our consolidated balance sheets. Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions are included in "other (expense)/income, net" on our consolidated statements of operations.
From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings, including contract and employment claims. 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.
We are also subject to audits by our government clients on many of our contracts based upon measures such as costs incurred or transactions processed. These audits may take place several years after a contract has been completed. We maintain reserves where we believe the loss is probable and we are able to estimate any potential liability.
(o)Fair Value Measurements
U.S. GAAP provides a framework for measuring fair value, establishes a fair value hierarchy of the valuation techniques used to measure the fair value, and requires certain disclosures relating to fair value measurements. Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between marketplace participants.
The three-tier fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used in measuring fair value is as follows:
Level 1 - Observable inputs such as quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that a Company has ability to access;
Level 2 - Inputs, other than the quoted market prices included in Level 1, which are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly; and
Level 3 - Unobservable inputs for the asset or liability which is typically based on an entity's own assumptions when there is little, if any, related market data available.
The Company evaluates assets and liabilities subject to fair value measurements on a recurring and non-recurring basis to determine the appropriate level to classify them for each reporting period. This determination requires significant judgments to be made by the Company. The fair values of receivables, prepaids, other assets, accounts payable, accrued costs, and other current liabilities approximate the carrying values as a result of the short-term nature of these instruments.
The Company holds investments in a Rabbi Trust on behalf of our deferred compensation plan. These assets are recorded on our consolidated balance sheets at fair value under the heading of "Deferred compensation plan assets." These assets have quoted prices in active markets (Level 1). See "Note 21. Employee Benefit Plans and Deferred Compensation" for further details.
We recorded contingent consideration payment related to acquisitions that may be paid between now and 2022. The related liabilities are recorded on our consolidated balance sheets at estimated fair value under the heading "Other liabilities" 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). See "Note 6. Business Combinations" for further details.
We enter into contractual arrangements primarily for the use of real estate facilities, information technology equipment, and certain other equipment. These arrangements contain a lease when we control the underlying asset and have the right to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits or outputs from the asset. Where contracts include both lease and non-lease components, we do not typically separate the non-lease components in our accounting. The majority of our leases are operating leases.
At the inception of a lease, we recognize a liability for future minimum lease payments based upon the present value of those payments.
In identifying our future minimum lease payments, we do not include variable lease costs, such as those for maintenance or utilities. These are recorded as lease expenses in the period in which they are incurred.
In identifying future lease payments, we do not include short-term leases, identified as those with an initial term of twelve months or less.
Lease options are included within our lease liability only where it is reasonably certain that we will utilize those periods of the lease and incur the related costs.
In calculating the fair value of our lease liability, we utilize an estimate of our collateralized incremental borrowing rate. This estimate is based upon publicly-available information adjusted for company, country, and lease specific factors. The weighted average incremental borrowing rate utilized as of September 30, 2021 was 3.4%.
Over the course of a lease, the lease liability is reduced as scheduled lease payments are made and increased as the implied interest charges are added.
Our right-of-use asset is based upon the lease liability at the contract inception but is adjusted over the life of the lease by lease prepayments, additional costs or lease incentives. The right-of-use asset is amortized on a straight-line basis over the lease term, offset by the interest accretion recorded on the lease liability.
Lease expense is recorded within our consolidated statements of operations based upon the nature of the assets. Where assets are used to directly serve our customers, such as facilities dedicated to customer contracts, lease costs are recorded in "cost of revenue." Facilities and assets which serve management and support functions are expensed through "selling, general, and administrative expenses."
(q)Stock Compensation Plan
We grant both restricted stock units ("RSUs") and performance stock units ("PSUs") to eligible participants under our 2017 Equity Incentive Plan, which was approved by the Board of Directors and stockholders.
The fair value of each RSU is equal to the market price of our common stock at the date of the grant, which is expensed ratably over the vesting period. The RSUs granted vest ratably over one, four, or five years, in each case from the grant date. All individuals who are granted RSUs also receive dividend-equivalent payments in the form of additional RSUs. However, until the shares are issued, they have no voting rights and may not be bought or sold. In the event that an award is forfeited, the dividend-equivalent payments received by the holder with respect to that award are also forfeited. We estimate our stock award forfeitures as we expense each award.
We have issued two types of PSUs. Half of those issued will vest after three years based upon the business reaching certain profit metrics. The expense for these awards is based upon the share price at the date of grant and the number of awards which we expect to vest based upon anticipated performance. The other PSUs are based upon the performance of our stock price against the S&P MidCap 400. The fair value for these awards was based upon a fair value calculated at the grant date. These awards are expensed over three years.
Additionally, we have a retirement provision whereby we recognize total compensation expense of the awards for eligible participants through the end of their service period.
(r)Derivative Instruments
The Company uses derivative instruments to manage interest rate exposure. All derivative instruments must be recorded on the balance sheet at fair value.
Currently, the Company is using an interest rate swap contract to lock a portion of the variability of the interest payments on long-term debt. The Company elected to designate these derivative instruments as cash flow hedges in accordance with ASC 815-20, Derivatives – Hedging. For derivative contracts designated as cash flow hedges, the effective portion of changes in the fair value of the derivative is recorded to accumulated other comprehensive income and is reclassified to earnings when the underlying forecasted transaction affects earnings. Cash flows from derivative instruments are included in net cash provided by operating activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows. The Company reassesses the probability of the underlying forecasted transactions occurring on a quarterly basis.
(s)Recent Accounting Standards
Accounting Standards Recently Adopted
In August 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued ASU No. 2018-15, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other - Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40) - Customer's Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Arrangement That Is a Service Contract. This accounting guidance requires customers in cloud-computing arrangements to identify and defer certain implementation costs in a manner broadly consistent with that of existing guidance on the costs to develop or obtain internal-use software. Costs capitalized under this guidance will be expensed over the term of the cloud computing arrangement. We adopted this guidance on October 1, 2020, using a prospective approach.
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments. This update introduces a new model for recognizing credit losses on financial instruments, including losses on accounts receivable. This update replaced the existing incurred loss impairment model with an expected loss model. We adopted this guidance on October 1, 2020, with no material impact to our financial statements.
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 any subsequent calculation of an impairment charge. We adopted this standard on October 1, 2020. The effect of this new standard will depend upon the outcome of future goodwill impairment tests.