Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Business and summary of significant accounting policies

Business and summary of significant accounting policies
12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2020
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Business and summary of significant accounting policies Business and summary of significant accounting policies
Description of business
Maximus, Inc. (the "Company", "Maximus" or "we") is a leading operator of government health and human services programs worldwide.
Principles of consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Maximus, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries (the "financial statements"). All intercompany balances and transactions were eliminated in consolidation. Certain financial results were reclassified to conform with our current period presentation.
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 preparation of these financial statements, in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States (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 impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic increases uncertainty, which has reduced our ability to use past results to estimate future performance. Accordingly, our estimates may be subject to greater volatility than in the past.
Our balance sheet includes goodwill valued at $593.1 million. This balance is allocated between reporting units, which are consistent with our three operating segments. Goodwill is not amortized but is tested for impairment when necessary and no less than once per year. We performed our last annual goodwill impairment test as of July 1, 2020 using a qualitative assessment. As of July 1, 2020, none of our reporting units showed any signs of impairment.
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. Initial asset lives may be shortened based upon circumstances such as contract terminations or changes in capital strategy. Where this occurs, we may need to accelerate our depreciation or amortization charges. These assets are subject to impairment if events indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. At this time, there are no significant balances which we believe are not recoverable.
Our balance sheet includes $786.2 million of billed, billable and unbilled accounts receivable, net of reserves. We regularly evaluate this balance for recoverability and reserve those balances where we no longer believe that collection is probable. Bad debt expense has not historically been significant to our business due to the nature of our customers. During the year ended September 30, 2020, we recorded bad debt expense of $2.8 million. We reserved balances against customers who we believe that we may not be reimbursed for work performed.
As disclosed in "Note 3. Revenue recognition," revenue for some of our welfare-to-work 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 the second quarter of the current fiscal year and many employment opportunities were terminated or are no longer available. While we expect the volume of new program participants to increase as a result of disruption to employment markets, participants in programs prior to March 2020 experienced reduced opportunities to reach sustained employment. This resulted in revised estimates to our outcome fees and a reduction in our unbilled revenue balance. During the three months ended March 31, 2020, we recorded adjustments to revenue of approximately $24 million related to changes in estimates from these contracts. This reduced our net income and diluted earnings per share by approximately $18 million and $0.28, respectively. We have continued to update our estimates through the remainder of the year. At September 30, 2020 and 2019, we recorded $24.8 million and $47.0 million of these estimated outcome fees which will be collected when we reach the targets we anticipate.
Many of our contracts in U.S. are cost-plus contracts, where we are reimbursed for costs that are allowable, allocable and reasonable. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are incurring incremental and unusual costs, including additional sick pay and idle labor for employees who are unable to perform services due to their health issues, child care issues or physical restrictions imposed on their workplace. Although the U.S. Federal Government, which provides the majority of our cost-plus contracts, provided regular guidance, there is some uncertainty within other contracts as to recoverable costs.
Changes in financial reporting adopted in fiscal year 2020
Effective October 1, 2019, we adopted ASU No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). The new standard requires that assets and liabilities arising under leases be recognized on the balance sheet, except for those with an initial term of less than twelve months. We adopted this standard using a modified retrospective approach. Accordingly, we did not recast prior period financial information. Certain elections were made in adopting the standard.
We elected to use the package of practical expedients, which, among other things, allows us to not reassess historical lease classification.
We do not separate lease and non-lease components for all classes of leases, which allows us to account for a lease as a single component.
We used the optional transition method, which did not require us to recast our comparative periods.
We did not use the hindsight practical expedients, which would allow us to use hindsight in determining the reasonably certain lease term.
We did not adjust our accounting for leases with an initial term of twelve months or less.

Upon adopting Topic 842, we recognized a lease liability of $214.5 million, reflecting the present value of the future remaining minimum lease payments. Changes to our opening balance sheet are summarized below. There was no cumulative impact to our retained earnings and the changes did not cause any material changes in our statements of operations or our statements of cash flows. The adoption of Topic 842 does not affect our compliance with our existing contracts, including our corporate credit facility.
(in thousands) Balance at September 30, 2019 Adjustments due to adoption of new standard Opening balance at October 1, 2019
Prepaid expenses and other current assets $ 62,481  $ (6,131) $ 56,350 
Operating lease right-of-use assets —  206,314  206,314 
Liabilities and shareholders' equity
Accounts payable and accrued expenses 177,786  (5,250) 172,536 
Operating lease liabilities, current portion —  88,276  88,276 
Other current liabilities 12,709  (648) 12,061 
Operating lease liabilities, less current portion —  126,197  126,197 
Other long-term liabilities 20,082  (8,392) 11,690 
At the adoption of Topic 842, the Company recognized deferred tax assets and liabilities corresponding to the operating lease liabilities and operating right-of-use assets, respectively. These balances offset each other and therefore there was no net effect resulted from this change.
Additional information and disclosures relating to this change are included within "Note 4. Leases."
Anticipated changes in financial reporting
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. We will adopt this guidance on October 1, 2020, using a prospective approach. Accordingly, this standard will only affect our future financial statements.
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. We will adopt this guidance on October 1, 2020, and any changes will be recorded as a cumulative adjustment to retained earnings. We do not expect the adoption of this standard or its application in future periods to have a material effect on 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 will adopt this standard on October 1, 2020. The effect of this new standard will depend upon the outcome of future goodwill impairment tests.
We are subject to agreements that reference the London Interbank Offering Rate (LIBOR). Between now and December 2022, we anticipate that agreements with LIBOR will be updated to reflect the transition from this rate to alternative reference rates. In March 2020, FASB issued ASU 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848): Facilitation of the Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting. This standard is intended to provide temporary optional expedients and exceptions on contract modifications and hedge accounting to ease the financial reporting burdens related to this expected market transition. This standard is effective for all entities upon issuance through December 31, 2022. We are assessing the impact of the market transition and this standard.
Other recent accounting pronouncements are not expected to have a material effect on our financial statements.
Revenue Recognition
Beginning October 1, 2018, we recognize revenue in accordance with Accounting Standard Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). We adopted this standard using the modified retrospective method; accordingly, only periods after October 1, 2018, utilize Topic 606.
Under Topic 606, 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.
The majority of our contracts have performance obligations that are satisfied over time. 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.
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 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 and deferred revenue as separate components of our consolidated balance sheets. 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.
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. 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 may 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, 2020, and concluded it was not more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting units was less than the carrying amounts.
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 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.
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 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. During the years ending September 30, 2020 and 2019, we recorded impairment charges of $1.2 million and $3.7 million on long-lived assets within our U.S. Services Segment relating to underperforming contracts. No impairment charges were recorded in the year ended September 30, 2018.
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
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 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 are able to estimate any potential liability.
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 sheets at fair value under the heading of "Deferred compensation plan assets." These assets have quoted prices in active markets (Level 1). See "Note 12. 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 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).