Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Apr. 30, 2013
Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

1. Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Nature of Business

               Korn/Ferry International, a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), and its subsidiaries are engaged in the business of providing talent management solutions, including executive recruitment on a retained basis, recruitment process outsourcing and leadership & talent consulting services. The Company’s worldwide network of 87 offices in 37 countries enables it to meet the needs of its clients in all industries.

Basis of Consolidation and Presentation

The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly and majority owned/controlled domestic and international subsidiaries. All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation. The preparation of the consolidated financial statements conform with United States (“U.S.”) generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and prevailing practice within the industry. The consolidated financial statements include all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring accruals and any other adjustments that management considers necessary for a fair presentation of the results for these periods.

As previously announced, beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the Company disaggregated its previous reported business segment, Executive Recruitment, into two business segments, Executive Recruitment and Leadership & Talent Consulting (“LTC”). The Company now operates in three global business segments, as described in more detail in Note 11 – Business Segments.

The Company has revised comparative segment information to reflect the new global business segment structure. The adjusted segment information constitutes a reclassification and had no impact on reported net income or earnings per share for preceding periods. This change does not restate information previously reported in the consolidated statements of income, consolidated balance sheets, comprehensive income, consolidated statements of stockholders’ equity or consolidated statements of cash flows for the Company for preceding periods.

Investments in affiliated companies, which are 50% or less owned and where the Company exercises significant influence over operations, are accounted for using the equity method. Dividends received from our unconsolidated subsidiaries were approximately $1.9 million, $1.7 million and $1.6 million during fiscal 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

The Company considers events or transactions that occur after the balance sheet date but before the consolidated financial statements are issued to provide additional evidence relative to certain estimates or to identify matters that require additional disclosures.

Use of Estimates and Uncertainties

The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from these estimates, and changes in estimates are reported in current operations as new information is learned or upon the amounts becoming fixed and determinable. The most significant areas that require management judgment are revenue recognition, restructuring, deferred compensation, annual performance related bonus, evaluation of the carrying value of receivables, marketable securities, goodwill and other intangible assets, fair value of contingent consideration, share-based payments and the recoverability of deferred income taxes.


Revenue Recognition

Substantially all professional fee revenue is derived from fees for professional services related to executive recruitment performed on a retained basis, recruitment for non-executive professionals, recruitment process outsourcing and leadership & talent consulting services. Fee revenue from executive recruitment activities and recruitment for non-executive professionals are generally one-third of the estimated first year cash compensation of the placed executive plus a percentage of the fee to cover indirect expenses. The Company generally recognizes revenue straight-line over a three month period, commencing upon client acceptance, as this is the period over which the recruitment services are performed. Fees earned in excess of the initial contract amount are recognized upon completion of the engagement, which reflect the difference between the final actual compensation of the placed executive and the estimate used for purposes of the previous billings. Since the initial contract fees are generally not contingent upon placement of a candidate, our assumptions primarily relate to establishing the period over which such service is performed. These assumptions determine the timing of revenue recognition and profitability for the reported period. Any services that are provided on a contingent basis are recognized once the contingency is fulfilled. In addition to recruitment for non-executive professionals, Futurestep provides recruitment process outsourcing services and fee revenue is recognized as services are rendered. Fee revenue from LTC services is recognized as services are rendered for consulting engagements and other time based services, measured by total hours incurred to the total estimated hours at completion. It is possible that updated estimates for the consulting engagement may vary from initial estimates with such updates being recognized in the period of determination. LTC revenue is also derived from the sale of solution services, which includes revenue from licenses and from the sale of products. Revenue from licenses is recognized using a straight-line method over the term of the contract (generally 12 months), which begins upon execution and is invoiced in the same month. Products sold by the Company mainly consist of books covering a variety of topics including performance management, team effectiveness, and coaching and development. The Company recognizes revenue for its products when the product has been sold.


The Company incurs certain out-of-pocket expenses that are reimbursed by its clients, which are accounted for as revenue in its consolidated statements of income.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

An allowance is established for doubtful accounts by taking a charge to general and administrative expenses. The amount of the allowance is based on historical loss experience, assessment of the collectability of specific accounts, as well as expectations of future collections based upon trends and the type of work for which services are rendered. After the Company exhausts all collection efforts, the amount of the allowance is reduced for balances identified as uncollectible.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

The Company considers all highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents.

Restricted Cash

The Company had $2.9 million and $10.0 million of restricted cash at April 30, 2013 and 2012, respectively, related to standby letters of credit associated with certain leases for premises, which is included in investments and other assets in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets (see Note 10 — Long-Term Debt).

Marketable Securities

The Company currently has investments in marketable securities and mutual funds which are classified as either trading securities or available-for-sale, based upon management’s intent and ability to hold, sell or trade such securities. The classification of the investments in these marketable securities and mutual funds is assessed upon purchase and reassessed at each reporting period. These investments are recorded at fair value and are classified as marketable securities in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. The investments that the Company may sell within the next twelve months, are carried as current assets. Realized gains (losses) on marketable securities are determined by specific identification. Investments are made based on the Company’s investment policy which restricts the types of investments that can be made. Interest is recognized on an accrual basis, dividends are recorded as earned on the ex-dividend date. Interest and dividend income are recorded in the accompanying consolidated statements of income in interest expense, net.


The Company’s investments in mutual funds, (for which market prices are readily available), are held in trust to satisfy obligations under the Company’s deferred compensation plans (see Note 5 — Marketable Securities), are classified as trading securities. The changes in fair values on trading securities are recorded in the accompanying consolidated statements of income in other income (loss), net.

The Company also invests cash in excess of its daily operating requirements and capital needs primarily in marketable fixed income (debt) securities in accordance with the Company’s investment policy. The Company’s investment portfolio includes corporate bonds, commercial paper and U. S. Treasury and agency securities. These marketable fixed income (debt) securities are classified as available-for-sale securities based on management’s decision, at the date such securities are acquired, not to hold these securities to maturity or actively trade them. The Company carries these marketable debt securities at fair value based on the market prices for these marketable debt securities or similar debt securities whose prices are readily available. The changes in fair values, net of applicable taxes, are recorded as unrealized gains or losses as a component of comprehensive income. When, in the opinion of management, a decline in the fair value of an investment below its amortized cost is considered to be “other-than-temporary,” a credit loss is recorded in the statement of income in other income (loss), net; any amount in excess of the credit loss is recorded as unrealized gains or losses as a component of comprehensive income. Generally, the amount of the loss is the difference between the cost or amortized cost and its then current fair value; a credit loss is the difference between the discounted expected future cash flows to be collected from the debt security and the cost or amortized cost of the debt security. The determination of the other-than-temporary decline includes, in addition to other relevant factors, a presumption that if the market value is below cost by a significant amount for a period of time, a write-down may be necessary. During fiscal 2013, 2012 and 2011, no other-than-temporary impairment was recognized.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

Fair value is the price the Company would receive to sell an asset or transfer a liability (exit price) in an orderly transaction between market participants. For those assets and liabilities recorded or disclosed at fair value, the Company determines the fair value based upon the quoted market price, if available. If a quoted market price is not available for identical assets, the fair value is based upon the quoted market price of similar assets. The fair values are assigned a level within the fair value hierarchy as defined below:



Level 1:    Observable inputs such as quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for identical, unrestricted assets or liabilities.



Level 2:    Inputs other than quoted prices that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. These include quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets and quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active.



Level 3:    Unobservable inputs that reflect the reporting entity’s own assumptions.

As of April 30, 2013 and 2012, the Company held certain assets that are required to be measured at fair value on a recurring basis. These included cash equivalents and marketable securities. The carrying amount of cash, cash equivalents and accounts receivable approximates fair value due to the short maturity of these instruments. The fair values of marketable securities classified as trading are obtained from quoted market prices, and the fair values of marketable securities classified as available-for-sale are obtained from a third party, which are based on quoted prices or market prices for similar assets.

Business Acquisitions

Business acquisitions are accounted for under the acquisition method. The acquisition method requires the reporting entity to identify the acquirer, determine the acquisition date, recognize and measure the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed and any non-controlling interest in the acquired entity, and recognize and measure goodwill or a gain from the purchase. The acquiree’s results are included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements from the date of acquisition. Assets acquired and liabilities assumed are recorded at their fair values and the excess of the purchase price over the amounts assigned is recorded as goodwill, or if the fair value of the assets acquired exceeds the purchase price consideration, a bargain purchase gain is recorded. Adjustments to fair value assessments are generally recorded to goodwill over the measurement period (generally not longer than twelve months). The acquisition method also requires that acquisition-related transaction and post-acquisition restructuring costs be charged to expense as committed, and requires the Company to recognize and measure certain assets and liabilities including those arising from contingencies and contingent consideration in a business combination. During fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2011, the Company recorded a $2.2 million and $4.9 million reduction in the estimated fair value of contingent consideration relating to a prior acquisition, respectively, as a component of general and administrative expenses.

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment is carried at cost less accumulated depreciation. Leasehold improvements are amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of the asset, or the lease term, whichever is shorter. Software development costs for internal use are capitalized and, once placed in service, amortized using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life, generally three to seven years. All other property and equipment is depreciated or amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of three to ten years.

The Company reviews long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable.

Goodwill and Intangible Assets

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of assets acquired. The goodwill impairment test compares the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, goodwill of the reporting unit would be considered impaired. To measure the amount of the impairment loss, the implied fair value of a reporting unit’s goodwill is compared to the carrying amount of that goodwill. The implied fair value of goodwill is determined in the same manner as the amount of goodwill recognized in a business combination. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit’s goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess. For each of these tests, the fair value of each of the Company’s reporting units is determined using a combination of valuation techniques, including a discounted cash flow methodology. To corroborate the discounted cash flow analysis performed at each reporting unit, a market approach, is utilized using observable market data such as comparable companies in similar lines of business that are publicly traded or which are part of a public or private transaction (to the extent available). Results of the annual impairment test performed as of January 31, 2013, indicated that the fair value of each reporting unit exceeded its carrying amount. As a result, no impairment charge was recognized. There was also no indication of impairment during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

Intangible assets primarily consist of customer lists, non-compete agreements, proprietary databases, intellectual property and trademarks and are recorded at their estimated fair value at the date of acquisition and are amortized in a pattern in which the asset is consumed if that pattern can be reliably determined, or using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives which range from two to 24 years. For intangible assets subject to amortization, an impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of the intangible assets is not recoverable and exceeds fair value. The carrying amount of the intangible assets is considered not recoverable if it exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows expected to result from use of the asset. Intangible assets with indefinite lives are not amortized, but are reviewed annually for impairment or more frequently whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the fair value of the asset may be less than its carrying amount. During fiscal 2011, the Company wrote-off a trademark no longer in use with a net book value of $0.9 million. As of April 30, 2013 and 2012, there were no further indicators of impairment with respect to the Company’s intangible assets.

Compensation and Benefits Expense

Compensation and benefits expense in the accompanying consolidated statements of income consist of compensation and benefits paid to consultants (employees who originate business), executive officers and administrative and support personnel. The most significant portions of this expense are salaries and the amounts paid under the annual performance related bonus plan to employees. The portion of the expense applicable to salaries is comprised of wages and salaries earned by employees during a reporting period. The portion of the expenses applicable to annual performance related bonuses refers to the Company’s annual employee performance related bonus with respect to a fiscal year, the amount of which is communicated and paid to each eligible employee following the completion of the fiscal year.

Each quarter, management makes its best estimate of its annual performance related bonuses, which requires management to, among other things, project annual consultant productivity (as measured by engagement fees billed and collected by executive search consultants and revenue for LTC and Futurestep consultants), Company performance including profitability, competitive forces and future economic conditions and their impact on the Company’s results. At the end of each fiscal year, annual performance related bonuses take into account final individual consultant productivity, Company results including profitability, the achievement of strategic objectives and the results of individual performance appraisals, and the current economic landscape. Accordingly, each quarter the Company re-evaluates the assumptions used to estimate annual performance related bonus liability and adjusts the carrying amount of the liability recorded on the consolidated balance sheet and reports any changes in the estimate in current operations.

Because annual performance-based bonuses are communicated and paid only after the Company reports its full fiscal year results, actual performance-based bonus payments may differ from the prior year’s estimate. Such changes in the bonus estimate historically have been immaterial and are recorded in current operations in the period in which they are determined. The performance related bonus expense was $114.1 million, $116.8 million and $128.3 million for the years ended April 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, which was reduced by a change in the previous years’ estimate recorded in fiscal 2013, 2012 and 2011 of $0.2 million, $1.2 million and $2.0 million, respectively. This resulted in net bonus expense of $113.9 million, $115.6 million and $126.3 million for the years ended April 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, included in compensation and benefits expense in the consolidated statements of income.

These annual performance related bonuses are generally paid within twelve months following the fiscal year end, though the Company delayed payment of $5.4 million and $10.2 million of bonuses earned in fiscal 2010 and 2009 respectively, due to economic conditions prevailing at the time. The bonuses earned in fiscal 2009 of $10.2 million were paid in December 2010, and the bonuses earned in fiscal 2010 of $5.4 million were paid in December 2011.

Other expenses included in compensation and benefits expense are due to changes in deferred compensation and pension plan liabilities, changes in cash surrender value (“CSV”) of company owned life insurance (“COLI”) contracts, amortization of stock compensation awards, payroll taxes and employee insurance benefits.

Deferred Compensation and Pension Plans

For financial accounting purposes, the Company estimates the present value of the future benefits payable under the deferred compensation and pension plans as of the estimated payment commencement date. The Company also estimates the remaining number of years a participant will be employed by the Company. Then, each year during the period of estimated employment, the Company accrues a liability and recognizes expense for a portion of the future benefit using the “benefit/years of service” attribution method for Senior Executive Incentive Plan (“SEIP”), Wealth Accumulation Plan (“WAP”) and Enhanced Wealth Accumulation Plan (“EWAP”) and the “projected unit credit” method for the Worldwide Executive Benefit Plan (“WEB”).

In calculating the accrual for future benefit payments, management has made assumptions regarding employee turnover, participant vesting, violation of non-competition provisions and the discount rate. Management periodically reevaluates all assumptions. If assumptions change in future reporting periods, the changes may impact the measurement and recognition of benefit liabilities and related compensation expense.

Executive Capital Accumulation Plan

The Company, under its incentive plans, makes discretionary contributions and such contributions may be granted to key employees annually based on the employee’s performance. Certain key management may also receive Company contributions upon commencement of employment. The Company amortizes these contributions on a straight-line basis as they vest, generally over a four year period. The amounts that are expected to be paid to employees over the next 12 months are classified as a current liability included in compensation and benefits payable on the accompanying balance sheet.

The ECAP is accounted for whereby the changes in the fair value of the vested amounts owed to the participants are adjusted with a corresponding charge (or credit) to compensation and benefits costs.

Cash Surrender Value of Life Insurance

The Company purchased COLI policies or contracts insuring certain employees eligible to participate in the deferred compensation and pension plans as a means of funding benefits under such plans. The Company purchased both fixed and variable life insurance contracts and does not purchase “split-dollar” life insurance policy contracts. The Company has both contracts or policies that provide for a fixed or guaranteed rate of return and a variable rate of return depending on the return of the policies’ investment in their underlying portfolio in equities and bonds. The CSV of these COLI contracts are carried at the amounts that would be realized if the contract were surrendered at the balance sheet date, net of the outstanding loans borrowed from the insurer. The Company has the intention and ability to continue these COLI policies and contracts. Additionally, the loans secured by the policies do not have any scheduled payment terms and the Company also does not intend to repay the loans outstanding on these policies until death benefits under the policy have been realized. Accordingly, the investment in COLI is classified as long-term in the accompanying consolidated balance sheet.

The change in the CSV of COLI contracts, net of insurance premiums paid and gains realized, is reported in compensation and benefits expense. As of April 30, 2013 and 2012, the Company held contracts with gross CSV of $159.2 million and $151.1 million, offset by outstanding policy loans of $73.3 million in both periods. If these insurance companies were to become insolvent, the Company would be considered a general creditor for $40.5 million and $35.4 million of net CSV as of April 30, 2013 and 2012, respectively; therefore, these assets are subject to credit risk. Management, together with its outside advisors, routinely monitors the claims paying abilities of these insurance companies.

Restructuring Charges

The Company accounts for its restructuring charges as a liability when the obligations are incurred and records such charges at fair value. Changes in the estimates of the restructuring charges are recorded in the period the change is determined.


Stock-Based Compensation

The Company has employee compensation plans under which various types of stock-based instruments are granted. These instruments, principally include stock options, restricted stock units, restricted stock and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”). The Company recognizes compensation expense related to restricted stock units, restricted stock and the estimated fair value of stock options and stock purchases under the ESPP on a straight-line basis over the service period for the entire award.

Translation of Foreign Currencies

Generally, financial results of the Company’s foreign subsidiaries are measured in their local currencies. Assets and liabilities are translated into U.S. dollars at exchange rates in effect at the balance sheet date, while revenue and expenses are translated at weighted-average exchange rates during the fiscal year. Resulting translation adjustments are recorded as a component of accumulated comprehensive income. Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions of these subsidiaries and the translation of the financial results of subsidiaries operating in highly inflationary economies are included in general and administrative expense in the period incurred. Foreign currency losses, on an after tax basis, included in net income were $0.5 million and $1.6 million during fiscal 2013 and 2012, respectively. Foreign currency gains, on an after tax basis, included in net income were $0.1 million in fiscal 2011.

Income Taxes

There are two components of income tax expense: current and deferred. Current income tax expense (benefit) approximates taxes to be paid or refunded for the current period. Deferred income tax expense (benefit) results from changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities between periods. These gross deferred tax assets and liabilities represent decreases or increases in taxes expected to be paid in the future because of future reversals of temporary differences in the basis of assets and liabilities as measured by tax laws and their basis as reported in the consolidated financial statements. Deferred tax assets are also recognized for tax attributes such as net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards. Valuation allowances are then recorded to reduce deferred tax assets to the amounts management concludes are more likely than not to be realized.

Income tax benefits are recognized and measured based upon a two-step model: (1) a tax position must be more-likely-than-not to be sustained based solely on its technical merits in order to be recognized and (2) the benefit is measured as the largest dollar amount of that position that is more-likely-than-not to be sustained upon settlement. The difference between the benefit recognized for a position and the tax benefit claimed on a tax return is referred to as an unrecognized tax benefit. The Company records income tax related interest and penalties within income tax expense.

Concentration of Credit Risk

Financial instruments which potentially subject the Company to concentrations of credit risk consist principally of cash, cash equivalents, investments, receivables due from clients and net CSV due from insurance companies, which is discussed above. Cash equivalents include investments in commercial paper of companies with high credit ratings, investments in money market securities and securities backed by the U.S. government. Investments are diversified throughout many industries and geographic regions. The Company conducts periodic reviews of its customers’ financial condition and customer payment practices to minimize collection risk on accounts receivable. At April 30, 2013 and 2012, the Company had no other significant credit concentrations.


Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation, including reclassifications related to the Company’s new reporting segment structure as discussed above.


Recently Adopted Accounting Standards

In June 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued guidance on the presentation of comprehensive income in the financial statements. The new guidance eliminates the option to present other comprehensive income and its components as part of the statement of changes in stockholders’ equity. Instead, it requires the Company to present either, a continuous statement of net income and other comprehensive income, or in two separate but consecutive statements. The new guidance was effective for the Company beginning May 1, 2012. The Company now presents the components of comprehensive income as a separate, consecutive statement. The adoption of this guidance did not have an impact on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

Recently Proposed Accounting Standards

In July 2012, the FASB issued updated guidance on the periodic testing of indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment. This guidance allows companies to assess qualitative factors to determine if it is more likely than not that the indefinite–lived intangible asset might be impaired and whether it is necessary to perform a quantitative impairment test. This new guidance is effective for the Company beginning May 1, 2013, with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this update is not expected to have a material impact on the financial statements of the Company.

In February 2013, the FASB issued updated guidance requiring entities to provide information about the amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) by component. In addition, an entity is required to present, either on the face of the financial statements or in the notes, significant amounts reclassified out of AOCI by the respective line items of net income, but only if the amount reclassified is required to be reclassified in its entirety in the same reporting period. For amounts that are not required to be reclassified in their entirety to net income, an entity is required to cross-reference to other disclosures that provide additional details about those amounts. No changes were made to the current requirements for reporting net income or other comprehensive income in the financial statements. The guidance is effective for annual and interim reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2012. The adoption of this update is not expected to have a material impact on the consolidated financial statements of the Company.

In March 2013, the FASB issued guidance on releasing cumulative translation adjustments when a reporting entity (parent) ceases to have a controlling financial interest in a subsidiary or group of assets that is a nonprofit activity or a business within a foreign entity. In addition, these amendments provide guidance on the release of cumulative translation adjustments in partial sales of equity method investments and in step acquisitions. This new guidance is effective on a prospective basis for fiscal years and interim reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2013. The amendments should be applied prospectively to derecognition events occurring after the effective date. Prior periods should not be adjusted and early adoption is permitted. The Company plans to adopt this guidance beginning May 1, 2014.