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, 2011
Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
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 executive recruitment, outsourced recruiting and leadership and talent consulting on a retained basis. The Company’s worldwide network of 76 offices in 35 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.
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 subsidiary in Mexico were approximately $1.6 million, $1.0 million and $3.0 million during fiscal 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.
The Company considers events or transactions that occur after the balance sheet date but before the 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. The most significant areas that require management judgment are revenue recognition, deferred compensation, annual performance related compensation, evaluation of the carrying value of receivables, marketable securities, goodwill and other intangible assets, fair value of contingent consideration 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, middle-management recruitment and leadership and talent consulting services. Fee revenue from recruitment activities is generally one-third of the estimated first year compensation plus a percentage of the fee to cover indirect expenses. The Company generally bills clients in three monthly installments commencing the month of client acceptance. Fees earned in excess of the initial contract amount are billed upon completion of the engagement, which reflects the final actual compensation of the placed executive. Any services that are provided on a contingent basis are recognized once the contingency is fulfilled. Fee revenue from leadership and talent consulting services is recognized as earned.
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 operations.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
A provision is established for doubtful accounts through a charge to general and administrative expenses 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 all collection efforts have been exhausted, the Company reduces the allowance for doubtful accounts 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 $10.0 million of restricted cash at April 30, 2011, related to its existing credit facility (see Note 11), which is included in investments and other assets in the accompanying 2011 balance sheet.
Marketable Securities
The Company classifies its marketable securities as either trading securities or available-for-sale. These investments are recorded at fair value and are classified as marketable securities in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. Certain investments, which the Company intends to sell within the next twelve months, are carried as current assets. Realized capital gains (losses) on investments 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.
Trading securities consist of the Company’s investments which are held in trust to satisfy obligations under the Company’s deferred compensation plans (see Note 5). The changes in fair values on trading securities are recorded in the statement of operations in other income (loss), net.
Considering the increase in investment activity, on April 30, 2009, the Company transferred certain securities previously classified as available-for-sale to trading. The securities were transferred at fair value on April 30, 2009, which became the new cost basis of the securities. Unrealized gains of $5.9 million at the date of the transfer were reversed from accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) and recognized in the statement of operations. The transfer did not have an impact on the Company’s financial position.
Available-for-sale securities consist of corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury and agency securities and commercial paper. The changes in fair values, net of applicable taxes, are recorded as unrealized gains as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income in stockholders’ equity. When, in the opinion of management, a decline in the fair value of an investment below its cost or amortized cost is considered to be “other-than-temporary,” the investment’s cost or amortized cost is written-down to its fair value and the amount written-down is recorded in the statement of operations in other income (loss), net. The determination of 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. The amount of any write-down is determined by the difference between cost or amortized cost of the investment and its fair value at the time the other-than-temporary decline is identified. During fiscal 2011 and 2010, no other-than-temporary impairment was recognized, compared to a write-down of $15.9 million during fiscal 2009 (see Note 5).
Business Acquisitions
Business acquisitions are accounted for under the purchase method by assigning the purchase price to tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed. The results are included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements from the date of each respective 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. Adjustments to fair value assessments are recorded to goodwill over the purchase price allocation period (generally not longer than twelve months). Purchased intangible assets with finite lives are amortized over their estimated useful lives. Effective May 1, 2009, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Codification 805, Business Acquisitions, which requires that acquisition-related transaction and restructuring costs be charged to expense as incurred, and changes the recognition and measurement criteria for certain assets and liabilities including those arising from contingencies, contingent consideration and bargain purchases for acquisitions completed after the adoption date. The Company applied this new guidance to its acquisition of Whitehead Mann and SENSA Solution, Inc., which were acquired in fiscal 2010. During fiscal 2011, the Company recorded a $4.9 million reduction in the estimated fair value of contingent consideration relating to a prior acquisition, 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 was determined using a combination of valuation techniques, including a discounted cash flow methodology. Results of the annual impairment test performed as of January 31, 2011, 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 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
Intangible assets primarily consist of customer lists, non-compete agreements, proprietary databases, intellectual property and trademarks and are recorded at the estimated fair value at the date of acquisition and are amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives of five 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. 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, 2011 and 2010, there were no indicators of impairment with respect to the Company’s intangible assets.
Compensation and Benefits Expense
Compensation and benefits expense in the accompanying statements of operations consist of compensation and benefits paid to consultants, executive officers and administrative and support personnel. The most significant portions of this expense are salaries and the annual performance related bonus paid to consultants. Compensation and benefits are recognized when incurred. Management estimates annual performance related bonuses on a quarterly basis based on projected individual performance, analysis of Company performance and additional considerations such as competitive information and material economic developments. At the end of each fiscal year, the Company then determines annual bonuses based upon final Company and individual performance and other factors, such as attainment of strategic objectives and individual performance appraisals. Management reevaluates the estimates up to the payment date, and any changes in the estimate are reported in current operations. The performance related bonus expense was $126.3 million, $73.3 million and $89.3 million for the years ended April 30, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. The change in the previous years estimate recorded in fiscal 2011, 2010 and 2009 was a decrease of $2.0 million, $3.6 million and $4.0 million, respectively. These annual performance related bonuses are generally paid within twelve months following the fiscal year end though the Company deferred certain bonuses earned in fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010. The bonuses deferred in fiscal 2009 were paid in December 2010 and the bonuses deferred in fiscal 2010 will be paid in December 2011. Other expenses included in compensation and benefits expense are due to changes in the deferred compensation liabilities and 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.
Cash Surrender Value of Life Insurance
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, 2011 and 2010, the Company held contracts with gross CSV of $143.9 million and $136.0 million, offset by outstanding policy loans of $72.9 million and $66.9 million, respectively. If these insurance companies were to become insolvent, the Company would be considered a general creditor for $31.0 million and $32.3 million of net CSV as of April 30, 2011 and 2010, respectively; therefore, these assets are subject to 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 costs are incurred and are recorded 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, stock appreciation rights (“SARs”), restricted stock and an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”). The Company recognizes compensation expense related to restricted stock and SARs and the estimated fair value of stock options and stock purchases under the ESPP.
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 year-end exchange rates, 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 gains, on an after tax basis, included in net income (loss), were $0.1 million during fiscal 2011. Foreign currency losses, on an after tax basis, included in net income (loss), were $2.0 million and $0.4 million during fiscal 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Income Taxes
There are two components of income tax expense: current and deferred. Current income tax expense approximates taxes to be paid or refunded for the current period. Deferred income tax expense 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 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.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
The Company measures the fair values of its financial instruments in accordance with accounting guidance that defines fair value, provides guidance for measuring fair value and requires certain disclosures. The guidance also discusses valuation techniques, such as the market approach (comparable market prices), the income approach (present value of future income or cash flow) and the cost approach (cost to replace the service capacity of an asset or replacement cost). The guidance establishes a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value into three broad levels. The following is a brief description of those three levels:
  •  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, 2011 and 2010, 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. As of April 30, 2010, the Company also held auction rate securities (“ARS”) and a related put option. The fair value for these instruments are determined by the use of pricing models (see Note 5). The ARS were redeemed at full value during fiscal 2011.
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 cash surrender value 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 is consolidating cash balances with a small number of high quality global financial institutions to increase operational efficiencies and to improve risk management. Concentrations of credit risk with respect to receivables are limited due to the Company’s large number of clients and their dispersion across many different industries and countries worldwide. At April 30, 2011 and 2010, the Company had no other significant credit concentrations.
Accounting Adjustment
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, an adjustment was made to correct compensation and benefits expenses that had been recorded twice by the Company during the periods covering fiscal 2002 through fiscal 2009 for expenses relating to employee contributions to flexible spending health benefit accounts. In accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 108, Considering the Effects of Prior Year Misstatements when Quantifying Misstatements in Current Year Financial Statements, the Company recorded a cumulative accounting adjustment in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, the effect of which resulted in a $3.7 million pre-tax decrease in compensation and benefits expense, a $4.0 million increase in cash and cash equivalents and a $0.3 million increase in accrued compensation and benefits liability. These adjustments increased operating profit by $3.7 million and decreased net loss by $2.3 million, or $0.05 per basic and diluted share for the three months and year ended April 30, 2009. The correction of the error was not material to any individual prior period or the current period and, accordingly, the prior period results have not been adjusted.
Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
Recently Adopted Accounting Standards
In January 2010, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued guidance on Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures: Improving Disclosures about Fair Value Measurements, which amends the disclosure guidance with respect to fair value measurements. Specifically, the new guidance requires disclosure of amounts transferred in and out of Levels 1 and 2 fair value measurements, a reconciliation presented on a gross basis rather than a net basis of activity in Level 3 fair value measurements, greater disaggregation of the assets and liabilities for which fair value measurements are presented and more robust disclosure of the valuation techniques and inputs used to measure Level 2 and 3 fair value measurements. The guidance is effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2009, with the exception of the new guidance around the Level 3 activity reconciliation, which is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2010. The Company adopted the new guidance on February 1, 2010. The adoption did not impact the Company’s financial position, results of operations or liquidity.