Component: (Network and Table)
2010 - Disclosure - Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
Slicers (applies to each fact value in each table cell)
Significant Accounting PoliciesPeriod [Axis]
2011-10-01 - 2012-09-30
Significant Accounting Policies
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year—The Company reports results of operations based on 52 or 53-week periods ending on the Friday nearest September 30. For clarity of presentation, all periods are presented as if the year ended on September 30. Fiscal years 2012, 2011 and 2010 each contained 52 weeks and ended on September 28, September 30, and October 1, respectively
Use of Estimates
 Use of Estimates—The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (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 financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. The more significant estimates affecting amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements relate to revenues under long-term contracts and self-insurance accruals. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Principles of Consolidation and Presentation
Principles of Consolidation and Presentation—The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of all majority-owned subsidiaries and material joint ventures in which the Company is the primary beneficiary. All inter-company accounts have been eliminated in consolidation. Also see Note 8 regarding joint ventures.
Revenue Recognition

Revenue Recognition—The Company generally utilizes a cost-to-cost approach in applying the percentage-of-completion method of revenue recognition. Under this approach, revenue is earned in proportion to total costs incurred, divided by total costs expected to be incurred. Recognition of revenue and profit is dependent upon a number of factors including, the accuracy of a variety of estimates made at the balance sheet date, engineering progress, materials quantities, the achievement of milestones, penalty provisions, labor productivity and cost estimates made at the balance sheet date. Due to uncertainties inherent in the estimation process, actual completion costs may vary from estimates. If estimated total costs on contracts indicate a loss, the Company recognizes that estimated loss in the period the estimated loss first becomes known.

        In the course of providing its services, the Company routinely subcontracts for services and incurs other direct costs on behalf of its clients. These costs are passed through to clients and, in accordance with industry practice and GAAP, are included in the Company's revenue and cost of revenue. Because subcontractor services and other direct costs can change significantly from project to project and period to period, changes in revenue may not be indicative of business trends. These other direct costs for the years ended September 30, 2012, 2011 and 2010 were $3.0 billion, $2.9 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively.

Government Contract Matters

Government Contract Matters—The Company's federal government and certain state and local agency contracts are subject to, among other regulations, regulations issued under the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). These regulations can limit the recovery of certain specified indirect costs on contracts and subjects the Company to ongoing multiple audits by government agencies such as the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). In addition, most of the Company's federal and state and local contracts are subject to termination at the discretion of the client.

        Audits by the DCAA and other agencies consist of reviews of the Company's overhead rates, operating systems and cost proposals to ensure that the Company accounted for such costs in accordance with the Cost Accounting Standards of the FAR (CAS). If the DCAA determines the Company has not accounted for such costs consistent with CAS, the DCAA may disallow these costs. There can be no assurance that audits by the DCAA or other governmental agencies will not result in material cost disallowances in the future. See also Note 20.

Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and Cash Equivalents—The Company's cash equivalents include highly liquid investments which have an initial maturity of three months or less.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts—The Company records its accounts receivable net of an allowance for doubtful accounts. This allowance for doubtful accounts is estimated based on management's evaluation of the contracts involved and the financial condition of its clients. The factors the Company considers in its contract evaluations include, but are not limited to:

  • Client type—federal or state and local government or commercial client;

    Historical contract performance;

    Historical collection and delinquency trends;
  • Client credit worthiness; and

    General economic conditions.
Derivative Financial Instruments

Derivative Financial Instruments—The Company accounts for its derivative instruments as either assets or liabilities and carries them at fair value.

        For derivative instruments that hedge the exposure to variability in expected future cash flows that are designated as cash flow hedges, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative instrument is reported as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income in stockholders' equity and reclassified into income in the same period or periods during which the hedged transaction affects earnings. The ineffective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative instrument, if any, is recognized in current income. To receive hedge accounting treatment, cash flow hedges must be highly effective in offsetting changes to expected future cash flows on hedged transactions.

        The net gain or loss on the effective portion of a derivative instrument that is designated as an economic hedge of the foreign currency translation exposure generated by the re-measurement of certain assets and liabilities denominated in a non-functional currency in a foreign operation is reported in the same manner as a foreign currency translation adjustment. Accordingly, any gains or losses related to these derivative instruments are recognized in current income.

        Derivatives that do not qualify as hedges are adjusted to fair value through current income.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

Fair Value of Financial Instruments—The Company determines the fair values of its financial instruments, including short-term investments, debt instruments and derivative instruments, and pension and post-retirement plan assets based on inputs or assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or a liability. The Company categorizes its instruments using a valuation hierarchy for disclosure of the inputs used to measure fair value. This hierarchy prioritizes the inputs into three broad levels as follows: Level 1 inputs are quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities; Level 2 inputs are quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets or inputs that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly through market corroboration, for substantially the full term of the financial instrument; Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs based on the Company's assumptions used to measure assets and liabilities at fair value. The classification of a financial asset or liability within the hierarchy is determined based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement.

        The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable and accounts payable approximate fair value because of the short maturities of these instruments. The carrying amount of the revolving credit facility approximates fair value because the interest rates are based upon variable reference rates. See also Notes 10 and 12.

        The Company's fair value measurement methods may produce a fair value calculation that may not be indicative of net realizable value or reflective of future fair values. Although the Company believes its valuation methods are appropriate and consistent with those used by other market participants, the use of different methodologies or assumptions to determine fair value could result in a different fair value measurement at the reporting date.

Property and Equipment
Property and Equipment—Property and equipment are recorded at cost and are depreciated over their estimated useful lives using the straight-line method. Expenditures for maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred. Typically, estimated useful lives range from three to ten years for equipment, furniture and fixtures. Leasehold improvements are amortized on a straight-line basis over the shorter of their estimated useful lives or the remaining terms of the underlying lease agreement.
Long-lived Assets
Long-lived Assets—Long-lived assets to be held and used are reviewed for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the assets may be impaired. For assets to be held and used, impairment losses are recognized based upon the excess of the asset's carrying amount over the fair value of the asset. For long-lived assets to be disposed, impairment losses are recognized at the lower of the carrying amount or fair value less cost to sell.
Goodwill and Acquired Intangible Assets

Goodwill and Acquired Intangible Assets—Goodwill represents the excess amounts paid over the fair value of net assets acquired from an acquisition. In order to determine the amount of goodwill resulting from an acquisition, the Company performs an assessment to determine the value of the acquired company's tangible and identifiable intangible assets and liabilities. In its assessment, the Company determines whether identifiable intangible assets exist, which typically include backlog and customer relationships.

        The Company tests goodwill at least annually for each reporting unit. A reporting unit is defined as an operating segment or one level below an operating segment. The Company's impairment tests are performed at the operating segment level as they represent the Company's reporting units.

        The impairment test is a two-step process. During the first step, the Company estimates the fair value of the reporting unit using income and market approaches, and compares that amount to the carrying value of that reporting unit. In the event the fair value of the reporting unit is determined to be less than the carrying value, a second step is required. The second step requires the Company to perform a hypothetical purchase allocation for that reporting unit and to compare the resulting current implied fair value of the goodwill to the current carrying value of the goodwill for that reporting unit. In the event that the current implied fair value of the goodwill is less than the carrying value, an impairment charge is recognized. See also Note 4.

Pension Plans
Pension Plans—The Company has certain defined benefit pension plans. The Company calculates the market-related value of assets, which is used to determine the return-on-assets component of annual pension expense and the cumulative net unrecognized gain or loss subject to amortization. This calculation reflects the Company's anticipated long-term rate of return and amortization of the difference between the actual return (including capital, dividends, and interest) and the expected return over a five-year period. Cumulative net unrecognized gains or losses that exceed 10% of the greater of the projected benefit obligation or the market related value of plan assets are subject to amortization.
Insurance Reserves
Insurance Reserves—The Company maintains insurance for certain insurable business risks. Insurance coverage contains various retention and deductible amounts for which the Company accrues a liability based upon reported claims and an actuarially determined estimated liability for certain claims incurred but not reported. It is the Company's policy not to accrue for any potential legal expense to be incurred in defending the Company's position. The Company believes that its accruals for estimated liabilities associated with professional and other liabilities are sufficient and any excess liability beyond the accrual is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations or financial position.
Foreign Currency Translation

Foreign Currency Translation—The Company's functional currency is the U.S. dollar. Results of operations for foreign entities are translated to U.S. dollars using the average exchange rates during the period. Assets and liabilities for foreign entities are translated using the exchange rates in effect as of the date of the balance sheet. Resulting translation adjustments are recorded as a foreign currency translation adjustment into other accumulated comprehensive income/(loss) in stockholders' equity.

        The Company uses foreign currency forward contracts from time to time to mitigate foreign currency risk. The Company limits exposure to foreign currency fluctuations in most of its contracts through provisions that require client payments in currencies corresponding to the currency in which costs are incurred. As a result of this natural hedge, the Company generally does not need to hedge foreign currency cash flows for contract work performed. The functional currency of all significant foreign operations is the respective local currency.

Income Taxes
Income Taxes—The Company files a consolidated federal income tax return and combined / consolidated state tax returns and separate company state tax returns. The Company accounts for certain income and expense items differently for financial reporting and income tax purposes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the difference between the financial statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities, applying enacted statutory tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. In determining the need for a valuation allowance, management reviews both positive and negative evidence, including current and historical results of operations, future income projections, and potential tax planning strategies. Based upon management's assessment of all available evidence, the Company has concluded that it is more likely than not that the deferred tax assets, net of valuation allowance, will be realized.