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HURN > SEC Filings for HURN > Form 10-Q on 30-Apr-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for HURON CONSULTING GROUP INC.



Quarterly Report


In this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, unless the context otherwise requires, the terms "Huron," "Company," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Huron Consulting Group Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Statements in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q that are not historical in nature, including those concerning the Company's current expectations about its future requirements and needs, are "forward-looking" statements as defined in
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act") and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are identified by words such as "may," "should," "expects," "provides," "anticipates," "assumes," "can," "will," "meets," "could," "likely," "intends," "might," "predicts," "seeks," "would," "believes," "estimates," "plans" or "continues." These forward-looking statements reflect our current expectations about our future requirements and needs, results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements, including, without limitation, current expectations with respect to, among other factors, utilization rates, billing rates, and the number of revenue-generating professionals; that we are able to expand our service offerings; that we successfully integrate the businesses we acquire; and that existing market conditions continue to trend upward. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including, among others, those described under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 that may cause actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any anticipated results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events, or for any other reason.


Our Business

Huron Consulting Group is a leading provider of operational and financial consulting services. We help clients in diverse industries improve performance, transform the enterprise, reduce costs, leverage technology, process and review large amounts of complex data, address regulatory changes, recover from distress, and stimulate growth. Our professionals employ their expertise in finance, operations, strategy, and technology to provide our clients with specialized analyses and customized advice and solutions that are tailored to address each client's particular challenges and opportunities to deliver sustainable and measurable results. We provide consulting services to a wide variety of both financially sound and distressed organizations, including healthcare organizations, leading academic institutions, Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities and law firms. Huron has worked with more than 425 health systems, hospitals, and academic medical centers; more than 400 corporate general counsel; and more than 350 universities and research institutions.

We provide our services through five operating segments: Huron Healthcare, Huron Legal, Huron Education and Life Sciences, Huron Business Advisory, and All Other.

Huron Healthcare

Our Huron Healthcare segment provides consulting services to national and regional hospitals and integrated health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, and physician practices. We deliver solutions to empower our clients to address challenges in the rapidly-evolving healthcare environment and improve quality, increase revenue, reduce expenses, and enhance patient, physician, and employee satisfaction across the healthcare enterprise. Our people provide a depth of expertise across the healthcare industry, and our culture of collaboration extends to our client engagements, enabling teams to effectively implement successful client projects.

Huron Legal

Our Huron Legal segment provides advisory and business services to assist law departments of major global corporations and their associated law firms with cost and risk reduction, organizational design and development, and operational efficiency. These services add value to organizations by helping them enhance client service and reduce the amount spent on legal services. Our expertise focuses on strategic and management consulting, cost management, and technology and information management, including matter management, records management, document review, and discovery services. Included in this segment's offerings is our Integrated Analytics solution, which is designed to deliver an innovative, comprehensive process resulting in more affordable and predictable discovery costs.

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Huron Education and Life Sciences

Our Huron Education and Life Sciences segment provides management consulting services and software solutions to the higher education, academic medical center, pharmaceutical and medical device, and research industries. We work with our clients to develop and implement performance improvement, technology, and research enterprise solutions to help them address challenges relating to financial management, strategy, operational and organizational effectiveness, research administration, and regulatory compliance.

Huron Business Advisory

Our Huron Business Advisory segment (formerly referred to as Huron Financial) provides financial advisory; interim management; operational improvement; capital advisory; valuation; enterprise systems planning, design, and implementation; and enterprise performance management services. We assist clients in a broad range of industries and across the spectrum from healthy, well-capitalized companies to organizations in transition, creditors, owners, investors, and other key constituents in connection with out-of-court restructurings and bankruptcy proceedings. Our professionals consist of certified public accountants, certified insolvency and restructuring advisors, certified turnaround professionals, MBAs, JDs, and chartered financial analysts as well as former chief restructuring officers, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and professionals with significant board governance experience.

All Other

Our All Other segment consists of any line of business not managed by our other four operating segments. These businesses include our public sector consulting practice and our foreign healthcare and strategic consulting operations based in the Middle East.

How We Generate Revenues

A large portion of our revenues is generated by our full-time consultants who provide consulting services to our clients and are billable to our clients based on the number of hours worked. A smaller portion of our revenues is generated by our other professionals, also referred to as full-time equivalents, all of whom work variable schedules as needed by our clients. Other professionals include specialized finance and operational consultants and our document review and electronic data discovery groups, as well as full-time employees who provide software support and maintenance services to our clients. Our document review and electronic data discovery groups generate revenues primarily based on number of hours worked and units produced, such as pages reviewed or amount of data processed. We translate the hours that these other professionals work on client engagements into a full-time equivalent measure that we use to manage our business. We refer to our full-time consultants and other professionals collectively as revenue-generating professionals.

Revenues generated by our full-time consultants are primarily driven by the number of consultants we employ and their utilization rates, as well as the billing rates we charge our clients. Revenues generated by our other professionals, or full-time equivalents, are largely dependent on the number of consultants we employ, their hours worked, and billing rates charged, as well as the number of pages reviewed and amount of data processed in the case of our document review and electronic data discovery groups, respectively.

We generate the majority of our revenues from providing professional services under four types of billing arrangements: time-and-expense, fixed-fee (including software license revenue), performance-based, and support and maintenance for the software we deploy.

Time-and-expense billing arrangements require the client to pay based on either the number of hours worked, the number of pages reviewed, or the amount of data processed by our revenue-generating professionals at agreed upon rates. We recognize revenues under time-and-expense billing arrangements as the related services are rendered. Time-and-expense engagements represented 43.4% and 44.9% of our revenues in the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

In fixed-fee billing arrangements, we agree to a pre-established fee in exchange for a pre-determined set of professional services, which may include the deployment of our proprietary software. We set the fees based on our estimates of the costs and timing for completing the engagements. It is the client's expectation in these engagements that the pre-established fee will not be exceeded except in mutually agreed upon circumstances. We generally recognize revenues under fixed-fee billing arrangements using a proportionate performance approach, which is based on work completed to-date versus our estimates of the total services to be provided under the engagement.

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We generate revenues from licensing two types of proprietary software to clients: revenue cycle management software and research administration and compliance software. Licenses for our revenue cycle management software are sold only as a component of our consulting projects, and the services we provide are essential to the functionality of the software. Therefore, revenues from these software licenses are recognized over the term of the related consulting services contract. License revenue from our research administration and compliance software is generally recognized in the month in which the software is delivered.

Fixed-fee engagements (including software license revenue) represented approximately 38.2% and 40.3% of our revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

In performance-based fee billing arrangements, fees are tied to the attainment of contractually defined objectives. We enter into performance-based engagements in essentially two forms. First, we generally earn fees that are directly related to the savings formally acknowledged by the client as a result of adopting our recommendations for improving operational and cost effectiveness in the areas we review. Second, we have performance-based engagements in which we earn a success fee when and if certain predefined outcomes occur. Often, performance-based fees supplement our time-and-expense or fixed-fee engagements. We do not recognize revenues under performance-based billing arrangements until all related performance criteria are met. Performance-based fee revenues represented 15.4% and 11.5% of our revenues in the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively. Performance-based fee engagements may cause significant variations in quarterly revenues and operating results depending on the timing of achieving the performance-based criteria.

Clients that have purchased one of our software licenses can pay an annual fee for software support and maintenance. Annual support and maintenance fee revenue is recognized ratably over the support period, which is generally one year. These fees are billed in advance and included in deferred revenues until recognized. Support and maintenance revenues represented 3.0% and 3.3% of our revenues in the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

Our quarterly results are impacted principally by our full-time consultants' utilization rate, the billing rate we charge our clients, the number of our revenue-generating professionals who are available to work, and the amount of performance-based fees recognized, which often vary significantly between quarters. Our utilization rate can be negatively affected by increased hiring because there is generally a transition period for new professionals that results in a temporary drop in our utilization rate. Our utilization rate can also be affected by seasonal variations in the demand for our services from our clients. For example, during the third and fourth quarters of the year, vacations taken by our clients can result in the deferral of activity on existing and new engagements, which would negatively affect our utilization rate. The number of business work days is also affected by the number of vacation days taken by our consultants and holidays in each quarter. We typically have fewer business work days available in the fourth quarter of the year, which can impact revenues during that period.

Time-and-expense engagements do not provide us with a high degree of predictability as to performance in future periods. Unexpected changes in the demand for our services can result in significant variations in utilization and revenues and present a challenge to optimal hiring and staffing. Moreover, our clients typically retain us on an engagement-by-engagement basis, rather than under long-term recurring contracts. The volume of work performed for any particular client can vary widely from period to period.

Business Strategy, Opportunities and Challenges

Our primary strategy is to meet the needs of our clients by providing a balanced portfolio of service offerings and capabilities, so that we can adapt quickly and effectively to emerging opportunities in the marketplace. To achieve this, we continue to hire highly qualified professionals and have entered into select acquisitions of complementary businesses.

To expand our business, we will remain focused on growing our existing relationships and developing new relationships, execute our managing director compensation plan to attract and retain senior practitioners, continue to promote and provide an integrated approach to service delivery, broaden the scope of our existing services, and acquire complementary businesses. We will regularly evaluate the performance of our practices to ensure our investments meet these objectives. Furthermore, we intend to enhance our visibility in the marketplace by refining our overarching messaging and value propositions for the organization as well as each practice. We will continue to focus on reaching our client base through clear, concise, endorsed messages.

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Management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations are based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. We review our financial reporting and disclosure practices and accounting policies to ensure that our financial reporting and disclosures provide accurate information relative to the current economic and business environment. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make assessments, estimates, and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements, as well as the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Critical accounting policies are those policies that we believe present the most complex or subjective measurements and have the most potential to impact our financial position and operating results. While all decisions regarding accounting policies are important, we believe that there are four accounting policies that could be considered critical. These critical accounting policies relate to revenue recognition, allowances for doubtful accounts and unbilled services, carrying values of goodwill and other intangible assets, and valuation of net deferred tax assets. For a detailed discussion of these critical accounting policies, see "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Policies" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013. Below is an update to our critical accounting policy relating to the carrying values of goodwill and other intangible assets. There have been no material changes to our other critical accounting policies during the first three months of 2014.

Carrying Values of Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets

During the first quarter of 2014, we reorganized our internal operating structure to better align our service offerings and moved our Enterprise Performance Management ("EPM") practice (formerly referred to as Blue Stone International, a business which we acquired during the fourth quarter of 2013) from the Huron Education and Life Sciences segment to the Huron Business Advisory segment. As a result of this change, we reassigned the goodwill balance of the EPM practice, which totaled $16.7 million as of March 31, 2014, from the Huron Education and Life Sciences reporting unit to the EPM reporting unit, which is part of the Huron Business Advisory segment.

In conjunction with the goodwill reassignment, we performed an interim impairment test for the goodwill balances within our Huron Education and Life Sciences and EPM reporting units as of March 31, 2014. Our goodwill impairment test was performed using the quantitative two-step process. Based on the results of the first step of the goodwill impairment test, we determined that the fair values of our Huron Education and Life Sciences and EPM reporting units exceeded their carrying values by 46% and 12%, respectively. Since the fair value of each reporting unit exceeded its carrying value, the second step of the goodwill impairment test was not necessary.

In estimating the fair value of these two reporting units, we relied on a combination of the income approach and the market approach, utilizing the guideline company method, with a fifty-fifty weighting. For companies providing services similar to those provided by us, the income and market approaches will generally provide the most reliable indications of value because the value of such companies is dependent on their ability to generate earnings.

In the income approach, we utilized a discounted cash flow analysis, which involved estimating the expected after-tax cash flows that will be generated by the reporting units and then discounting those cash flows to present value reflecting the relevant risks associated with the reporting units and the time value of money. This approach requires the use of significant estimates and assumptions, including long-term projections of future cash flows, market conditions, discount rates reflecting the risk inherent in future cash flows, revenue growth, perpetual growth rates, and profitability, among others. In estimating future cash flows, we relied on an internally generated seven-year forecast. For periods after the seven-year forecast, we assumed a long-term annual revenue growth rate of 3.5% for the Huron Education and Life Sciences reporting unit and 3.0% for the EPM reporting unit. Our forecast is based on historical experience, current backlog, expected market demand, and other industry information. Our discounted cash flow analysis assumed a weighted average cost of capital ("WACC") discount rate of 13.0% for the Huron Education and Life Sciences reporting unit and 17.0% for the EPM reporting unit.

In the market approach, we utilized the guideline company method, which involved calculating valuation multiples based on operating data from guideline publicly traded companies. Multiples derived from guideline companies provide an indication of how much a knowledgeable investor in the marketplace would be willing to pay for a company. These multiples were then adjusted for factors similar to those used in a discounted cash flow analysis and applied to the operating data for our reporting units to arrive at an indication of value.

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Determining the fair value of a reporting unit requires us to make significant judgments, estimates and assumptions. While we believe that the estimates and assumptions underlying our valuation methodology are reasonable, these estimates and assumptions could have a significant impact on whether or not an impairment charge is recognized and also the magnitude of any such charge. The results of an impairment analysis are as of a point in time. There is no assurance that the actual future earnings or cash flows of our reporting units will not differ significantly from our projections. We will monitor any changes to our assumptions and will evaluate goodwill as deemed warranted during future periods. Any significant decline in our operations could result in goodwill impairment charges.

The table below presents the decrease in the fair value of our Huron Education and Life Sciences and EPM reporting units given a one percent increase in the discount rate or a one percent decrease in the long-term assumed annual revenue growth rate.

                                            Huron Education                                       Enterprise
                                           and Life Sciences                                Performance Management
                                  Decrease in             Percentage by             Decrease in               Percentage by
                                 Fair Value of             which Fair              Fair Value of                which Fair
                                 the Reporting            Value Exceeds            the Reporting              Value Exceeds
                                      Unit                  Carrying                   Unit                      Carrying
                                 (in thousands)              Amount               (in thousands)                  Amount
Discount rate - increase
by 1%                           $          9,600                      39 %       $             700                           9 %
Long-term growth rate -
decrease by 1%                  $          7,900                      40 %       $             250                          11 %

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The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, selected segment and consolidated operating results and other operating data. Segment operating income consists of the revenues generated by a segment, less the direct costs of revenue and selling, general and administrative costs that are incurred directly by the segment. Unallocated costs include corporate costs related to administrative functions that are performed in a centralized manner that are not attributable to a particular segment.

                                                                             Three Months Ended March 31,
                                                                              2014                  2013
Segment and Consolidated Operating Results (in thousands):
Revenues and reimbursable expenses:
Huron Healthcare                                                         $      107,548        $       78,745
Huron Legal                                                                      54,975                40,944
Huron Education and Life Sciences                                                33,576                35,726
Huron Business Advisory                                                          13,382                 8,582
All Other                                                                         1,250                    39

Total revenues                                                                  210,731               164,036
Total reimbursable expenses                                                      19,103                15,336

Total revenues and reimbursable expenses                                 $      229,834        $      179,372

Operating income (loss):
Huron Healthcare                                                         $       51,220        $       31,161
Huron Legal                                                                      12,488                 2,938
Huron Education and Life Sciences                                                 6,447                 9,352
Huron Business Advisory                                                           2,555                 3,379
All Other                                                                          (458 )                (172 )

Total segment operating income                                                   72,252                46,658
Operating expenses and gains not allocated to segments                           30,433                25,315

Total operating income                                                   $       41,819        $       21,343

Other Operating Data (excluding All Other):
Number of full-time billable consultants (at period end) (1):
Huron Healthcare                                                                    995                   870
Huron Legal                                                                         138                   151
Huron Education and Life Sciences                                                   429                   436
Huron Business Advisory                                                             166                    62

Total                                                                             1,728                 1,519
Average number of full-time billable consultants (for the period) (1):
Huron Healthcare                                                                    985                   863
Huron Legal                                                                         139                   146
Huron Education and Life Sciences                                                   434                   430
Huron Business Advisory                                                             161                    62

Total                                                                             1,719                 1,501
Full-time billable consultant utilization rate (2):
Huron Healthcare                                                                   78.9 %                85.6 %
Huron Legal                                                                        64.5 %                52.0 %
Huron Education and Life Sciences                                                  68.3 %                70.0 %
Huron Business Advisory                                                            68.5 %                84.7 %
Total                                                                              74.1 %                77.9 %

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                                                                     Three Months Ended March 31,
                                                                       2014                2013
Other Operating Data (Continued):
Full-time billable consultant average billing rate per hour (3):
Huron Healthcare                                                   $         272       $         205
. . .
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