SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2012
|SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES||
1. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Nature of Operations. We collect, organize and manage various types of financial, demographic, employment and marketing information. Our products and services enable businesses to make credit and service decisions, manage their portfolio risk, automate or outsource certain human resources, employment tax and payroll-related business processes, and develop marketing strategies concerning consumers and commercial enterprises. We serve customers across a wide range of industries, including the financial services, mortgage, retail, telecommunications, utilities, automotive, brokerage, healthcare and insurance industries, as well as government agencies. We also enable consumers to manage and protect their financial health through a portfolio of products offered directly to consumers. As of March 31, 2012, we operated in the following countries: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, or U.K., Uruguay, and the United States of America, or U.S. We also maintain support operations in the Republic of Ireland. We have an investment in a consumer and commercial credit information company in Brazil and offer credit services in Russia and India through joint ventures.
We develop, maintain and enhance secured proprietary information databases through the compilation of actual consumer data, including credit, employment, asset, liquidity, net worth and spending activity, and business data, including credit and business demographics, that we obtain from a variety of sources, such as credit granting institutions, public record information (including bankruptcies, liens and judgments), income and tax information primarily from large to mid-sized companies in the U.S., and marketing information. We process this information utilizing our proprietary information management systems.
Basis of Presentation. The accompanying unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the instructions to Form 10-Q and applicable sections of Regulation S-X. To understand our complete financial position and results, as defined by GAAP, this Form 10-Q should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto included in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 (“2011 Form 10-K”).
Our unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements reflect all adjustments which are, in the opinion of management, necessary for a fair presentation of the periods presented and are of a normal recurring nature. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
Earnings Per Share. Our basic earnings per share, or EPS, is calculated as net income attributable to Equifax divided by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is calculated to reflect the potential dilution that would occur if stock options or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised and resulted in additional common shares outstanding. The net income amounts used in both our basic and diluted EPS calculations are the same. A reconciliation of the weighted-average outstanding shares used in the two calculations is as follows:
For the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011, 0.1 million and 1.2 million stock options, respectively, were anti-dilutive and therefore excluded from this calculation.
Financial Instruments. Our financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, accounts payable and short- and long-term debt. The carrying amounts of these items, other than long-term debt, approximate their fair market values due to the short-term nature of these instruments. The fair value of our fixed-rate debt is determined using quoted market prices for publicly traded instruments, and for non-publicly traded instruments through valuation techniques depending on the specific characteristics of the debt instrument. As of March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, the fair value of our long-term debt, based on observable inputs, was $1.08 billion and $1.09 billion, respectively, compared to its carrying value of $0.97 billion.
Derivatives and Hedging Activities. We use derivative financial instruments as a risk management tool to hedge the Company’s exposure to changes in interest rates, not for speculative purposes. We have used interest rate swaps and interest rate lock agreements to manage interest rate risk associated with our fixed and floating-rate borrowings. Forward contracts on various foreign currencies have been used to manage the foreign currency exchange rate risk of certain firm commitments denominated in foreign currencies. We recognize all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. Derivative valuations reflect the value of the instrument including material amounts associated with counterparty risk. As of March 31, 2012, we have three unsettled cash flow hedges, with an aggregate notional amount of 1.2 million euros, to hedge the exposure of certain 2012 firm commitments of our U.K. subsidiary that are denominated in euros. The fair value of our unsettled foreign currency cash flow hedges was not material at March 31, 2012.
Fair Value Hedges. In conjunction with our November 2009 sale of five-year Senior Notes, we entered into five-year interest rate swaps, designated as fair value hedges, which convert the debt’s fixed interest rate to a variable rate. These swaps involve the receipt of fixed rate amounts for floating interest rate payments over the life of the swaps without exchange of the underlying principal amount. Changes in the fair value of the interest rate swaps offset changes in the fair value of the fixed-rate Senior Notes they hedge due to changes in the designated benchmark interest rate and are recorded in interest expense. The fair value of these interest rate swaps was an asset of $14.3 million and $14.8 million at March 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively, and was recorded in other long-term assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Fair Value Measurements. Fair value is determined based on the assumptions marketplace participants use in pricing the asset or liability. We use a three level fair value hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used in valuation techniques between observable inputs that reflect quoted prices in active markets, inputs other than quoted prices with observable market data and unobservable data (e.g., a company’s own data).
The following table presents items measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
(1) The fair value of our interest rate swaps, which are designated as fair value hedges, and notes, due in 2014 are based on the present value of expected future cash flows using zero coupon rates and are classified within Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy.
(2) We maintain deferred compensation plans that allow for certain management employees to defer the receipt of compensation (such as salary, incentive compensation and commissions) until a later date based on the terms of the plan. The liability representing benefits accrued for plan participants is valued at the quoted market prices of the participants’ elections.
Variable Interest Entities. We hold interests in certain entities, including credit data and information solutions ventures, that are considered variable interest entities, or VIEs. These variable interests relate to ownership interests that require financial support for these entities. Our investments related to these VIEs totaled $8.7 million at March 31, 2012, representing our maximum exposure to loss. We are not the primary beneficiary and are not required to consolidate any of these VIEs.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements. Testing Goodwill for Impairment. In September 2011, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Testing Goodwill for Impairment (the revised standard). The revised standard is intended to reduce the cost and complexity of the annual goodwill impairment test by providing entities an option to perform a “qualitative” assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary. If an entity believes, as a result of its qualitative assessment, that it is more-likely-than-not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, the quantitative impairment test is required. Otherwise, no further testing is required. The revised standard is effective for annual and interim goodwill impairment tests performed for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011. We will implement the new standard in our 2012 annual goodwill impairment testing. This guidance is not expected to have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Comprehensive Income. In the first quarter of 2012, we adopted Accounting Standards Update No. 2011-05, Presentation of Comprehensive Income, which changed our financial statement presentation but did not have an effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
For additional information about recent accounting pronouncements adopted or pending adoption, see Note 1 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in our 2011 Form 10-K.
The entire disclosure for the basis of presentation, or accounting, and significant accounting policies.
No definition available.