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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K 
    (Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number: 000-50976
HURON CONSULTING GROUP INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 01-0666114
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (IRS Employer
Identification Number)
550 West Van Buren Street
Chicago, Illinois
60607
(Address of principal executive offices and zip code)
(312) 583-8700
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code) 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareHURN NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  x    No  o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  o    No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  x    No  o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes   x    No  o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated FilerAccelerated Filer
Non-accelerated FilerSmaller Reporting 
Company
Emerging Growth Company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 726(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its report. x 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes      No  x
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2020 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $992,600,000.
As of February 16, 2021, 22,768,479 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, were outstanding.
Documents Incorporated By Reference
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of its fiscal year are incorporated by reference into Part III.


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HURON CONSULTING GROUP INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020
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Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
Item 15.
Item 16.


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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K that are not historical in nature, including those concerning the Company’s current expectations about its future results, 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,” “continues,” “guidance,” or “outlook,” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements reflect our current expectations about our future requirements and needs, results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements. Some of the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained herein include, without limitation: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, our clients and client demand for our services, and our ability to sell and provide services, including the measures taken by governmental authorities and businesses in response to the pandemic, which may cause or contribute to other risks and uncertainties that we face; failure to achieve expected utilization rates, billing rates, and the number of revenue-generating professionals; inability to expand or adjust our service offerings in response to market demands; our dependence on renewal of client-based services; dependence on new business and retention of current clients and qualified personnel; failure to maintain third-party provider relationships and strategic alliances; inability to license technology to and from third parties; the impairment of goodwill; various factors related to income and other taxes; difficulties in successfully integrating the businesses we acquire and achieving expected benefits from such acquisitions; risks relating to privacy, information security, and related laws and standards; and a general downturn in market conditions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, including, among others, those described under Item 1A. “Risk Factors,” 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.
PART I 
ITEM 1.BUSINESS.
OVERVIEW
Huron is a global consultancy that collaborates with clients to drive strategic growth, ignite innovation and navigate constant change. Through a combination of strategy, expertise and creativity, we help clients accelerate operational, digital and cultural transformation, enabling the change they need to own their future. By embracing diverse perspectives, encouraging new ideas and challenging the status quo, Huron creates sustainable results for the organizations it serves.
We are headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional locations in the United States and abroad in Canada, India, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
OUR SERVICES
We provide professional services through three operating segments: Healthcare, Business Advisory, and Education, which for the year ended December 31, 2020, we derived 42%, 32%, and 26% of our consolidated revenues from these operating segments, respectively.
Healthcare
Our Healthcare segment serves national and regional hospitals, integrated health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, and medical groups. Our Healthcare professionals have a depth of expertise in business operations, including financial and operational improvement, care transformation, and revenue cycle managed services; organizational transformation; and digital, technology and analytic solutions. Most healthcare organizations are focused on changing the way care is delivered; establishing a sustainable business model centered around optimal cost structures, reimbursement models and financial strategies; and evolving their digital, technology and analytic capabilities. Our solutions help clients adapt to this rapidly changing healthcare environment to become a more agile, efficient and consumer-centric organization. We use our deep industry expertise to help clients solve a diverse set of business issues, including, but not limited to, optimizing financial and operational performance, improving care delivery and clinical outcomes, increasing physician, patient and employee satisfaction, evolving organizational culture, and maximizing return on technology investments.
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Business Advisory
Our Business Advisory segment works with C-suite executives, boards, and business unit and functional leadership across a diverse set of organizations, including healthy, well-capitalized companies to organizations in transition, and across a broad range of industries, including life sciences, financial services, healthcare, education, energy and utilities, industrials and manufacturing, and the public sector. Our Business Advisory professionals have deep industry, functional and technical expertise that they put forward when delivering our digital, technology and analytics, strategy and innovation and corporate finance and restructuring services. In today’s disruptive environment, organizations must reimagine their historical strategies and financial and operating models to sustain and advance their competitive advantage. Organizations also recognize the need to adopt technologies, automation and analytics to improve their operations and compete in a rapidly changing environment. Our experts help organizations across industries with a variety of business challenges, including, but not limited to, embedding technology and analytics throughout their internal and customer-facing operations, developing insights into the needs of tomorrow’s customers in order to evolve their enterprise and business unit strategies, bringing new products to market, and managing through stressed and distressed situations to create a viable path forward for stakeholders.
Education
Our Education segment serves public and private colleges and universities, academic medical centers, research institutes and other not-for-profit organizations. Our Education professionals have a depth of expertise in strategy and innovation; business operations, including the research enterprise and student lifecycle; digital, technology and analytic solutions; and organizational transformation. Our Education segment clients are increasingly faced with financial and/or demographic challenges as well as increased competition. To remain competitive, organizations must challenge traditional operating and financial models and reimagine strategic, operational and research-centered opportunities that advance their mission while strengthening their business models. We collaborate with clients to address these challenges and ensure they have a sustainable future. We combine our deep industry, functional and technical expertise to help clients solve their most pressing challenges, including, but not limited to, transforming business operations with technology; strengthening research strategies and support services; evolving their organizational strategy; optimizing financial and operational performance; and enhancing the student lifecycle.
Huron is an Oracle partner, a Gold-level consulting partner with Salesforce.com and a Premium Partner with Salesforce.org, a Workday Services and Software Partner, an Amazon Web Services consulting partner, a Silver-level system integrator with Informatica and an SAP Concur implementation partner.
OUR CLIENTS AND INDUSTRIES
We provide services to both financially sound organizations and organizations in transition across industries, including healthcare, education, life sciences, financial services, energy and utilities, industrials and manufacturing, public sector and other commercial industries. Our clients span hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers; colleges, universities and research institutes; banks, asset managers, insurance companies and private equity firms; pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device companies, oil and gas and utilities companies, manufacturing organizations and the federal government. In 2020, we served over 1,700 clients.
HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES AND MANAGEMENT
Our success depends on our ability to attract, engage, develop and retain highly talented professionals. Our growth strategy depends on creating a work environment where employees can shape their future and where individuals are rewarded for their own contributions and the success of our organization. We are focused on advancing every facet of the employee experience, beginning with the recruiting process through post-employment or retirement. We create a personalized experience for our people and empower them to make a meaningful impact on our clients, our communities, and one another. We have developed comprehensive programs incorporating learning opportunities, beginning with the onboarding process and continuing throughout one’s career journey to enable the professional development of our team. We provide a competitive total rewards package including robust benefits that are tailored to the diverse needs of our employees and are refreshed regularly to maintain competitiveness. Our total rewards program has continuously helped Huron be recognized as a Best Firm to Work For by Consulting magazine, including in 2020. In addition to external recognitions, we monitor our human capital resources through internal metrics. Our leading measure is our quarterly employee engagement score, which was consistently in the low 80s throughout 2020 compared to the Glint Employee Engagement global benchmark of 72. In addition, we review voluntary turnover across a number of key variables including practice area, performance, geography, and demographics in order to assess the effectiveness of our employee development and total rewards programs.
Our employee population is divided into two groups: client-serving and support professionals. As of December 31, 2020, we had 3,807 full-time employees, including 169 client-serving managing directors. Our client-serving employees act as critical business advisors, collaborating with clients to help solve their most complex business problems. Our managing directors are the key drivers of growth in our business, generating revenue streams from existing and new clients. Our managing directors also enhance our market reputation by partnering with clients as advisors and engagement team leaders. Internally, they create our intellectual capital, develop our people, and are stewards of our
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culture. Our principals, senior directors, directors, and managers manage day-to-day client relationships, develop our people, nurture our culture, and oversee the delivery and quality of our work product. Our associates and analysts gather and organize data, conduct detailed analyses, and prepare presentations that synthesize and distill information to support recommendations we deliver to clients.
Our support professionals include our senior management team as well as those who provide sales support, methodology creation, software development, and corporate functions consisting of our corporate development, facilities, finance and accounting, human resources, information technology, legal, and marketing teams. These employees provide strategic direction for the enterprise and support that enables the success of our businesses and client-serving employees. At December 31, 2020, our support professionals team was led by 30 managing directors, executives and corporate vice presidents.
In addition to our full-time client-serving employees, we engage temporary employees on an as-needed basis. We primarily use this contingent workforce to engage talent with specialized skills and/or experience or to expand our capacity to be able to deliver on client engagements or internal initiatives. We will continue to use temporary employees going forward as a key part of achieving our growth strategy.
The ability to advance one’s career is critical to our employee retention and engagement. As part of our onboarding process, our employee experience team facilitates a robust and structured curriculum for newly hired employees to develop and onboard into the company. We strive to develop world class leaders and are committed to providing programs and opportunities that achieve this goal by focusing on key leadership attributes at all levels. We also provide a variety of learning opportunities, through online and virtual classroom environments, to further develop employees’ capabilities, including technical knowledge, people skills, team dynamics, and coaching and developing others. We encourage our employees to enhance their professional skills through external learning opportunities that certify their technical skills and to pursue certain advanced degrees. Employees are matched with internal onboarding stewards, performance coaches, and mentors to facilitate their growth and network of support.
Our total rewards philosophy focuses on rewarding and retaining our high performing employees. To accomplish this, we offer employees a competitive base salary, performance incentives, and robust, market-competitive benefits.
Our incentive compensation plan is designed to recognize and reward performance of both the organization and individuals and to ensure we retain our top performers. We take both practice and company financial performance into consideration in the determination of bonus pool funding. At the practice level, the annual bonus pool is funded based on achievement of its annual financial goals. Our board of directors reviews and approves the total incentive compensation pool for all practices in the context of the Company’s overall financial performance. Individual bonus awards are based on the practice’s financial performance, individual bonus targets, and the individual’s performance as evaluated through our performance management process. The intent of the incentive compensation plan is to differentiate rewards based on individual performance, ensuring that our top performers for the year receive incentives that are commensurate with their contributions, which enables Huron to retain them and continue to provide our clients with exceptional service. The incentive compensation plan for our named executive officers is funded based on a blend of achievement of company-wide financial goals and strategic initiatives.
Managing directors’ individual compensation levels, including base salary and target incentive awards, are set to align with the value of their expected contributions to the organization, including collaboration across practices. As the key drivers of the organization’s success, their compensation is designed to include equity awards as a core component. The use of equity is intended to encourage retention, align the interests of our managing directors with shareholders, and help build wealth over a managing director's career at Huron through annual grants as well as stock price appreciation.
Our benefit programs are designed to be comprehensive, competitive and personalized to the needs of our employees. We provide opportunities that allow employees to focus and care for their personal well-being which are aimed at providing tools and resources to focus on their physical, financial, social, and emotional health given the demanding nature of their work. In addition, our health and welfare plans, retirement benefits, and stock purchase plan provide a core foundation of security to our employees and their families.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Huron’s value of inclusion has been embedded across our organization since our founding and is fostered in our work environment every day. In 2020, we renewed our commitment to holding ourselves accountable by defining a diversity and inclusion action plan to help build a more equitable society. Through our action plan we will continue to foster an inclusive culture, advance diverse representation across all levels of the organization, expand our community outreach and support, perform pay equity studies, and strengthen our vendor processes.
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
We are fully committed to our expanded societal role in making a lasting, positive impact on our people, our clients, our communities and the environment. In 2020, we refocused our corporate social responsibility efforts to align with five of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): promoting good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth and climate action. We have and will continue to support these goals through our Huron Helping Hands program, employee resource groups
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and corporate partnerships. In addition, our focus on these goals carries through in the work we do each day. From healthcare and life sciences to education and other not-for-profit institutions, we serve clients in industries that have a significant impact on the health, well-being, and development of our communities.
For additional information on Huron’s commitment to a more sustainable future, refer to our 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility report, which includes our Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) index, and is available on the investor relations website which is located at ir.huronconsultinggroup.com.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING
Our business development and marketing activities are aimed at cultivating relationships, generating leads, and building a strong brand reputation with health systems, hospitals, and university administrators; offices of the C-suite; and senior level influencers and decision makers of middle market and large corporate organizations. We believe excellent service delivery to clients is critical to building and maintaining relationships and sustaining and strengthening our brand reputation, and we emphasize the importance of high-quality client service to all of our employees.

Currently, we generate new business opportunities through the combination of relationships our managing directors have with individuals working at our prospective clients and marketing lead generation activities. We also view market-based collaboration between our managing directors as a key component in building our business. Often, the client relationship of a managing director in one area of our business leads to opportunities in another area. All of our managing directors understand their roles in ongoing relationship and business development, which is reinforced through our compensation and incentive programs. We actively seek to identify new business opportunities and frequently receive referrals and repeat business from past and current clients. In addition, to complement the business development efforts of our managing directors, we have dedicated business development professionals who are focused exclusively on developing client relationships and generating new business.
COMPETITION
The professional services industry is extremely competitive, highly fragmented, and constantly evolving. The industry includes a large number of participants with a variety of skills and industry expertise, including other strategy, business operations, technology, and financial advisory consulting firms; general management consulting firms; the consulting practices of major accounting firms; technical and economic advisory firms; regional and specialty consulting firms; consulting divisions of our technology partners; and the internal professional resources of organizations. We compete with a large number of service and technology providers in all of our segments. Our competitors vary, depending on the particular practice area, and we expect to continue to face competition from new market entrants.
We believe the principal competitive factors in our market include reputation, the ability to attract and retain top talent, the capacity to manage engagements effectively to drive high value to clients, and the ability to deliver measurable and sustainable results. There is also competition on price, although to a lesser extent due to the criticality of the issues that many of our services address. Some competitors have a greater geographic footprint, broader international presence, and more resources than we do, but we believe our reputation and ability to deliver high-value, quality service and measurable results to our clients across a balanced portfolio of services and attract and retain employees with broad capabilities and deep industry expertise enable us to compete favorably in the professional services marketplace.
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements, and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). These filings are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
Our website is located at www.huronconsultinggroup.com, and our investor relations website is located at ir.huronconsultinggroup.com. We make our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 available through our website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.
We provide information about our business and financial performance, including our corporate profile, on the Investor Relations page of our website. Additionally, we webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in with members of the investment community on the Investor Relations page of our website. Further corporate governance information, including our code of ethics, code of business conduct, corporate governance guidelines, and board committee charters, is also available on the Investor Relations page of our website. The content of our websites is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
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ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS.
The following discussion of risk factors may be important to understanding the statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or elsewhere. The following information should be read in conjunction with Part II—Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Discussions about the important operational risks that our business encounters can be found in Part II—Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Risks Related to COVID-19
Our results of operations have been adversely affected and, in the future, could be materially adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant volatility, uncertainty and disruption to the global economy. The pandemic is adversely impacting and, in the future, could materially adversely impact our business, operations and financial results. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business, operations and financial results will depend on numerous evolving factors that we may not be able to accurately predict, including:
the duration of the pandemic;
the effective distribution of vaccines or treatments for COVID-19 and the willingness of the population to take the vaccines;
governmental, business and individuals’ actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic, including quarantines, social distancing and other risk mitigating measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
the effect on our clients and client demand for our services and solutions, including the impact on the healthcare and higher education industries which are areas of significant focus for our business;
the health and welfare of our employees, including our senior management team, practice leaders and managing directors, and their ongoing ability to serve clients and manage operations if they contract COVID-19;
the impact on our key third-party vendors;
the effect on the businesses in which we have invested;
our ability to sell and provide our services and solutions and maintain adequate utilization levels, including as a result of travel restrictions, shelter-in-place and quarantine orders and people working from home;
the ability of our clients to pay for our services and solutions;
any disruption to the internet and related systems, which may impact our ability to provide our services and solutions remotely, and increased vulnerability to hackers or third parties seeking to disrupt operations; and
any closures of our clients’ offices and facilities.
Additionally, in some instances, clients have slowed down decision making, delayed planned work or are seeking to reduce the scope of current engagements or terminate existing agreements, which may continue. Any of these events could cause or contribute to the risks and uncertainties discussed below and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or stock price.
Risks Related to Human Capital Resources
An inability to retain our senior management team and other managing directors would be detrimental to the success of our business.
We rely heavily on our senior management team, our practice leaders, and other managing directors; our ability to retain them is particularly important to our future success. Given the highly specialized nature of our services, the senior management team must have a thorough understanding of our service offerings as well as the skills and experience necessary to manage an organization consisting of a diverse group of professionals. In addition, we rely on our senior management team and other managing directors to generate and market our business. Further, our senior management’s and other managing directors’ personal reputations and relationships with our clients are a critical element in obtaining and maintaining client engagements. Members of our senior management team and our other managing directors
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could choose to leave or join one of our competitors and some of our clients could choose to use the services of that competitor instead of our services. If one or more members of our senior management team or our other managing directors leave and we cannot replace them with a suitable candidate quickly, we could experience difficulty in securing and successfully completing engagements and managing our business properly, which could harm our business prospects and results of operations.
Our inability to hire and retain talented people in an industry where there is great competition for talent could have a serious negative effect on our prospects and results of operations.
Our business involves the delivery of professional services and is highly labor-intensive. Our success depends largely on our general ability to attract, develop, motivate, and retain highly skilled professionals. Further, we must successfully maintain the right mix of professionals with relevant experience and skill sets as we continue to grow, as we expand into new service offerings, and as the market evolves. The loss of a significant number of our professionals, the inability to attract, hire, develop, train, and retain additional skilled personnel, or failure to maintain the right mix of professionals could have a serious negative effect on us, including our ability to manage, staff, and successfully complete our existing engagements and obtain new engagements. Qualified professionals are in great demand, and we face significant competition for both senior and junior professionals with the requisite credentials and experience. Our principal competition for talent comes from other consulting firms and accounting firms, as well as from organizations seeking to staff their internal professional positions. Many of these competitors may be able to offer greater compensation and benefits or more attractive lifestyle choices, career paths, or geographic locations than we do. Therefore, we may not be successful in attracting and retaining the skilled consultants we require to conduct and expand our operations successfully. Increasing competition for these revenue-generating professionals may also significantly increase our labor costs, which could negatively affect our margins and results of operations.
Risks Related to Business Growth and Development
We may incur costs to support our business and the inability to effectively build a support structure for the business could have an adverse impact on our growth and profitability.
We have grown significantly since we commenced operations and have increased the number of our full-time professionals from 249 in 2002 to 3,807 as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, our considerable growth has placed demands on our management and our internal systems, procedures, and controls and will continue to do so in the near future. To successfully manage growth, we must periodically adjust and strengthen our operating, financial, accounting, and other systems, procedures, and controls, which may increase our total costs and may adversely affect our gross profits and our ability to sustain profitability if we do not generate increased revenues to offset the costs. As a public company, our information and control systems must enable us to prepare accurate and timely financial information and other required disclosures. If we discover deficiencies in our existing information and control systems that impede our ability to satisfy our reporting requirements, we must successfully implement improvements to those systems in an efficient and timely manner.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, we began the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) system designed to improve the efficiency of our internal operational, financial and administrative activities. In January 2021, we went live with the new ERP system, and we continue to progress with additional functionality and integrations. The full implementation of a new ERP system in its entirety, which will take place over several years, subjects us to inherent costs and risks including substantial capital expenditures, additional administration and operating expenses, potential disruption of our internal control structure, retention of sufficiently skilled personnel to implement and operate the new system, demand on management time, and other risks and costs of delays or difficulties in transition. Our system implementation may not result in productivity improvements at a level that outweighs the costs of implementation, or at all. In addition, the difficulties with implementing a new ERP system may cause disruptions or have an adverse effect on our business operations, if not anticipated and appropriately mitigated.
Our international expansion could result in additional risks.
We operate both domestically and internationally, including in Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Although historically our international operations have been limited, we intend to continue to expand internationally. Such expansion may result in additional risks that are not present domestically and which could adversely affect our business or our results of operations, including:
compliance with additional U.S. regulations and those of other nations applicable to international operations;
cultural and language differences;
employment laws, including immigration laws affecting the mobility of employees, and rules and related social and cultural factors;
losses related to start-up costs, lack of revenue, higher costs due to low utilization, and delays in purchase decisions by prospective clients;
currency fluctuations between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies;
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restrictions on the repatriation of earnings;
potentially adverse tax consequences and limitations on our ability to utilize losses generated in our foreign operations;
different regulatory requirements and other barriers to conducting business;
different or less stable political and economic environments;
greater personal security risks for employees traveling to or located in unstable locations; and
civil disturbances or other catastrophic events.
Further, conducting business abroad subjects us to increased regulatory compliance and oversight. For example, we are subject to laws prohibiting certain payments to governmental officials, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which increases the risk from our international operations relative to our competitors who do not operate outside the United States. A failure to comply with applicable regulations could result in regulatory enforcement actions as well as substantial civil and criminal penalties assessed against us and our employees.
In addition, expanding into new geographic areas and expanding current service offerings is challenging and may require integrating new employees into our culture as well as assessing the demand in the applicable market. If we cannot manage the risks associated with new service offerings or new locations effectively, we are unlikely to be successful in these efforts, which could harm our ability to sustain profitability and our business prospects.
Additional hiring, departures, business acquisitions and dispositions could disrupt our operations, increase our costs or otherwise harm our business.
Our business strategy is dependent in part upon our ability to grow by hiring individuals or groups of individuals and by acquiring complementary businesses. However, we may be unable to identify, hire, acquire, or successfully integrate new employees and acquired businesses without substantial expense, delay, or other operational or financial obstacles. From time to time, we will evaluate the total mix of services we provide and we may conclude that businesses may not achieve the results we previously expected. Competition for future hiring and acquisition opportunities in our markets could increase the compensation we offer to potential employees or the prices we pay for businesses we wish to acquire. In addition, we may be unable to achieve the financial, operational, and other benefits we anticipate from any hiring or acquisition, as well as any disposition, including those we have completed so far. New acquisitions could also negatively impact existing practices and cause current employees to depart. Hiring additional employees or acquiring businesses could also involve a number of additional risks, including the diversion of management’s time, attention, and resources from managing and marketing our Company; the potential assumption of liabilities of an acquired business; the inability to attain the expected synergies with an acquired business; and the perception of inequalities if different groups of employees are eligible for different benefits and incentives or are subject to different policies and programs.
Selling practices and shutting down operations present similar challenges in a service business. Dispositions not only require management’s time, but they can impair existing relationships with clients or otherwise affect client satisfaction, particularly in situations where the divestiture eliminates only part of the complement of consulting services provided to a client. Dispositions may also involve continued financial involvement, as we may be required to retain responsibility for, or agree to indemnify buyers against, liabilities related to a business sold.
Our ability to maintain and attract new business depends upon our reputation, the professional reputation of our revenue-generating employees, and the quality of our services.
As a professional services firm, our ability to secure new engagements depends heavily upon our reputation and the individual reputations of our professionals. Any factor that diminishes our reputation or that of our employees, including not meeting client expectations or misconduct by our employees, could make it substantially more difficult for us to attract new engagements and clients. Similarly, because we obtain many of our new engagements from former or current clients or from referrals by those clients or by law firms that we have worked with in the past, any client that questions the quality of our work or that of our consultants could impair our ability to secure additional new engagements and clients.
The consulting services industry is highly competitive and we may not be able to compete effectively.
The consulting services industry in which we operate includes a large number of participants and is intensely competitive. We face competition from other business operations and financial consulting firms, general management consulting firms, the consulting practices of major accounting firms, technical and economic advisory firms, regional and specialty consulting firms, consulting divisions of our technology partners, and the internal professional resources of organizations. In addition, because there are relatively low barriers to entry, we expect to continue to face additional competition from new entrants into the business operations and financial consulting industries. Competition in
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several of the sectors in which we operate is particularly intense as many of our competitors are seeking to expand their market share in these sectors. Many of our competitors have a greater national and international presence, as well as have a significantly greater number of personnel, financial, technical, and marketing resources. In addition, these competitors may generate greater revenues and have greater name recognition than we do. Some of our competitors may also have lower overhead and other costs and, therefore, may be able to more effectively compete through lower cost service offerings. Our ability to compete also depends in part on the ability of our competitors to hire, retain, and motivate skilled professionals, the price at which others offer comparable services, the ability of our competitors to offer new and valuable products and services to clients, and our competitors’ responsiveness to their clients. If we are unable to compete successfully with our existing competitors or with any new competitors, our financial results will be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Industry and Customer Concentration
The healthcare and education industries are areas of significant focus for our business, and factors that adversely affect the financial condition of these industries could consequently affect our business.
We derive a significant portion of our revenue from clients in the healthcare and education industries. As a result, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected by conditions affecting these industries, both generally and those specific to the types of clients we serve in these industries, including hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, and higher education institutions. The healthcare and education industries are highly regulated and are subject to changing political, legislative, regulatory, and other influences. Uncertainty in any of these areas could cause our clients to delay or postpone decisions to use our services. Existing and new federal and state laws and regulations affecting the healthcare and education industries could create unexpected liabilities for us, could cause us or our clients to incur additional costs, and could restrict our or our clients’ operations.
Our healthcare and education clients operate in highly regulated industries. Regulatory and legislative changes in these industries could reduce the demand for our services, decreasing our competitive position or potentially rendering certain of our service offerings obsolete, change client buying patterns or decision making or require us to make unplanned modifications to our service offerings, which could require additional time and investment. If we fail to accurately anticipate the application of the laws and regulations affecting our clients and the industries they serve, if anticipated changes in regulation or regulatory uncertainty impact client buying patterns, or if such laws and regulations decrease our competitive position or limit the applicability of our service offerings, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely impacted. Similarly, certain of our healthcare and education clients may experience or anticipate experiencing financial distress or face complex challenges as a result of general economic conditions or operations-specific reasons. Such clients may not have the financial resources or stakeholder support to start new projects or to continue existing projects.
Specifically with respect to healthcare, many healthcare laws are complex and their application to us, our clients, or the specific services and relationships we have with our clients are not always clear. In addition, federal and state legislatures have periodically introduced programs to reform or amend the U.S. healthcare system at both the federal and state level, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and continue to consider further significant reforms. Due to the significant implementation issues arising under these laws and potential new legislation, it is unclear what long-term effects they will have on the healthcare industry and in turn on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Our failure to accurately anticipate the application of new laws and regulations, or our failure to comply with such laws and regulations, could create liability for us, result in adverse publicity and negatively affect our business.
There are many factors that could affect the purchasing practices, operations, and, ultimately, the operating funds of healthcare and education organizations, such as reimbursement policies for healthcare expenses, student loan policies or regulations, federal and state budgetary considerations, consolidation in either industry, and regulation, litigation, and general economic conditions. In particular, we could be required to make unplanned modifications of our products and services (which would require additional time and investment) or we could suffer reductions in demand for our products and services as a result of changes in regulations affecting either industry, such as changes in the way that healthcare organizations are paid for their services (e.g., based on patient outcomes instead of services provided).
In addition, state tax authorities have challenged the tax-exempt status of some hospitals and other healthcare facilities claiming such status on the basis that they are operating as charitable and/or religious organizations. If the tax-exempt status of any of our clients is revoked or compromised by new legislation or interpretation of existing legislation, that client’s financial health could be adversely affected, which could adversely impact demand for our services, our sales, revenue, financial condition, and results of operations.
A significant portion of our revenues is derived from a limited number of clients, and our engagement agreements, including those related to our largest clients, can be terminated by our clients with little or no notice and without penalty, which may cause our operating results to be unpredictable and may result in unexpected declines in our utilization and revenues.
As a consulting firm, we have derived, and expect to continue to derive, a significant portion of our revenues from a limited number of clients. Our clients typically retain us on an engagement-by-engagement basis, rather than under fixed-term contracts. The volume of work performed for any particular client is likely to vary from year to year, and a major client in one fiscal period may not require or may decide not to use our services in any subsequent fiscal period. Moreover, a large portion of our new engagements comes from existing clients.
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Accordingly, the failure to obtain new large engagements or multiple engagements from existing or new clients could have a material adverse effect on the amount of revenues we generate.
In addition, almost all of our engagement agreements can be terminated by our clients with little or no notice and without penalty. In client engagements that involve multiple engagements or stages, there is a risk that a client may choose not to retain us for additional stages of an engagement or that a client will cancel or delay additional planned engagements. For clients in bankruptcy, a bankruptcy court could elect not to retain our interim management consultants, terminate our retention, require us to reduce our fees for the duration of an engagement, elect not to approve claims against fees earned by us prior to or after the bankruptcy filing, or subject previously paid amounts to be returned to the bankruptcy estate as preferential payments under the bankruptcy code.
Terminations of engagements, cancellations of portions of the project plan, delays in the work schedule, or reductions in fees could result from factors unrelated to our services. When engagements are terminated or reduced, we lose the associated future revenues, and we may not be able to recover associated costs or redeploy the affected employees in a timely manner to minimize the negative impact. In addition, our clients’ ability to terminate engagements with little or no notice and without penalty makes it difficult to predict our operating results in any particular fiscal period.
Risks Related to Information Technology
Our business is becoming increasingly dependent on information technology and will require additional investments in order to grow and meet the demands of our clients.
We depend on the use of sophisticated technologies and systems. Some of our practices provide services that are increasingly dependent on the use of software applications and systems that we do not own and could become unavailable. Moreover, our technology platforms will require continuing investments by us in order to expand existing service offerings and develop complementary services. For example, we have subscription-based offerings that require us to incur costs associated with upgrades and maintenance that could impact profit margins associated with those offerings and related services. Our future success depends on our ability to adapt our services and infrastructure while continuing to improve the performance, features, and reliability of our services in response to the evolving demands of the marketplace.
Adverse changes to our relationships with key third-party vendors, or in the business of our key third-party vendors, could unfavorably impact our business.
A portion of our services and solutions depend on technology or software provided by third-party vendors. Some of these third-party vendors refer potential clients to us, and others require that we obtain their permission prior to accessing their software while performing services for our clients. These third-party vendors could terminate their relationship with us without cause and with little or no notice, which could limit our service offerings and harm our financial condition and operating results. In addition, if a third-party vendor’s business changes, is reduced or fails to adapt to changing market demands, that could adversely affect our business. Moreover, if third-party technology or software that is important to our business does not continue to be available or utilized within the marketplace, or if the services that we provide to clients is no longer relevant in the marketplace, our business may be unfavorably impacted.
We could experience system failures, service interruptions, or security breaches that could negatively impact our business.
Our organization is comprised of employees who work on matters throughout the United States and overseas. Our technology platform is a “virtual office” from which we all operate. We may be subject to disruption to our operating systems from technology events that are beyond our control, including the possibility of failures at third-party data centers, disruptions to the internet, natural disasters, power losses, and malicious attacks. In addition, despite the implementation of security measures, our infrastructure and operating systems, including the internet and related systems, may be vulnerable to physical break-ins, hackers, improper employee or contractor access, computer viruses, programming errors, denial-of-service attacks, or other attacks by third parties seeking to disrupt operations or misappropriate information or similar physical or electronic breaches of security. While we have taken and are taking reasonable steps to prevent and mitigate the damage of such events, including implementation of system security measures, information backup, and disaster recovery processes, those steps may not be effective and there can be no assurance that any such steps can be effective against all possible risks. We will need to continue to invest in technology in order to achieve redundancies necessary to prevent service interruptions. Access to our systems as a result of a security breach, the failure of our systems, or the loss of data could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability, or regulatory penalties and disrupt operations, which could adversely affect our business and financial results.
Risks Related to Legal Matters
Our reputation could be damaged and we could incur additional liabilities if we fail to protect client and employee data through our own accord or if our information systems are breached.
We rely on information technology systems to process, transmit, and store electronic information and to communicate among our locations around the world and with our clients, partners, and employees. These locations include Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, and India, all of which have their own either recently updated or potential new data protection laws. The breadth and complexity of
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this infrastructure increases the potential risk of security breaches which could lead to potential unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
In providing services to clients, we may manage, utilize, and store sensitive or confidential client or employee data, including personal data and protected health information. As a result, we are subject to numerous laws and regulations designed to protect this information, such as the U.S. federal and state laws governing the protection of health or other personally identifiable information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and international laws such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in 2018. In addition, many states, U.S. federal governmental authorities and non-U.S. jurisdictions have adopted, proposed or are considering adopting or proposing, additional data security and/or data privacy statutes or regulations. Continued governmental focus on data security and privacy may lead to additional legislative and regulatory action, which could increase the complexity of doing business. The increased emphasis on information security and the requirements to comply with applicable U.S. and foreign data security and privacy laws and regulations may increase our costs of doing business and negatively impact our results of operations.
These laws and regulations are increasing in complexity and number. If any person, including any of our employees or third-party vendors, negligently disregards or intentionally breaches our established controls or contractual obligations with respect to client or employee data, or otherwise mismanages or misappropriates that data, we could be subject to significant monetary damages, regulatory enforcement actions, fines, and/or criminal prosecution. We maintain certain insurance coverages for cybersecurity incidents through our directors and officers insurance policy, in amounts we believe to be reasonable and at a cost that is included in our general insurance premiums.
In addition, unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential client or employee data, whether through systems failure, employee negligence, fraud, or misappropriation, could damage our reputation and cause us to lose clients and their related revenue in the future.
Our engagements could result in professional liability, which could be very costly and hurt our reputation.
Our engagements typically involve complex analyses and the exercise of professional judgment. As a result, we are subject to the risk of professional liability. From time to time, lawsuits with respect to our work are pending. Litigation alleging that we performed negligently or breached any other obligations could expose us to significant legal liabilities and, regardless of outcome, is often very costly, could distract our management, could damage our reputation, and could harm our financial condition and operating results. We also face increased litigation risk as a result of an expanded workforce. In addition, certain of our engagements, including interim management engagements and corporate restructurings, involve greater risks than other consulting engagements. We are not always able to include provisions in our engagement agreements that are designed to limit our exposure to legal claims relating to our services. While we attempt to identify and mitigate our exposure with respect to liability arising out of our consulting engagements, these efforts may be ineffective and an actual or alleged error or omission on our part or the part of our client or other third parties in one or more of our engagements could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we carry professional liability insurance to cover many of these types of claims, but the policy limits and the breadth of coverage may be inadequate to cover any particular claim or all claims plus the cost of legal defense. For example, we provide services on engagements in which the impact on a client may substantially exceed the limits of our errors and omissions insurance coverage. If we are found to have professional liability with respect to work performed on such an engagement, we may not have sufficient insurance to cover the entire liability.
Our business could be materially adversely affected if we incur liability in connection with service offering innovation, including new or expanded service offerings.
We may grow our business through service offering innovation, including by entering into new or expanded lines of business beyond our core services. To the extent we enter into new or expanded lines of business, we may face new risks and uncertainties, including the possibility these new or expanded lines of business involve greater risks than our core services, that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk, that the required investment of capital and other resources is greater than anticipated, and that we lose existing clients due to the perception that we are no longer focusing on our core business. Entry into new or expanded lines of business may also subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. For example, our recently launched Huron Managed Services business provides revenue cycle managed services to hospitals and health systems. These services include the coding, preparation, submission and collection of claims for medical service to payers for reimbursement. Such claims are governed by U.S. federal and state laws. U.S. federal law provides civil liability to any persons that knowingly submit, or cause to be submitted, a claim to a payer, including Medicare, Medicaid and private health plans, seeking payment for any services or items that overbills or bills for services or items that have not been provided to the patient. U.S. federal law may also impose criminal penalties for intentionally submitting such false claims. In addition, federal and state law regulates the collection of debt and may impose monetary penalties for violating those regulations. In connection with these laws, we may be subjected to U.S. federal or state government investigations and possible penalties may be imposed upon us, false claims actions may have to be defended and private payers may file claims against us. Any investigation or proceeding related to these laws, even if unwarranted or without merit, may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
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Our intellectual property rights in our “Huron Consulting Group” name are important, and any inability to use that name could negatively impact our ability to build brand identity.
We believe that establishing, maintaining, and enhancing the “Huron Consulting Group” name and “Huron” brand is important to our business. We are, however, aware of a number of other companies that use names containing “Huron.” There could be potential trade name or service mark infringement claims brought against us by the users of these similar names and marks and those users may have trade name or service mark rights that are senior to ours. If another company were to successfully challenge our right to use our name, or if we were unable to prevent a competitor from using a name that is similar to our name, our ability to build brand identity could be negatively impacted.
Conflicts of interest could preclude us from accepting engagements thereby causing decreased utilization and revenues.
We provide services in connection with bankruptcy and other proceedings that usually involve sensitive client information and frequently are adversarial. In connection with bankruptcy proceedings, we are required by law to be “disinterested” and may not be able to provide multiple services to a particular client. In addition, our engagement agreement with a client or other business reasons may preclude us from accepting engagements from time to time with the client's competitors or adversaries. Moreover, in many industries in which we provide services, there has been a continuing trend toward business consolidations and strategic alliances. These consolidations and alliances reduce the number of companies that may seek our services and increase the chances that we will be unable to accept new engagements as a result of conflicts of interest. If we are unable to accept new engagements for any reason, our consultants may become underutilized, which would adversely affect our revenues and results of operations in future periods.
Risks Related to Financial Management and Performance
Our financial results could suffer if we are unable to achieve or maintain adequate utilization and suitable billing rates for our consultants, or if we are unable to deliver our services due to factors that disrupt travel to our client sites.
Our profitability depends to a large extent on the utilization and billing rates of our professionals. Utilization of our professionals is affected by a number of factors, including:
the number and size of client engagements;
the timing of the commencement, completion and termination of engagements, which in many cases is unpredictable;
our ability to transition our consultants efficiently from completed engagements to new engagements;
the hiring of additional consultants because there is generally a transition period for new consultants that results in a temporary drop in our utilization rate;
unanticipated changes in the scope of client engagements;
our ability to forecast demand for our services and thereby maintain an appropriate level of consultants; and
conditions affecting the industries in which we practice as well as general economic conditions.
The billing rates of our consultants that we are able to charge are also affected by a number of factors, including:
our clients’ perception of our ability to add value through our services;
the market demand for the services we provide;
an increase in the number of engagements in the government sector, which are subject to federal contracting regulations;
introduction of new services by us or our competitors;
our competition and the pricing policies of our competitors; and
current economic conditions.
If we are unable to achieve and maintain adequate overall utilization as well as maintain or increase the billing rates for our consultants, our financial results could materially suffer. Traditionally, most of our consultants have performed services at the physical locations of our clients. Starting in 2020 and in response to the proliferation of the coronavirus, substantially all of our services were delivered remotely. If our
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consultants are unable to continue delivering services remotely or if we are out of step with a general market return to in person service delivery, our business could be materially adversely affected.
Our quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and may continue to fluctuate in the future as a result of certain factors, some of which may be outside of our control.
A key element of our strategy is to market our products and services directly to certain large organizations, such as health systems and acute care hospitals, and to increase the number of our products and services utilized by existing clients. The sales cycle for some of our products and services is often lengthy and may involve significant commitment of client personnel. As a consequence, the commencement date of a client engagement often cannot be accurately forecasted. As discussed below, certain of our client contracts contain terms that result in revenue that is deferred and cannot be recognized until the occurrence of certain events. As a result, the period of time between contract signing and recognition of associated revenue may be lengthy, and we are not able to predict with certainty the period in which revenue will be recognized.
Fee discounts, pressure to not increase or even decrease our rates, and less advantageous contract terms could result in the loss of clients, lower revenues and operating income, higher costs, and less profitable engagements. More discounts or write-offs than we expect in any period would have a negative impact on our results of operations.
Other fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations may be due to a number of other factors, some of which are not within our control, including:
the timing and volume of client invoices processed and payments received, which may affect the fees payable to us under certain of our engagements;
client decisions regarding renewal or termination of their contracts;
the amount and timing of costs related to the development or acquisition of technologies or businesses; and
unforeseen legal expenses, including litigation and other settlement gains or losses.
We base our annual employee bonus expense upon our expected annual adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) for that year. If we experience lower adjusted EBITDA in a quarter without a corresponding change to our full-year adjusted EBITDA expectation, our estimated bonus expense will not be reduced, which will have a negative impact on our quarterly results of operations for that quarter. Our quarterly results of operations may vary significantly and period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations may not be meaningful. The results of one quarter should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. If our quarterly results of operations fall below the expectations of securities analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially.
Revenues from our performance-based engagements are difficult to predict, and the timing and extent of recovery of our costs is uncertain.
We have engagement agreements under which our fees include a significant performance-based component. Performance-based fees are contingent on the achievement of specific measures, such as our clients meeting cost-saving or other contractually-defined goals. The achievement of these contractually-defined goals may be subject to acknowledgment by the client and is often impacted by factors outside of our control, such as the actions of the client or other third parties. To the extent that any revenue is contingent upon the achievement of a performance target, we recognize such revenue using a process that requires us to make significant management judgments, estimates, and assumptions. While we believe that the estimates and assumptions we have used for revenue recognition are reasonable, subsequent changes could have a material impact to our future financial results. The percentage of our revenues derived from performance-based fees for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, was 9.2%, 8.9%, and 6.1%, respectively. A greater number of performance-based fee arrangements may result in increased volatility in our working capital requirements and greater variations in our quarter-to-quarter results, which could affect the price of our common stock. In addition, an increase in the proportion of performance-based fee arrangements may temporarily offset the positive effect on our operating results from an increase in our utilization rate until the related revenues are recognized.
The profitability of our fixed-fee engagements with clients may not meet our expectations if we underestimate the cost of these engagements.
When making proposals for fixed-fee engagements, we estimate the costs and timing for completing the engagements. These estimates reflect our best judgment regarding the efficiencies of our methodologies and consultants as we plan to deploy them on engagements. Any increased or unexpected costs or unanticipated delays in connection with the performance of fixed-fee engagements, including delays caused by factors outside our control, could make these contracts less profitable or unprofitable, which would have an adverse effect on our
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profit margin. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, fixed-fee engagements represented 41.4%, 45.8%, and 47.4%, of our revenues, respectively.
Our business performance might not be sufficient for us to meet the full-year financial guidance that we provide publicly.
We provide full-year financial guidance to the public based upon our expectations regarding our financial performance. While we believe that our annual financial guidance provides investors and analysts with insight to our view of the Company’s future performance, such financial guidance is based on assumptions that may not always prove to be accurate and may vary from actual results. If we fail to meet the full-year financial guidance that we provide, or if we find it necessary to revise or suspend such guidance during the year, the market value of our common stock could be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Capital Resources
Our obligations under the Amended Credit Agreement are secured by a pledge of certain of the equity interests in our subsidiaries and a lien on substantially all of our assets and those of our subsidiary grantors. If we default on these obligations, our lenders may foreclose on our assets, including our pledged equity interest in our subsidiaries.
We entered into a second amended and restated security agreement with Bank of America (the “Security Agreement”) and a second amended and restated pledge agreement (the “Pledge Agreement”) in connection with our entry into the Second Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, dated as of March 31, 2015 (as amended and restated, the “Amended Credit Agreement”). Pursuant to the Security Agreement and to secure our obligations under the Amended Credit Agreement, we granted our lenders a first-priority lien, subject to permitted liens, on substantially all of the personal property assets that we and the subsidiary grantors own. Pursuant to the Pledge Agreement, we granted our lenders a security interest in 100% of the voting stock or other equity interests in our domestic subsidiaries and 65% of the voting stock or other equity interests in certain of our foreign subsidiaries. If we default on our obligations under the Amended Credit Agreement, our lenders could accelerate our indebtedness and may be able to exercise their liens on the equity interests subject to the Pledge Agreement and their liens on substantially all of our assets and the assets of our subsidiary grantors, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, financial condition, and liquidity. In addition, the covenants contained in the Amended Credit Agreement impose restrictions on our ability to engage in certain activities, such as the incurrence of additional indebtedness, certain investments, certain acquisitions and dispositions, and the payment of dividends.
Our indebtedness could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations and obligations, expose us to interest rate risk to the extent of our variable-rate debt, and adversely affect our financial results.
At December 31, 2020, we had outstanding indebtedness of $200.0 million on our revolving line of credit that becomes due and payable in full upon maturity on September 27, 2024, and $3.3 million principal amount of our promissory note due March 1, 2024. Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal, to pay interest, or to refinance our indebtedness, depends on our future performance. If we are unable to generate cash flow from operations sufficient to satisfy our obligations under our current indebtedness and any future indebtedness, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as reducing or delaying investments or capital expenditures, selling assets, refinancing, or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or dilutive. Our ability to refinance our current indebtedness or future indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on the current indebtedness or future indebtedness.
The interest rates on our revolving line of credit and promissory note are linked to LIBOR. In 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K. announced that it would phase out LIBOR as a benchmark rate by the end of 2021. It is unclear whether new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established such that it continues to exist after 2021, or whether different benchmark rates will develop. If LIBOR ceases to exist, the method and rates used to calculate our interest rates and/or payments on our debt may result in interest rates and/or payments that are higher than, or that do not otherwise correlate over time with, the interest rates and/or payments that would have been applicable to our obligations if LIBOR was available in its current form, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. While we continue to take steps to mitigate the impact of the phase-out or replacement of LIBOR, such efforts may not prove successful. Furthermore, the U.S. or global financial markets may be disrupted as a result of the phase-out or replacement of LIBOR, which could also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, our indebtedness, combined with our other financial obligations and contractual commitments, could have other important consequences such as exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates because some of our borrowings are at variable interest rates; making us more vulnerable to adverse changes in general U.S. and worldwide economic, industry, and competitive conditions and adverse changes in government regulation; or reducing our capacity to obtain additional financing and flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industry. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
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Risks Related to Asset Impairment
Our goodwill and other intangible assets represent a substantial amount of our total assets, and we may be required to recognize a non-cash impairment charge for these assets if the performance of one or more of our reporting units falls below our expectations.
Our total assets reflect a substantial amount of goodwill and other intangible assets. At December 31, 2020, goodwill and other intangible assets totaled $614.7 million, or 58%, of our total assets. Goodwill results from our acquisitions, representing the excess of the fair value of consideration transferred over the fair value of the net assets acquired. We test goodwill for impairment at the reporting unit level, annually and whenever events or circumstances make it more likely than not that an impairment may have occurred. Intangible assets other than goodwill represent purchased assets that lack physical substance but can be distinguished from goodwill. Our intangible assets primarily consist of customer relationships, trade names, customer contracts, technology and software, and non-competition agreements, all of which were acquired through business combinations. We evaluate our intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded non-cash goodwill impairment charges totaling $59.8 million related to the Company’s Business Advisory segment. During 2019 and 2018, we did not record any non-cash goodwill impairment charges. No material impairment charges for intangible assets were recorded in 2020, 2019, or 2018.
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 a non-cash goodwill 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 be consistent with 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 additional non-cash goodwill impairment charges.
Refer to “Critical Accounting Policies” within Part I - Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for further discussion of our business combinations, goodwill, intangible assets, and impairment tests performed.
We may incur impairment charges with respect to our convertible debt investment in Shorelight.
In 2014 and 2015, we invested $27.9 million, in the form of zero coupon convertible debt, in Shorelight Holdings, LLC (“Shorelight”), the parent company of Shorelight Education. In the first quarter of 2020, we invested an additional $13.0 million, in the form of 1.69% convertible debt with a senior liquidation preference. Our investment is carried at its fair value of $64.4 million as of December 31, 2020, with unrealized holding gains and losses reported in other comprehensive income. As of December 31, 2020, our investment in Shorelight is in an unrealized gain position. If the investment were to be in an unrealized loss position due to significant credit deterioration of Shorelight, we would recognize an allowance to decrease the carrying value of the investment to the fair value, which may be reversed in the event that the credit of Shorelight improves. As of December 31, 2020, we have not recognized any credit allowance on our investment. In the future, if there are adverse developments in Shorelight's business that may be the result of events within or outside of Shorelight's control, we may incur impairment charges with respect to our convertible debt investment, which could materially impact our results of operations.
General Risk Factors
Expanding our service offerings may involve additional risks and may not be profitable.
We may choose to develop new service offerings or eliminate service offerings because of market opportunities or client demands. Developing new service offerings involves inherent risks, including:
our inability to estimate demand for the new service offerings;
competition from more established market participants;
exposure to new legal and operational risks;
a lack of market understanding;
unanticipated expenses to recruit and hire qualified consultants and to market our new service offerings; and
unanticipated challenges with service delivery.
Changes in capital markets, legal or regulatory requirements, and general economic or other factors beyond our control could reduce demand for our services, in which case our revenues and profitability could decline.
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A number of factors outside of our control affect demand for our services. These include:
fluctuations in U.S. and global economies;
the U.S. or global financial markets and the availability, costs, and terms of credit;
changes in laws and regulations; and
other economic factors and general business conditions.
For example, some portion of the services we provide may be considered by our clients to be more discretionary in nature, as the demand for the services may be impacted by economic slowdowns. We are not able to predict the positive or negative effects that future events or changes to the U.S. or global economy, financial markets, or regulatory and business environment could have on our operations.
Changes in U.S. tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to income and other taxes in the U.S. at the state and federal level and also in foreign jurisdictions. Changes in applicable U.S. state, federal or foreign tax laws and regulations, or their interpretation and application, could materially affect our tax expense and profitability.
Future changes in tax laws, treaties or regulations, and their interpretation or enforcement, may be unpredictable, particularly as taxing jurisdictions face an increasing number of political, budgetary and other fiscal challenges. Tax rates in the jurisdictions in which we operate may change as a result of macroeconomic and other factors outside of our control, making it increasingly difficult for multinational corporations like ourselves to operate with certainty about taxation in many jurisdictions. As a result, we could be materially adversely affected by future changes in tax law or policy (or in their interpretation or enforcement) in the jurisdictions where we operate, including the United States, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, results of operations, financial condition, as well as our effective income tax rate.
ITEM 1B.UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.
ITEM 2.PROPERTIES.
We do not own any real estate or other physical properties. Our administrative and principal executive offices are located at 550 W. Van Buren Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607. We believe that our office facilities are suitable and adequate for our business as it is presently conducted. See Note 5 “Leases” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our office facilities.
ITEM 3.LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we are not a party to any litigation or legal proceeding that, in the current opinion of management, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations. However, due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in legal proceedings, actual results could differ from current expected results.
ITEM 4.MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
Not applicable.
PART II
ITEM 5.MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market Information
Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “HURN.” As of February 16, 2021, there were 325 registered holders of record of Huron’s common stock. A number of Huron’s stockholders hold their shares in street name; therefore, the Company believes that there are substantially more beneficial owners of its common stock.
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Dividends
We have not declared or paid dividends on our common stock since we became a public company. Our board of directors re-evaluates this policy periodically. Any determination to pay cash dividends will be at the discretion of the board of directors and will be dependent upon our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, terms of our financing arrangements, and such other factors as the board of directors deems relevant. In addition, the amount of dividends we may pay is subject to the restricted payment provisions of our senior secured credit facility. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section under Part II—Item 7. “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further information on the restricted payment provisions of our senior secured credit facility.
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
The information required by this item appears under Part III—Item 12. “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholders Matters.”
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Our Stock Ownership Participation Program, 2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan, and 2004 Omnibus Stock Plan, which was replaced by the 2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan, permit the netting of common stock upon vesting of restricted stock awards to satisfy individual tax withholding requirements. During the quarter ended December 31, 2020, we reacquired 2,475 shares of common stock with a weighted average fair market value of $42.97 as a result of such tax withholdings.
In November 2020, our board of directors authorized a share repurchase program (the “2020 Share Repurchase Program”) permitting us to repurchase up to $50 million of our common stock through December 31, 2021. The 2020 Share Repurchase Program was authorized subsequent to the expiration of our prior share repurchase program (the “2015 Share Repurchase Program”) on October 31, 2020. The 2015 Share Repurchase Program permitted us to repurchase up to $125 million of our common stock through October 31, 2020. The amount and timing of repurchases under both share repurchase programs were determined by management and depended on a variety of factors, including the trading price of our common stock, capacity under our credit facility, general market and business conditions, and applicable legal requirements.
The following table provides information with respect to purchases we made of our common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
Period
Total Number 
of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price
Paid Per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased under the Plans or Programs (2)
October 1, 2020 – October 31, 20201,496 $40.06 — $— 
November 1, 2020 – November 30, 202052,402 $45.18 52,402 $47,630,710 
December 1, 2020 – December 31, 202059,743 $45.21 58,764 $44,974,137 
Total113,641 $45.13 111,166 
 
(1)The number of shares repurchased included 1,496 shares in October 2020 and 979 shares in December 2020 to satisfy employee tax withholding requirements. No shares were repurchased in November 2020 to satisfy employee tax withholding requirements. These shares do not reduce the repurchase authority under the Share Repurchase Program.
(2)As of the end of the period.
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ITEM 6.SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
We have derived the following selected consolidated financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2016 through 2020 from our consolidated financial statements. The following data reflects the business acquisitions that we have completed through December 31, 2020. The results of operations for acquired businesses have been included in our results of operations since the date of their acquisitions. See Note 3 “Acquisitions” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding our acquisitions. The following data also reflects the classification of discontinued operations.
The information set forth below is not necessarily indicative of the results of future operations and should be read in conjunction with Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands, except per share data):
Year Ended December 31,
20202019201820172016
Revenues and reimbursable expenses:
Revenues$844,127 $876,757 $795,125 $732,570 $726,272 
Reimbursable expenses26,887 88,717 82,874 75,175 71,712 
Total revenues and reimbursable expenses871,014 965,474 877,999 807,745 797,984 
Direct costs and reimbursable expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown in operating expenses) (1):
Direct costs592,428 575,602 521,537 454,806 437,556 
Amortization of intangible assets and software development costs5,366 5,375 4,247 10,932 15,140 
Reimbursable expenses26,918 88,696 82,923 75,436 71,749 
Total direct costs and reimbursable expenses624,712 669,673 608,707 541,174 524,445 
Operating expenses and other losses (gains), net:
Selling, general and administrative expenses170,686 203,071 180,983 175,364 160,204 
Restructuring charges20,525 1,855 3,657 6,246 9,592 
Litigation and other losses (gains), net(150)(1,196)(2,019)1,111 (1,990)
Depreciation and amortization (1)
24,277 28,365 34,575 38,213 31,499 
Goodwill impairment charges59,816 — — 253,093 — 
Total operating expenses and other losses (gains), net275,154 232,095 217,196 474,027 199,305 
Operating income (loss)(28,852)63,706 52,096 (207,456)74,234 
Other income (expense), net:
Interest expense, net of interest income(9,292)(15,648)(19,013)(18,613)(16,274)
Other income (expense), net4,271 4,433 (7,862)3,565 1,197 
Total other expense, net(5,021)(11,215)(26,875)(15,048)(15,077)
Income (loss) from continuing operations before taxes(33,873)52,491 25,221 (222,504)59,157 
Income tax expense (benefit)(10,155)10,512 11,277 (51,999)19,677 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations(23,718)41,979 13,944 (170,505)39,480 
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax(122)(236)(298)388 (1,863)
Net income (loss)$(23,840)$41,743 $13,646 $(170,117)$37,617 
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Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands, except per share data):
Year Ended December 31,
20202019201820172016
Net earnings (loss) per basic share:
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(1.08)$1.91 $0.64 $(7.95)$1.87 
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax(0.01)(0.01)(0.01)0.02 (0.09)
Net income (loss)$(1.09)$1.90 $0.63 $(7.93)$1.78 
Net earnings (loss) per diluted share:
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(1.08)$1.87 $0.63 $(7.95)$1.84 
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax(0.01)(0.02)(0.01)0.02 (0.08)
Net income (loss)$(1.09)$1.85 $0.62 $(7.93)$1.76 
Weighted average shares used in calculating net earnings (loss) per share:
Basic21,882 21,993 21,706 21,439 21,084 
Diluted21,882 22,507 22,058 21,439 21,424 
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data
(in thousands):
As of December 31,
20202019201820172016
Cash and cash equivalents $67,177 $11,604 $33,107 $16,909 $17,027 
Working capital (2)
$43,644 $20,192 $(185,374)$51,828 $44,314 
Total assets$1,057,476 $1,104,271 $1,049,532 $1,036,928 $1,153,215 
Long-term debt, net of current portion (2)
$202,780 $208,324 $53,853 $342,507 $292,065 
Total stockholders’ equity (3)
$551,942 $585,465 $540,624 $503,316 $648,033 
(1)Intangible asset amortization relating to customer contracts, certain client relationships, and technology and software and amortization of certain software development costs are presented as a component of total direct costs. Depreciation and amortization not classified as direct costs are presented as a component of operating expenses.
(2)Our Convertible Notes with a principal amount of $250.0 million were classified as short-term debt on our consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2018 as they had a maturity date of October 1, 2019. Upon maturity, we refinanced the outstanding notes with the borrowing capacity available under our revolving credit facility, which is classified as long-term debt on our consolidated balance sheet. Refer to the “Liquidity and Capital Resources” section under Part II—Item 7. “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for more information on our outstanding borrowings.
(3)We have not declared or paid dividends on our common stock in the periods presented above. See Item 5. “Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities—Dividends.”
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ITEM 7.MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) should be read in conjunction with the information under Part II—Item 6. Selected Financial Data, and our Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes appearing under Part II—Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data. The following MD&A contains forward-looking statements and involves numerous risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, those described under Part I—Item 1A. Risk Factors and Forward-Looking Statements of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.
The following information summarizes our results of operations for 2020, 2019, and 2018; and discusses those results of operations for 2020 compared to 2019. For a discussion of our results of operations for 2019 compared to 2018, refer to Part II—Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on February 26, 2020.
OVERVIEW
Huron is a global consultancy that collaborates with clients to drive strategic growth, ignite innovation and navigate constant change. Through a combination of strategy, expertise and creativity, we help clients accelerate operational, digital and cultural transformation, enabling the change they need to own their future. By embracing diverse perspectives, encouraging new ideas and challenging the status quo, Huron creates sustainable results for the organizations it serves.
We provide our services and manage our business under three operating segments: Healthcare, Business Advisory, and Education. See Part I—Item 1. “Business—Overview—Our Services” and Note 19 “Segment Information” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for a discussion of our three segments.
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has created significant volatility, uncertainty and disruption to the global economy. This pandemic has had an unfavorable impact on aspects of our business, operations, and financial results, and has caused us to significantly change the way we operate. Near the end of the first quarter of 2020, we suspended almost all business travel and our employees began working from their homes. While traditionally a majority of the work performed by our revenue-generating professionals occurred at client sites, the nature of the services we provide and enhanced available technology allows our revenue-generating professionals to effectively serve clients in a remote work environment. As state and local governments ease their restrictions, we continue to refine our comprehensive plan to return to our offices and client sites with our people’s safety and the needs of our clients guiding how we implement our phased transition. As of December 31, 2020, our employees continue to primarily work from their homes.
In each of our operating segments, we are working closely with our clients to support them and their ongoing business needs and provide relevant services to address their needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as some clients reprioritized and delayed projects as a result of the pandemic, demand for certain offerings has been negatively impacted, particularly within our Healthcare and Education segments. Revenues in the first half of 2020 increased 3.6% compared to the same prior year period, while revenues in the second half of 2020 declined 10.6% compared to the same prior year period, resulting in a full year revenue decline of 3.7% in 2020 compared to full year 2019. In addition to the impact on 2020 revenues, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted sales and elongated the sales cycle for new opportunities for certain services, particularly within our Healthcare and Education segments. Given the uncertainties around the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to remain cautious about revenue growth for the first half of 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened demand for other services we provide, such as our cloud-based technology and analytics solutions within our Business Advisory segment and our restructuring and capital advisory solutions provided to organizations in transition also within our Business Advisory segment.
In order to support our liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic, we took proactive measures to increase available cash on hand including, but not limited to, borrowing under our senior secured credit facility in the first quarter of 2020 and reducing discretionary operating and capital spending. In each quarter subsequent to the first quarter of 2020, we made repayments on our borrowings to reduce our total debt outstanding due to our ability to maintain adequate cash flows from operations and improved clarity around access to capital resources. To further support our liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic, we elected to defer the deposit of our employer portion of social security taxes beginning in April 2020 and through the end of the year, which we expect to pay in equal installments in the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022, as provided for under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) Act. See the “Liquidity and Capital Resources” section below for additional information on these items.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Restructuring Plan
In the fourth quarter of 2020, we announced a restructuring plan to reduce operating costs to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. The restructuring plan, which was substantially complete in the fourth quarter of 2020, provided for a reduction in certain
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leased office spaces and a reduction in workforce of approximately 125 employees; and resulted in an aggregate restructuring charge, including non-cash lease impairment charges, of $18.7 million.
The reduction in leased office spaces includes a portion of our principal executive office in Chicago, Illinois, as well as certain other office space in the U.S, which resulted in the recognition of $13.2 million of non-cash lease impairment charges on the related operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and fixed assets that we intend to sublease, as well as $0.7 million of accelerated amortization and depreciation on the related operating lease ROU assets and fixed assets we intend to abandon. The reduction in workforce resulted in a $4.8 million restructuring charge related to cash employee severance costs; of which $2.0 million related to our Education segment, $1.2 million related to our Healthcare segment, $1.0 million related to our Business Advisory segment, and $0.6 million related to our corporate operations.
We do not expect to incur additional significant employee severance costs or non-cash lease impairment charges in 2021 related to the fourth quarter 2020 restructuring plan. However, any significant decline in the estimated amount or delayed timing of sublease income used in the calculation of each non-cash lease impairment charge could result in additional non-cash lease impairment charges through the end of the lease terms. We expect approximately $2.5 million of ongoing lease-related costs to be reflected as restructuring charges in 2021. As a result of the reduction in workforce, we expect to realize annualized savings of approximately $21.0 million related to employee salaries and related benefits. As a result of the reduction in leased office space, we expect to realize annualized savings of approximately $1.0 million in lease-related expense.
First Quarter 2020 Goodwill Impairment Charges
The services provided by our Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units within our Business Advisory segment focus on strategic solutions for healthy, well-capitalized companies to identify new growth opportunities, which may be considered by our clients to be more discretionary in nature, and the duration of the projects within these practices are typically short-term. Therefore, at the onset of the the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we were cautious about near-term results for these two reporting units. Based on our internal projections and the preparation of our financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, and considering the expected decrease in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the first quarter of 2020 we believed it was more likely than not that the fair value of these two reporting units no longer exceeded their carrying values and performed an interim goodwill impairment test on both reporting units. Based on the estimated fair values of the Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units, we recorded non-cash pretax goodwill impairment charges of $49.9 million and $9.9 million, respectively. The non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to the Strategy and Innovation reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance of the reporting unit to $37.5 million as of March 31, 2020. The non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to the Life Sciences reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance to zero as of March 31, 2020. During the same time, we did not identify any indicators that would lead us to believe that the fair values of our Healthcare, Education, and Business Advisory reporting units would not exceed their carrying values.
Additionally, during the second and third quarters of 2020, we did not identify any indicators that would lead us to believe that the fair values of our reporting units would not exceed their carrying values. Pursuant to our policy, we performed our annual goodwill impairment test as of November 30, 2020 on all reporting units with goodwill balances and concluded that the fair value of all reporting units exceeded their carrying values. See the “Critical Accounting Policies” section below and Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on the goodwill impairment tests performed in 2020.
Enterprise Resource Planning System Implementation
In the fourth quarter of 2019, we began the implementation of a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) system designed to improve the efficiency of our internal finance, human resources, resource planning, and administrative operations. In January 2021, we successfully went live with the new ERP system, and we continue to progress with additional functionality and integrations as scheduled. The implementation progressed on schedule and has not been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the ability of our implementation team to work and collaborate remotely and the enhanced technology and cloud-based nature of our new ERP system. We believe our investment in this new system will position our teams to drive efficiencies and provide more robust management reporting and data analytics to support future growth and the goals and vision of the company.
See Part II, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on the potential impact the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our business, operations and financial results.
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, some of whom work variable schedules as needed by our clients. Full-time equivalent professionals consist of our coaches and their support staff from our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution, consultants who work variable schedules as needed by our clients, employees who provide managed services in our Healthcare segment, and our employees who provide software support and maintenance services to our clients. We translate the hours that these other professionals work on client engagements into a full-time
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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. Revenues generated by our coaches are largely dependent on the number of coaches we employ and the total value, scope, and terms of the consulting contracts under which they provide services, which are primarily fixed-fee contracts. Revenues generated by our Managed Services solution are dependent on the total value, scope and terms of the related contracts.
We generate our revenues from providing professional services under four types of billing arrangements: fixed-fee (including software license revenue); time-and-expense; performance-based; and software support, maintenance and subscriptions.
In fixed-fee billing arrangements, we agree to a pre-established fee in exchange for a predetermined set of professional services. 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. Contracts within our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution include fixed-fee partner contracts with multiple performance obligations, which primarily consist of coaching services, as well as speaking engagements, conferences, publications and software products (“Partner Contracts”). Revenues for coaching services and software products are generally recognized on a straight-line basis over the length of the contract. All other revenues under Partner Contracts, including speaking engagements, conferences and publications, are recognized at the time the goods or services are provided.
Fixed-fee arrangements also include software licenses for our 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 represented 41.4%, 45.8%, and 47.4% of our revenues for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.
Time-and-expense billing arrangements require the client to pay based on the number of hours worked by our revenue-generating professionals at agreed upon rates. Time-and-expense arrangements also include certain speaking engagements, conferences and publications purchased by our clients outside of Partner Contracts within our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution. We recognize revenues under time-and-expense billing arrangements as the related services or publications are provided. Time-and-expense engagements represented 43.4%, 39.9%, and 41.2% of our revenues in 2020, 2019, and 2018, 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 recognize revenues under performance-based billing arrangements by estimating the amount of variable consideration that is probable of being earned and recognizing that estimate over the length of the contract using a proportionate performance approach. Performance-based fee revenues represented 9.2%, 8.9%, and 6.1% of our revenues in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. The level of performance-based fees earned may vary based on our clients’ risk sharing preferences and the mix of services we provide.
Clients that have purchased one of our software licenses can pay an annual fee for software support and maintenance. We also generate subscription revenue from our cloud-based analytic tools and solutions. Software support, maintenance and subscription revenues are recognized ratably over the support or subscription period. These fees are generally billed in advance and included in deferred revenues until recognized. Software support and maintenance and subscription-based revenues represented 6.0%, 5.4%, and 5.3% of our revenues in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.
Our quarterly results are impacted principally by our full-time consultants’ utilization rate, the bill rates we charge our clients, and the number of our revenue-generating professionals who are available to work. 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
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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.
Reimbursable Expenses
Reimbursable expenses that are billed to clients, primarily relating to travel and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with engagements, are included in total revenues and reimbursable expenses. Under fixed-fee billing arrangements, we estimate the total amount of reimbursable expenses to be incurred over the course of the engagement and recognize the estimated amount as revenue using the proportionate performance approach, which is based on work completed to-date versus our estimates of the total services to be provided under the engagement. Under time-and-expense billing arrangements, we recognize reimbursable expenses as revenue as the related services are provided, using the right to invoice practical expedient. Reimbursable expenses are recognized as expenses in the period in which the expense is incurred. Subcontractors that are billed to clients at cost are also included in reimbursable expenses. When billings do not specifically identify reimbursable expenses, we allocate the portion of the billings equivalent to these expenses to reimbursable expenses.
We manage our business on the basis of revenues before reimbursable expenses, which we believe is the most accurate reflection of our services because it eliminates the effect of reimbursable expenses that we bill to our clients at cost.
Total Direct Costs
Our most significant expenses are costs classified as total direct costs. These total direct costs primarily include salaries, performance bonuses, signing and retention bonuses, payroll taxes, and benefits for revenue-generating professionals, as well as technology costs, product and event costs, commissions, and fees paid to independent contractors that we retain to supplement our revenue-generating professionals, typically on an as-needed basis for specific client engagements. Direct costs also include share-based compensation, which represents the cost of restricted stock and performance-based share awards granted to our revenue-generating professionals. Compensation expense for restricted stock awards and performance-based share awards is recognized ratably using either the straight-line attribution method or the graded vesting attribution method, as appropriate, over the requisite service period, which is generally three to four years. Total direct costs also include amortization of internally developed software costs and intangible assets primarily related to technology and software, certain customer relationships, and customer contracts acquired in business combinations.
Operating Expenses and Other Losses (Gains), Net
Our operating expenses include selling, general and administrative expenses, which consist primarily of salaries, performance bonuses, payroll taxes, benefits, and share-based compensation for our support personnel. Also included in selling, general and administrative expenses is rent and other office related expenses, referred to as facilities expenses; sales and marketing related expenses; professional fees; recruiting and training expenses; and practice administration and meetings expenses. Other operating expenses include restructuring charges, other gains and losses, depreciation and certain amortization expenses not included in total direct costs.
Segment Results
Segment operating income consists of the revenues generated by a segment, less the direct costs of revenue and selling, general and administrative expenses 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. These administrative function costs include corporate office support costs, office facility costs, costs relating to accounting and finance, human resources, legal, marketing, information technology, and company-wide business development functions, as well as costs related to overall corporate management.

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, selected segment and consolidated operating results and other operating data. The results of operations for acquired businesses have been included in our results of operations since the date of their respective acquisition.
Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
Segment and Consolidated Operating Results (in thousands):
Healthcare:
Revenues$353,437 $399,221 $364,763 
Operating income$94,925 $125,724 $108,060 
Segment operating income as a percentage of segment revenues26.9 %31.5 %29.6 %
Business Advisory:
Revenues$267,361 $252,508 $236,185 
Operating income$48,046 $49,695 $50,625 
Segment operating income as a percentage of segment revenues18.0 %19.7 %21.4 %
Education:
Revenues$223,329 $225,028 $194,177 
Operating income$47,503 $55,741 $48,243 
Segment operating income as a percentage of segment revenues21.3 %24.8 %24.8 %
Total Company:
Revenues$844,127 $876,757 $795,125 
Reimbursable expenses26,887 88,717 82,874 
Total revenues and reimbursable expenses$871,014 $965,474 $877,999 
Statements of Operations reconciliation:
Segment operating income$190,474 $231,160 $206,928 
Items not allocated at the segment level:
Other operating expenses135,255 140,285 122,276 
Litigation and other gains, net(150)(1,196)(2,019)
Depreciation and amortization24,405 28,365 34,575 
Goodwill impairment charges (1)
59,816 — — 
Total operating income (loss)(28,852)63,706 52,096 
Other expense, net5,021 11,215 26,875 
Income (loss) from continuing operations before taxes(33,873)52,491 25,221 
Income tax expense (benefit)(10,155)10,512 11,277 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations $(23,718)$41,979 $13,944 
Earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations
Basic$(1.08)$1.91 $0.64 
Diluted $(1.08)$1.87 $0.63 
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Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
Other Operating Data:
Number of full-time billable consultants (at period end) (2):
Healthcare820 890 813 
Business Advisory1,051 930 813 
Education737 756 621 
Total2,608 2,576 2,247 
Average number of full-time billable consultants (for the period) (2):
Healthcare863 849 807 
Business Advisory962 892 769 
Education775 686 589 
Total2,600 2,427 2,165 
Full-time billable consultant utilization rate (3):
Healthcare69.0 %79.4 %81.7 %
Business Advisory72.4 %72.5 %73.8 %
Education70.3 %76.8 %76.6 %
Total70.7 %76.1 %77.5 %
Full-time billable consultant average billing rate per hour (4):
Healthcare$246 $231 $209 
Business Advisory (5)
$195 $201 $215 
Education$187 $199 $202 
Total (5)
$208 $211 $209 
Revenue per full-time billable consultant (in thousands):
Healthcare$295 $331 $307 
Business Advisory$264 $273 $293 
Education$247 $285 $289 
Total$269 $297 $297 
Average number of full-time equivalents (for the period) (6):
Healthcare278 244 219 
Business Advisory30 14 22 
Education52 47 39 
Total360 305 280 
Revenue per full-time equivalent (in thousands):
Healthcare$356 $485 $536 
Business Advisory$455 $655 $484 
Education$618 $617 $601 
Total$402 $513 $541 
(1)The non-cash goodwill impairment charges are not allocated at the segment level because the underlying goodwill asset is reflective of our corporate investment in the segments. We do not include the impact of goodwill impairment charges in our evaluation of segment performance.
(2)Consists of our full-time professionals who provide consulting services and generate revenues based on the number of hours worked.
(3)Utilization rate for our full-time billable consultants is calculated by dividing the number of hours all of our full-time billable consultants worked on client assignments during a period by the total available working hours for all of these consultants during the same period, assuming a forty-hour work week, less paid holidays and vacation days.
(4)Average billing rate per hour for our full-time billable consultants is calculated by dividing revenues for a period by the number of hours worked on client assignments during the same period.
(5)The Business Advisory segment includes operations of Huron Eurasia India. Absent the impact of Huron Eurasia India, the average billing rate per hour for the Business Advisory segment would have been $213, $228, and $246 for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Absent the impact of Huron Eurasia India, Huron's consolidated average billing rate per hour would have been $215, $220, and $218 for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
(6)Consists of coaches and their support staff within our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution, consultants who work variable schedules as needed by our clients, employees who provide managed services in our Healthcare segment, and full-time employees who provide software support and maintenance services to our clients.
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Non-GAAP Measures
We also assess our results of operations using certain non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP financial measures differ from GAAP because the non-GAAP financial measures we calculate to measure earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenues, adjusted net income from continuing operations, and adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations exclude a number of items required by GAAP, each discussed below. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for or superior to, any measure of performance, cash flows, or liquidity prepared in accordance with GAAP. Our non-GAAP financial measures may be defined differently from time to time and may be defined differently than similar terms used by other companies, and accordingly, care should be exercised in understanding how we define our non-GAAP financial measures.
Our management uses the non-GAAP financial measures to gain an understanding of our comparative operating performance, for example when comparing such results with previous periods or forecasts. These non-GAAP financial measures are used by management in their financial and operating decision making because management believes they reflect our ongoing business in a manner that allows for meaningful period-to-period comparisons. Management also uses these non-GAAP financial measures when publicly providing our business outlook, for internal management purposes, and as a basis for evaluating potential acquisitions and dispositions. We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating Huron’s current operating performance and future prospects in the same manner as management does and in comparing in a consistent manner Huron’s current financial results with Huron’s past financial results.
The reconciliations of these financial measures from GAAP to non-GAAP are as follows (in thousands, except per share amounts): 
 Year Ended December 31,
 202020192018
Revenues$844,127 $876,757 $795,125 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(23,718)$41,979 $13,944 
Add back:
Income tax expense (benefit)(10,155)10,512 11,277 
Interest expense, net of interest income 9,292 15,648 19,013 
Depreciation and amortization29,644 33,740 38,822 
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)5,063 101,879 83,056 
Add back:
Restructuring and other charges21,374 1,855 3,657 
Litigation and other gains, net(150)(1,196)(2,019)
Transaction-related expenses1,132 2,680 — 
Goodwill impairment charges59,816 — — 
Unrealized gain on preferred stock investment(1,667)— — 
Losses on sales of businesses1,603 — 5,807 
Foreign currency transaction losses (gains), net(31)160 475 
Adjusted EBITDA$87,140 $105,378 $90,976 
Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenues10.3 %12.0 %11.4 %
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 Year Ended December 31,
 202020192018
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(23,718)$41,979 $13,944 
Weighted average shares - diluted21,882 22,507 22,058 
Diluted earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations$(1.08)$1.87 $0.63 
Add back:
Amortization of intangible assets12,696 17,793 23,955 
Restructuring and other charges21,374 1,855 3,657 
Litigation and other gains, net(150)(1,196)(2,019)
Transaction-related expenses1,132 2,680 — 
Goodwill impairment charges59,816 — — 
Non-cash interest on convertible notes— 6,436 8,232 
Unrealized gain on preferred stock investment(1,667)— — 
Losses on sales of businesses1,603 — 5,807 
Tax effect of adjustments(23,199)(7,200)(9,487)
Tax expense related to the enactment of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017— — 1,749 
Tax benefit related to “check-the-box” election
— (736)— 
Total adjustments, net of tax71,605 19,632 31,894 
Adjusted net income from continuing operations$47,887 $61,611 $45,838 
Adjusted weighted average shares - diluted22,299 22,507 22,058 
Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations$2.15 $2.74 $2.08 
These non-GAAP financial measures include adjustments for the following items:
Amortization of intangible assets: We have excluded the effect of amortization of intangible assets from the calculation of adjusted net income from continuing operations presented above. Amortization of intangibles is inconsistent in its amount and frequency and is significantly affected by the timing and size of our acquisitions.
Restructuring and other charges: We have incurred charges due to the restructuring of various parts of our business, including the restructuring plan announced in the fourth quarter of 2020 to reduce operating costs to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. Restructuring charges have primarily consisted of costs associated with office space consolidations, including lease impairment charges and accelerated depreciation on lease-related property and equipment, and severance charges. Additionally, we have excluded the effect of a $0.8 million one-time charge incurred during the first quarter of 2020 related to redundant administrative costs in our corporate operations which is recorded within selling, general and administrative expenses on our consolidated statement of operations. We have excluded the effect of the restructuring charges and other charges from our non-GAAP measures to permit comparability with periods that were not impacted by these items.
Litigation and other gains, net: We have excluded the effects of litigation and other gains, net which primarily consist of net remeasurement gains related to contingent acquisition liabilities and litigation settlement losses and gains to permit comparability with periods that were not impacted by these items.
Transaction-related expenses: To permit comparability with prior periods, we excluded the impact of third-party legal and accounting fees incurred in 2020 related to the acquisitions of ForceIQ, Inc., which closed effective November 1, 2020, and Unico Solution, Inc., which closed effective February 1, 2021. See Note 3 “Acquisitions” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements and the “Subsequent Event” section below for additional information on these acquisitions. We also excluded the impact of third-party legal and accounting fees incurred in 2019 related to the evaluation of a potential acquisition that ultimately did not consummate.
Goodwill impairment charges: We excluded the effect of the goodwill impairment charges recognized in the first quarter of 2020 as these are infrequent events and their exclusion permits comparability with periods that were not impacted by such charges.
Non-cash interest on convertible notes: We incurred non-cash interest expense relating to the implied value of the equity conversion component of our Convertible Notes. The value of the equity conversion component was treated as a debt discount and amortized to interest expense over the life of the Convertible Notes using the effective interest rate method. We excluded this non-cash interest expense that does not represent cash interest payments from the calculation of adjusted net income from continuing operations as management believes that this non-cash expense is not indicative of the ongoing performance of our business.
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Unrealized gain on preferred stock investment: We have excluded the effect of an unrealized gain recognized in 2020 related to the fair value of our preferred stock investment in Medically Home Group, Inc. (“Medically Home”), which is included as a component of other income (expense), net, as management believes that this gain is not indicative of the ongoing performance of our business and its exclusion permits comparability with prior periods. See Note 13 “Fair Value of Financial Instruments” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our preferred stock investment in Medically Home.
Losses on sales of businesses: We have excluded the effect of non-operating losses recognized as a result of sales of businesses as they are infrequent, management believes that these items are not indicative of the ongoing performance of our business, and their exclusion permits comparability with periods that were not impacted by such items. The 2020 loss primarily relates to the sale of our U.K. life sciences drug safety practice within the Business Advisory segment in the fourth quarter of 2020; and the 2018 loss relates to the sale of our Middle East practice within the Business Advisory segment in the second quarter of 2018.
Foreign currency transaction losses (gains), net: We have excluded the effect of foreign currency transaction losses and gains from the calculation of adjusted EBITDA because the amount of each loss or gain is significantly affected by timing and changes in foreign exchange rates.
Tax effect of adjustments: The non-GAAP income tax adjustment reflects the incremental tax impact applicable to the non-GAAP adjustments.
Tax expense related to the enactment of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (2017 Tax Reform): We have excluded the impact of the 2017 Tax Reform, which was enacted in the fourth quarter of 2017. The net tax expense recorded in 2018 was due to a valuation allowance for foreign tax credits and an adjustment to our withholding tax on outside basis differences due to our change in assertion for permanent reinvestment, which were partially offset by U.S. federal return to provision adjustments related to 2017 Tax Reform items on our 2017 corporate tax return. The exclusion of the 2017 Tax Reform impact permits comparability with periods that were not impacted by this item.
Tax benefit related to "check-the-box" election: We have excluded the positive impact of a tax benefit, recorded in the third quarter of 2019, from recognizing a previously unrecognized tax benefit due to the expiration of statute of limitations on our “check-the-box” election made in 2015 to treat certain wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries as disregarded entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The exclusion of this discrete tax benefit permits comparability with periods that were not impacted by this item. Refer to Note 17 “Income Taxes” within the notes to the consolidated financial statements for additional information.
Income tax expense, Interest expense, net of interest income, Depreciation and amortization: We have excluded the effects of income tax expense, interest expense, net of interest income, and depreciation and amortization in the calculation of EBITDA as these are customary exclusions as defined by the calculation of EBITDA to arrive at meaningful earnings from core operations excluding the effect of such items.
Adjusted weighted average shares - diluted: As we reported a net loss for the year ended December 31, 2020, GAAP diluted weighted average shares outstanding equals the basic weighted average shares outstanding for that period. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the non-GAAP adjustments described above resulted in adjusted net income from continuing operations. Therefore, we included the dilutive common stock equivalents in the calculation of adjusted diluted weighted average shares outstanding for that period.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
Revenues
Revenues decreased $32.6 million, or 3.7%, to $844.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $876.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Revenues in 2020 were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as some clients reprioritized or delayed certain projects, primarily in our Healthcare and Education segments. Conversely, the COVID-19 pandemic strengthened demand for other services we provide, such as our cloud-based technology and analytics solutions within our Business Advisory segment and our restructuring and capital advisory solutions provided to organizations in transition in our Business Advisory segment.
Of the overall $32.6 million decrease in revenues, $20.3 million was attributable to our full-time billable consultants and $12.3 million was attributable to our full-time equivalents.
The decrease in full-time billable consultant revenues was attributable to decreased demand for services in our Healthcare and Education segments, partially offset by strengthened demand for services in our Business Advisory segment, as discussed below in Segment Results. The overall decrease in full-time billable consultant revenues reflected overall decreases in the consultant utilization rate and average billing rate, partially offset by an overall increase in the average number of full-time billable consultants in 2020 compared to 2019.
The decrease in full-time equivalent revenues was attributable to a decrease in full-time equivalent revenues in our Healthcare segment, partially offset by increases in full-time equivalent revenues in our Business Advisory and Education segments, as discussed below in Segment Results; and reflected an overall decrease in revenue per full-time equivalent, partially offset by an overall increase in the average number of full-time equivalents.
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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted sales and elongated the sales cycle for new opportunities for certain services, particularly within our Healthcare and Education segments where some clients reprioritized or delayed certain projects. Given the uncertainties around the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to remain cautious about revenue growth in the first half of 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the need for many companies to accelerate their digital transformation to drive operational efficiencies, better engage with their customers, and make better data-driven decisions. This has resulted in strong demand for our digital, technology and analytic offerings, particularly within our Business Advisory segment. Indicative of our expectations for future growth in this segment, we continue to make investments in these offerings, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, such as our acquisitions of ForceIQ in November 2020 and Unico Solutions in February 2021, and new offerings and capabilities within this segment where we see strategic opportunities.
Total Direct Costs
Direct costs, excluding amortization of intangible assets and software development costs, increased $16.8 million, or 2.9%, to $592.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $575.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The overall $16.8 million increase in direct costs primarily related to a $27.1 million increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals, which was largely driven by increased headcount in all of our segments and primarily reflected hiring that occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a $2.9 million increase in technology expenses and a $2.3 million increase in share-based compensation expense for our revenue-generating professionals. These increases were partially offset by an $8.0 million decrease in performance bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals, a $4.5 million decrease in signing, retention and other bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals, and a $2.3 million decrease in product and event costs. As a percentage of revenues, our direct costs increased to 70.2% during 2020 compared to 65.7% during 2019, primarily due to the increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals, partially offset by the decrease in performance bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals, as a percentage of revenues.
Total direct costs included $5.4 million of amortization expense for internal software development costs and intangible assets for both years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. Intangible asset amortization included within total direct costs related to technology and software, certain customer relationships, and customer contracts acquired in connection with our business acquisitions. See Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our intangible assets.
Operating Expenses and Other Gains, Net
Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased $32.4 million, or 15.9%, to $170.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $203.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The $32.4 million decrease primarily related to an $11.9 million decrease in promotion and marketing expenses, a $5.1 million decrease in performance bonus expense for our support personnel, a $3.2 million decrease in training expenses, a $3.2 million decrease in practice administration and meetings expenses, a $2.3 million decrease in facilities expenses, a $2.2 million decrease in third-party consulting expenses, a $1.8 million decrease in recruiting expenses, a $1.7 million decrease in share-based compensation expense for our support personnel, and a $1.1 million decrease in legal expenses. The decreases in promotion and marketing expenses, training expenses, practice administration and meetings expenses, and recruiting expenses primarily related to the cancellation or delay of in-person meetings and events and business travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease in share-based compensation expense primarily related to a decrease in the expected funding of performance-based share awards for executive officers. The decrease in legal expenses was primarily due to third-party transaction-related expenses related to the evaluation of a potential acquisition in the second quarter of 2019 that ultimately did not consummate. As a percentage of revenues, selling, general and administrative expenses decreased to 20.2% during 2020 compared to 23.2% during 2019, primarily due to the decreases in promotion and marketing expenses, performance bonus expense for our support personnel and training expenses, all as percentages of revenues.
Restructuring charges for the year ended December 31, 2020 totaled $20.5 million, compared to $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we announced a restructuring plan to reduce operating costs to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. The restructuring plan provided for a reduction in certain leased office spaces which included a portion of our principal executive office in Chicago, Illinois; the remaining portion of our Lake Oswego, Oregon office; our Boston, Massachusetts and Detroit, Michigan offices; and portions of our Denver, Colorado, New York City, New York, and Pensacola, Florida offices. As a result, we recognized $13.2 million of non-cash lease impairment charges on the related operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and fixed assets which we intend to sublease, and $0.7 million of accelerated amortization and depreciation on the related operating lease ROU assets and fixed assets we intend to abandon. The non-cash lease impairment charges include an estimate of future sublease income. Any significant decline in the estimated amount or delayed timing of sublease income could result in additional non-cash lease impairment charges. See Note 5 “Leases” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our leases. The restructuring plan announced in the fourth quarter of 2020 also included a reduction in workforce, which resulted in a $4.8 million restructuring charge for employee severance costs; of which $2.0 million related to our Education segment, $1.2 million related to our Healthcare segment, $1.0 million related to our Business Advisory segment, and $0.6 million related to our corporate operations. As of December 31, 2020, $2.4 million of the $4.8 million restructuring charge related to employee severance costs remained outstanding and is expected to be paid in the first quarter of 2021. We expect approximately $2.5 million of ongoing lease-related costs to be reflected as restructuring charges in 2021. As a
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result of the reduction in workforce, we expect to realize annualized savings of approximately $21.0 million related to employee salaries and related benefits. As a result of the reduction in leased office space, we expect to realize annualized savings of approximately $1.0 million in lease-related expense. Additional restructuring charges recognized in 2020 include a $1.2 million accrual for the termination of a third-party advisor agreement in our Business Advisory segment and $0.4 million related to workforce reductions completed prior to the fourth quarter of 2020 to better align resources with market demand.
During 2019, we exited a portion of our Lake Oswego, Oregon office resulting in a $0.7 million lease impairment charge on the related operating lease ROU asset and leasehold improvements and $0.2 million of accelerated depreciation on furniture and fixtures in that office. Additionally, during 2019, we exited the remaining portion of our Middleton, Wisconsin office and an office space in Houston, Texas, resulting in restructuring charges of $0.4 million and $0.1 million, respectively, which primarily related to accelerated depreciation on related furniture and fixtures in those offices. During the fourth quarter of 2019, we entered into an amendment to the lease of our principal executive offices in Chicago, Illinois. Among other items, the amendment terminated the lease with respect to certain leased space which we previously vacated and currently sublease to a third-party. As a result of the amendment, we recognized a restructuring gain of $0.4 million. See Note 5 “Leases” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our leases. Additional restructuring charges during 2019 included $0.6 million related to workforce reductions to better align resources with market demand and workforce reductions in our corporate operations. See Note 11 “Restructuring Charges” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our restructuring events.
Litigation and other gains, net totaled a gain of $0.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, which consisted of a litigation settlement gain for the resolution of a claim that was settled in the first quarter of 2020. Litigation and other gains, net totaled a net gain of $1.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, which primarily consisted of $1.5 million of remeasurement gains to decrease the estimated fair value of our liabilities for contingent consideration payments related to business acquisitions, partially offset by a $0.4 million litigation loss accrual related to the legal claim that was subsequently settled during the first quarter of 2020. In connection with certain business acquisitions, we may be required to pay post-closing consideration to the sellers if specific financial performance targets are met over a number of years as specified in the related purchase agreements. See Note 13 “Fair Value of Financial Instruments” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on the fair value of contingent consideration liabilities.
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased $4.1 million, or 14.4%, to $24.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $28.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in amortization expense for the trade name acquired in our Studer Group acquisition that was fully amortized in the fourth quarter of 2019; decreasing amortization expense for customer relationships due to the accelerated basis of amortization in prior periods, including the customer relationships acquired in our Studer Group acquisition; and customer relationships acquired in other business acquisitions that were fully amortized in prior periods. Intangible asset amortization included within operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 primarily related to certain customer relationships, trade names and non-competition agreements acquired in connection with our business acquisitions. See Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our intangible assets.
During the first quarter of 2020, we recorded $59.8 million of non-cash pretax goodwill impairment charges related to our Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units within our Business Advisory segment primarily related to the expected decline in sales, increased uncertainty in the backlog and a decrease in the demand for the services these reporting units provide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These charges are non-cash in nature and do not affect our liquidity or debt covenants. The non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to the Strategy and Innovation reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance of the reporting unit to $37.5 million as of March 31, 2020. The non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to the Life Sciences reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance to zero as of March 31, 2020. Pursuant to our policy, we performed our annual goodwill impairment test as of November 30, 2020 on all reporting units with goodwill balances and concluded that the fair value of each reporting unit exceeded its carrying value. See the “Critical Accounting Policies” section below and Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on the goodwill impairment tests performed in 2020.
Operating Income (Loss)
Operating income decreased $92.6 million, to an operating loss of $28.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from operating income of $63.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This decrease is primarily attributable to the $59.8 million non-cash pretax goodwill impairment charges related to our Business Advisory segment that were recognized in the first quarter of 2020, the decrease in revenues, the increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals, and the increase in restructuring charges; partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses as discussed above. See the “Critical Accounting Policies” section below and Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on the non-cash goodwill impairment charges. Operating margin, which is defined as operating income (loss) expressed as a percentage of revenues, decreased to (3.4)% in 2020 compared to 7.3% in 2019. The decrease in operating margin was primarily attributable to the goodwill impairment charges recognized in 2020 and the increases in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals
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and restructuring charges. These decreases to the operating margin were partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of revenues.
Total Other Expense, Net
Interest expense, net of interest income decreased $6.4 million to $9.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $15.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily due to the maturity of our Convertible Notes on October 1, 2019, partially offset by higher levels of borrowing under our credit facility in 2020 compared to 2019. See the “Liquidity and Capital Resources” section below and Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our Convertible Notes and credit facility.
Other income, net totaled $4.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and primarily consisted of a $4.1 million net gain related to the increase in the market value of our investments that are used to fund our deferred compensation liability; a $1.7 million unrealized gain related to the increase in the fair value of our preferred stock investment in Medically Home Group, Inc.; and a $1.5 million loss on sale of business recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020. On December 30, 2020, we sold our U.K. life sciences drug safety practice that was part of the Life Sciences reporting unit within our Business Advisory segment to former employees. The sale did not meet the criteria for reporting separately as discontinued operations. In 2020, this practice generated $2.3 million of revenue and was not significant to our consolidated financial statements. See Note 13 “Fair Value of Financial Instruments” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our preferred stock investment in Medically Home Group, Inc. Other income, net totaled $4.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 and primarily consisted of a $4.5 million net gain related to the increase in the market value of our investments that are used to fund our deferred compensation liability.
Income Tax Expense (Benefit)
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), a nearly $2 trillion emergency economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which among other items, includes income tax provisions relating to a five-year net operating loss carryback period and technical corrections to tax depreciation methods for qualified improvement property. During 2020, as a result of the CARES Act, we recognized a $1.5 million tax benefit related to the remeasurement of a portion of our income tax receivable for the federal net operating loss incurred in 2018 and the expected federal net operating loss in 2020 that will be carried back to prior year income, both for a refund at the higher, prior year tax rate.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, our effective tax rate was 30.0% as we recognized an income tax benefit from continuing operations of $10.2 million on a loss from continuing operations of $33.9 million. For the year ended December 31, 2019, our effective tax rate was 20.0% as we recognized income tax expense from continuing operations of $10.5 million on income from continuing operations of $52.5 million.
The effective tax rate for 2020 was more favorable than the statutory rate, inclusive of state income taxes, of 26.5%, primarily due to the tax benefit related to the CARES Act described above, a discrete tax benefit for share-based compensation awards that vested primarily in the first quarter of 2020, the positive impact of certain federal tax credits and a tax benefit related to non-taxable gains on our investments used to fund our deferred compensation liability. These favorable items were partially offset by increases in our valuation allowance primarily due to increases in deferred tax assets recorded for foreign tax credits, certain nondeductible business expenses and the nondeductible portion of the goodwill impairment charges recorded during the first quarter of 2020.
The effective tax rate for 2019 was more favorable than the statutory rate, inclusive of state income taxes, of 25.9%, primarily due to federal and state tax credits, a tax benefit related to the change in valuation allowance primarily due to realizing deferred tax assets recorded for foreign tax credits, and a tax benefit related to non-taxable gains on our investments used to fund our deferred compensation liability. These favorable items were partially offset by additional tax expense related to disallowed executive compensation.
See Note 17 “Income Taxes” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our income tax expense (benefit).
Net Income (Loss) from Continuing Operations and Earnings (Loss) per Share
Net income from continuing operations decreased by $65.7 million to a net loss from continuing operations of $23.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from net income from continuing operations of $42.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This decrease is primarily attributable to the $59.8 million non-cash goodwill impairment charges related to our Business Advisory segment recognized in the first quarter of 2020; the decrease in revenues; the increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals; and the increase in restructuring charges in 2020 compared to 2019, primarily related to the $18.7 million of restructuring charges recognized in the fourth quarter of 2020; partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses in 2020 compared to 2019 and the related tax impact of these items. Diluted loss per share from continuing operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $1.08 compared to diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.87 for 2019. The non-cash goodwill impairment charges and the
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restructuring charges related to the fourth quarter 2020 restructuring plan had unfavorable impacts on our diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $2.07 and $0.63, respectively.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA
EBITDA decreased $96.8 million to $5.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $101.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in EBITDA was primarily attributable to the non-cash goodwill impairment charges of $59.8 million recognized in the first quarter of 2020, the decrease in revenues, and the increases in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals and restructuring charges in 2020 compared to 2019; partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses in 2020 compared to 2019.
Adjusted EBITDA decreased $18.2 million to $87.1 million in 2020 from $105.4 million in 2019. The decrease in adjusted EBITDA was primarily attributable to the decrease in revenues and increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals in 2020 compared to 2019; partially offset by the decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses, excluding transaction-related expenses related to the evaluation of acquisitions, in 2020 compared to 2019.
Adjusted Net Income from Continuing Operations and Adjusted Earnings per Share
Adjusted net income from continuing operations decreased $13.7 million to $47.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $61.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. As a result of the decrease in adjusted net income from continuing operations, adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was $2.15 in 2020 compared to $2.74 in 2019.
Segment Results
Healthcare
Revenues
Healthcare segment revenues decreased $45.8 million, or 11.5%, to $353.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $399.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand for our services within this segment, as some clients reprioritized and delayed certain projects as a result of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, revenues from fixed-fee arrangements; time-and-expense arrangements; performance-based arrangements; and software support, maintenance and subscription arrangements represented 57.3%, 16.5%, 19.6%, and 6.6% of this segment’s revenues, respectively, compared to 62.5%, 13.8%, 17.8%, and 5.9%, respectively, in 2019. Performance-based fee revenue was $69.3 million in 2020, compared to $71.1 million in 2019. The level of performance-based fees earned may vary based on our clients’ risk sharing preferences and the mix of services we provide.
Of the overall $45.8 million decrease in revenues, $26.3 million was attributable to a decrease in revenues from our full-time billable consultants and $19.5 million was attributable to our full-time equivalents. The decrease in revenues attributable to our full-time billable consultants reflected a decrease in the consultant utilization rate, partially offset by increases in the average billing rate and the average number of full-time billable consultants in 2020 compared to 2019. The decrease in revenues attributable to our full-time equivalents reflected a decrease in revenue per full-time equivalent, partially offset by an increase in the average number of full-time equivalents in 2020 compared to 2019.
Operating Income
Healthcare segment operating income decreased $30.8 million, or 24.5%, to $94.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $125.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The Healthcare segment operating margin, defined as segment operating income expressed as a percentage of segment revenues, decreased to 26.9% in 2020 from 31.5% in 2019. The decrease in this segment’s operating margin was primarily attributable to an increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals; partially offset by decreases in performance bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals, product and event costs, and contractor expenses, all as percentages of revenues.
Business Advisory
Revenues
Business Advisory segment revenues increased $14.9 million, or 5.9%, to $267.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $252.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily related to strengthened demand for our cloud-based technology and analytics solutions and our restructuring and capital advisory solutions provided to organizations in transition.
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For the year ended December 31, 2020, revenues from fixed-fee arrangements; time-and-expense arrangements; performance-based arrangements; and software support, maintenance and subscription arrangements represented 38.0%, 57.1%, 3.0%, and 1.9% of this segment's revenues, respectively, compared to 39.9%, 55.3%, 2.7%, and 2.1%, respectively, in 2019. Performance-based fee revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $8.1 million compared to $6.9 million in 2019. The level of performance-based fees earned may vary based on our clients’ preferences and the mix of services we provide.
Of the overall $14.9 million increase in revenues, $10.4 million was attributable to an increase in revenues generated by our full-time billable consultants and $4.5 million was attributable to an increase in revenues generated by our full-time equivalents. The increase in revenues from our full-time billable consultants reflected an increase in the average number of full-time billable consultants, partially offset by a decrease in the average billing rate in 2020 compared to 2019. The increase in revenues from our full-time equivalents was driven by an increased use of contractors and reflected an increase in the average number of full-time equivalents, partially offset by a decrease in revenue per full-time equivalent in 2020 compared to 2019.
Operating Income
Business Advisory segment operating income decreased by $1.6 million, or 3.3%, to $48.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $49.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The Business Advisory segment operating margin decreased to 18.0% for 2020 from 19.7% for 2019. The decrease in this segment’s operating margin was partially attributable to a higher percentage of this segment's revenues derived from our lower margin solutions in 2020 compared to 2019. Additionally, the decrease in this segment’s operating margin was attributable to overall increases in performance bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals, contractor expenses, restructuring charges, and share-based compensation expense for our revenue-generating professionals, as percentages of revenues; partially offset by overall decreases in promotion and marketing expenses and signing, retention and other bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals. The restructuring charges within the Business Advisory segment in 2020 primarily related to the termination of a third-party advisor agreement.
The non-cash goodwill impairment charges related to the Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units within the Business Advisory segment, which are discussed above within consolidated results, are not allocated at the segment level because the underlying goodwill asset is reflective of our corporate investment in the segment. We do not include the impact of goodwill impairment charges in our evaluation of segment performance. See the “Critical Accounting Policies” section below and Note 4 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on the goodwill impairment charges and our goodwill balances.
Education
Revenues
Education segment revenues decreased $1.7 million, or 0.8%, to $223.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $225.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in revenues was primarily related to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand for our on-premise technology consulting solutions, largely offset by an increase in demand for our cloud-based technology and analytics solutions and strategy and research consulting solutions in the first half of 2020.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, revenues from fixed-fee arrangements; time-and-expense arrangements; performance-based arrangements; and software support, maintenance and subscription arrangements represented 20.1%, 69.6%, 0.3%, and 10.0% of this segment’s revenues, respectively. Revenues from fixed-fee arrangements; time-and-expense arrangements; and software support, maintenance and subscription arrangements represented 23.0%, 68.8%, and 8.2% of this segment's revenues, respectively, in 2019.
Of the overall $1.7 million decrease in revenues, $4.4 million was attributable to a decrease in revenues generated by our full-time billable consultants, partially offset by a $2.7 million increase in revenues generated by our full-time equivalents. The decrease in revenues from our full-time billable consultants reflected decreases in the consultant utilization rate and average billing rate; partially offset by an increase in the average number of full-time billable consultants in 2020 compared to 2019. The increase in the average number of full-time billable consultants primarily related to hiring that occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in revenues from our full-time equivalents was primarily driven by an increase in software subscriptions and data hosting revenues; and reflected an increase in the average number of full-time equivalents in 2020 compared to 2019.
Operating Income
Education segment operating income decreased $8.2 million, or 14.8%, to $47.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, from $55.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The Education segment operating margin decreased to 21.3% for 2020 from 24.8% for 2019. The decrease in this segment's operating margin was primarily attributable to an increase in salaries and related expenses for our revenue-generating professionals, as well as increases in restructuring charges and technology expenses. These decreases to the operating margin were partially offset by decreases in performance bonus expense for our revenue-generating professionals and promotion and marketing expenses, as percentages of revenues.
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LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Cash and cash equivalents were $67.2 million, $11.6 million, and $33.1 million at December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, our primary sources of liquidity are cash on hand, cash flows from our U.S. operations, and borrowing capacity available under our credit facility. 
Cash Flows (in thousands):Year Ended December 31,
202020192018
Net cash provided by operating activities$136,738 $132,220 $101,658 
Net cash used in investing activities(42,034)(35,002)(18,562)
Net cash used in financing activities(39,615)(118,836)(66,690)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash484 115 (208)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents$55,573 $(21,503)$16,198 
Operating Activities
Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $136.7 million and $132.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Our operating assets and liabilities consist primarily of receivables from billed and unbilled services, accounts payable and accrued expenses, accrued payroll and related benefits, and deferred revenues. The volume of services rendered and the related billings and timing of collections on those billings, as well as payments of our accounts payable and salaries, bonuses, and related benefits to employees affect these account balances.
The increase in cash provided by operating activities in 2020 compared to 2019 was primarily attributable to a decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses in 2020 compared to 2019 and the deferral of $12.2 million of our employer portion of social security taxes as provided for under the CARES Act. These increases to cash provided by operating activities were partially offset by a decrease in cash collections from clients, which was driven by a decrease in revenues, an increase in payments to employees for salaries and related benefits in 2020 compared to 2019, and an increase in the amount paid for annual performance bonuses in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. Of the $12.2 million of social security taxes deferred, we expect to pay $6.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the remaining $6.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Investing Activities
Net cash used in investing activities was $42.0 million and $35.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The use of cash in 2020 primarily consisted of $13.0 million for the purchase of of an additional convertible debt investment in Shorelight Holdings, LLC in the first quarter of 2020; $8.7 million for purchases of businesses in the second half of 2020; $8.3 million for payments related to internally developed software; $8.1 million for purchases of property and equipment, primarily related to purchases of computers and related equipment and leasehold improvements and furniture for certain office spaces; $2.5 million for contributions to our life insurance policies which fund our deferred compensation plan; and $1.5 million for payments related to the divestiture of our U.K. life sciences drug safety practice within the Business Advisory segment.
The use of cash in 2019 primarily consisted of $13.2 million for purchases of property and equipment, primarily related to purchases of computers and network equipment and leasehold improvements for new office spaces in certain locations; $10.3 million for payments related to internally developed software; $5.0 million for a purchase of preferred stock securities of Medically Home Group, Inc. in the fourth quarter of 2019; $4.7 million for contributions to our life insurance policies which fund our deferred compensation plan; and $2.5 million for the purchase of a business in the third quarter of 2019.
We estimate that cash utilized for purchases of property and equipment and software development in 2021 will total approximately $15 million to $20 million; primarily consisting of information technology related equipment to support our corporate infrastructure, leasehold improvements for certain office locations, and software development costs.
Financing Activities
Net cash used in financing activities was $39.6 million and $118.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
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During 2020, we borrowed $283.0 million under our credit facility, all of which was in the first quarter of 2020, including $125.0 million in March 2020 to maintain excess cash and support liquidity during the period of uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to fund our annual performance bonus payment. During 2020, we made repayments on our credit facility of $288.0 million due to our ability to maintain adequate cash flows from operations and improved clarity around access to capital resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, and repayments of $0.6 million on our promissory note due 2024. Additionally, we repurchased and retired $25.9 million of our common stock under our share repurchase programs, discussed below, and settled $1.2 million of share repurchases that were accrued as of December 31, 2019.
During 2019, we borrowed $347.0 million under our credit facility, of which $217.0 million was used to repay a portion of the $250.0 million
outstanding principal on our Convertible Notes in the fourth quarter of 2019. The remaining $33.0 million outstanding principal on our
Convertible Notes was repaid with cash on hand. During 2019, we also made repayments on our credit facility of $192.5 million. Additionally,
we repurchased and retired $14.2 million of our common stock under our share repurchase program discussed below, of which $1.2
million settled in the first quarter of 2020. During 2019, we paid $10.0 million to the sellers of certain business acquisitions for achieving
specified financial performance targets in accordance with the related purchase agreements. Of the total $10.0 million paid, $4.7 million is
classified as a cash outflow from financing activities and represents the amount paid up to the initial fair value of contingent consideration
liability recorded as of the acquisition date. The remaining $5.3 million is classified as a cash outflow from operating activities.
Share Repurchase Programs
In November 2020, our board of directors authorized a share repurchase program (the “2020 Share Repurchase Program”) permitting us to repurchase up to $50 million of our common stock through December 31, 2021. The 2020 Share Repurchase Program was authorized subsequent to the expiration of our prior share repurchase program (the “2015 Share Repurchase Program”) on October 31, 2020. The 2015 Share Repurchase Program permitted us to repurchase up to $125 million of our common stock through October 31, 2020. The 2020 Share Repurchase Program and 2015 Share Repurchase Program are collectively known as the “Share Repurchase Programs.” The amount and timing of repurchases under the Share Repurchase Programs were and will continue to be determined by management and depend on a variety of factors, including the trading price of our common stock, capacity under our credit facility, general market and business conditions, and applicable legal requirements.
In 2020, we repurchased and retired 425,164 shares for $25.9 million under the Share Repurchase Programs. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2020, we settled the repurchase of 18,000 shares for $1.2 million that were accrued as of December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2020, $45.0 million remained available for share repurchases under the 2020 Share Repurchase Program.
Financing Arrangements
At December 31, 2020, we had $200.0 million outstanding under our senior secured credit facility and $3.3 million outstanding under a promissory note, as discussed below.
Senior Secured Credit Facility
The Company has a $600 million senior secured revolving credit facility, subject to the terms of a Second Amended and Restated Credit Agreement dated as of March 31, 2015, as amended to date (as amended and modified the "Amended Credit Agreement"), that becomes due and payable in full upon maturity on September 27, 2024. The Amended Credit Agreement provides the option to increase the revolving credit facility or establish term loan facilities in an aggregate amount of up to $150 million, subject to customary conditions and the approval of any lender whose commitment would be increased, resulting in a maximum available principal amount under the Amended Credit Agreement of $750 million. Borrowings under the Amended Credit Agreement may be used for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions of businesses, share repurchases, and general corporate purposes.
Fees and interest on borrowings vary based on our Consolidated Leverage Ratio (as defined in the Amended Credit Agreement). At our option, borrowings under the Amended Credit Agreement will bear interest at one, two, three or six-month LIBOR or an alternate base rate, in each case plus the applicable margin. The applicable margin will fluctuate between 1.125% per annum and 1.875% per annum, in the case of LIBOR borrowings, or between 0.125% per annum and 0.875% per annum, in the case of base rate loans, based upon our Consolidated Leverage Ratio at such time.
Amounts borrowed under the Amended Credit Agreement may be prepaid at any time without premium or penalty. We are required to prepay the amounts outstanding under the Amended Credit Agreement in certain circumstances. In addition, we have the right to permanently reduce or terminate the unused portion of the commitments provided under the Amended Credit Agreement at any time.
The Amended Credit Agreement contains usual and customary representations and warranties; affirmative and negative covenants, which include limitations on liens, investments, additional indebtedness, and restricted payments; and two quarterly financial covenants as follows: (i) a maximum Consolidated Leverage Ratio (defined as the ratio of debt to consolidated EBITDA) of 3.75 to 1.00; however, the maximum permitted Consolidated Leverage Ratio will increase to 4.00 to 1.00 upon the occurrence of certain Qualified Acquisitions (as defined in the
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Amended Credit Agreement), and (ii) a minimum Consolidated Interest Coverage Ratio (defined as the ratio of consolidated EBITDA to interest) of 3.50 to 1.00. Consolidated EBITDA for purposes of the financial covenants is calculated on a continuing operations basis and includes adjustments to add back non-cash goodwill impairment charges, share-based compensation costs, certain non-cash restructuring charges, pro forma historical EBITDA for businesses acquired, and other specified items in accordance with the Amended Credit Agreement. For purposes of the Consolidated Leverage Ratio, total debt is on a gross basis and is not netted against our cash balances. At December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, we were in compliance with these financial covenants. Our Consolidated Leverage Ratio as of December 31, 2020 was 1.94 to 1.00, compared to 1.64 to 1.00 as of December 31, 2019. Our Consolidated Interest Coverage Ratio as of December 31, 2020 was 12.51 to 1.00, compared to 15.29 to 1.00 as of December 31, 2019. The increase in our Consolidated Leverage Ratio as of December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019 was driven by decreased profitability in 2020 compared to 2019, as discussed in the “Results of Operations” section above.
The Amended Credit Agreement contains restricted payment provisions, including a potential limit on the amount of dividends we may pay. Pursuant to the terms of the Amended Credit Agreement, if our Consolidated Leverage Ratio is greater than 3.25, the amount of dividends and other Restricted Payments (as defined in the Amended Credit Agreement) we may pay is limited to an amount up to $25 million.
Principal borrowings outstanding under the Amended Credit Agreement at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 totaled $200.0 million and $205.0 million, respectively. These borrowings carried a weighted average interest rate of 2.5% at December 31, 2020 and 3.0% at December 31, 2019 including the impact of the interest rate swap described in Note 12 “Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activity" within the notes to the consolidated financial statements. The borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility is reduced by any outstanding borrowings under the revolving credit facility and outstanding letters of credit. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had outstanding letters of credit totaling $1.6 million and $1.7 million, respectively, which are primarily used as security deposits for our office facilities, and the unused borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility was $398.4 million and $393.3 million, respectively.
For further information, see Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to the consolidated financial statements. For a discussion of certain risks and uncertainties related to the Amended Credit Agreement, see Part I—Item 1A. “Risk Factors.”
Promissory Note due 2024
On June 30, 2017, in conjunction with our purchase of an aircraft related to the acquisition of Innosight, we assumed, from the sellers of the aircraft, a promissory note with an outstanding principal balance of $5.1 million. The principal balance of the promissory note is subject to scheduled monthly principal payments until the maturity date of March 1, 2024, at which time a final payment of $1.5 million, plus any accrued and unpaid interest, will be due. Under the terms of the promissory note, we pay interest on the outstanding principal amount at a rate of one-month LIBOR plus 1.97% per annum. The obligations under the promissory note are secured pursuant to a Loan and Aircraft Security Agreement with Banc of America Leasing & Capital, LLC, which grants the lender a first priority security interest in the aircraft. At December 31, 2020, the outstanding principal amount of the promissory note was $3.3 million, and the aircraft had a carrying amount of $4.4 million. At December 31, 2019, the outstanding principal amount of the promissory note was $3.9 million, and the aircraft had a carrying amount of $5.1 million.
For further information, see Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
Future Needs
Our current primary financing need is to support our operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has created significant volatility and uncertainty in the economy, which could limit our access to capital resources and could increase our borrowing costs. In order to support our liquidity during the pandemic, we took proactive measures to increase available cash on hand, including, but not limited to, borrowing under our senior secured credit facility in the first quarter of 2020 and reducing discretionary operating and capital expenses. To further support our liquidity, we elected to defer the deposit of our employer portion of social security taxes beginning in April 2020 and through the end of the year, which we expect to pay in equal installments in the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022, as provided for under the CARES Act. Our long-term financing need has been to fund our growth. Our growth strategy is to expand our service offerings, which may require investments in new hires, acquisitions of complementary businesses, possible expansion into other geographic areas, and related capital expenditures. We believe our internally generated liquidity, together with our available cash, and the borrowing capacity available under our revolving credit facility will be adequate to support our current financing needs and long-term growth strategy. Our ability to secure additional financing, if needed, in the future will depend on several factors, including our future profitability, the quality of our accounts receivable and unbilled services, our relative levels of debt and equity, and the overall condition of the credit markets.
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CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS
The following table represents our significant obligations and commitments as of December 31, 2020 and the scheduled years of payments (in thousands).
  Payments Due by Period
 Total20212022-20232024-2025Thereafter
Long-term bank borrowings—principal and interest (1)
$224,441 $6,518 $13,035 $204,888 $— 
Promissory note—principal and interest (2)
3,442 558 1,229 1,655 — 
Operating lease obligations (3)
81,743 11,572 23,506 22,052 24,613 
Purchase obligations (4)
26,650 15,954 8,399 2,297 — 
Deferred employer payroll taxes (5)
12,188 6,094 6,094 — — 
Deferred compensation (6)
34,250 
Uncertain tax positions (7)
765 
Total contractual obligations$383,479 $40,696 $52,263 $230,892 $24,613 
(1)The interest payments on long-term bank borrowings are estimated based on the principal amount outstanding and the interest rate in effect as of December 31, 2020. Actual future interest payments will differ due to changes in our borrowings outstanding and the interest rate on those borrowings, as the interest rate varies based on the fluctuations in the variable base rates and the spread we pay over those base rates pursuant to the Amended Credit Agreement. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” and Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for more information on our outstanding borrowings.
(2)The interest payments on the promissory note are estimated based on the principal amount outstanding, scheduled principal payments, and the interest rate in effect as of December 31, 2020. Actual future interest payments may differ due to changes in the principal amount outstanding and the interest rate on that principal amount, as the interest rate varies based on the fluctuations in the one-month LIBOR rate. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” and Note 7 “Financing Arrangements” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for more information on the promissory note.
(3)We lease our facilities under operating lease arrangements expiring on various dates through 2029, with various renewal options. We lease office facilities under non-cancelable operating leases that include fixed or minimum payments plus, in some cases, scheduled base rent increases over the term of the lease. Refer to Note 5 “Leases” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for more information on our operating lease obligations.
(4)Purchase obligations include agreements to purchase goods or services that are enforceable, are legally binding, and specify all significant terms, including fixed or minimum quantities to be purchased; fixed, minimum or variable price provisions; and the approximate timing of the transaction. Purchase obligations do not include agreements that are cancelable without penalty.
(5)As allowed under the provisions of the CARES Act enacted in the first quarter of 2020, we elected to defer the deposit of our employer portion of social security tax payments beginning in April 2020 through December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, we deferred $12.2 million of such payments, which we expect to pay in equal installments in the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022.
(6)Included in deferred compensation and other liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2020 is a $34.3 million obligation for deferred compensation. The specific payment dates for the deferred compensation are unknown; therefore, the related balances have not been reflected in the “Payments Due by Period” section of the table. This deferred compensation liability is funded by corresponding deferred compensation plan assets. Refer to Note 15 “Employee Benefit and Deferred Compensation Plans” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for more information on our deferred compensation plan.
(7)Our liabilities for uncertain tax positions are classified as non-current and includes the accrual of potential payment of interest and penalties. We are unable to reasonably estimate the timing of future payments as it depends on examinations by taxing authorities; as such, the related balance has not been reflected in the “Payments Due by Period” section of the table.
OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS
We are not a party to any material off-balance sheet arrangements.
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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Our significant accounting policies are discussed in Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements. We regularly 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 five accounting policies that could be considered critical: revenue recognition, allowances for doubtful accounts and unbilled services, business combinations, carrying values of goodwill and other intangible assets, and accounting for income taxes.
Revenue Recognition
We generate substantially all of our revenues from providing professional services to our clients. We also generate revenues from software licenses; software support and maintenance and subscriptions to our cloud-based analytic tools and solutions; speaking engagements; conferences; and publications. A single contract could include one or multiple performance obligations. For those contracts that have multiple performance obligations, we allocate the total transaction price to each performance obligation based on its relative standalone selling price, which is determined based on our overall pricing objectives, taking into consideration market conditions and other factors.
Revenue is recognized when control of the goods and services provided are transferred to our customers and in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods and services using the following steps: 1) identify the contract, 2) identify the performance obligations, 3) determine the transaction price, 4) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, and 5) recognize revenue as or when we satisfy the performance obligations.
We typically satisfy our performance obligations for professional services over time as the related services are provided. The performance obligations related to software support and maintenance and subscriptions to our cloud-based analytic tools and solutions are typically satisfied evenly over the course of the service period. Other performance obligations, such as certain software licenses, speaking engagements, conferences, and publications, are satisfied at a point in time.

We generate our revenues under four types of billing arrangements: fixed-fee (including software license revenue); time-and-expense; performance-based; and software support, maintenance and subscriptions.

In fixed-fee billing arrangements, we agree to a pre-established fee in exchange for a predetermined set of professional services. We set the fees based on our estimates of the costs and timing for completing the engagements. 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. Contracts within our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution include fixed-fee partner contracts with multiple performance obligations, which primarily consist of coaching services, as well as speaking engagements, conferences, publications and software products (“Partner Contracts”). Revenues for coaching services and software products are generally recognized on a straight-line basis over the length of the contract. All other revenues under Partner Contracts, including speaking engagements, conferences and publications, are recognized at the time the goods or services are provided. Estimates of total engagement revenues and cost of services are monitored regularly during the term of the engagement. If our estimates indicate a potential loss, such loss is recognized in the period in which the loss first becomes probable and reasonably estimable.
We also generate revenues from software licenses for our 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.
Time-and-expense billing arrangements require the client to pay based on the number of hours worked by our revenue-generating professionals at agreed upon rates. Time-and-expense arrangements also include certain speaking engagements, conferences, and publications purchased by our clients outside of Partner Contracts within our Culture and Organizational Excellence solution. We recognize revenues under time-and-expense arrangements as the related services or publications are provided, using the right to invoice practical expedient which allows us to recognize revenue in the amount that we have a right to invoice based on the number of hours worked and the agreed upon hourly rates or the value of the speaking engagements, conferences or publications purchased by our clients.
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In performance-based 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. We recognize revenue under performance-based billing arrangements using the following steps: 1) estimate variable consideration using a probability-weighted assessment of the fees to be earned, 2) apply a constraint to the estimated variable consideration to limit the amount that could be reversed when the uncertainty is resolved (the “constraint”), and 3) recognize revenue of estimated variable consideration, net of the constraint, based on work completed to-date versus our estimates of the total services to be provided under the engagement.
Clients that have purchased one of our software licenses can pay an annual fee for software support and maintenance. We also generate subscription revenue from our cloud-based analytic tools and solutions. Software support, maintenance and subscription revenues are recognized ratably over the support or subscription period. These fees are generally billed in advance and included in deferred revenues until recognized.
Provisions are recorded for the estimated realization adjustments on all engagements, including engagements for which fees are subject to review by the bankruptcy courts.
Expense reimbursements that are billable to clients are included in total revenues and reimbursable expenses. Under fixed-fee billing arrangements, we estimate the total amount of reimbursable expenses to be incurred over the course of the engagement and recognize the estimated amount as revenue 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. Under time-and-expense billing arrangements we recognize reimbursable expenses as revenue as the related services are provided, using the right to invoice practical expedient. Reimbursable expenses are recognized as expenses in the period in which the expense is incurred. Subcontractors that are billed to clients at cost are also included in reimbursable expenses. When billings do not specifically identify reimbursable expenses, we allocate the portion of the billings equivalent to these expenses to reimbursable expenses.
Allowances for Doubtful Accounts and Unbilled Services
We maintain allowances for doubtful accounts and for services performed but not yet billed based on several factors, including the estimated cash realization from amounts due from clients, an assessment of a client’s ability to make required payments, and the historical percentages of fee adjustments and write-offs by age of receivables and unbilled services. The allowances are assessed by management on a regular basis. These estimates may differ from actual results. If the financial condition of a client deteriorates in the future, impacting the client’s ability to make payments, an increase to our allowance might be required or our allowance may not be sufficient to cover actual write-offs.
We record the provision for doubtful accounts and unbilled services as a reduction in revenue to the extent the provision relates to fee adjustments and other discretionary pricing adjustments. To the extent the provision relates to a client’s inability to make required payments on accounts receivables, we record the provision to selling, general and administrative expenses.
Business Combinations
The assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination, including identifiable intangible assets, are recorded at their estimated fair values as of the acquisition date. Goodwill is recorded as the excess of the fair value of consideration transferred, including any contingent consideration, over the fair value of the net assets acquired. We base the fair values of identifiable intangible assets on detailed valuations that require management to make significant judgments, estimates, and assumptions, such as the expected future cash flows to be derived from the intangible assets, discount rates that reflect the risk factors associated with future cash flows, and estimates of useful lives.
We measure and recognize contingent consideration at fair value as of the acquisition date. We estimate the fair value of contingent consideration based on either a probability-weighted assessment of the specific financial performance targets being achieved or a Monte Carlo simulation model, as appropriate. These fair value measurements require the use of significant judgments, estimates, and assumptions, including financial performance projections and discount rates. The fair value of the contingent consideration is reassessed quarterly based on assumptions used in our latest financial projections and input provided by practice leaders and management, with any change in the fair value estimate recorded in earnings in that period. Increases or decreases in the fair value of contingent consideration liabilities resulting from changes in the estimates or assumptions could materially impact the financial statements. See Note 3 “Acquisitions” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our acquisitions and Note 13 “Fair Value of Financial Instruments” within the notes to our consolidated financial statements for additional information on our contingent consideration liabilities.
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Carrying Values of Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
We test goodwill for impairment, at the reporting unit level, annually and whenever events or circumstances make it more likely than not that an impairment may have occurred. We perform our annual goodwill impairment test as of November 30 and monitor for interim triggering events on an ongoing basis. A reporting unit is an operating segment or one level below an operating segment (referred to as a component) to which goodwill is assigned when initially recorded. We assign goodwill to reporting units based on our integration plans and the expected synergies resulting from the acquisition. As of December 31, 2020, we have six reporting units: Healthcare, Education, Business Advisory, Strategy and Innovation, Enterprise Solutions and Analytics, and Life Sciences. The Business Advisory, Strategy and Innovation, Enterprise Solutions and Analytics, and Life Sciences reporting units, make up our Business Advisory operating segment.
Under GAAP, we have the option to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether the existence of current events or circumstances would lead to a determination that it is more likely than not that the fair value of one of our reporting units is greater than its carrying value. If we determine it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is greater than its carrying value, no further testing is necessary. However, if we conclude otherwise, then we are required to perform a quantitative impairment test by calculating the fair value of the reporting unit and comparing the fair value with the carrying value of the reporting unit. If the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a non-cash impairment charge is recorded in an amount equal to that difference with the loss not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit.
We have the option to bypass the qualitative assessment for any reporting unit and proceed directly to performing the quantitative goodwill impairment test.
For reporting units where we perform the quantitative test, we determine the fair value using a combination of the income approach and the market approach. For a company such as ours, the income and market approaches will generally provide the most reliable indications of fair value because the value of such companies is dependent on their ability to generate earnings.
In the income approach, we utilize a discounted cash flow analysis, which involves estimating the expected after-tax cash flows that will be generated by each reporting unit and then discounting those cash flows to present value, reflecting the relevant risks associated with each reporting unit and the time value of money. This approach requires the use of significant estimates and assumptions, including forecasted revenue growth rates, forecasted EBITDA margins, and discount rates. Our forecasts are based on historical experience, current backlog, expected market demand, and other industry information.
In the market approach, we utilize the guideline company method, which involves calculating revenue and EBITDA 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 are evaluated and adjusted based on specific characteristics of the reporting units relative to the selected guideline companies and applied to the reporting units' operating data to arrive at an indication of value.
The following is a discussion of our goodwill impairment tests performed during 2020.
First Quarter 2020 Goodwill Impairment Test
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 has created significant volatility, uncertainty and disruption to the global economy. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we closely monitored the impact it could have on all aspects of our business, including how we expect it to negatively impact our clients, employees and business partners. While the COVID-19 pandemic did not have a significant impact on our consolidated revenues in the first quarter of 2020, we expected it to have an unfavorable impact on sales, increase uncertainty in the backlog and negatively impact full year 2020 results. The services provided by our Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units within our Business Advisory segment focus on strategic solutions for healthy, well-capitalized companies to identify new growth opportunities, which may be considered by our clients to be more discretionary in nature, and the duration of the projects within these practices are typically short-term. Therefore, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we were cautious about near-term results for these two reporting units. Based on our internal projections and the preparation of our financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, and considering the expected decrease in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the first quarter of 2020 we believed it was more likely than not that the fair value of these two reporting units no longer exceeded their carrying values and performed an interim impairment test on both reporting units as of March 31, 2020.
Our goodwill impairment test was performed by comparing the fair value of each of the Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units with its respective carrying value and recognizing an impairment charge for the amount by which the carrying value exceeded the fair value. To estimate the fair value of each reporting unit, we relied on a combination of the income approach and the market approach, as discussed above, with a fifty-fifty weighting.
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Based on the estimated fair values of the Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units, we recorded non-cash pretax goodwill impairment charges of $49.9 million and $9.9 million, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020. The $49.9 million non-cash pretax charge related to the Strategy and Innovation reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance of the reporting unit to $37.5 million. The $9.9 million non-cash pretax charge related to the Life Sciences reporting unit reduced the goodwill balance of the reporting unit to zero.
Concurrently with the goodwill impairment tests performed over the Strategy and Innovation and Life Sciences reporting units, we evaluated whether any indicators existed that would lead us to believe that the fair values of our Healthcare, Education, and Business Advisory reporting units would not exceed their carrying values. Our Enterprise Solutions and Analytics reporting unit did not have a goodwill balance as of March 31, 2020. Based on our internal projections, consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these reporting units, and review of the amounts by which the fair values of these reporting units exceeded their carrying values in the most recent quantitative goodwill impairment analysis performed, we did not identify any indicators that would lead us to believe that the fair values of these reporting units would not exceed their carrying values as of March 31, 2020.
2020 Annual Goodwill Impairment Analysis
Pursuant to our policy, we performed our annual goodwill impairment test as of November 30, 2020 on our five reporting units with goodwill balances: Healthcare, Education, Business Advisory, Strategy and Innovation, and Enterprise Solutions and Analytics. We elected to bypass the qualitative assessment and proceeded directly to the quantitative goodwill impairment test.
For each reporting unit, we reviewed goodwill for impairment by comparing the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value, including goodwill. In estimating the fair value of the reporting unit, we relied on a combination of the income approach and the market approach, as discussed above, with a fifty-fifty weighting. Based on the results of the goodwill impairment test, we determined the fair value of the Healthcare, Education, Business Advisory, Strategy and Innovation, and Enterprise Solutions and Analytics reporting units exceeded their carrying value by 42%, 132%, 584%, 29%, and 146%, respectively. As such, we concluded that there was no indication of goodwill impairment for these five reporting units. Further, we determined that neither a 100 basis point decrease in the estimated long-term growth rate nor a 100 basis point increase in the discount rate for each reporting unit would have resulted in an indication of goodwill impairment for any of the reporting units.
Determining the fair value of any 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 a non-cash impairment charge is recognized and also the magnitude of 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 be consistent with our projections. We will continue to monitor any changes to our assumptions and will evaluate goodwill as deemed warranted during future periods. Any significant decline in our operations compared to our internal forecasts could result in additional non-cash goodwill impairment charges, which could be material.
The carrying value of goodwill for each of our reporting units as of December 31, 2020 is as follows (in thousands):
Reporting UnitCarrying Value
of Goodwill
Healthcare$428,729 
Education 104,384 
Business Advisory16,094 
Strategy and Innovation37,522 
Life Sciences — 
Enterprise Solutions and Analytics7,508 
Total$594,237 
Intangible assets represent purchased assets that lack physical substance but can be distinguished from goodwill. Our intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization, totaled $20.5 million at December 31, 2020 and primarily consist of customer relationships, trade names, technology and software, non-competition agreements, and customer contracts, all of which were acquired through business combinations. We evaluate our intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. No impairment charges for intangible assets were recorded in 2020.
Income Taxes
Our income tax expense, deferred tax assets and liabilities, and reserves for unrecognized tax benefits reflect management’s best assessment of estimated future taxes to be paid. In determining our provision for income taxes on an interim basis, we estimate our annual effective tax rate based on information available at each interim period.
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Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recorded for future tax consequences attributable to temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. These deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, in management’s opinion, it is more likely than not that some portion or the entire deferred tax asset will not be realized.
Our tax positions are subject to income tax audits by federal, state, local, and foreign tax authorities. A tax benefit from an uncertain position may be recognized in the financial statements only if it is more likely than not that the position is sustainable, based on its technical merits. We measure the tax benefit recognized as the largest amount of benefit which is more likely than not to be realized upon settlement with the taxing authority. The estimate of the potential outcome of any uncertain tax issue is subject to management’s assessment of relevant risks, facts and circumstances existing at that time.
NEW ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS
Refer to Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" within the notes to the consolidated financial statements for information on new accounting pronouncements.
SUBSEQUENT EVENT
On January 7, 2021, we entered into an agreement to acquire Unico Solution, Inc. (“Unico Solutions”), a data strategy and technology consulting firm focused on helping clients enhance the use of their data to speed business transformation and accelerate cloud adoption. The acquisition expands our cloud-based technology offerings within the Business Advisory segment. The results of operations of Unico Solutions will be included within the Business Advisory segment from the close date, February 1, 2021. The acquisition of Unico Solutions is not significant to our consolidated financial statements.
ITEM 7A.QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.
We are exposed to market risks primarily from changes in interest rates and changes in the market value of our investments.
Market Risk and Interest Rate Risk
We have exposure to changes in interest rates associated with borrowings under our bank credit facility, which has variable interest rates tied to LIBOR or an alternate base rate, at our option. At December 31, 2020, we had borrowings outstanding under the credit facility totaling $200.0 million that carried a weighted average interest rate of 2.5% including the impact of the interest rate swaps described below. As of December 31, 2020, these variable rate borrowings were fully hedged against changes in interest rates by the interest rate swaps, which have a notional amount of $200.0 million as of December 31, 2020. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in the interest rate as of December 31, 2020 would have no impact on our pretax income, on an annualized basis, including the effect of the interest rate swaps. At December 31, 2019, our borrowings outstanding under the credit facility totaled $205.0 million which carried a weighted average interest rate of 3.0%, including the effect of the interest rate swap in effect and described below. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in the interest rate as of December 31, 2019, would have had a $1.6 million effect on our pretax income, on an annualized basis, including the effect of the interest rate swap.
On June 22, 2017, we entered into a forward interest rate swap agreement effective August 31, 2017 and ending August 31, 2022, with a notional amount of $50.0 million. We entered into this derivative instrument to hedge against the interest rate risks of our variable-rate borrowings. Under the terms of the interest rate swap agreement, we receive from the counterparty interest on the notional amount based on one month LIBOR and we pay to the counterparty a fixed rate of 1.900%.
On January 30, 2020, we entered into a forward interest rate swap agreement effective December 31, 2019 and ending December 31, 2024, with a notional amount of $50.0 million. We entered into this derivative instrument to further hedge against the interest rate risks of our variable-rate borrowings. Under the terms of the interest rate swap agreement, we receive from the counterparty interest on the notional amount based on one month LIBOR and we pay to the counterparty a fixed rate of 1.500%.
On March 16, 2020, we entered into a forward interest rate swap agreement effective February 28, 2020 and ending February 28, 2025, with a notional amount of $100.0 million. We entered into this derivative instrument to further hedge against the interest rate risks of our variable-rate borrowings. Under the terms of the interest rate swap agreement, we receive from the counterparty interest on the notional amount based on one month LIBOR and we pay to the counterparty a fixed rate of 0.885%.
We also have exposure to changes in interest rates associated with the promissory note assumed on June 30, 2017 in connection with our purchase of an aircraft, which has variable interest rates tied to LIBOR. At December 31, 2020, the outstanding principal amount of the promissory note was $3.3 million and carried an interest rate of 2.1%. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in this interest rate would not have a material effect on our pretax income. At December 31, 2019 the outstanding principal amount of the promissory note was $3.9 million
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and carried an interest rate of 3.7%. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in the interest rate as of December 31, 2019 would not have had a material effect on our pretax income.
We do not use derivative instruments for trading or other speculative purposes. From time to time, we invest excess cash in short-term marketable securities. These investments principally consist of overnight sweep accounts. Due to the short maturity of these investments, we concluded that we do not have material market risk exposure.
We have a 1.69% convertible debt investment in Shorelight Holdings, LLC, a privately-held company, which we account for as an available-for-sale debt security. As such, the investment is carried at fair value with unrealized holding gains and losses excluded from earnings and reported in other comprehensive income. As of December 31, 2020, the fair value of the investment was $64.4 million, with a total cost basis of $40.9 million. At December 31, 2019, the fair value of the investment was $49.5 million, with a total cost basis of $27.9 million.
We have a preferred stock investment in Medically Home Group, Inc. (“Medically Home”), a privately-held company, which we account for as an equity security without a readily determinable fair value using the measurement alternative. As such, the investment is carried at cost minus impairment, if any, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for the identical or similar investment. Any unrealized holding gains and losses resulting from observable price changes are recorded in our consolidated statement of operations. As of December 31, 2020, the carrying value of the investment was $6.7 million, with a total cost basis of $5.0 million. At December 31, 2019 the carrying value and total cost basis of the investment was $5.0 million. Following our purchase, we have not identified any impairment of our investment. In October 2020, we recognized an unrealized gain of $1.7 million on our preferred stock investment resulting from an observable price change of preferred stock with similar rights and preferences to our preferred stock investment issued by Medically Home.
ITEM 8.FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.
The Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements and supplementary data begin on page F-1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 9.CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.
None.
ITEM 9A.CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, has evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”)) as of December 31, 2020. Based on this evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer have concluded that, as of December 31, 2020, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective in recording, processing, summarizing and reporting, on a timely basis, information required to be disclosed by us in the reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act, and such information is accumulated and communicated to management as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.
Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act) for the Company. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed under the supervision of the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and effected by the Company’s board of directors, management, and other personnel to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with GAAP and includes those policies and procedures that:
(i)Pertain to the maintenance of records that in reasonable detail accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the Company;
(ii)Provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP, and that receipts and expenditures of the Company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and
(iii)Provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the Company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Due to its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
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In connection with the preparation of this report, our management, under the supervision and with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of the internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020 using the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”) in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013). As a result of that evaluation, management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2020.
The effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020 has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report appearing on page F-2 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
There has been no change in our internal control over financial reporting (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act) during the three months ended December 31, 2020 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
ITEM 9B.OTHER INFORMATION.
None.
PART III
ITEM 10.DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE.
Directors, Executive Officers, Promoters and Control Persons
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from portions of our definitive proxy statement for our annual meeting of stockholders to be filed with the SEC pursuant to Regulation 14A by April 30, 2021 (the “Proxy Statement”) under “Nominees to Board of Directors,” “Directors Not Standing For Election” and “Executive Officers.”
Compliance with Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act
Not applicable.
Code of Business Conduct and Ethics
We have adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (the “Code”) that is applicable to all of our employees, officers and directors. The Code is available on the Corporate Governance page of our website at ir.huronconsultinggroup.com. If we make any amendments to or grant any waivers from the Code which are required to be disclosed pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, we will make such disclosures on our website.
Corporate Governance
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Board Meetings and Committees.”
ITEM 11.EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION.
Executive Compensation
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Executive Compensation.”
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation.”
Compensation Committee Report
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Compensation Committee Report.”
ITEM 12.SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS.
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Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
The following table summarizes information with respect to equity compensation plans approved by shareholders as of December 31, 2020. We do not have equity compensation plans that have not been approved by shareholders.
Plan CategoryNumber of Shares
to be Issued Upon
Exercise of
Outstanding Options
Weighted Average
Exercise Price of
Outstanding Options
Number of Shares
Remaining Available
for Future Issuance
(excluding shares in
1st column)
Equity compensation plans approved by shareholders:
2004 Omnibus Stock Plan (1)
34,208 $35.55 — 
2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan (2)
31,785 $39.19 930,920 
Stock Ownership Participation Program (3)
— $— 347,941 
Equity compensation plans not approved by shareholdersN/AN/AN/A
Total65,993 $37.31 1,278,861 
(1)Our 2004 Omnibus Stock Plan was approved by the existing shareholders prior to our initial public offering. Upon adoption of the 2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan, we terminated the 2004 Omnibus Stock Plan with respect to future awards and no further awards will be granted under this plan.
(2)Our 2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan was approved by our shareholders at our annual meeting held on May 1, 2012. Subsequent to the initial approval and through December 31, 2020, our shareholders have approved amendments to the 2012 Omnibus Incentive Plan to increase the number of shares authorized for issuance to 3.9 million shares, in the aggregate.
(3)Our Stock Ownership Participation Program was approved by our shareholders at our annual meeting held on May 1, 2015. Subsequent to the initial approval and through December 31, 2020, our shareholders have approved amendments to the Stock Ownership Participation Program to increase the number of shares authorized for issuance to 0.7 million shares, in the aggregate.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Stock Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management.”
ITEM 13.CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE.
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Certain Relationships and Related Transactions.”
Director Independence
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from portions of the Proxy Statement under “Nominees to Board of Directors,” “Directors Not Standing For Election,” and “Board Meetings and Committees.”
ITEM 14.PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES.
The information required by this item is incorporated by reference from a portion of the Proxy Statement under “Audit and Non-Audit Fees.”
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PART IV
 
ITEM 15.EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES.
(a) Documents filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
1.Financial Statements—Our independent registered public accounting firm’s report and our Consolidated Financial Statements are listed below and begin on page F-1 of this Form 10-K.
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Consolidated Balance Sheets
Consolidated Statements of Operations and Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)
Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
2.Financial Statement Schedules—The financial statement schedules required by this item are included in the Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying notes.
3.Exhibit Index
Exhibit
Number
Exhibit DescriptionFiled
herewith
Furnished
herewith
Incorporated by Reference
FormPeriod
Ending
ExhibitFiling Date
3.110-K12/31/20043.12/16/2005
3.28-K3.110/28/2015
4.1S-1
(File No. 333-
115434)
4.110/5/2004
4.210-K12/31/20194.22/26/2020
10.1S-1
(File No. 333-
115434)
10.110/5/2004
10.2*S-810.15/5/2010
10.3*10-K12/31/200810.122/24/2009
10.4*8-K10.11/6/2017
10.5*