23. Significant accounting policies and notes on accounts
Infosys Technologies Limited (‘Infosys’ or ‘the Company’) along with its majority-owned and controlled subsidiary, Infosys BPO Limited (‘Infosys BPO’) and wholly-owned and controlled subsidiaries, Infosys Technologies (Australia) Pty. Limited (‘Infosys Australia’), Infosys Technologies (China) Company Limited (‘Infosys China’), Infosys Consulting Inc. (‘Infosys Consulting’), Infosys Technologies S. de R. L. de C. V. (‘Infosys Mexico’), Infosys Technologies (Sweden) AB. (‘Infosys Sweden’), Infosys Tecnologia do Brasil Ltda. (‘Infosys Brasil’), Infosys Public Services, Inc., U.S. (‘Infosys Public Services’) and Infosys Technologies (Shanghai) Company Limited (‘Infosys Shanghai’) is a leading global technology services corporation. The Company provides end-to-end business solutions that leverage cutting-edge technology, thereby enabling clients to enhance business performance. The Company provides solutions that span the entire software lifecycle encompassing technical consulting, design, development, re-engineering, maintenance, systems integration, package evaluation and implementation, testing and infrastructure management services. In addition, the Company offers software products for the banking industry.
23.1. Significant accounting policies
23.1.1. Basis of preparation of financial statements
These financial statements are prepared in accordance with Indian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) under the historical cost convention on the accrual basis except for certain financial instruments which are measured at fair values. GAAP comprises mandatory accounting standards as prescribed by the Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2006, the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 and guidelines issued by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Accounting policies have been consistently applied except where a newly issued accounting standard is initially adopted or a revision to an existing accounting standard requires a change in the accounting policy hitherto in use.
23.1.2. Use of estimates
The preparation of the financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires the Management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported balances of assets and liabilities and disclosures relating to contingent liabilities as at the date of the financial statements and reported amounts of income and expenses during the period. Examples of such estimates include computation of percentage of completion which requires the Company to estimate the efforts expended to date as a proportion of the total efforts to be expended, provisions for doubtful debts, future obligations under employee retirement benefit plans, income taxes, post-sales customer support and the useful lives of fixed assets and intangible assets.
Accounting estimates could change from period to period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Appropriate changes in estimates are made as the Management becomes aware of changes in circumstances surrounding the estimates. Changes in estimates are reflected in the financial statements in the period in which changes are made and, if material, their effects are disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.
The Management periodically assesses, using external and internal sources, whether there is an indication that an asset may be impaired. An impairment loss is recognized wherever the carrying value of an asset exceeds its recoverable amount.
The recoverable amount is higher of the asset’s net selling price and value in use, which means the present value of future cash flows expected to arise from the continuing use of the asset and its eventual disposal. An impairment loss for an asset is reversed if, and only if, the reversal can be related objectively to an event occurring after the impairment loss was recognized. The carrying amount of an asset is increased to its revised recoverable amount, provided that this amount does not exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined (net of any accumulated amortization or depreciation) had no impairment loss been recognized for the asset in prior years.
23.1.3. Revenue recognition
Revenue is primarily derived from software development and related services and from the licensing of software products. Arrangements with customers for software development and related services are either on a fixed-price, fixed-timeframe or on a time-and-material basis.
Revenue on time-and-material contracts are recognized as the related services are performed and revenue from the end of the last billing to the Balance Sheet date is recognized as unbilled revenues. Revenue from fixed-price and fixed-timeframe contracts, where there is no uncertainty as to measurement or collectability of consideration, is recognized based upon the percentage of completion method. When there is uncertainty as to measurement or ultimate collectability, revenue recognition is postponed until such uncertainty is resolved. Cost and earnings in excess of billings are classified as unbilled revenue, while billings in excess of cost and earnings is classified as unearned revenue. Provision for estimated losses, if any, on uncompleted contracts are recorded in the period in which such losses become probable based on the current estimates.
Annual Technical Services revenue and revenue from fixed-price maintenance contracts are recognized ratably over the period in which services are rendered. Revenue from the sale of user licenses for software applications is recognized on transfer of the title in the user license, except in case of multiple element contracts, which require significant implementation services, where revenue for the entire arrangement is recognized over the implementation period based upon the percentage-of-completion. Revenue from client training, support and other services arising due to the sale of software products is recognized as the related services are performed.
The Company accounts for volume discounts and pricing incentives to customers as a reduction of revenue based on the ratable allocation of the discount / incentive amount to each of the underlying revenue transactions that result in progress by the customer towards earning the discount / incentive. Also, when the level of discount varies with increases in levels of revenue transactions, the Company recognizes the liability based on its estimate of the customer’s future purchases. If it is probable that the criteria for the discount will not be met, or if the amount thereof cannot be estimated reliably, then discount is not recognized until the payment is probable and the amount can be estimated reliably. The Company recognizes changes in the estimated amount of obligations for discounts using a cumulative catch-up approach. The discounts are passed on to the customer either as direct payments or as a reduction of payments due from the customer.
The Company presents revenues net of value-added taxes in its Profit and Loss account.
Profit on sale of investments is recorded on transfer of title from the Company and is determined as the difference between the sale price and carrying value of the investment. Lease rentals are recognized ratably on a straight line basis over the lease term. Interest is recognized using the time-proportion method, based on rates implicit in the transaction. Dividend income is recognized when the Company’s right to receive dividend is established.
23.1.4. Provisions and contingent liabilities
A provision is recognized if, as a result of a past event, the Company has a present legal obligation that can be estimated reliably, and it is probable that an outflow of economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation. Provisions are determined by the best estimate of the outflow of economic benefits required to settle the obligation at the reporting date. Where no reliable estimate can be made, a disclosure is made as contingent liability. A disclosure for a contingent liability is also made when there is a possible obligation or a present obligation that may, but probably will not, require an outflow of resources. Where there is a possible obligation or a present obligation in respect of which the likelihood of outflow of resources is remote, no provision or disclosure is made.
23.1.4.a. Post-sales client support and warranties
The Company provides its clients with a fixed-period warranty for corrections of errors and telephone support on all its fixed-price, fixed-timeframe contracts. Costs associated with such support services are accrued at the time when related revenues are recorded and included in cost of sales. The Company estimates such costs based on historical experience and the estimates are reviewed annually for any material changes in assumptions.
23.1.4.b. Onerous contracts
Provisions for onerous contracts are recognized when the expected benefits to be derived by the Company from a contract are lower than the unavoidable costs of meeting the future obligations under the contract. The provision is measured at lower of the expected cost of terminating the contract and the expected net cost of fulfilling the contract.
23.1.5. Fixed assets, intangible assets and capital work-in-progress
Fixed assets are stated at cost, less accumulated depreciation and impairment, if any. Direct costs are capitalized until fixed assets are ready for use. Capital work-in-progress comprises outstanding advances paid to acquire fixed assets, and the cost of fixed assets that are not yet ready for their intended use at the reporting date. Intangible assets are recorded at the consideration paid for acquisition of such assets and are carried at cost less accumulated amortization and impairment.
23.1.6. Depreciation and amortization
Depreciation on fixed assets is provided on the straight-line method over the useful lives of assets estimated by the Management. Depreciation for assets purchased / sold during a period is proportionately charged. Individual low-cost assets (acquired for less than 5,000/-) are depreciated over a period of one year from the date of acquisition. Intangible assets are amortized over their respective individual estimated useful lives on a straight-line basis, commencing from the date the asset is available to the Company for its use. The Management estimates the useful lives for the other fixed assets as follows :
Plant and machinery
2 – 5 years
Furniture and fixtures
Depreciation methods, useful lives and residual values are reviewed at each reporting date.
23.1.7. Retirement benefits to employees
In accordance with the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, the Company provides for gratuity, a defined benefit retirement plan (‘the Gratuity Plan’) covering eligible employees.
The Gratuity Plan provides a lump sum payment to vested employees at retirement, death, incapacitation or termination of employment, of an amount based on the respective employee’s salary and the tenure of employment with the Company.
Liabilities with regard to the Gratuity Plan are determined by actuarial valuation at each Balance Sheet date using the projected unit credit method. The Company fully contributes all ascertained liabilities to the Infosys Technologies Limited Employees’ Gratuity Fund Trust (‘the Trust’). Trustees administer contributions made to the Trust and contributions are invested in specific investments as permitted by the law. The Company recognizes the net obligation of the Gratuity Plan in the Balance Sheet as an asset or liability, respectively in accordance with Accounting Standard (AS) 15, ‘Employee Benefits’. The Company’s overall expected long-term rate-of-return on assets has been determined based on consideration of available market information, current provisions of Indian law specifying the instruments in which investments can be made, and historical returns. The discount rate is based on the government securities yield. Actuarial gains and losses arising from experience adjustments and changes in actuarial assumptions are recognized in the Profit and Loss account in the period in which they arise.
Certain employees of Infosys are also participants in the superannuation plan (‘the Plan’) which is a defined contribution plan. The Company has no obligations to the Plan beyond its monthly contributions.
23.1.7.c. Provident fund
Eligible employees receive benefits from a provident fund, which is a defined benefit plan. Both the employee and the Company make monthly contributions to the provident fund plan equal to a specified percentage of the covered employee’s salary. The Company contributes a part of the contributions to the Infosys Technologies Limited Employees’ Provident Fund Trust. The remaining portion is contributed to the government administered pension fund. The rate at which the annual interest is payable to the beneficiaries by the trust is administered by the government. The Company has an obligation to make good the shortfall, if any, between the return from the investments of the Trust and the notified interest rate.
23.1.7.d. Compensated absences
The employees of the Company are entitled to compensated absences which are both accumulating and non-accumulating in nature. The expected cost of accumulating compensated absences is determined by actuarial valuation based on the additional amount expected to be paid as a result of the unused entitlement that has accumulated at the Balance Sheet date. Expense on non-accumulating compensated absences is recognized in the period in which the absences occur.
23.1.8. Research and development
Research costs are expensed as incurred. Software product development costs are expensed as incurred unless technical and commercial feasibility of the project is demonstrated, future economic benefits are probable, the Company has an intention and ability to complete and use or sell the software and the costs can be measured reliably.
23.1.9. Foreign currency transactions
Foreign-currency denominated monetary assets and liabilities are translated at exchange rates in effect at the Balance Sheet date. The gains or losses resulting from such translations are included in the Profit and Loss account. Non-monetary assets and non-monetary liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and measured at fair value are translated at the exchange rate prevalent at the date when the fair value was determined. Non-monetary assets and non-monetary liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and measured at historical cost are translated at the exchange rate prevalent at the date of transaction.
Revenue, expense and cash-flow items denominated in foreign currencies are translated using the exchange rate in effect on the date of the transaction. Transaction gains or losses realized upon settlement of foreign currency transactions are included in determining net profit for the period in which the transaction is settled.
23.1.10. Forward and options contracts in foreign currencies
The Company uses foreign exchange forward and options contracts to hedge its exposure to movements in foreign exchange rates. The use of these foreign exchange forward and options contracts reduce the risk or cost to the Company and the Company does not use those for trading or speculation purposes.
Effective April 1, 2008, the Company adopted AS 30, ‘Financial Instruments : Recognition and Measurement’, to the extent that the adoption did not conflict with existing accounting standards and other authoritative pronouncements of the Company Law and other regulatory requirements.
Forward and options contracts are fair valued at each reporting date. The resultant gain or loss from these transactions are recognized in the Profit and Loss account. The Company records the gain or loss on effective hedges, if any, in the foreign currency fluctuation reserve until the transactions are complete. On completion, the gain or loss is transferred to the Profit and Loss account of that period. To designate a forward or options contract as an effective hedge, the Management objectively evaluates and evidences with appropriate supporting documents at the inception of each contract whether the contract is effective in achieving offsetting cash flows attributable to the hedged risk. In the absence of a designation as effective hedge, a gain or loss is recognized in the Profit and Loss account. Currently hedges undertaken by the Company are all ineffective in nature and the resultant gain or loss consequent to fair valuation is recognized in the Profit and Loss account at each reporting date.