SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTING POLICIES
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2012
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTING POLICIES
SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Basis of Financial Statements and Business Activities
The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”), and include the accounts of United Parcel Service, Inc., and all of its consolidated subsidiaries (collectively “UPS” or the “Company”). All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated.
UPS concentrates its operations in the field of transportation services, primarily domestic and international letter and package delivery. Through our Supply Chain & Freight subsidiaries, we are also a global provider of specialized transportation, logistics, and financial services.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of our consolidated financial statements requires the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the reported amounts of revenues and expenses and the disclosure of contingencies. Estimates have been prepared on the basis of the most current and best information, and actual results could differ materially from those estimates.
U.S. Domestic and International Package Operations—Revenue is recognized upon delivery of a letter or package.
Forwarding and Logistics—Freight forwarding revenue and the expense related to the transportation of freight are recognized at the time the services are performed. Material management and distribution revenue is recognized upon performance of the service provided. Customs brokerage revenue is recognized upon completing documents necessary for customs entry purposes.
Freight—Revenue is recognized upon delivery of a less-than-truckload (“LTL”) or truckload (“TL”) shipment.
We utilize independent contractors and third-party carriers in the performance of some transportation services. In situations where we act as principal party to the transaction, we recognize revenue on a gross basis; in circumstances where we act as an agent, we recognize revenue net of the cost of the purchased transportation.
Financial Services—Income on loans and direct finance leases is recognized on the effective interest method. Accrual of interest income is suspended at the earlier of the time at which collection of an account becomes doubtful or the account becomes 90 days delinquent. Income on operating leases is recognized on the straight-line method over the terms of the underlying leases.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents consist of highly liquid investments that are readily convertible into cash. We consider securities with maturities of three months or less, when purchased, to be cash equivalents. The carrying amount of these securities approximates fair value because of the short-term maturity of these instruments.
Marketable securities are classified as available-for-sale and are carried at fair value, with related unrealized gains and losses reported, net of tax, as accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”), a separate component of shareowners’ equity. The amortized cost of debt securities is adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts to maturity. Such amortization and accretion is included in investment income, along with interest and dividends. The cost of securities sold is based on the specific identification method; realized gains and losses resulting from such sales are included in investment income.
We periodically review our investments for indications of other than temporary impairment considering many factors, including the extent and duration to which a security’s fair value has been less than its cost, overall economic and market conditions and the financial condition and specific prospects for the issuer. Impairment of investment securities results in a charge to income when a market decline below cost is other than temporary.
Losses on accounts receivable are recognized when they are incurred, which requires us to make our best estimate of the probable losses inherent in our customer receivables at each balance sheet date. These estimates require consideration of historical loss experience, adjusted for current conditions, trends in customer payment frequency, and judgments about the probable effects of relevant observable data, including present economic conditions and the financial health of specific customers and market sectors. Our risk management process includes standards and policies for reviewing major account exposures and concentrations of risk.
Our total allowance for doubtful accounts as of December 31, 2012 and 2011 was $127 and $117 million, respectively. Our total provision for doubtful accounts charged to expense during the years ended December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010 was $155, $147 and $199 million, respectively.
Jet fuel, diesel, and unleaded gasoline inventories are valued at the lower of average cost or market. Fuel and other materials and supplies inventories are recognized as inventory when purchased, and then charged to expense when used in our operations. Total inventories were $393 and $345 million as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively, and are included in “other current assets” on the consolidated balance sheet.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment are carried at cost. Depreciation and amortization are provided by the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which are as follows: Vehicles—6 to 15 years; Aircraft—12 to 30 years; Buildings—20 to 40 years; Leasehold Improvements—terms of leases; Plant Equipment—6 to 8.25 years; Technology Equipment—3 to 5 years. The costs of major airframe and engine overhauls, as well as routine maintenance and repairs, are charged to expense as incurred.
Interest incurred during the construction period of certain property, plant and equipment is capitalized until the underlying assets are placed in service, at which time amortization of the capitalized interest begins, straight-line, over the estimated useful lives of the related assets. Capitalized interest was $18, $17 and $18 million for 2012, 2011, and 2010, respectively.
We review long-lived assets for impairment when circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable based on the undiscounted future cash flows of the asset. If the carrying amount of the asset is determined not to be recoverable, a write-down to fair value is recorded. Fair values are determined based on quoted market values, discounted cash flows, or external appraisals, as applicable. We review long-lived assets for impairment at the individual asset or the asset group level for which the lowest level of independent cash flows can be identified.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
Costs of purchased businesses in excess of net identifiable assets acquired (goodwill), and indefinite-lived intangible assets are tested for impairment at least annually, unless changes in circumstances indicate an impairment may have occurred sooner. We are required to test goodwill on a “reporting unit” basis. A reporting unit is the operating segment unless, for businesses within that operating segment, discrete financial information is prepared and regularly reviewed by management, in which case such a component business is the reporting unit.
In assessing goodwill for impairment, we initially evaluate qualitative factors to determine if it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. We consider several factors, including macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, overall financial performance of the reporting unit, changes in management, strategy or customers, and relevant reporting unit specific events such as a change in the carrying amount of net assets, a more-likely-than-not expectation of selling or disposing all, or a portion, of a reporting unit, and the testing for recoverability of a significant asset group within a reporting unit. If this qualitative assessment results in a conclusion that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds the carrying value, then no further testing is performed for that reporting unit.
If the qualitative assessment is not conclusive and it is necessary to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit, then we utilize a two-step process to test goodwill for impairment. First, a comparison of the fair value of the applicable reporting unit with the aggregate carrying value, including goodwill, is performed. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its calculated fair value, then the second step is performed, and an impairment charge is recognized for the amount, if any, by which the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value. We primarily determine the fair value of our reporting units using a discounted cash flow model, and supplement this with observable valuation multiples for comparable companies, as applicable.
Finite-lived intangible assets, including trademarks, licenses, patents, customer lists, non-compete agreements and franchise rights are amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which range from 2 to 20 years. Capitalized software is amortized over periods ranging from 3 to 5 years.
We self-insure costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, automotive liability, health and welfare, and general business liabilities, up to certain limits. Insurance reserves are established for estimates of the loss that we will ultimately incur on reported claims, as well as estimates of claims that have been incurred but not yet reported. Recorded balances are based on reserve levels, which incorporate historical loss experience and judgments about the present and expected levels of cost per claim.
Pension and Postretirement Benefits
We incur certain employment-related expenses associated with pension and postretirement medical benefits. These pension and postretirement medical benefit costs for company-sponsored benefit plans are calculated using various actuarial assumptions and methodologies, including discount rates, expected returns on plan assets, health care cost trend rates, inflation, compensation increase rates, mortality rates, and other factors. Actuarial assumptions are reviewed on an annual basis, unless circumstances require an interim remeasurement date for any of our plans.
We recognize changes in the fair value of plan assets and net actuarial gains or losses in excess of a corridor (defined as 10% of the greater of the fair value of plan assets or the plans' projected benefit obligations) in pension expense annually at December 31st each year. The remaining components of pension expense, primarily service and interest costs and the expected return on plan assets, are recorded on a quarterly basis.
We participate in a number of trustee-managed multiemployer pension and health and welfare plans for employees covered under collective bargaining agreements. Our contributions to these plans are determined in accordance with the respective collective bargaining agreements. We recognize expense for the contractually required contribution for each period, and we recognize a liability for any contributions due and unpaid (included in “other current liabilities”).
Income taxes are accounted for on an asset and liability approach that requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in our consolidated financial statements or tax returns. In estimating future tax consequences, we generally consider all expected future events other than proposed changes in the tax law or rates. Valuation allowances are provided if it is more likely than not that a deferred tax asset will not be realized.
We recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on a two-step process. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. Once it is determined that the position meets the recognition threshold, the second step requires us to estimate and measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more likely than not to be realized upon ultimate settlement. It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as we have to determine the probability of various possible outcomes. We reevaluate these uncertain tax positions on a quarterly basis. This evaluation is based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in facts or circumstances, changes in tax law, effectively settled issues under audit, and new audit activity. Such a change in recognition or measurement could result in the recognition of a tax benefit or an additional charge to the tax provision.
Foreign Currency Translation
We translate the results of operations of our foreign subsidiaries using average exchange rates during each period, whereas balance sheet accounts are translated using exchange rates at the end of each period. Balance sheet currency translation adjustments are recorded in AOCI. Currency transaction gains and losses, net of hedging, included in other operating expenses were pre-tax gains (losses) of $10, $(1) and $7 million in 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively.
All share-based awards to employees are measured based on their fair values and expensed over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the award (the vesting period). We issue employee share-based awards under the UPS Incentive Compensation Plan that are subject to specific vesting conditions; generally, the awards cliff vest or vest ratably over a three or five year period, “the nominal vesting period,” or at the date the employee retires (as defined by the plan), if earlier. Compensation cost is recognized immediately for awards granted to retirement-eligible employees, or over the period from the grant date to the date retirement eligibility is achieved, if that is expected to occur during the nominal vesting period.
Fair Value Measurements
Our financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis have been categorized based upon a fair value hierarchy. Level 1 inputs utilize quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities. Level 2 inputs are based on other observable market data, such as quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities, and inputs other than quoted prices that are observable, such as interest rates and yield curves. Level 3 inputs are developed from unobservable data reflecting our own assumptions, and include situations where there is little or no market activity for the asset or liability.
Certain non-financial assets and liabilities are measured at fair value on a nonrecurring basis, including property, plant, and equipment, goodwill and intangible assets. These assets are not measured at fair value on a recurring basis; however, they are subject to fair value adjustments in certain circumstances, such as when there is evidence of an impairment. A general description of the valuation methodologies used for assets and liabilities measured at fair value, including the general classification of such assets and liabilities pursuant to the valuation hierarchy, is included in each footnote with fair value measurements present.
All financial derivative instruments are recorded on our consolidated balance sheets at fair value. Derivatives not designated as hedges must be adjusted to fair value through income. If a derivative is designated as a hedge, depending on the nature of the hedge, changes in its fair value that are considered to be effective, as defined, either offset the change in fair value of the hedged assets, liabilities or firm commitments through income, or are recorded in AOCI until the hedged item is recorded in income. Any portion of a change in a hedge’s fair value that is considered to be ineffective, or is excluded from the measurement of effectiveness, is recorded immediately in income.
Recently Adopted Accounting Standards
In May 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued an Accounting Standards Update to disclosure requirements for fair value measurement. These amendments, which became effective for us in the first quarter of 2012, result in a common definition of fair value and common measurement and disclosure requirements between U.S. GAAP and IFRS. Consequently, the amendments change some fair value measurement principles and disclosure requirements. The implementation of this amended accounting guidance had an immaterial impact on our consolidated financial position and results of operations.
In June 2011, the FASB issued an Accounting Standards Update that increases the prominence of items reported in other comprehensive income in the financial statements. This update requires companies to present comprehensive income in a single statement below net income or in a separate statement of comprehensive income immediately following the income statement. This requirement became effective for us beginning with the first quarter of 2012, and we have included the required presentation in all applicable filings since that date.
In July 2012, the FASB issued an Accounting Standards Update that added an optional qualitative assessment for determining whether an indefinite-lived intangible asset is impaired. The objective of this update is to reduce the cost and complexity of performing an impairment test for indefinite-lived intangible assets by allowing an entity the option to make a qualitative evaluation about the likelihood of an intangible impairment to determine whether it should calculate the fair value of the asset. This accounting standards update also amends existing guidance by expanding upon the examples of events and circumstances that an entity should consider between annual impairment tests in determining whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of the intangible asset is less than its carrying amount. We adopted this accounting standard update and applied its provisions to certain of our intangible assets for our annual impairment testing as of October 1, 2012.
Other accounting pronouncements adopted during the periods covered by the consolidated financial statements had an immaterial impact on our consolidated financial position and results of operations.
Accounting Standards Issued But Not Yet Effective
In February 2013, the FASB issued an accounting standards update that adds new disclosure requirements for items reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income. This update requires that companies present either in a single note or parenthetically on the face of the financial statements, the effect of significant amounts reclassified from each component of accumulated other comprehensive income based on its source (e.g., the release due to cash flow hedges from interest rate contracts) and the income statement line items affected by the reclassification (e.g., interest income or interest expense). If a component is not required to be reclassified to net income in its entirety (e.g., the net periodic pension cost), companies would instead cross reference to the related footnote for additional information (e.g., the pension footnote). This update is effective for us beginning in the first quarter of 2013.
Other accounting pronouncements issued, but not effective until after December 31, 2012, are not expected to have a significant impact on our consolidated financial position or results of operations.
Changes in Presentation
Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. These reclassifications had no impact on our financial position or results of operations.