SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTING POLICIES
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2020
|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.
We provide transportation services, primarily domestic and international letter and package delivery. Through our Supply Chain & Freight subsidiaries, we are also a global provider of 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. In particular, a number of estimates have been and will continue to be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The severity, magnitude and duration of the pandemic, and the resulting economic consequences, remain uncertain, rapidly changing and difficult to predict. As a result, our accounting estimates and assumptions may change over time.
U.S. Domestic and International Package Operations: Revenue is recognized over time as we perform the services in the contract.
Forwarding: Freight forwarding revenue and the expense related to the transportation of freight are recognized over time as we perform the services. Truckload brokerage revenue and related transportation costs are recognized over time as we perform the services. Customs brokerage revenue is recognized upon completing documents necessary for customs entry purposes.
Logistics & Distribution: In our Logistics & Distribution business we have a right to consideration from customers in an amount that corresponds directly with the value to the customers of our performance completed to date, and as such we recognize revenue in the amount to which we have a right to invoice the customer.
UPS Freight: Revenue is recognized over time as we perform the services in the contract.
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.
Principal vs. Agent Considerations: We utilize independent contractors and third-party carriers in the performance of some transportation services. GAAP requires us to evaluate whether our businesses themselves promise to transfer services to the customer (as the principal) or to arrange for services to be provided by another party (as the agent) using a control model. Based on our evaluation of the control model, we determined that all of our major businesses act as the principal rather than the agent within their revenue arrangements. Revenue and the associated purchased transportation costs are reported on a gross basis within our statements of consolidated income.
Refer to note 2 for further discussion of our revenue recognition policies.
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.
Debt securities are either classified as trading or available-for-sale securities and are carried at fair value. Unrealized gains and losses on trading securities are reported as Investment income (expense) and other on the statements of consolidated income. Unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities are reported 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 (expense) and other, 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 (expense) and other.
We periodically review our available-for-sale 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 available-for-sale securities results in a charge to income when a market decline below cost is other-than-temporary.
Fuel and other materials and supplies inventories are recognized as inventory when purchased, and then charged to expense when used in our operations. Jet fuel, diesel and unleaded gasoline inventories are valued at the lower of average cost or net realizable value. Total inventories were $620 and $511 million as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and are included in “Other current assets” in the consolidated balance sheets.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment are carried at cost. We evaluate the useful lives of our property, plant and equipment based on our usage, maintenance and replacement policies, and taking into account physical and economic factors that may affect the useful lives of the assets.
Depreciation and amortization are provided by the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which are as follows:
•Aircraft: 12 to 40 years
•Buildings: 10 to 40 years
•Leasehold Improvements: lesser of asset useful life or lease term
•Plant Equipment: 3 to 20 years
•Technology Equipment: 3 to 10 years
•Vehicles: 5 to 15 years
For substantially all of our aircraft, 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 $87 and $91 million in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
We review long-lived assets for impairment when circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable based on its undiscounted future cash flows. 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 appropriate. We review long-lived assets for impairment at the individual asset level or the asset group for which the lowest level of independent cash flows can be identified.
For a discussion of our accounting policies related to leased assets, refer to note 11.
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 of 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, we calculate the fair value of a reporting unit to test goodwill for impairment. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value, we record the excess amount as goodwill impairment, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit. 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 appropriate.
A trade name with a carrying value of $200 million and licenses with a carrying value of $5 million as of December 31, 2020 are considered to be indefinite-lived intangibles, and therefore are not amortized. We determined that the income approach, specifically the relief from royalty method, is the most appropriate valuation method to estimate the fair value of the trade name. The estimated fair value of the trade name is compared to the carrying value of the asset. If the carrying value of the trade name exceeds its estimated fair value, an impairment charge is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset exceeds its fair value.
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 22 years. Capitalized software is generally amortized over 7 years.
Assets Held for Sale
We classify long-lived assets or disposal groups as held for sale in the period when all of the following conditions have been met:
•we have approved and committed to a plan to sell the assets or disposal group;
• the asset or disposal group is available for immediate sale in its present condition;
•an active program to locate a buyer and other actions required to complete the sale have been initiated;
•the sale of the asset or disposal group is probable and expected to be completed within one year;
•the asset or disposal group is being actively marketed for sale at a price that is reasonable in relation to its current fair value; and
•it is unlikely that significant changes to the plan will be made or that the plan will be withdrawn.
We initially measure a long-lived asset or disposal group that is classified as held for sale at the lower of its carrying value or fair value less any costs to sell and recognize any loss in the period in which the held for sale criteria are met. Gains are not recognized until the date of sale. We cease depreciation and amortization of a long-lived asset, or assets within a disposal group, upon their designation as held for sale and subsequently assess fair value less any costs to sell at each reporting period until the asset or disposal group is no longer classified as held for sale.
We self-insure costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, automobile 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. The expected ultimate cost for claims incurred is estimated based upon historical loss experience and judgments about the present and expected levels of cost per claim. Trends in actual experience are a significant factor in the determination of our reserves.
Workers’ compensation, automobile liability and general liability insurance claims may take several years to completely settle. Consequently, actuarial estimates are required to project the ultimate cost that will be incurred to fully resolve a claim. A number of factors can affect the actual cost of a claim, including the length of time the claim remains open, trends in healthcare costs, the results of any related litigation and with respect to workers’ compensation claims, changes in legislation. Furthermore, claims may emerge in a future year for events that occurred in a prior year at a rate that differs from actuarial projections. All of these factors can result in revisions to actuarial projections and produce a material difference between estimated and actual operating results. Based on our historical experience, in 2019 we changed our self-insurance reserves from the central estimate to the low end of the actuarial range of losses. The principal result of this change was a decrease in expense of $94 million and an increase in net income of $72 million, or $0.08 per share on a basic and diluted basis. We believe our estimated reserves for such claims are adequate, but actual experience in claim frequency and/or severity could materially differ from our estimates and affect our results of operations.
We sponsor a number of health and welfare insurance plans for our employees. These liabilities and related expenses are based on estimates of the number of employees and eligible dependents covered under the plans, anticipated medical usage by participants and overall trends in medical costs and inflation.
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 defined benefit plans are calculated using various actuarial assumptions and methodologies, including discount rates, expected returns on plan assets, healthcare cost trend rates, inflation, compensation increase rates, mortality rates and coordination of benefits with plans not sponsored by UPS. Actuarial assumptions are reviewed on an annual basis, unless circumstances require an interim remeasurement of 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 plan's projected benefit obligation) in Investment income (expense) and other 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.
For eligible employees hired after July 1, 2016, UPS contributes annually to a defined contribution plan. We recognize expense for the required contribution quarterly, and we recognize a liability for any contributions due and unpaid within Other current liabilities.
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 within 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 largest amount of tax benefit that is more likely than not to be realized upon ultimate settlement. The difference between the amount of recognizable tax benefit and the total amount of tax benefit from positions filed or to be filed with the tax authorities is recorded as a liability for uncertain tax benefits. It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as we have to determine the probability of various possible outcomes. We reevaluate 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 and Remeasurement
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. Pre-tax foreign currency transaction gains (losses) from remeasurement, net of hedging, included in Investment income (expense) and other were $9, $(6) and $(19) million in 2020, 2019 and 2018, 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), less estimated forfeitures. We have issued employee share-based awards under the UPS Incentive Compensation Plan that are subject to specific vesting conditions, including service conditions, where the awards cliff vest or vest ratably over a one, 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 generally 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. We estimate forfeiture rates based on historical rates of forfeitures for awards with similar characteristics, historical rates of employee turnover and the nature and terms of the vesting conditions of the awards. We reevaluate our forfeiture rates on an annual basis.
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 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.
For acquisitions, we allocate the fair value of purchase consideration to the tangible assets acquired, liabilities assumed and intangible assets acquired based on their estimated fair values. The excess of the fair value of purchase consideration over the fair values of these identifiable assets and liabilities is recorded as goodwill. During the measurement period, which is one year from the acquisition date, we may record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, with the corresponding offset to goodwill. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to earnings.
We recognize all derivative instruments as assets or liabilities in the consolidated balance sheets at fair value. The accounting for changes in the fair value of a derivative instrument depends on whether it has been designated and qualifies as part of a hedging relationship and, further, on the type of hedging relationship. For those derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as hedging instruments, we designate the derivative as a cash flow hedge, a fair value hedge or a hedge of a net investment in a foreign operation based upon the exposure being hedged.
A cash flow hedge refers to hedging the exposure to variability in expected future cash flows that is attributable to a particular risk. For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as cash flow hedges, the gain or loss on the derivative instrument is reported as a component of AOCI, and reclassified into earnings in the period during which the hedged transaction affects earnings.
A fair value hedge refers to hedging the exposure to changes in the fair value of an existing asset or liability that is attributable to a particular risk. For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as fair value hedges, the gain or loss on the derivative instrument is recognized during the current period, as well as the offsetting gain or loss on the hedged item.
A net investment hedge refers to the use of cross currency swaps, forward contracts or foreign currency denominated debt to hedge portions of net investments in foreign operations. For instruments that meet the hedge accounting requirements, the net gains or losses attributable to changes in spot exchange rates are recorded in the foreign currency translation adjustment within AOCI, and are recorded in the income statement when the hedged item affects earnings.
Adoption of New Accounting Standards
In February 2016, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which requires lessees to recognize a right-of-use asset and lease obligation on their balance sheet for all leases with terms beyond twelve months. The new standard also requires enhanced disclosures that provide more transparency and information to financial statement users about lease portfolios. Effective January 1, 2019, we adopted the requirements of this ASU using the modified retrospective approach. We elected the transition package of practical expedients permitted within the standard. As a result, we did not reassess initial direct costs, lease classification, or whether our contracts contain or are leases. We also made an accounting policy election to not recognize right-of-use assets and liabilities for leases with an original lease term of twelve months or less, unless the leases include options to renew or purchase the underlying asset that are reasonably certain to be exercised.
The adoption on January 1, 2019 resulted in the recognition of right-of-use assets for operating leases of approximately $2.7 billion and operating lease liabilities of approximately $2.7 billion. The consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are presented under the new standard, while earlier periods presented have not been adjusted and continue to be reported in accordance with the previous standard. See note 11 for additional disclosures required by this ASU.
In June 2016, the FASB issued an ASU introducing an expected credit loss methodology for the measurement of financial assets not accounted for at fair value. The methodology replaced the probable, incurred loss model for those assets. We adopted this standard on January 1, 2020 by updating our process for calculating our allowance for credit losses to include reasonable and supportable forecasts that could affect expected collectability. In 2020, we increased our allowance for credit losses by $45 million based upon our current forecasts that reflect ongoing economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January 2017, the FASB issued an ASU to simplify the accounting for goodwill impairment by eliminating the requirement to calculate the implied fair value of goodwill using a hypothetical purchase price allocation. Under this ASU, goodwill impairment is the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value, not to exceed the carrying amount of goodwill. We adopted this standard on January 1, 2020, applying the simplified approach to calculate the goodwill impairment charge of $494 million that we recorded in conjunction with the pending divestiture of UPS Freight.
In March 2017, the FASB issued an ASU requiring the premium on callable debt securities to be amortized to the earliest call date. We adopted this standard on January 1, 2019. It did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
In August 2017, the FASB issued an ASU to enhance recognition of the economic results of hedging activities in the financial statements. In addition, the update made certain targeted improvements to simplify the application of hedge accounting guidance and increase transparency regarding the scope and results of hedging activities. We adopted this standard on January 1, 2019. It did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows but did require additional disclosures. See note 17 for disclosures required by this ASU.
In February 2018, the FASB issued an ASU that allows a reclassification from AOCI to retained earnings for stranded tax effects resulting from the Tax Act. Effective January 1, 2018, we early adopted this ASU and elected to reclassify the income tax effects of the Tax Act from AOCI to retained earnings. This resulted in a $735 million increase to retained earnings and a $735 million decrease to AOCI. Our current accounting policy for releasing income tax effects from other comprehensive income is based on a portfolio approach.
In December 2019, the FASB issued an ASU to simplify the accounting for income taxes. The update removes certain exceptions to the general income tax principles. Effective October 1, 2020, we early adopted this ASU. It did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
In March 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848), to temporarily ease the potential burden in accounting for reference rate reform. The standard provides optional expedients and exceptions for applying GAAP to contracts, hedging relationships and other transactions affected by reference rate reform. The guidance was effective upon issuance and generally can be applied through December 31, 2022. We are evaluating the potential impacts of reference rate reform on our various contractual positions to determine whether we may apply any of the practical expedients set forth in this standard.
Other accounting pronouncements adopted during the periods covered by the consolidated financial statements did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Accounting Standards Issued But Not Yet Effective
Accounting pronouncements issued, but not effective until after December 31, 2020, are not expected to have a material impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
The entire disclosure for all significant accounting policies of the reporting entity.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef