|INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018|
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Hedge Accounting for Derivatives. We utilize foreign currency forward exchange contracts to hedge certain anticipated foreign currency denominated sales transactions and expenses. When specific criteria required by relevant accounting standards have been met, changes in fair values of hedge contracts relating to anticipated transactions are recorded in other comprehensive income (“OCI”) rather than net income until the underlying hedged transaction affects net income. By their nature, our estimates of anticipated transactions may fluctuate over time and may ultimately vary from actual transactions. When we determine that the transactions are no longer probable within a certain time-frame, we are required to reclassify the cumulative changes in the fair values of the related hedge contracts from OCI to net income.
Inventory valuation. Inventory is stated at the lower of standard cost, which approximates actual costs, or net realizable value, on a first-in, first-out basis. The cost basis of our inventory is reduced for any products that are considered excessive or obsolete based upon assumptions about future demand and market conditions. If actual future demand or market conditions are less favorable than those projected by management, additional inventory write-downs may be required, which could have a material adverse effect on the results of our operations.
Intangible Assets. Our intangible assets include identifiable intangibles and goodwill. Identifiable intangibles include developed technology, patents, distribution rights, customer relationships, and licenses. All of our identifiable intangibles have finite lives. Goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives are subject to an annual impairment review (or more frequent if impairment indicators arise) by applying a fair-value based test. There have been no impairments from the analysis required by U.S. GAAP.
Identifiable intangible assets with finite lives are subject to impairment testing and are reviewed for impairment when events or circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset is not recoverable and its carrying amount exceeds its fair value. We evaluate the recoverability of the carrying value of these identifiable intangible assets based on estimated undiscounted cash flows to be generated from such assets. If the cash flow estimates or the significant operating assumptions upon which they are based change in the future, we may be required to record additional impairment charges.
The valuation and classification of intangible assets and goodwill and the assignment of useful lives for purposes of amortization involves judgments and the use of estimates. The evaluation of these intangibles and goodwill for impairment under established accounting guidelines is required on a recurring basis. Changes in business conditions could potentially require future adjustments to the assumptions made. When we determine that the useful lives of assets are shorter than we had originally estimated, we accelerate the rate of amortization over the assets’ new, shorter useful lives. No impairment charge or accelerated amortization was recorded for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015. A considerable amount of judgment is required in assessing impairment, which includes financial forecasts. If conditions are different from management’s current estimates, material write-downs of long-lived assets may be required, which would adversely affect our operating results.
Revenue recognition. Our system sale arrangements contain multiple elements, including system(s), system components, system accessories, instruments, accessories, and service. We generally deliver all of the elements, other than service, within days of entering into the system sale arrangement. Each of these elements is a separate unit of accounting. System accessories, instruments, accessories, and service are also sold on a stand-alone basis.
For multiple-element arrangements, revenue is allocated to each unit of accounting based on their relative selling prices. Relative selling prices are based first on vendor specific objective evidence of fair value (“VSOE”), then on third-party evidence of selling price (“TPE”) when VSOE does not exist, and then on management's best estimate of the selling price (“ESP”) when VSOE and TPE do not exist.
Our system sales arrangements generally include a one-year period of free service and four additional years of service that are generally billed for separately on an annual basis at a contractually stated price. The revenue allocated to the free service period is deferred and recognized ratably over the free service period. Amounts billed for the additional years of service are recorded into deferred revenue when they are billed and recognized ratably over the service period.
Because we have neither VSOE nor TPE for our systems, the allocation of revenue is based on ESP for the systems sold. The objective of ESP is to determine the price at which we would transact a sale, had the product been sold on a stand-alone basis. We determine ESP for our systems by considering multiple factors, including, but not limited to, features and functionality of the system, geographies, type of customer, and market conditions. We regularly review ESP and maintain internal controls over establishing and updating these estimates.
Accounting for stock options. We account for share-based compensation in accordance with the fair value recognition provisions of U.S. GAAP. We use the Black-Scholes-Merton option-pricing model which requires the input of highly subjective assumptions. These assumptions include estimating the length of time employees will retain their vested stock options before exercising them, the estimated volatility of our common stock price over the expected term, and the number of options that will ultimately not complete their vesting requirements. The assumptions for expected volatility and expected term are the two assumptions that most significantly affect the grant date fair value of stock options. Changes in expected risk-free rate of return do not significantly impact the calculation of fair value, and determining this input is not highly subjective.
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