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Halliburton: Accounting for Cost Overruns and Recoveries CASE: A-187 DATE: 05/18/07 Brian Tayan prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Maureen McNichols as the basis for class...

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Halliburton: Accounting for Cost Ove
uns and Recoveries

CASE: A-187
DATE: 05/18/07
Brian Tayan prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Maureen McNichols as the basis for class discussion rather
than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
Copyright © 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved. To order copies or
equest permission to reproduce materials, e-mail the Case Writing Office at: XXXXXXXXXX or write: Case Writing
Office, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford University, Stanford, CA XXXXXXXXXXNo part of
this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any
means –– electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise –– without the permission of the Stanford Graduate
School of Business.



In July 2002, a legal watchdog group, Judicial Watch, announced that it was suing Halliburton
Company for overstating revenues during the period 1998 to XXXXXXXXXXThe group’s contention was
that Halliburton used fraudulent accounting practices to boost revenues and hide a deteriorating
financial position from investors.

Specifically, the lawsuit centered around the way the company recognized claims recoveries on
long-term construction projects. Prior to 1998, the company’s policy was to book cost ove
expenses as soon as they occu
ed, but not to book claims recoveries as revenue until the
epayment amount was agreed to with the client. In 1998, the company changed policies to
egin estimating future recoveries and recognizing them in the same period that ove
expenses were realized. The company, which had been suffering from a recent slowdown in
usiness and large litigation losses from asbestos lawsuits, claimed that its accounting practices
were permitted under generally accepted accounting principals (GAAP). Judicial Watch,
however, claimed the accounting policy inflated revenues over the four-year period by as much
as $534 million.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as CEO of the company when the accounting change
was made, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Given the recent slew of accounting
scandals in the press and public debate over corporate responsibility, many parties took a strong
interest in the Halliburton case. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched its own
probe, stating that Cheney was “not immune.”

This document is authorized for use only by Jennifer Robinson in ACCT-6140-1,Cu
ent Trends Acct Standards.2020 Summer Sem 05/04-08/23-PT2 at Laureate Education - Walden University,
Halliburton: Accounting for Cost Ove
uns (A) A-187
p. 2

Oil Supply Chain

Oil and natural gas are the most heavily used energy sources for industrial production. By 2002,
worldwide demand for oil was approximately 76 million ba
els per day with 25 percent of
demand coming from the United States.

The supply of oil cu
ently exists in natural reserves. Total worldwide reserves were estimated
to be 1.03 trillion ba
els. Of those reserves, 79 percent existed in OPEC countries1. Oil
production was largely managed by state-run companies, whose revenues were a major source of
income for local economies. These companies managed exploration and production on their
lands or just offshore.

Another set of large publicly owned companies managed the refining, marketing, and
distribution process. The largest of these companies were Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell
Group, BP, Total Fina Elf, and Chevron Texaco—often called the “supermajor” oil companies.
These companies also explored for new oil, frequently in offshore locations. The North Sea was
one of the most promising locations for new oil exploration.

Oil producing companies, both state-owned and publicly held, often contracted out much of the
drilling process to equipment and oilfield service providers. These companies built oilrigs and
drilling equipment, as well as provided services to help with production. Much of the
construction work was contracted under long-term agreements. Because the process of oil
location and production had so many steps, each of which required specific expertise, the oilfield
equipment and services industry had several subsectors where specialty companies had carved
out individual niches. Throughout much of its history, the industry had been highly fragmented.
More recently, however, a handful of companies
ought together a suite of construction and
drilling services to form total-service providers. The largest three of these companies were
Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Halliburton.

The amount of revenue these companies earned depended directly on the amount of money the
oil producers invested in exploration and production. Oil producers generally cut back on capital
investments when demand for oil was weak because of an economic slowdown or when the price
of oil was low from overproduction. OPEC had agreed to an acceptable range of oil prices
etween $22 and $28 per ba
el, with a target price of $25 per ba
el. However, prices had
frequently fallen outside of this range, with low prices causing large losses throughout the oil
industry and high prices leading to sharp increases in investment to expand production capacity.
In 2002, global capital spending on exploration and production was expected to be $100 billion.

1 The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 to regulate the production of
oil in the Middle East. Member nations, who are heavily reliant upon revenues from oil production, decided that
egulation of supply was necessary for price stability and, in turn, stability for their national economies.
Membership has since expanded beyond Middle Eastern nations, and by 2002 included Algeria, Indonesia, Iran,
Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
This document is authorized for use only by Jennifer Robinson in ACCT-6140-1,Cu
ent Trends Acct Standards.2020 Summer Sem 05/04-08/23-PT2 at Laureate Education - Walden University,
Halliburton: Accounting for Cost Ove
uns (A) A-187
p. 3

Halliburton Company was one of the largest oilfield equipment and service companies in the
world. The company was divided into two main divisions: Engineering & Construction and
Energy Services Group. The Engineering & Construction Group provided both onshore and
offshore equipment and technology for oil production. The Energy Services Group provided a
wide range of products and services, including exploration services, contract drilling, drill
systems and drill fluids, well recovery services, logging and data collection, onshore and
offshore production facilities, and planning (Exhibits 1 and 2).

Company History

In 1920, Erle Halliburton founded the Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company to provide well
cementing services. With a reputation for high quality service and the continuous invention and
patenting of new processes, Halliburton’s business steadily expanded, serving clients in the oil-
ich lands of the southern United States. Two trends in the 1930s greatly increased the demand
for oil and oilfield services: automobile production and domestic oil heating. The company also
egan providing drill equipment for barges in offshore oil production. In the 1940s, Halliburton
increased its service offering to include data collection, drill fluids, and various well recovery
services. In the 1950s, the company added more sophisticated logging services and wall
cleaning services. In 1957, Erle Halliburton died, after 28 years as president of the company.

The company’s growth continued after Erle Halliburton’s death. With the purchase of Brown &
Roots in 1962, Halliburton was able to greatly increase its construction business, which became
the company’s growth engine throughout the next two decades. After 1973, the year of the Arab
oil embargo, business for the oil industry as a whole surged as oil producers searched for new
eserves outside the Middle East. By the 1980s, however, the industry had built up excess
production capacity, and construction revenues plunged. To shore up revenues and profits, the
company increased its service offerings by acquiring dozens of specialty service providers.

In 1995, Dick Cheney, former U.S. defense secretary, became CEO. For the first years under
Cheney’s management, revenues and profits increased as oil producers resumed capital
spending. In 1997, Halliburton purchased a major oilfield equipment manufacturer, Dresser
Industries, which led to a near-doubling of Halliburton’s revenues. The next year, the
company’s revenues hit an all-time high of $17.4 billion. In 2000, Cheney resigned as CEO
when he was named vice presidential running mate to George W. Bush.

Halliburton Today

Since 1998, however, the company has faced numerous business challenges. First, after a surge
in oilfield spending by the supermajors in 1996 and 1997, capital investments were greatly
scaled back in the latter part of 1998 following the Asian economic crisis. Halliburton, which
had net income of $454 million in 1997, recorded a loss of $15 million the next year.2 The

2 Cu
ent financial statements for Halliburton that include 1997 results on a historical basis report pro forma net
income of $772 million. This figure includes net income from Dresser as if the two companies had operated
together throughout XXXXXXXXXXPrior to the merger
Answered Same Day Jun 05, 2021


Pallavi answered on Jun 06 2021
133 Votes
A5.1. As long term project takes long time to complete, hence recognising revenue derived from the same source at the time of completion would not reflect true financial position of the company at the end of the each reporting period. Therefore, the company adopted the method of percentage completion method where company conduct detailed study of their respective project along with the associated cost. From this method, the company has recognised their job profit at the end of each reporting period. Such job profit are based on some estimation that a
ived based on various calculations which includes analysis of the total cost for completion of the contract, analysis of the final duration of the project, analysis of the completed part of the project, analysis of any liability associated with such project. The adoption of this method has delivered a good understanding with respect to the prediction of about occu
ence of future events and how would it affect in the financial statements. Further, various personnel have been appointed who is responsible for the continuous valuation of the project with respect to its completed part. Also, the company has considered other factors in the “Forward Looking Information” that can affect the cost and estimated future earnings.
A5.2. The Company was reporting their income through percentage of completion method that calls for AASB 111 which requires revenue to be recognised in multiple steps as soon as they get completed....

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