If you’re an accountant and you see a company’s name in the same sentence as “accounting irregularities”, “alleged cooking of the books”, or “SEC investigation”, your likely advice to any person would be to run away from said company like it was a band of lepers.
This is just conventional wisdom, nothing ground breaking. However, since Huron Consulting reported big second quarter numbers, the stock price is up more than 30%.
Now some of this is short sellers getting burned but according to one analyst quoted by Reuters, some investors may be going long because of “confidence in the underlying business”.
We’re not too crazy about the “underlying business” for a lot of reasons:
1. The Company said in a filing that they are likely going to take a goodwill impairment charge that will put it in noncompliance with a financial covenant of its credit agreement.
2. It’s worried about “‘reputational issues’ that may affect the company’s ability to retain its senior managers and attract new talent and new business”.
3. Can’t predict the outcome of the SEC investigations or private lawsuits (P. Dubya take note).
4. They warned that their current numbers may not be legit since the new management has no idea what the hell else is out there in the way of
kickbacks payments made to Huron Management, questionable allocated billable hours (but don’t worry, this won’t affect client billings) or anything else for that matter that may call for another restatement of its results.
5. The whole Arthur Andersen connection creeps people out.
Far be it from us to speculate on a company’s future but this place seems doomed. We might just listen to tomorrow’s earnings call to see if there’s anything worth mentioning but in the meantime, put your money in…WTFK?
Huron Consulting fights to stay alive [Greg Burns/Chicago Tribune]