|WNS (HOLDINGS) LTD filed this Form 20-F on 05/16/2018|
In addition, the long sales cycle for our services, which typically ranges from three to 12 months, and the internal budget and approval processes of our prospective clients make it difficult to predict the timing of new client engagements. Commencement of work and ramping up of volume of work with certain new and existing clients have in the past been slower than we had expected and may in the future be slower than we expect. Revenue is recognized upon actual provision of services and when the criteria for recognition are achieved. Accordingly, the financial benefit of gaining a new client may be delayed due to delays in the implementation of our services. These factors may make it difficult for us to prepare accurate internal financial forecasts or replace anticipated revenue that we do not receive as a result of those delays. Due to the above factors, it is possible that in some future quarters our operating results may be significantly below the expectations of the public market, analysts and investors.
If our pricing structures do not accurately anticipate the cost and complexity of performing our work, our profitability may be negatively affected.
The terms of our client contracts typically range from three to five years. In many of our contracts, we commit to long-term pricing with our clients, and we negotiate pricing terms with our clients utilizing a range of pricing structures and conditions. Depending on the particular contract, these include input-based pricing (such as full-time equivalent-based pricing arrangements), fixed-price arrangements, output-based pricing (such as transaction-based pricing), outcome-based pricing, and contracts with features of all these pricing models. Our pricing is highly dependent on our internal forecasts and predictions about our projects and the marketplace, which are largely based on limited data and could turn out to be inaccurate. If we do not accurately estimate the costs and timing for completing projects, our contracts could prove unprofitable for us or yield lower profit margins than anticipated. Some of our client contracts do not allow us to terminate the contracts except in the case of non-payment by our client. If any contract turns out to be economically non-viable for us, we may still be liable to continue to provide services under the contract.
We intend to focus on increasing our service offerings that are based on non-linear pricing models (such as fixed-price and outcome-based pricing models) that allow us to price our services based on the value we deliver to our clients rather than the headcount deployed to deliver the services to them. Non-linear revenues may be subject to short term pressure on margins as initiatives in developing the products and services take time to deliver. The risk of entering into non-linear pricing arrangements is that if we fail to properly estimate the appropriate pricing for a project, we may incur lower profits or losses as a result of being unable to execute projects with the amount of labor we expected or at a margin sufficient to recover our initial investments in our solutions. While non-linear pricing models are expected to result in higher revenue productivity per employee and improved margins, they also mean that we continue to bear the risk of cost overruns, wage inflation, fluctuations in currency exchange rates and failure to achieve clients business objectives in connection with these projects.
Our profit margin, and therefore our profitability, is largely a function of our asset utilization and the rates we are able to recover for our services. An important component of our asset utilization is our seat utilization rate, which is the average number of work shifts per day, out of a maximum of three, for which we are able to utilize our work stations, or seats. During fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, we incurred significant expenditures to increase our number of seats by establishing additional delivery centers or expanding production capacities in our existing delivery centers. If we are not able to maintain the pricing for our services or an appropriate seat utilization rate, without corresponding cost reductions, our profitability will suffer. The rates we are able to recover for our services are affected by a number of factors, including our clients perceptions of our ability to add value through our services, competition, introduction of new services or products by us or our competitors, our ability to accurately estimate, attain and sustain revenue from client contracts, margins and cash flows over increasingly longer contract periods and general economic and political conditions. Our profitability is also a function of our ability to control our costs and improve our efficiency. As we increase the number of our employees and execute our strategies for growth, we may not be able to manage the significantly larger and more geographically diverse workforce that may result, which could adversely affect our ability to control our costs or improve our efficiency. Further, because there is no certainty that our business will ramp-up at the rate that we anticipate, we may incur expenses for the increased capacity for a significant period of time without a corresponding growth in our revenue. Commencement of work and ramping up of volume of work with certain new and existing clients have in the past been slower than we had expected and may in the future be slower than we expect. If our revenue does not grow at our expected rate, we may not be able to maintain or improve our profitability.