C3.ai (AI) Inventory Sinks as Kerrisdale Capital Highlights Accounting Considerations

C3.ai (AI) Inventory Sinks as Kerrisdale Capital Highlights Accounting Considerations
C3.ai (AI) Inventory Sinks as Kerrisdale Capital Highlights Accounting Considerations

Supply: shutterstock.com/YAKOBCHUK V

Shares of C3.ai (NYSE:AI) inventory are plunging decrease by greater than 20% after brief vendor Kerrisdale Capital penned a letter to C3.ai’s audit committee; Deloitte, the corporate’s auditor; and the Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC). Within the letter, Kerrisdale Chief Funding Officer (CIO) Sahm Adrangi factors out a number of accounting points on the synthetic intelligence (AI) firm.

“In our opinion, C3.ai has utilized extremely aggressive accounting to inflate its revenue assertion metrics so as to meet sell-side analyst estimates for income and sure revenue metrics, and to hide important deterioration in its underlying operations,” defined Adrangi.

The accounting issues famous by Adrangi embrace misclassifying subscription income, prices of income and “extremely conspicuous development in unbilled receivables.” Let’s get into the small print.

AI Inventory Stumbles on Kerrisdale Letter

First, Adrangi notes that C3.ai’s whole accounts receivable has greater than doubled over the previous 12 months, whereas quarterly income has declined. This has resulted in a cumulative money circulate entry of unfavourable $76 million resulting from adjustments in accounts receivable. In the meantime, days gross sales excellent (DSO) has risen to 197 days, “a degree exceptional amongst software program firms.”

Adrangi believes that rising receivables is attributed to rising unbilled receivables. Within the quarters previous to April 2022, unbilled receivables have been all the time lower than $10 million. In the latest quarter, the determine has reached $88 million, primarily resulting from one buyer: Baker Hughes (NASDAQ:BKR). Baker accounts for 91% of whole unbilled receivables.

“Thus, unbilled receivables from Baker Hughes have elevated 5x since being first reported, but precise income is rising at a low single digit price?” questioned Adrangi.

Alleged Crimson Flags at C3.ai

Adrangi additionally questions the accounting techniques used within the association with C3.ai and Baker. The subscription income that Baker pays C3.ai is being acknowledged at an over 99% gross margin, which the brief vendor alleges is inflated. Adrangi believes that that is carried out to make it appear as if C3.ai is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm as an alternative of a services-intensive consulting enterprise. SaaS firms are typically rewarded a better income a number of resulting from recurring subscription income.

Lastly, Adrangi states that C3.ai has cycled by means of 4 chief monetary officers (CFOs) previously 4 years, which must be a “clear pink flag” for Deloitte.

“Deloitte doesn’t have to rubber stamp fraudulent accounting. Both require the corporate to come back clear in its upcoming audit or resign and let C3.ai administration sully the repute of a lesser audit agency,” concluded Adrangi.

On the date of publication, Eddie Pan didn’t maintain (both instantly or not directly) any positions within the securities talked about on this article. The opinions expressed on this article are these of the author, topic to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Pointers. 

Eddie Pan makes a speciality of institutional investments and insider exercise. He writes for InvestorPlace’s At the moment’s Market crew, which facilities on the newest information involving fashionable shares.