Autodesk completes investigation, won’t restate financials

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Dive Brief:

  • Autodesk, the San Francisco-based contech giant, has completed the investigation of its financials and won’t need to restate any of its GAAP or non-GAAP numbers, the firm announced on May 31.
  • The investigation revolved around fiscal years 2022, 2023 and 2024, per the release. In 2022, the company decided to switch from billing customers upfront for multi-year contracts to billing them annually. In 2023, however, the company reverted to pursuing multi-year, upfront contracts with enterprise clients to meet that year’s free cash flow goals, according to its release.
  • The voluntary, internal review was triggered after management received unspecified information following the release of its earnings report in February. In the same May 31 news release announcing the outcome of its investigation, the firm said it was moving CFO Deborah Clifford to the position of chief strategy officer.  

Dive Insight:

Clifford’s new responsibilities will include corporate development, new vertical businesses that are outside Autodesk’s existing product groups and the company’s social impact and sustainability efforts, per the release.

The board of directors tapped Elizabeth Rafael as interim CFO, per the release. She also remains a director at the company. 

The firm, which is one of three publicly traded vanguards in the contech industry, on April 1 abruptly announced in a Securities and Exchange Commision filing that it planned to delay its annual financial report in order to conduct its investigation.

Other than the conclusion that it won’t restate its numbers, Autodesk said that the switch back to upfront billings in 2023 helped it meet its free cash flow target. It also said that during that period, the firm made decisions about discretionary spending, collections and accounts payable with their impact on free cash flow.     

“We appreciate your patience as we work through this important process. We take situations like this very seriously and are grateful to put the investigation behind us,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk’s CEO, in the release.

The disclosure of the investigation came as observers of the contech sector said big, established players in the field were hitting an adoption ceiling with customers, even as smaller startups were swimming in investment cash. 

The investigative committee proposed certain remedial measures at Autodesk, including:

  • Reviewing certain processes around financial communications and disclosures.
  • Assessing certain company organizational functions and responsibilities. 
  • Adopting and enhancing policies and processes related to the matters investigated. 

The company is working with the SEC to release its 10-K financial report and schedule an earnings call as soon as it can, per its release. It also released preliminary results for its fiscal first quarter in 2025, which ended April 30, reporting $1.42 billion in revenue.

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