Total expenses for the third quarter of 2012 increased 11.5% to $27.0 million, compared to $24.3 million for the third quarter of 2011. This increase was primarily due to higher professional and consulting costs and employee compensation and benefits costs. Professional and consulting fees in the third quarter of 2012 include $0.5 million of Xtrakter acquisition-related costs. Employee compensation and benefits costs for the prior year period reflected a downward adjustment to the year-to-date cash incentive bonus accrual.
The effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2012 was 36.4%, compared to 39.7% for the third quarter of 2011. The decline in the effective tax rate was due principally to a refinement in certain state tax apportionment methodology resulting in a decrease in the 2012 projected tax rate.
Employee headcount as of September 30, 2012 was 235, compared to 234 as of September 30, 2011.
DividendThe Company’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.11 per share of common stock outstanding, to be paid on November 26, 2012 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 12, 2012. Balance Sheet Data As of September 30, 2012, total assets were $304.9 million and included $204.3 million, or $5.44 per diluted share, in cash, cash equivalents and securities available-for-sale. Total stockholders’ equity as of September 30, 2012 was $271.9 million. Guidance for 2012 The Company expects that its full year 2012 expenses and capital spending will be at the high end of the guidance ranges of $107.0 million to $112.0 million and $8.0 million to $11.0 million, respectively. The Company also anticipates that the overall effective tax rate for 2012 will be between 39% and 41%. Non-GAAP Financial Measure EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. The Company believes that this non-GAAP financial measure, when taken into consideration with the corresponding GAAP financial measure, is important in understanding the Company's operating results. See the attached schedule for a full reconciliation of GAAP net income to EBITDA.