Revised Revenue Recognition Proposal Unveiled

BY MATTHEW G. LAMOREAUX
November 14, 2011

FASB on Monday released a revised exposure draft on the financial reporting requirements for recognizing revenue from contracts with customers.

The proposed standard, which was released for public comment jointly with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), makes a number of changes to a joint ED issued in June 2010 (see "Big Changes Proposed for Revenue Recognition").

The boards said in a press release that they “further refined their original proposals” following review of nearly 1,000 comment letters on the 2010 ED and extensive outreach activities.

The revisions to the ED appear to address many of the concerns raised in a December 2010 comment letter (see “AICPA: Revenue Recognition Proposal Impractical,”) by the AICPA’s Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinREC) that also urged to boards to re-expose and redeliberate the proposals.

The boards said they decided to re-expose the proposals because of the “importance of the financial reporting of revenue to all entities and the boards’ desire to avoid unintended consequences arising from the final standard.”

“The core principle of this revised proposed standard is the same as that of the 2010 exposure draft: that an entity would recognize revenue from contracts with customers when it transfers promised goods or services to the customer,” the boards said.

But the boards added guidance on how to determine when a good or service is transferred over time; simplified the proposals on warranties; simplified how an entity would determine a transaction price (including collectibility, time value of money and variable consideration); modified the scope of the onerous test to apply to long-term services only; added a practical expedient that permits an entity to recognize as an expense costs of obtaining a contract (if one year or less); and provided exemption from some disclosures for nonpublic entities that apply U.S. GAAP.

The 221-page proposal contains 26 examples of how the revised requirements would work.

If adopted, the proposed standard would replace the guidance on revenue recognition in Topic 605 of the FASB Accounting Standards Codification. In IFRS, it would replace IAS 18 Revenue, IAS 11 Construction Contracts and related Interpretations.

Comments are due by March 13 and can be submitted at www.fasb.org or www.iasb.org. More information, including a FASB podcasts and an IASB “Snapshot,” which is a high level summary of the proposal, are available on the respective websites.

--Matthew G. Lamoreaux ( matt@mattlamoreaux.com ) is a freelance writer.

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