In May 2014, the IASB and FASB each issued a converged standard for revenue recognition. The standards are effective for reporting periods beginning after 1 January 2017 under IFRS and 15 December 2016 under U.S. GAAP.
Key aspects of the converged accounting standards:
The core principle of the new standard is for companies to recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in amounts that reflect the consideration (that is, payment) to which the company expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services.
Companies under contract to provide goods or services to a customer will be required to follow a five-step process to recognize revenue:
- Identify contract(s) with a customer
- Identify the separate performance obligations in the contract
- Determine the transaction price
- Allocate the transaction price to the separate performance obligations
- Recognize revenue when the entity satisfies each performance obligation
There is new guidance on whether revenue should be recognized at a point in time or over time. The standard provides detailed guidance on various issues such as identifying distinct performance obligations, accounting for contract modifications, and accounting for the time value of money. Detailed implementation guidance is included on topics such as sales with a right of return, customer options for additional goods or services, etc. The standard also introduces new guidance on costs of fulfilling and obtaining a contract and specifying the circumstances in which such costs should be capitalized. Costs that do not meet the criteria must be expensed when incurred.
The standard introduces new, increased requirements for disclosure of revenue in a reporter's financial statements.