Implementing the new revenue recognition standard is a major challenge that many of us face between now and January 1, 2018 (or whatever fiscal year you have that begins after that date of course.) Many professionals are happy to be close to retirement at this point in time!
With the magnitude of the change in this new standard, including the significantly expanded disclosures which apply to everyone, when is the appropriate time to begin implementation efforts? This is a very complex question. There are still some moving parts as the FASB and IASB continue to make changes to the final standard. The new standard can have varying impacts across companies depending on such issues as complexity of contracts, how product is delivered, do you have software licenses, and principal versus agent issues, to name a few. While the TRG has addressed many issues, there are only a few left to be resolved. While this may seem to be a good sign, the SEC staff has stated concerns that there are not more issues being raised, attributing the low number as a sign that perhaps implementation initiatives are not far enough along or are not being elevated to the TRG (see the September 17th speech by Wesley Bricker, Deputy Chief Accountant in the SEC’s Office of Chief Accountant at: http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/wesley-bricker-remarks-bloomberg-bna-conf-revenue-recognition.html)
There is much discussion about when to begin implementation discussions. To date there has not been much hard data about what companies are actually doing. The Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), which is an affiliate of FEI, and PwC have teamed up to survey companies about this issue.
As nearly as we can tell, this is the first really good data about where companies are in the implementation process. You can find the study at:
The survey deals with a number of issues surrounding the impact and implementation of the new standard. It is a good read, and worth spending some time digesting. Here are a couple of things to ponder while you read.
- Do you have a reasonable understanding of how the new standard will affect your accounting and disclosure?
- What resources will you need in this effort?
- What level of organizational involvement across functional areas will be necessary (e.g., sales, legal, etc.)?
As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome!
Over the last two months we have done a series of blog posts about audit committee oversight and disclosure issues. One of the major topics under discussion within, among and about audit committees is what information should they disclose about their oversight of the audit, financial reporting and ICFR processes. Most observers agree that effective audit committee oversight is critical to success in these areas. And, many also believe that more information about how individual audit committees exercise this oversight will be valuable to investors and other stakeholders.
In our post on October 30 we reviewed the SEC’s Concept Release discussing possible incremental disclosures about this oversight. You can review it here:
Out in the real world it turns out that many companies are voluntarily making disclosures beyond those currently required by the SEC. On November 3, 2015 the Center for Audit Quality and Audit Analytics released their second “Audit Committee Transparency Barometer”. This “Barometer” is a survey of actual audit committee disclosures. Interestingly, this report shows that many companies are voluntarily going beyond required audit committee disclosures.
If you are not familiar with the CAQ you can read about it in our June 16, 2015 post at:
The press release about this second “Barometer” report and a link to the full report are at:
It makes for very interesting reading and provides valuable information in the search for “best practices” for audit committee disclosures. The report focuses on audit committee disclosures about external auditor oversight for companies in the S&P Composite 1500. As you read it you will see many companies voluntarily disclose information about topics ranging from issues considered in recommending the audit firm for appointment/reappointment to the audit committees role in selecting the engagement partner.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!
As we all wait with baited breath for news from Norwalk as the FASB staff completes drafting the final version of the new standard on Lease Accounting, the IASB has announced that they have formally finished their project. In their project summary the IASB now states:
“The IASB has completed its decision making for the Leases project. The new Leases Standard will be effective from 1 January 2019. The IASB plans to issue the new Leases Standard before the end of 2015.”
You can find the project summary at:
- If the link above does not work for you, paste it into your browser.