SEC Updates Revenue Recognition Guidance – We Knew It Was Coming!

By: George M. Wilson & Carol A. Stacey

More than a quarter in advance of the effective date of the FASB’s new revenue recognition guidance the SEC has made necessary changes in their own revenue recognition guidance. As you can read here, the Commission and Staff have addressed three areas:


  1. SAB Topic 13 and other Staff revenue recognition guidance
  2. Bill-and-hold guidance
  3. Vaccines for Government Stockpiles


SAB 116 rescinds SAB Topic 13, which contained much of the Staff’s legacy GAAP revenue recognition guidance. In addition, SAB Topic 8, Retail Companies, and Section A, Operating-Differential Subsidies of SAB Topic 11, Miscellaneous Disclosure, have been updated to conform with the new FASB revenue recognition model.


To update bill-and-hold guidance, this Commission Release rescinds existing bill-and-hold guidance, which interestingly was from an Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release (AAER No. 108, In the Matter of Stewart Parness). Upon adoption of ASC 606 companies will instead use the guidance in ASC 606-10-55 paragraphs 81 to 84.

The third update relates to vaccines sold into government stockpiles under the Vaccines for Children Program or the Strategic National Stockpile. The new guidance replaces a 2005 release and continues the practice of recognizing revenue at the time a vaccine is placed in a stockpile program. In this release the commission states that in such arrangements revenue should be recognized at the time of the transfer of the vaccine to the stockpile because the customer will have obtained control of the vaccine and the criteria for revenue recognition under the new bill-and-hold guidance will be met.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

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