Tag Archives: Accountant

SEC Reporting and FASB Updates Specific to Small and Mid-Sized Companies Take Center Stage

The Financial Reporting Regulatory landscape is chock full of recent updates and new regulations, chief among them is the new FASB Revenue Recognition Standard and revised Lease Accounting. Most surveys agree that filers are well behind schedule in implementing the changes needed to comply. Practitioners at small and mid-sized companies will receive the essential information and advice needed to get up to speed by attending SEC Reporting & FASB Forum live program September 14-15 in Las Vegas.

http://www.pli.edu/Content/13th_Annual_SEC_Reporting_FASB_Forum_for/_/N-1z10lptZ4k?ID=298604

 

Projects, Pronouncements and Developments Affecting Your SEC Reporting

How do the latest SEC, EITF, PCAOB and FASB updates affect your reporting? Attend FASB, SEC and PCAOB Update for SEC Reporting Professionals Workshop being held August 23rd in Grapevine, Tx. Get up to date in-depth information on all the latest developments and practical tips on applying existing financial reporting requirements, including pushdown accounting, debt issuance costs and commitment fees, discontinued operations and dispositions, segment reporting and goodwill impairment.

http://www.pli.edu/Content/FASB_SEC_and_PCAOB_Update_for_SEC_Reporting/_/N-1z10odqZ4k?ID=290526

Rev Rec Trail Blazers? We Can Learn Together!

By: George M. Wilson & Carol A. Stacey

What do United Health Group, Alphabet, and Ford have in common? What if we also included Raytheon? That’s right, all these companies have early adopted the FASB’s new revenue recognition standard! Microsoft and Workday have also indicated that they plan to early adopt. Microsoft has indicated they will adopt as of July 1, 2017 and file their first 10-Q under the new method for the quarter-ended September 30, 2017. Workday has said that they will early adopt as of February 1, 2017 and hence their first 10-Q under the new method will be for the quarter-ended April 30, 2017, which should be filed soon. Here is a summary of some of the early adopters:

 

Early adopters who have filed with ASU 2014-09:

Alphabet                                        January 1, 2017           Modified Retrospective

Ford                                                 January 1, 2017           Modified Retrospective

United Health Group               January 1, 2017            Modified Retrospective

First Solar                                     January 1, 2017            Full Retrospective

General Dynamics                     January 1, 2017            Full Retrospective

Raytheon                                     January 1, 2017            Full Retrospective

 

Planned adoptions – no filing yet:

Workday                                  February 1, 2017         Full Retrospective

Microsoft                                July 1, 2017                 Full Retrospective

 

(If you know of any other companies that have early adopted it would be great if you could mention them in a comment on this post or email Carol or George – Thanks!)

 

As is always the case with a major new standard, it is helpful to learn from the experience of folks who have gone past the frontier to the leading, and hopefully not the bleeding, edge! Here are a few highlights and links to Form 10-Q’s with the new standard adopted.

 

From Alphabet’s Form 10-Q for the first quarter of 2017:

 

In May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-09 (Topic 606) “Revenue from Contracts with Customers.” Topic 606 supersedes the revenue recognition requirements in Topic 605 “Revenue Recognition” (Topic 605), and requires entities to recognize revenue when control of the promised goods or services is transferred to customers at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. We adopted Topic 606 as of January 1, 2017 using the modified retrospective transition method. See Note 2 for further details.

 

Alphabet’s disclosures, including how they decided to disaggregate revenues, make for interesting reading!

 

From Fords Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017:

 

On January 1, 2017, we adopted the new accounting standard ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers and all the related amendments (“new revenue standard”) to all contracts using the modified retrospective method. We recognized the cumulative effect of initially applying the new revenue standard as an adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings. The comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under the accounting standards in effect for those periods. We expect the impact of the adoption of the new standard to be immaterial to our net income on an ongoing basis.

 

You can read about the impact of the change on revenues and review Fords Note 3 – Revenue to see how they decided to present the new disclosure for disaggregated revenues.

 

Raytheon, who had previously announced they would early adopt, did so in their Form 10-Q for the First Quarter of 2017, which you can find here.

 

Note 2: Accounting Standards

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), which replaces numerous requirements in U.S. GAAP, including industry-specific requirements, and provides companies with a single revenue recognition model for recognizing revenue from contracts with customers. The core principle of the new standard is that a company should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the company expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. The two permitted transition methods under the new standard are the full retrospective method, in which case the standard would be applied to each prior reporting period presented and the cumulative effect of applying the standard would be recognized at the earliest period shown, or the modified retrospective method, in which case the cumulative effect of applying the standard would be recognized at the date of initial application. In July 2015, the FASB approved the deferral of the new standard’s effective date by one year. The new standard is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017. The FASB permits companies to adopt the new standard early, but not before the original effective date of annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016. Effective January 1, 2017, we elected to early adopt the requirements of Topic 606 using the full retrospective method.

 

Raytheon’s disclosures for the full retrospective adoption, and the volume of their disclosures overall because of their government contracting business, are great reading for anyone facing similar issues.

 

From United Health Groups Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017:

 

In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)” as modified by subsequently issued ASUs 2015-14, 2016-08, 2016-10, 2016-12 and 2016-20 (collectively
ASU 2014-09). ASU 2014-09 superseded existing revenue recognition standards with a single model unless those contracts are within the scope of other standards (e.g., an insurance entity’s insurance contracts). The revenue recognition principle in ASU 2014-09 is that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services.

 

The Company early adopted the new standard effective January 1, 2017, as allowed, using the modified retrospective approach. A significant majority of the Company’s revenues are not subject to the new guidance. The adoption of ASU 2014-09 did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial position, results of operations, equity or cash flows as of the adoption date or for the three months ended March 31, 2017. The Company has included the disclosures required by ASU 2014-09 above.

 

General Dynamics early adopted with the full retrospective method. From their Form 10-Q for quarter one 2017:

 

The majority of our revenue is derived from long-term contracts and programs that can span several years. We account for revenue in accordance with ASC Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, which we adopted on January 1, 2017, using the retrospective method. See Note Q for further discussion of the adoption, including the impact on our 2016 financial statements.

 

 

First Solar also early adopted and used the full retrospective transition method. Here is an excerpt from their Form 10-Q for quarter one of 2017:

 

 

In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), to clarify the principles of recognizing revenue and create common revenue recognition guidance between U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards. Under ASU 2014-09, revenue is recognized when a customer obtains control of promised goods or services and is recognized at an amount that reflects the consideration expected to be received in exchange for such goods or services. In addition, ASU 2014-09 requires disclosure of the nature, amount, timing, and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers.

 

We adopted ASU 2014-09 in the first quarter of 2017 using the full retrospective method. This adoption primarily affected our systems business sales arrangements previously accounted for under ASC 360-20, which had required us to evaluate whether such arrangements had any forms of continuing involvement that may have affected the revenue or profit recognition of the transactions, including arrangements with prohibited forms of continuing involvement. When such forms of continuing involvement were present, we reduced the potential profit on the applicable project sale by our maximum exposure to loss.

 

Microsoft and Workday will also be filing with the new standard this year, so watch for their first 10-Q’s this year. Here is Microsoft’s SAB 74 disclosure (not included here is the section in which they say it is their intent to also early adopt the new lease standard as of July 1, 2017), followed by Workday’s SAB 74 disclosure for revenue recognition.

 

Microsoft:

Revenue from Contracts with Customers

In May 2014, the FASB issued a new standard related to revenue recognition. Under the standard, revenue is recognized when a customer obtains control of promised goods or services in an amount that reflects the consideration the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. In addition, the standard requires disclosure of the nature, amount, timing, and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers.

 

The guidance permits two methods of adoption: retrospectively to each prior reporting period presented (full retrospective method), or retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying the guidance recognized at the date of initial application (modified retrospective method). We plan to adopt the standard using the full retrospective method to restate each prior reporting period presented.

 

The standard will be effective for us beginning July 1, 2018, with early adoption permitted as of the original effective date of July 1, 2017. We plan to adopt the standard effective July 1, 2017. While our ability to early adopt using the full retrospective method depends on system readiness, including software procured from third-party providers, and completing our analysis of information necessary to restate prior period consolidated financial statements, we remain on schedule and have implemented key system functionality to enable the preparation of restated financial information.

 

We have reached conclusions on key accounting assessments related to the standard. However, we are finalizing our assessment and quantifying the impacts related to accounting for costs incurred to obtain a contract based on guidance issued by the FASB Transition Resource Group as part of their November 2016 meeting. We will continue to monitor and assess the impact of any changes to the standard and interpretations as they become available.

 

The most significant impact of the standard relates to our accounting for software license revenue. Specifically, under the standard we expect to recognize Windows 10 revenue predominantly at the time of billing rather than ratably over the life of the related device. We expect to recognize license revenue at the time of contract execution rather than over the subscription period from certain multi-year commercial software subscriptions that include both software licenses and Software Assurance. Due to the complexity of certain of our commercial license subscription contracts, the actual revenue recognition treatment required under the standard will depend on contract-specific terms and in some instances may vary from recognition at the time of billing.

 

We expect revenue recognition related to our hardware, cloud offerings including Office 365, LinkedIn, and professional services to remain substantially unchanged.

We are nearing completion of retrospectively adjusting financial information for fiscal year 2016 and are progressing as planned for fiscal year 2017. We estimate our revenue would have been approximately $6 billion higher in fiscal year 2016 under the standard primarily due to the net change in Windows 10 revenue recognition.

 

 

Workday:

 

We have closely assessed the new standard and monitored FASB activity, including the interpretations by the FASB Transition Resource Group for Revenue Recognition, throughout fiscal 2017. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, we finalized our assessment of the new standard, including completing our contract reviews and our evaluation of the incremental costs of obtaining a contract. Based on our assessment, we decided to early adopt the requirements of the new standard in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, utilizing the full retrospective method of transition.

 

The impact of adopting the new standard on our fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2016 revenues is not material. The primary impact of adopting the new standard relates to the deferral of incremental commission costs of obtaining subscription contracts. Under Topic 605, we deferred only direct and incremental commission costs to obtain a contract and amortized those costs over the term of the related subscription contract, which was generally three years. Under the new standard, we defer all incremental commission costs to obtain the contract. We amortize these costs over a period of benefit that we have determined to be five years.

 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome! And if you hear of or know of any other early adopters please put that in a comment to this post, or email George or Carol

Keeping Up With FINRA

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and how this Self-Regulatory Organization affects us are less well known aspects of being a public company.   Perhaps you have seen a “FINRA list”, the list of people who have bought and sold your stock in the period surrounding a major change in your stock price. This is one of the tools that regulators use to search for insider trading. Or maybe you have read about how FINRA’s fines for broker/dealers are on a pace to set new records.

One way or another, we should all know about FINRA. You can find out a lot about them on their web page. Here is how FINRA describes their mission in the “About” section of their web page:

“FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry.

FINRA is not part of the government. We’re an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.

We do this by:

writing and enforcing rules governing the activities of 3,895 securities firms with 641,761 brokers;

examining firms for compliance with those rules;

fostering market transparency; and

educating investors.”

Our independent regulation plays a critical role in America’s financial system—by enforcing high ethical standards, bringing the necessary resources and expertise to regulation and enhancing investor safeguards and market integrity—all at no cost to taxpayers.

FINRA’s role does go beyond broker/dealers. They also say:

FINRA uses technology powerful enough to look across markets and detect potential abuses. Using a variety of data gathering techniques, we work to detect insider trading and any strategies firms or individuals use to gain an unfair advantage.

In fact, FINRA processes, on average, 50 billion—and up to 75 billion—transactions every day to build a complete, holistic picture of market trading in the United States.

We also work behind the scenes to detect and fight fraud. In addition to our own enforcement actions, in 2015, we referred more than 800 fraud and insider trading cases to the SEC and other agencies. When we share information with other regulators, it leads to important actions that prevent further harm to investors.”

With this level of referrals, they are clearly a proactive watchdog of the markets! We all need to know who they are and what they do.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

 

Form 10-K Tip Eight – Conflict Minerals and Form SD Disclosure

 

In our One-Hour Briefing presenting our thoughts on key issues for 2016 Form 10-K’s we discussed Conflict Mineral Reporting. Companies need to continue to refine their reporting processes as they gain experience with the rule and also watch for developments in the continuing legal challenges to the rule.

 

The short and sweet news here is that not a lot has changed since last year. That said, since this is a calendar year reporting requirement for all companies with a May 31 due date, there is time for change to occur before the due date.

 

One are that is not different is that because of the April 2014 court decision, issuers are still not required to report whether any of their products have “not been found to be DRC conflict free”.  You can review the SEC Order for the Partial Stay of the rule at:

www.sec.gov/rules/other/2014/34-72079.pdf

 

 

Corp Fin issued a Statement about the Court of Appeals decision which is at:

www.sec.gov/News/PublicStmt/Detail/PublicStmt/1370541681994

 

 

And there are SEC FAQ’s available at:

www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/guidance/conflictminerals-faq.htm

 

The FAQ’s do provide some process guidance, but the bottom line is that this area is still evolving.

 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

 

 

 

PS You can review the Form 10-K Tune-up Briefing and obtain CLE and CPE credit at:

www.pli.edu/Content/OnDemand/Second_Annual_Form_10_K_Tune_Up/_/N-4nZ1z116ku?fromsearch=false&ID=278540

 

Form 10-K Tune-Up Tip Number Five for 2016

The next topic from our 2016 Form 10-K Tune-up One-Hour Briefing is SAB 74 disclosures. You can listen to the briefing on-demand with CPE and CLE credit available at:

www.pli.edu/Content/OnDemand/Second_Annual_Form_10_K_Tune_Up/_/N-4nZ1z116ku?fromsearch=false&ID=278540

 
To begin, what does SAB 74, which is Topic 11-M in the SAB Codification, actually require? You can read the whole SAB at:

www.sec.gov/interps/account/sabcodet11.htm#M

 
Here are a few highlights.

First, it is clear that this disclosure is not required for all new Accounting Standards Updates:
“The Commission addressed a similar issue and concluded that registrants should discuss the potential effects of adoption of recently issued accounting standards in registration statements and reports filed with the Commission. The staff believes that this disclosure guidance applies to all accounting standards which have been issued but not yet adopted by the registrant unless the impact on its financial position and results of operations is not expected to be material.”
This part of the SAB dovetails very nicely with an important part of the SEC’s Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, which is to eliminate immaterial disclosures that potentially “clutter up” a report and potentially obscure material information.
Here are two examples to explore this issue.

CocaCola did not mention recently issued accounting standards in their 2014 Form 10-K MD&A. They apparently made the judgment that there was no material impact in the current year from new accounting standards. They did include SAB 74 disclosures in their financial statements in note 1. You can check it out at:
www.coca-colacompany.com/content/dam/journey/us/en/private/fileassets/pdf/2015/02/2014-annual-report-on-form-10-k.pdf

 
Intel treated this disclosure in exactly the same way, and you can find their 2014 10-K at:
www.intc.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=50863-15-15

 
So, the first theme for SAB 74 is focus on material information.

 

 

The second point to think about with this disclosure is what do we need to say about new standards that we believe will be material.

The SAB contains four disclosure requirements:

 
1. “A brief description of the new standard, the date that adoption is required and the date that the registrant plans to adopt, if earlier.

 
2. A discussion of the methods of adoption allowed by the standard and the method expected to be utilized by the registrant, if determined.

 
3. A discussion of the impact that adoption of the standard is expected to have on the financial statements of the registrant, unless not known or reasonably estimable. In that case, a statement to that effect may be made.

 
4. Disclosure of the potential impact of other significant matters that the registrant believes might result from the adoption of the standard (such as technical violations of debt covenant agreements, planned or intended changes in business practices, etc.) is encouraged.”

 

 

As you consider these disclosures, the first thing that arises is that over time there will be a progression in the detail of the disclosure.

For example, most companies at this point in time will not know which method they will use to implement the new revenue recognition standard. But, as we go through next year, we will get closer to that decision. When the decision is made, the disclosure should be updated to inform investors about which method will be used. The same issue applies to quantifying the impact of a change.

 
The fourth disclosure, the potential impact on other significant matters, points out that when such a situation exists, this information may not be appropriate to disclose in the financial statements, but would be disclosed in MD&A.

This means that this disclosure should not always be exactly the same in the financial statements and MD&A.
As a brief PS, we have blogged about this topic before and suggested some wording for SAB 74 disclosures about the new revenue recognition standard. You can read that post at:
seciblog.pli.edu/?p=171

 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

10-K Tip Number Four for 2016 – COSO and ICFR

This is the fourth of our deeper dives in the topics we discussed in our Second Annual Form 10-K Tune-up One-hour Briefing on January 7. (This One-Hour Briefing will be available on-demand soon.)

The topics for this post are:

The COSO framework, and

Internal Control Over Financial Reporting.
COSO

The easier of these two topics to discuss, although it presents some very gray issues, is the 2013 revision of the COSO framework. If you have not yet adopted the updated framework, what are the implications in your SEC reporting?

The SEC has not made any bright-line statements or mandates about this transition. And, in fact, many companies have not yet adopted the framework.

In December of 2013, Paul Beswick, The SEC’s Chief Accountant at that time, said in a speech:

“SEC staff plans to monitor the transition for issuers using the 1992 framework to evaluate whether and if any staff or Commission actions become necessary or appropriate at some point in the future. However, at this time, I’ll simply refer users of the COSO framework to the statements COSO has made about their new framework and their thoughts about transition.”

In addition to this cautionary language, the SEC Staff also discussed this issue at a meeting of the Center For Audit Quality’s SEC Regulations Committee. Here is that section of the minutes:

Ms. Shah stated that the staff is currently referring users of the COSO 1992 framework to the following statements made on the COSO web site:

“COSO believes that users should transition their applications and related documentation to the updated Framework as soon as is feasible under their particular circumstances. As previously announced, COSO will continue to make available its original Framework during the transition period extending to December 15, 2014, after which time COSO will consider it as superseded by the 2013 edition. During the transition period (May 14, 2013 to December 15, 2014) the COSO Board believes that organizations reporting externally should clearly disclose whether the original Framework or the updated Framework was utilized.”

Exchange Act Rule 13a-15(c) requires management’s evaluation of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting to be based on a framework that is “a suitable, recognized control framework that is established by a body or group that has followed due-process procedures…” In Release 33-8328, the SEC stated that ” [t]he COSO Framework satisfies our criteria and may be used as an evaluation framework for purposes of management’s annual internal control evaluation and disclosure requirements.”

The staff indicated that the longer issuers continue to use the 1992 framework, the more likely they are to receive questions from the staff about whether the issuer’s use of the 1992 framework satisfies the SEC’s requirement to use a suitable, recognized framework (particularly after December 15, 2014 when COSO will consider the 1992 framework to have been superseded by the 2013 framework).

Clearly there is no hard and fast rule about when to transition, but if a company were to use the old framework much longer, questions about the suitability of the old framework increase in importance. Issues such as what kinds of problems that the new framework might identify that the old framework could miss, (where are there gaps in other words) would need to be addressed.

As a last note, this blog post from the WSJ reports that 73% of 10-K filers for 2014 adopted the new framework:

blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2015/04/29/the-morning-risk-report-companies-adopting-updated-coso-framework-newsletter-draft/
ICFR

Since its inception the SOX 404 processes used to assess the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting by management and external auditors have been evolving. In the last few years there have been a number of developments and companies, auditors and regulators have all been raising questions about the process. Some observers have even called this period a “perfect storm” of ICFR evaluation issues.

So, what is behind the perfect storm? Here are a few of the underlying sources of this ongoing issue.
The SEC has asked some challenging questions, including “Where are all the material weaknesses?” In this speech, Deputy Chief Accountant Brian Croteau addresses for the second year in a row how most restatements are not preceded by a material weakness disclosure, raising the question about whether managements’ assessments and external audits are appropriately identifying material weaknesses:

www.sec.gov/News/Speech/Detail/Speech/1370543616539

The PCAOB in their inspection reports have found what they believe to be a significant number of issues in ICFR audits. In the Overall Findings section of their first report on ICFR inspections the Board reported:

In 46 of the 309 integrated audit engagements (15 percent) that were inspected in 2010, Inspections staff found that the firm, at the time it issued its audit report, had failed to obtain sufficient audit evidence to support its audit opinion on the effectiveness of internal control due to one or more deficiencies identified by the Inspections staff. In 39 of those 46 engagements (85 percent) where the firm did not have sufficient evidence to support the internal control opinion, representing 13 percent of the 309 integrated audit engagements that were inspected, the firm also failed to obtain sufficient audit evidence to support the financial statement audit opinion.

Since this report the PCAOB has summarized issues they have found in ICFR audits in other documents, including Staff Audit Practice Alert No. 11: Considerations for Audits of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. You can find the alert at:
pcaobus.org/Standards/QandA/10-24-2013_SAPA_11.pdf
The issues addressed in the Alert are very similar to those addressed in the summary inspection report and include:

Risk assessment and the audit of internal control

Selecting controls to test

Testing management review controls

Information technology (“IT”) considerations, including system- generated data and reports

Roll-forward of controls tested at an interim date

Using the work of others

Evaluating identified control deficiencies
In particular, testing management review controls and relying on system-generated data have been common and particularly difficult challenges to deal with in the ICFR process. This combination of challenging areas to deal with and questions about identifying and reporting all material weaknesses in ICFR will likely continue to make this a difficult area in future years.

 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

 

The whole briefing is now available on-demand with CPE and CLE credit at:

www.pli.edu/Content/OnDemand/Second_Annual_Form_10_K_Tune_Up/_/N-4nZ1z116ku?fromsearch=false&ID=278540

 

10-K Tip Number One for 2016

Happy New Year from all of us at the SEC Institute Division at PLI! We hope your new year is beginning well and if you are working on closing year-end December 31, 2015 that all is proceeding smoothly.

Last week, on January 7, 2016, Carol and George (that being us of course, the bloggers you are reading now!) presented a One-Hour Briefing, “PLI’s Second Annual Form 10-K Tune-up”. In the briefing we discussed three broad groups of issues to think about this year-end. These were New and Emerging Issues, Recurring Issues, and SEC Staff Focus Areas. Here is the complete list of the topics we discussed in the One-Hour Briefing:

  • New and Emerging Issues
    • Customer accounting for fees paid for cloud computing arrangements
    • PCAOB AS 18 Related Parties – impacts both auditors & registrants
    • PCAOB AS 17 Auditing Supplemental Info Accompanying Audited F/S
    • Audit Committee disclosure
    • ICFR and COSO
  • Recurring Issues
    • SAB 74 disclosures for Revenue Recognition and others
    • Disclosure effectiveness
    • Cybersecurity
    • Conflict minerals & Form SD disclosure
  • SEC Staff Focus Areas
    • Segments – focus on ASU 280
    • Statement of Cash Flows
    • Income taxes
    • Fair value
    • Foreign Exchange Rates, Commodity Prices, and Interest Rates

 

You can hear everything we discussed in an On-Demand version of the Briefing that will be available soon.

To augment the Briefing we are writing a series of blog posts to dive more deeply into each of the areas we discussed than the one-hour time limit allowed.

The first issue, customer accounting for fees paid for cloud computing arrangements, relates to ASU 2015-5. This ASU is effective for public business entities for periods beginning after December 15, 2015. For other entities the effective date is one year later.

One of the major issues in this new standard is that costs associated with a contract may be accounted for differently depending on whether the contract involves a software license or is only a service contract.

To get to that issue we need to review the major provisions of the ASU.

This project arose with the increase in the use of “cloud” based computing systems. These generally include “software as a service agreements” (SaaS) and other types of “software hosting” arrangements. There was no clear guidance about how customers should account for such arrangements. As a consequence, it was unclear whether these were software contracts subject to software accounting guidance or simply service contracts or perhaps a hybrid of the two accounting areas.

The ASU puts paragraph 350-40-15-4A into the ASC section dealing with internal use software:

“The guidance in this Subtopic applies only to internal-use software that a customer obtains access to in a hosting arrangement if both of the following criteria are met:

  1. The customer has the contractual right to take possession of the software at any time during the hosting period without significant penalty.
  2. It is feasible for the customer to either run the software on its own hardware or contract with another party unrelated to the vendor to host the software.”

If the above criteria are not met then the contract does not involve a software license and is a service contact.

The key issue here is that if the two criteria are met, then the agreement is treated as a multiple element arrangement and the costs are allocated between the software license and a service element associated with the hosting contract. The costs associated with the software license fall into the guidance for costs related to internal use software, or if appropriate, another software model such as software to be used in research and development.

On the other hand, if there is no software license element, then the contract is treated as any other service contract.

The financial reporting implications of this distinction can affect issues such as balance sheet classification, since a software license would be accounted for as an asset in appropriate circumstances, i.e. if it was paid for in advance. Income statement geography can also be affected as software amortization versus service contract expense could be in different income statement line items. And, it is possible that the amount of costs recognized in each period could be different.

This perhaps more complex issue depends on whether the arrangement includes a software license. If it does include a software license the internal use software guidance applies. The expense recognition part of this guidance is articulated in ASC 350-40-30:

30-1     Costs of computer software developed or obtained for internal use that shall be capitalized include only the following:

  1. External direct costs of materials and services consumed in developing or obtaining internal-use computer software. Examples of those costs include but are not limited to the following:
  2. Fees paid to third parties for services provided to develop the software during the application development stage
  3. Costs incurred to obtain computer software from third parties
  4. Travel expenses incurred by employees in their duties directly associated with developing software.
  5. Payroll and payroll-related costs (for example, costs of employee benefits) for employees who are directly associated with and who devote time to the internal-use computer software project, to the extent of the time spent directly on the project. Examples of employee activities include but are not limited to coding and testing during the application development stage.
  6. Interest costs incurred while developing internal-use computer software. Interest shall be capitalized in accordance with the provisions of Subtopic 835-20.

These costs can even include the costs of data conversion.

For service contracts, there is no such guidance. And here in fact lies the more problematic issue. If a cloud based computing arrangement includes a software license the internal use software guidance for costs may require capitalization of costs that would not be capitalized if the contract is only a service contract. Thus the amount of expense recognized for an arrangement could be different if it has a software license or does not have a software license. If you have this situation, careful analysis is crucial!

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

Audit Committee Evolution – Some Next Steps

Over the last two months we have done a series of posts about the evolution of the role of the audit committee and related disclosures:

Part One – Overview and Some History seciblog.pli.edu/?p=447
Part Two – Independence Oversight seciblog.pli.edu/?p=450
Part Three – Audit Fee Disclosures –A Few Common Problem Areas in This Independence Disclosure  seciblog.pli.edu/?p=456
Part Four – The SEC’s Concept Release seciblog.pli.edu/?p=462
Part Five – Voluntary Disclosures in the News   seciblog.pli.edu/?p=486

 
In this last post in the series we discuss two resources for audit committees:

  1. The PCAOB’s outreach to audit committees, and
  2. Our PLI programs for audit committee members

 

PCAOB Outreach to Audit Committees

Recognizing the importance of audit committee oversight of the audit process, the PCAOB has included information for audit committees on their webpage to help audit committees in their oversight role. They have also begun a regular newsletter, “Audit Committee Dialogue”. The newsletter is on the same webpage, along with a number of other resources.
pcaobus.org/Information/Pages/AuditCommitteeMembers.aspx

 

PLI Programs for Audit Committee Members

And, lastly, here are some of our PLI programs that will help audit committee members and other directors build and maintain the knowledge and expertise to appropriately fulfill their responsibilities. Most of these programs are available via web archives, webcast and live attendance. You can learn more about all our programs at www.pli.edu.

Audit Committees and Financial Reporting 2016: Recent Developments and Current Issues
www.pli.edu/Content/Seminar/Audit_Committees_and_Financial_Reporting/_/N-4kZ1z11i36?fromsearch=false&ID=259781

Audit Committees and Financial Reporting 2015: Recent Developments and Current Issues www.pli.edu/Content/OnDemand/Audit_Committees_and_Financial_Reporting/_/N-4nZ1z129aq?ID=221250

Corporate Governance — A Master Class 2016

www.pli.edu/Content/Seminar/Corporate_Governance_A_Master_Class_2016/_/N-4kZ1z11ij4?fromsearch=false&ID=259397

 
Directors’ Institute on Corporate Governance (Thirteenth Annual)www.pli.edu/Content/OnDemand/Directors_Institute_on_Corporate_Governance/_/N-4nZ1z129if?fromsearch=false&ID=221435

 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

Debt Versus Equity – More on Ratchets

On November 3 we blogged about debt versus equity issues and how in late stage financings investors were demanding price adjustment and conversion rate adjustment features such as ratchet provisions. In essence this was to protect late round investors if the valuations they used for their investment was substantially higher than the IPO valuation.

As you may have been following, Square has just completed their IPO. Here is an excerpt from Square’s stockholder’s equity note in their financial statements:

The initial conversion price for the convertible preferred stock is $0.21627 for the Series A preferred stock, $0.71977 for the Series B-1 preferred stock, $0.95369 for the Series B-2 preferred stock, $5.79817 for the Series C preferred stock, $11.014 for the Series D preferred stock, and $15.46345 for the Series E preferred stock. In the event the Company issues shares of additional stock, subject to customary exceptions, after the preferred stock original issue date without consideration or for a consideration per share less than the initial conversion price in effect immediately prior to such issuance, then and in each such event the conversion price shall be reduced to a price equal to such conversion price multiplied by the following fraction:

the numerator of which is equal to the deemed number of shares of common stock outstanding plus the number of shares of common stock, that the aggregate consideration received by the Company for the total number of additional shares of common stock so issued would purchase at the conversion price immediately prior to such issuance; and

the denominator of which is equal to the deemed number of shares of common stock outstanding immediately prior to such issuance plus the deemed number of additional shares of common stock so issued.

Series E preferred stock contains a provision for the adjustment of conversion price upon a public offering. In the event of such offering, in which the price per share of the Company’s common stock is less than $18.55614 (adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, etc.), then the then-existing conversion price for the Series E preferred stock shall be adjusted so that, as of immediately prior to the completion of such public offering, each share of Series E preferred stock shall convert into (A) the number of shares of common stock issuable on conversion of such share of Series E preferred stock; and (B) an additional number of shares of common stock equal to (x) the difference between $18.55614 and the public offering price, (y) divided by the public offering share price.

The language above is not very easy to understand, but there are various price adjustment features and the instruments that have them were entered into at various points in time, including some later stage investments. So, the debt versus equity issues is present.

Square’s IPO priced at $9, (actually below the expected price range, but the company did get a nice day one price rise on the exchange) so Square will have to make up shares to these later stage investors. This is a simple example where late stage financing valuations were higher than the IPO price.

Here are two links to information about the transaction. Buzzfeed has a nice summary of the deal at:

www.buzzfeed.com/williamalden/square-valued-at-29-billion-in-ipo-short-of-expectations?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News+-+1119+Thursday&utm_content=News+-+1119+Thursday+CID_8ba44ca9bcced29cacc07f7e086f01c4&utm_source=BuzzFeed%20Newsletters&utm_term=.uxrLvq8pj#.amezg5KWJ
Here is a WSJ article where the WSJ somehow wanted to call this ratchet a “penalty”:

blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/11/18/square-pays-93-million-penalty-to-some-investors-in-ipo/

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

 

 

P.S. And, just in case this is relevant to you, here is a link to our new workshop “Debt vs. Equity Accounting for Complex Financial Instruments”. This new case-driven workshop will be presented five times next year.

www.pli.edu/Content/Debt_vs_Equity_Accounting_for_Complex_Financial/_/N-1z11c8lZ4k?ID=262917