News From the CAQ – Still no Simple Answer for the RevRec/S-3 Issue!

Back in June of 2015 we posted about the Center for Audit Quality, or CAQ. This organization, which has its roots with the AICPA, advocates for issues surrounding public company auditing with the goal of building and maintaining the public’s trust in the auditing process. You can learn more about the CAQ at their web page.

One important part of the CAQ is the SEC Regulations Committee. This group meets regularly with the SEC Staff to discuss emerging issues in practice. The summaries of their meetings are generally very useful resources and reviewing them on a periodic basis can help deal with complex and emerging issues.

In their June meeting the Committee and the SEC Staff discussed one of the issues we have blogged about earlier in the summer, the impact of retrospective adoption of a new accounting standard (revenue recognition and leases of course!) on a registration statement filed after you file a 10-Q in the year of adoption but before the end of the year. It is conceivable that the S-3 could require applying the new accounting standard to an additional earlier year. (Check out this post if you need to refresh your memory.)

Here is the summary of discussion about this issue from the SEC Regulations Committee June meeting:

Requirement to provide restated financial statements when a Form S-3 registration statement is filed after the registrant has filed its first Form 10-Q reflecting full retrospective adoption of the new revenue standard

As a follow-up to a topic discussed at the March 2016 Joint Meeting, the Committee and the staff discussed Deputy Chief Accountant Wes Bricker’s remarks at the 2016 Baruch College Financial Reporting Conference on transition activities for the new revenue recognition standard. Specifically, the Committee and the staff discussed the provision in ASC 250-10-45-5 which indicates that “[a]n entity shall report a change in accounting principle through retrospective application of the new accounting principle to all prior periods, unless it is impracticable to do so.” ASC 250-10-45-9 provides guidance on the term “impracticable.”

The staff indicated that they are available for consultation with registrants that have concluded it would be impracticable to revise one or more comparative prior periods, but they also noted that consultation is not required.

So, it is all still a bit grey!

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!

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