By: George M. Wilson & Carol A. Stacey
Reed Wilson, our Form 10-K In-Depth Workshop leader, closely follows reporting by major companies. He found that Raytheon, in its fourth-quarter earnings release, announced it has adopted the new revenue recognition standard as of January 1, 2017, a full year before the required adoption date. Raytheon also elected the full retrospective adoption method. (Nice catch Reed!) You can find the earnings release here.
Here is an excerpt from the earnings release:
Effective January 1, 2017, the Company adopted the new revenue recognition standard utilizing the full retrospective transition method. Under this method, the standard was applied to each prior reporting period presented and the cumulative effect of applying the standard was recognized at the earliest period shown. The impact of adopting the new standard on the Company’s 2015 and 2016 net sales and operating income was not material. The 2016 net sales, effective tax rate and EPS from continuing operations in the financial outlook table below have been recast to reflect this change.
While it will obviously be a while until Raytheon reports a full quarter on the new method, this SAB 74 disclosure from its third-quarter Form 10-Q provides the story of the company’s adoption process. It provides an understanding of the steps in the process, and the depth of the process. Notice the comment about frequent reports over a two-year period! And all this work was in spite of the fact that the new standard did not have a material impact for Raytheon!
Note 2: Accounting Standards
In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), which will replace numerous requirements in U.S. GAAP, including industry-specific requirements, and provide 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 will permit companies to adopt the new standard early, but not before the original effective date of annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016.
In 2014, we established a cross-functional implementation team consisting of representatives from across all of our business segments. We utilized a bottoms-up approach to analyze the impact of the standard on our contract portfolio by reviewing our current accounting policies and practices to identify potential differences that would result from applying the requirements of the new standard to our revenue contracts. In addition, we identified, and are in the process of implementing, appropriate changes to our business processes, systems and controls to support recognition and disclosure under the new standard. The implementation team has reported the findings and progress of the project to management and the Audit Committee on a frequent basis over the last two years.
We have been closely monitoring FASB activity related to the new standard, as well as working with various non-authoritative groups to conclude on specific interpretative issues. In the first half of 2016, we made significant progress toward completing our evaluation of the potential changes from adopting the new standard on our future financial reporting and disclosures. Our progress was aided by the FASB issuing ASU 2016-10, Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing, which amended the current guidance on performance obligations and provided additional clarity on this topic, and the significant progress of the non- authoritative groups in concluding on specific interpretative issues. We also made significant progress on our contract reviews and detailed policy drafting. Based on our evaluation, we expect to early adopt the requirements of the new standard in the first quarter of 2017 and anticipate using the full retrospective transition method.
The impact of adopting the new standard on our 2015 and 2016 total net sales and operating income is not expected to be material. We also do not expect a material impact to our consolidated balance sheet. The immaterial impact of adopting ASU 2014-09 primarily relates to the deferral of commissions on our commercial software arrangements, which previously were expensed as incurred but under the new standard will generally be capitalized and amortized over the period of contract performance, and policy changes related to the recognition of revenue and costs on our defense contracts to better align our policies with the new standard. The impact to our results is not material because the analysis of our contracts under the new revenue recognition standard supports the recognition of revenue over time under the cost-to-cost method for the majority of our contracts, which is consistent with our current revenue recognition model. Revenue on the majority of our contracts will continue to be recognized over time because of the continuous transfer of control to the customer. For U.S. government contracts, this continuous transfer of control to the customer is supported by clauses in the contract that allow the customer to unilaterally terminate the contract for convenience, pay us for costs incurred plus a reasonable profit, and take control of any work in process. Similarly, for non-U.S. government contracts, the customer typically controls the work in process as evidenced either by contractual termination clauses or by our rights to payment for work performed to date to deliver products or services that do not have an alternative use to the company. Under the new standard, the cost-to-cost measure of progress continues to best depict the transfer of control of assets to the customer, which occurs as we incur costs. In addition, the number of our performance obligations under the new standard is not materially different from our contract segments under the existing standard. Lastly, the accounting for the estimate of variable amounts is not expected to be materially different compared to our current practice.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!