More than two years after publishing the original revenue recognition standard and a year before it takes effect, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued the last batch of intended changes to clarify or correct various points raised in the new accounting requirements.
FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-20 to make a series of minor technical corrections to the original revenue recognition standard, issued in May 2014 to provide a new five-step method for all companies to follow in determining the amounts and timing for recognizing revenue in financial statements. The 13 specific corrections in the latest update to accounting standards are no more than “minor, minor, minor technical corrections,” said Sue Cosper, FASB technical director, at a recent national accounting conference.
The corrections involve issues such as loan guarantee fees, impairment testing of contract costs, the interaction of impairment testing with guidance on other topics, provisions for losses on certain types of contracts, the scope of the new standard, and disclosure around remaining and prior-period performance obligations. Additional issues include contract modifications, contract assets versus receivables, refund liabilities, advertising costs, fixed-odds wagering contracts at casinos, and cost capitalization for advisors to certain funds.
The latest batch of technical corrections join five earlier accounting standards updates issued by FASB in 2015 and 2016 to defer the effective date of the original standard from 2017 to 2018 for public companies and to answer questions or concerns that arose during implementation. Those issues include reporting revenue on a gross versus net basis, identifying performance obligations, licensing, aligning to SEC staff guidance, and other narrow-scope improvements and practical expedients.
The Transition Resource Group that recommended many of the changes to the original accounting standard continues to remain available to deliberate any further questions that might emerge as companies work through implementation in 2017, said FASB Chairman Russ Golden at the recent conference. FASB otherwise has not other plans to make any further changes to the standard, he said.
More than a dozen industry-specific task forces at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants continue to develop their own questions and guidance on the new standard, which will soon be published into an accounting guide. The task forces have already issued a number of working drafts for public comment that will be incorporated into the final guide.