With the release of its fourth-quarter 2016 results, Raytheon became apparently the first public company to disclose it had definitively adopted the new accounting standard on revenue recognition under U.S. GAAP.
Raytheon’s fourth-quarter earnings release dated Jan. 26 says the company adopted the new revenue recognition standard effective Jan. 1, 2017, a full year earlier than required, following the full retrospective transition method. That means the company’s results will reflect the new accounting not only in current periods but also in prior periods as if the rules had been in effect during all periods presented in financial statements.
By Jan. 1, 2018, all public companies are required to adopt the new five-step method for determining when and in what amounts they should recognize revenue in financial statements. The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued the massive new standard in mid-2014, originally setting an effective date of Jan. 1, 2017. After an outcry that companies needed more time to learn the new requirements and establish new procedures and internal controls to comply, FASB extended the mandatory effective date for public companies to 2018, but permitted companies to elect early adoption as of the original effective date.
As implementation efforts have lagged at many companies, few accounting experts expected any significant number of companies to voluntarily elect early adoption. Raytheon was one of a small number of companies that jumped into the new standard early and indicated it might consider adopting it early.
Research firm Audit Analytics says Raytheon is the first public company to disclose it has adopted the standard as of Jan. 1 2017. A handful of companies have said publicly they planned to implement the standard with the start of the 2017 reporting year, but Raytheon’s is the first to assert that the standard is at work, according to the firm.
Raytheon says in its quarterly earnings release that its adoption of the new rules did not produce a material change in financial results. The company’s fourth-quarter numbers show the company reported 2016 sales under the old standard of $24.1 billion, and the figure is the same under the new standard. The company’s effective tax rate held steady at 28.3 percent in the transition from the old revenue standard to the new one as well.
Earnings per share from continuing operations finished 2016 at $7.44 under the old accounting, and it rose to $7.55 under the new revenue accounting, the company reported.