International regulators may be finished with their tinkering of the new revenue recognition standard but implementation discussions continue in the United States, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is advising companies to watch them closely.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has scheduled three new meeting through November 2016 for the Transition Resource Group that is airing and answering implementation questions on the new revenue recognition standard. The group has taken in more than 80 separate questions that preparers have raised so far as they study the new standard and prepare to adopt it.
The FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board have addressed a handful of the issues with updates to the standards to provide clarifications. FASB continues to consider how to address practical expedients to the disclosure requirements around unmet performance obligations.
The TRG’s “submission tracker,” which catalogs the 80-plus questions that have been raised, indicates FASB staff is studying questions around the interplay of the new revenue recognition rules with impairment guidance to determine if more standard setting might be warranted. A few more questions around contract modifications and the scope of the standard will be discussed at an upcoming TRG meeting, according to the tracker.
The IASB said in January it is finished with its consideration of possible changes to the revenue recognition standard and does not plan to participate in further TRG meetings. “However, the TRG will not be disbanded and will be available for consultation by the board if needed,” the IASB said in its announcement. “In addition, there is still scope for IFRS stakeholders to submit issues through the website.”
Wesley Bricker, SEC deputy chief accountant at the SEC, said during a recent securities regulation conference that the SEC continues to monitor TRG activity and advises companies to do the same. SEC staff plan to use the TRG discussions as a baseline for assessing the appropriateness of the revenue recognition policies companies adopt as they implement the new standard, he said.
The SEC staff is advising companies to use extreme caution when they study a TRG determination, one that has been discussed in an open meeting and documented in minutes, yet decide on a different course for their own revenue recognition accounting policies. Bricker said companies would be well advised to discuss such a departure from the TRG view with staff at the Office of the Chief Accountant before relying on such a position.