It’s starting to get tense in the trenches where finance and technology staff are working to implement new revenue recognition standards with the start of the 2018 reporting year.
The newest poll from EY suggests many companies are still behind — and some are way behind in adopting the new standards by the start of next year— while finance and technology leaders are not entirely in agreement on why or what to do about it. “The competing perspectives between CFOs and CIOs reflect their different approaches to the implementation of the new revenue recognition standard,” said John McGaw, EY Americas accounting change leader, in a statement. “The results shine a light on the importance of internal alignment among finance, IT and other functions, as well as with internal and external audit teams.”
The March poll of public company finance and IT leaders found 47 percent who said they were on track and fully confident of meeting critical milestones in the long arduous journey to new accounting for revenue. Another 14 percent said they were ahead of schedule.
That leaves a daunting 39 percent who apparently are behind or really behind. In fact, 14 percent said they still hadn’t started to take up the new rules, which developed over a decade and have been in print since mid-2014. One in five CFOs believe their programs are at risk of falling behind.
Half report they have an insufficient allocation of human resources to get the job done, and 46 percent said they don’t have the change management capability to do the job effectively. Nearly half also agree they are behind or at risk of falling behind because of challenges interpreting technical accounting requirements, difficulty collecting necessary data, and inadequate budget.
CFOs and CIOs don’t entirely agree on the state of affairs, according to the data. On the CIO side, 85 percent believe the IT team is giving the effort the necessary support and skills, but only 60 percent of CFOs would agree. Four in five CIOs believe finance and IT are collaborating effectively to deliver systems and process changes, but only 68 percent of CFOs see the same level of collaboration.
Perhaps even more troubling, almost 70 percent of those answering EY’s poll said the data and IT requirements of the new accounting are even more difficult than the accounting changes, and nearly half of companies that are upgrading systems or implementing new ones are worried the job won’t be done in time to comply when the standard takes effect in 2018. That suggests companies will have to establish manual workarounds, EY reports.
“In order to fulfill their financial reporting and disclosure responsibilities, companies should focus on assessing risks and implementing controls to address them,” McGaw’s statement says. “Controls over data should also be in place whether a company uses new systems or manual workarounds.”