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Revenue recognition on early contract buy-out

revenue recognition accounting for early contract terminationMy company recognizes revenue monthly on a recurring revenue basis. A customer is ending their contract early and buying out their remaining term (all in 2012) at a discount. Since no additional services will be provided, can I recognize all of the revenue in 2011?

Answers

Topic Expert
Sunil Thukral
Title: Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory..
Company: Consultant
(Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory/ SEC Reporting, Consultant) |

Hi Paul....if I understand your question correctly, the customer is paying you an early termination fees for the cancellation of the contract in 2011, and you will not have any future performance obligations in 2012 under this contract.

In my opinion, based on the above facts, you should be able to recognize the revenue ON THE DATE of the cancellation of the contract.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Paul, for additional insight into the changing world of revenue recognition, take a look at this free recorded webinar here at Proformative:

"The New World of Revenue Recognition: Industry Impacts and Transition Options:"
https://www.proformative.com/events/new-world-revenue-recognition-industry-impacts-transition-options

Great webinar...enjoy!

Best... Sarah

Paul Shapiro
Title: Startup CFO Consultant
Company: Paul G. Shapiro, CPA
(Startup CFO Consultant, Paul G. Shapiro, CPA) |

Thanks, I'll confirm the facts and record accordingly. Is there any citation to GAAP that you can provide?

Topic Expert
Sunil Thukral
Title: Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory..
Company: Consultant
(Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory/ SEC Reporting, Consultant) |

Here you go......also confirm that there are no other side agreements entered into along with the cancellation this contract that is being cancelled. Otherwise, you will need to conduct some additional analysis.

Below is the extract from SAB Topic 13.A on Revenue Recognition that is now codified under FASB's ASC 605-10-S99-1:

"The staff believes that revenue generally is realized or realizable and earned when all of the following criteria are met:

- Persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists,
- Delivery has occurred or services have been rendered,
- The seller’s price to the buyer is fixed or determinable, and
- Collectibility is reasonably assured."

Source: http://www.sec.gov/interps/account/sabcodet13.htm

My Best,
Sunil

Topic Expert
Sunil Thukral
Title: Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory..
Company: Consultant
(Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory/ SEC Reporting, Consultant) |

Just wanted to update the above comment that SAB Topic 13.A was updated with SAB 104. Below is the link to the SAB 104 document.

http://www.sec.gov/interps/account/sab104rev.pdf

Topic Expert
Barrett Peterson
Title: Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis
Company: TTX
(Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis, TTX) |

There is a minor amount of ambiguity here as it is not clear if you provide a regular level of monthly service or provide an "open availability". If "availability is a substantial feature, final revenue should be recognized in the period terminated [2012?]. If terminated in early 2012 and revenue is for active performance, all revenue recognition requirements, identified by Sunil, are met by the end of 2011.

Faraz Gardezi
Title: Senior Accountant
Company: Giesecke & Devrient Systems Canada, Inc.
(Senior Accountant, Giesecke & Devrient Systems Canada, Inc.) |

Hello Sunil/Barrett. I wanted to confirm if the treatment is the same under IFRS i.e. amount received/receivable against early termination of the contarct is to be treated as revenue upon agreement to terminate rather than recoganize it over the remaining term of the original contract. The reference you have given above is that of US GAAP. I would appreciate your clarification (any case references / illustrations) on this.

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