Accounting for Revenues: A Framework for Standard Setting

28 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2011 Last revised: 11 Jun 2013

Yuri Biondi

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Robert J. Bloomfield

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Jonathan C. Glover

Columbia Business School

Karim Jamal

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems

James A. Ohlson

Hong Kong Polytechnic University - School of Accounting and Finance

Stephen H. Penman

Columbia Business School - Department of Accounting

Eiko Tsujiyama

Waseda University - Graduate School of Commerce

Date Written: March 6, 2011

Abstract

This paper proposes an accounting for revenues as an alternative to the proposals currently begin aired by the FASB and IASB. Existing revenue recognition rules are vague, resulting in messy application, so the Boards are seeking a remedy. However, their proposals replace the traditional criteria — revenue is recognized when it is both “realized or realizable” and “earned” — with similarly vague notions that require both the identification of a “performance obligation” and the “satisfaction” of a performance obligation. Our framework aims for the concreteness that yields practical accounting solutions. It has three features. First, revenue is recognized when a customer makes a payment or a firm commitment to pay. Second, revenue recognition and profit recognition are combined, with profit recognition determined on the basis of objective criteria about the resolution of uncertainty under a contract, and then conservatively so. Two alternative approaches are offered: the complete contract method (where profit is recognized only on the termination of a contract) and the profit margin method (where a profit margin is applied to recognized revenues throughout the contract as the contract profit margin becomes clear. The latter requires resolution of uncertainty, so the completed contract method is the default.

Suggested Citation

Biondi, Yuri and Bloomfield, Robert J. and Glover, Jonathan C. and Jamal, Karim and Ohlson, James A. and Penman, Stephen H. and Tsujiyama, Eiko, Accounting for Revenues: A Framework for Standard Setting (March 6, 2011). Accounting Horizons, Vol. 25, No. 3, September 2011; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-690. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1792494 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1792494

Yuri Biondi

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) ( email )

IRISSO - University Paris Dauphine PSL
Place Marechal Lattre Tassigny
75016 Paris
France

HOME PAGE: http://yuri.biondi.free.fr/

Robert J. Bloomfield

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

450 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-9407 (Phone)
607-254-4590 (Fax)

Jonathan C. Glover

Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-1911 (Phone)

Karim Jamal

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780-492-5829 (Phone)
780-492-3325 (Fax)

James A. Ohlson

Hong Kong Polytechnic University - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

M715, Li Ka Shing Tower
Hung Hom, Kowloon
China

Stephen H. Penman (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Department of Accounting ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-9151 (Phone)
212-316-9219 (Fax)

Eiko Tsujiyama

Waseda University - Graduate School of Commerce ( email )

1-6-1, Nishi-Waseda
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050
Japan
81-3-5286-2048 (Phone)
81-3-3203-7067 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.waseda.jp/gradcom/index-e.html

Paper statistics

Downloads
716
Rank
27,698
Abstract Views
2,909