'Revenue Accounting' in the Age of E-Commerce: Exploring its Conceptual and Analytical Frameworks
42 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2000
Date Written: April 2000
This paper explores "revenue accounting" in contrast to traditional "cost accounting." Revenue accounting is to serve information needs of managers and investors in planning and controlling a firm's sales activities and their financial consequences, especially in the E-Commerce Age. Weaknesses of traditional accounting have become particularly evident recently, for example, the lack of 1) revenue mileposts, 2) revenue sustainability measurements, and 3) intangibles capitalization. Some tentative remedies are considered. Several revenue mileposts are explored to gauge progress in earning revenues and a Markov process is applied to an example involving mileposts. Revenue momentum, measured by the exponential smoothing method, is examined as a way of getting feedback on revenue sustainability; and the use of the sustainability concept in the analysis of fixed and variable revenues is illustrated. A project-oriented approach in a manner similar to capital budgeting and to Reserve Recognition Accounting is proposed by treating each customer as a project. Standardization of forecasts are also considered as an important way of bypassing the capitalization issue. The paper emphasizes at the end the need to develop a conceptual framework of revenue accounting and, as a tentative measure, proposes five basic postulates and five operational postulates of revenue accounting.
JEL Classification: M41, M44, M46
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation