The Contractors Guide to New Revenue Recognition: ASC 606

when do you recognize revenue for construction accounting

CLA’s professionals can provide insightful analysis of your unique situation and offer valuable resources. Initially, some were concerned about private company contractors presenting comparative statements under the modified retrospective method construction bookkeeping because the statements would not be comparable and could potentially mislead users. However, the industry appears to prefer comparative statements, and the modified retrospective method minimizes the accounting burden on contractors.

Not surprisingly, these are two topics of the revenue standard on which entities commonly seek the SEC staff’s views in prefiling submissions. In addition, these topics are frequently discussed in SEC staff speeches at the annual AICPA & CIMA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments. The company is to recognize revenue at each performance obligation level, but then combine the contracts and present them as one with net overbilling/underbilling for the combined contract. CLA’s construction professionals have been closely following the revenue recognition issue so that we can provide the industry with the most current thinking on the subject. Each construction company’s contracts and book of business are different, but as a national firm, we track general trends across the country.

Risks with the percentage of completion method

For most contractors, retainage is simple enough on paper, even though by nature it’s an exception to the rule. In practice, when a contractor earns revenue under an accrual method like CCM or PCM, they have the right to issue an invoice and record the amount as an account receivable (A/R) until it’s collected. An accrual method will recognize an expense when it’s incurred and revenue when it’s earned, even if cash hasn’t come in or out yet. In other words, it tracks how money “accrues,” or accumulates, in holding before it moves as cash.

  • Moreover, the costs involved to deliver on the project need careful management.
  • Are you running a construction business but feeling like the financial and accounting portion of it is a little overwhelming?
  • Completion of the building is highly susceptible to factors outside the entity’s influence, including weather and regulatory approvals.
  • That amount is recorded as an asset, as more money is due than has been billed.
  • This isn’t an absolute conclusion, but typically when there is one contract to build one building or one road, this will result in one performance obligation.
  • The Boards have announced the formation of the Joint Transition Resource Group for Revenue Recognition.

Under this method, income from each project is recognized proportionally based on the amount of work that has been completed on that project. This allows the construction company to recognize revenue as the project progresses instead of waiting until the project’s end. The percentage of completion method is a revenue recognition accounting concept that evaluates how to realize revenue periodically over a long-term project or contract.

Supporting application materials

However, if control transfers over time, then revenue for each performance obligation is recognized as it is completed. Contracts may dictate that control phases in for each performance obligation, rather than when the obligation is completed. In that scenario, financial results for the obligation would be recognized using a PCM approach. In this method (primarily used for long-term construction contracts), all revenues and costs were recognized each accounting period as costs were incurred as a percentage of the total estimated cost. This accounting method is often applied to short-term projects; that is, those less than one or two years in duration.

The homebuilder’s performance has not created or enhanced a customer-controlled asset. The asset is controlled by the homebuilder and the customer does not have the ability to direct the use or obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits from the asset. The customer is not simultaneously receiving and consuming the benefits of the performance obligation as the work is performed.

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