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Understanding ASC 606 Revenue Recognition: Five Essential Steps

Updated: Jan 26

Revenue recognition is a crucial aspect of financial reporting that directly impacts a company's financial statements and performance metrics. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) introduced Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 606 to establish a comprehensive framework for revenue recognition. ASC 606 provides a standardized approach to recognizing revenue from customer contracts across various industries. In this blog post, we will delve into the five essential steps of ASC 606 revenue recognition.


Step 1: Identify the Contract with the Customer

The first step in applying ASC 606 is to identify the contract(s) with a customer. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that creates enforceable rights and obligations. It could be written, verbal, or implied by customary business practices. Companies need to assess whether the contract meets specific criteria outlined in ASC 606, such as the parties' approval, identification of rights regarding the goods or services to be transferred, payment terms, and the probability of collecting consideration. (Accounting Procedure: Project Cost Estimate Begin Date)


Step 2: Identify the Performance Obligations in the Contract

Once a contract is identified, the next step is to determine the performance obligations within that contract. A performance obligation is a promise to transfer a distinct good or service to the customer. Companies must carefully evaluate the contract terms to identify separate performance obligations that represent distinct units of account. If a promise is not distinct, it should be combined with other promises until a distinct performance obligation is identified.

(Accounting Procedure: Determine Deferred Revenue Job Phase(s) End Dates)


Step 3: Determine the Transaction Price

The transaction price is the amount of consideration a company expects to receive in exchange for transferring goods or services to a customer. Determining the transaction price involves considering variable consideration, non-cash consideration, and the time value of money. Companies may need to use estimation techniques, such as expected value or most likely amount, to account for uncertainty in variable consideration. It's important to update the transaction price if there are changes in the contract that affect the amount of consideration. (Accounting Procedure: Determine Price and Markup/Margin of the Products and Services Items + applicable taxes to include on the Estimate)


Step 4: Allocate the Transaction Price to the Performance Obligations

Once the transaction price is determined, it needs to be allocated to the identified performance obligations in the contract. This allocation is based on the standalone selling prices of each distinct good or service promised in the contract. In cases where standalone selling prices are not directly observable, companies may use estimation methods to allocate the transaction price fairly. The objective is to attribute the consideration to the performance obligations in a manner that reflects the amount the entity expects to receive in exchange for satisfying each obligation.

(Accounting Procedure: Invoice PLUS Deposit-Retainer amount LESS items and amounts being deferred + *applicable tax)


Step 5: Recognize Revenue when or as the Entity Satisfies a Performance Obligation

The final step is to recognize revenue when the entity satisfies a performance obligation. This occurs when control of a good or service is transferred to the customer, either over time or at a point in time. The timing of revenue recognition depends on various factors, such as the nature of the performance obligation, the transfer of control criteria, and the terms of the contract. Companies need to assess these factors to determine when revenue should be recognized.

(Accounting Procedure: Invoice PLUS items and amounts previously deferred LESS Deposit-Retainer Deferred End Date)----Earn revenue to the Income Statement (with associated COGS (Bills) and Direct expenses for GAAP compliance and ASC 606 recognition)


ASC 606 provides a systematic and comprehensive framework for revenue recognition, ensuring consistency and comparability across different industries. By following these five essential steps, companies can navigate the complexities of revenue recognition, enhance financial transparency, and comply with accounting standards. Staying informed about ASC 606 is crucial for financial professionals and organizations seeking to maintain accurate and reliable financial reporting.


Understanding ASC 606 Revenue Recognition: Five Essential Steps
Understanding ASC 606 Revenue Recognition: Five Essential Steps