IFRS15 will apply from the 1st of January 2018

IFRS15 will apply from January 1, 2018. Will your processes and contract management platforms be ready?

In July 2015 the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) confirmed a one-year deferral of the effective date of the revenue Standard, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, to 1 January 2018. Companies have the option to apply the Standard earlier if they wish to do so.

As of January 1, 2018 IFRS 15 comes into force to address revenue from contracts with customers. This new standard is in line with initiatives from the IASB and FASB and is relevant for almost all customer contracts. IFR’s 15 replaces IAS11, IAS18, IFRIC15 IFRIC13 IFRIC18 SIC31. It does not replace IAS39 or FRS9. IAS17 (leases) remains outside the scope of IFRS15.

The revenue recognition model upon which it is based comprises five steps:-
– contract identification
– tracking of performance obligations
– transaction price management
– linkage of performance obligations to transaction pricing
– revenue recognition

The additional complexity associated with this new standard will in many cases place enterprise process and IT system demands which existing contract visibility are not able to address. An enterprise will be obliged to address processes, compensation plans, tax implications, key performance indicators and additional employee training. Enterprises may also discover that additional roles within the organization require visibility into contract data. These additional roles may include shareholders, investors, audit committee members, Board of Directors and others.

Decisions must also be taken to conceive and allocate transition mechanisms for contracts at different stages in their life ranging from contracts initiated and completed prior to January 1, 2018, contracts running across January 1, 2018 and new contracts starting only after January 1, 2018.

The fundamental concepts behind IFRS15 are increasing disclosure with respect to revenue recognition with an ability to link precisely that disclosure to contract data.

The implications not only impact the management of individual contracts but particularly in cases where there are multiple contracts with single suppliers and where there are complex contract hierarchies. Even within a single individual contract, multiple performance obligations may be required to be unbundled requiring fine granularity visibility into contract data.

The timeline recognition of revenue becomes increasingly critical with the core concept being one of revenue recognition in line with the actual delivery of products or services. There is however ever greater consideration given to the time value of money thus the revenue value required for reporting purposes may be significantly impacted by exactly when an entity fulfills its delivery requirements, performance obligations receives customer payment and any relevant interest rate at that moment in time.

In summary, IFRS 15 elevates contract management from being simply a commercially beneficial activity albeit with real financial rewards to a well-run enterprise to now being a governance obligation. This new obligation demands both internal processes and contract management IT platforms be sufficiently capable and reliable to provide accurate, repeatable and auditable reporting data.

Chris Craddock, Director, Symfact

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