Corporations throughout the globe are intensively re-architecting their income recognition processes and insurance policies because of the brand new ASC 606 steering. Corporations who promote their software program by subscription (Software program-as-a-Service or Saas) have to be notably cautious to make sure they’re revising their insurance policies appropriately for the brand new steering. Beneath are a couple of eventualities and case research that may assist make clear some necessary issues distinctive to SaaS firms.
Most monetary professionals are actually accustomed to the ASC 606 five-step course of:
Think about potential customary parts in SaaS preparations: subscriptions companies, implementation companies, setup charges, service-level agreements, consulting companies, and fixed- and volume-based charges. The anticipated accounting therapy for ASC 606 seems simple: ratable recognition for subscription parts and as-delivered recognition for nonrecurring parts. Nonetheless, there are a number of delicate modifications to the SaaS income recognition mannequin that require consideration.
Abstract of previous and new jargon
The semantics of income recognition are altering. Listed below are some instance modifications in jargon (and abbreviation) that you may anticipate out of your accountants and advisors:
Case examine one—Contingent income from escalating subscription charges
What’s the accounting proper now? Present accounting steering precludes the popularity of income that’s contingent upon future efficiency (also known as the “contingent cap”). You probably have solely legally earned $1,000 of income so far, then you’ll be able to’t report greater than $1,000 income. The longer term income is “contingent” upon the efficiency of the rest of the contract. SaaS firms ceaselessly run into contingent income when multi-year contracts have escalating costs.
For instance, we promote a three-year subscription to a buyer for annual charges of $10,000, $12,000, and $14,000. If not for the contingent income cap, income could be acknowledged evenly over the contract ($12,000 per yr over three years). Nonetheless, the existence of contingent income caps your income for yr 1 on the $10,000 contractually earned. The remaining $2,000 of contingent income shouldn’t be acknowledged underneath present accounting steering.
What’s altering underneath ASC 606? Underneath ASC 606, we acknowledge $12,000 in income within the first yr because the contingent income cap not applies: money of $10,000, and a contract asset of $2,000. A contract asset is actually cash that we’ve earned however don’t have the proper to bill for but. That is the other of a contract legal responsibility (previously often called deferred income) that’s cash we’ve acquired, however haven’t earned but. On this instance, we’ve carried out to earn the $2,000 of income, however received’t have the contractual proper to bill for these companies till later.
Presently, many SaaS entities merely acknowledge income in line with the annual contract quantities due to the contingent income guidelines. This simplification will go away and lots of entities could now have to start reallocating their contract income between years.
Case examine two—Contingent income from subscription and implementation
What’s the accounting proper now? Contingent income can be widespread within the SaaS mannequin when an organization delivers each subscription companies. For instance, we promote a one-year subscription to a buyer for $12,000, payable month-to-month upfront. We additionally agree to offer an implementation service for $2,000 that we usually promote for $three,000. The whole contract income is allotted to every deliverable primarily based on their estimated promoting value (VSOE or BESP immediately). The intention of this allocation is to make sure that all merchandise inside a contract have the identical low cost or premium for the estimated gross sales value. The next desk illustrates the calculation of the allocation:
With out the contingent income cap, income recorded after one month of the subscription and the completion of the implementation companies could be $three,733 ($11,200 / 12 months = $933, plus $2,800 for the implementation service). Nonetheless, solely $three,000 has been contractually earned at this level of the contract ($1,000 for one month of subscription and $2,000 for the implementation charge). Thus we are going to report $three,000 of income with $733 of unrecognized contingent income.
What’s altering underneath ASC 606? There is no such thing as a change to the allocation underneath ASC 606. The distinct POBs are allotted contract income proportionate to their SSP, however the constraint of contingent income goes away underneath ASC 606. Underneath the brand new steering, we are going to report $three,733 of income, with a corresponding $three,000 in money and $733 of contract asset. The removing of the idea of contingent income could affect the timing of income recognition.
Case examine three—Combining efficiency obligations
What’s the accounting proper now? Presently, every deliverable with standalone worth is accounted for individually. Think about once more the instance in Case 2 above, with the change that the implementation companies will considerably combine the subscription companies into the client’s present methods on a turnkey foundation.
Underneath present steering, we’ve an identical accounting to Case 2 above. We are going to report two deliverables with standalone worth, a subscription and an implementation service. On the finish of the primary month, we’ve potential income of $three,733 and solely $three,000 has been contractually earned. Subsequently, we are going to report $three,000 of income with $733 of unrecognized contingent income.
What’s altering underneath ASC 606? There may be a further criterion for a “deliverable with standalone worth” to be thought-about a “distinct POB” underneath ASC 606: the POB have to be distinct from different POBs offered to the consumer. A standard instance used to display this idea is the development of a house. When constructing a house, most of the particular person elements that yow will discover down on the native ironmongery store (i.e., have standalone worth): nails, paint, a kitchen sink and loads of different issues. Nonetheless, underneath ASC 606, the products and companies are usually not distinct from different guarantees within the contract, as the general promise is to switch a mixed merchandise—the home.
So, what are some issues that inform you POB isn’t distinct from different POBs? Every contract is totally different however some key indicators to think about embody vital integrations, modifications, or customization, or excessive quantities of interdependencies between POBs. For SaaS subscriptions, a essential issue to think about is how a lot the client can profit from the software program previous to implementation. Are your implementation companies primarily configuration, coaching and setup, or do they require vital customization? These are extremely judgmental and should change firm by firm.
Let’s assume that our implementation is so vital that we decide the combination and the subscription companies are one mixed POB within the contract. That $14,000 goes to be acknowledged over the mixed time period of 12 months.
Income recorded after one month of the subscription and the completion of the implementation companies might probably be $1,167 ($14,000 / 12 months). As a result of we’ve invoiced for $three,000 underneath the phrases of the contract, we will even report a contract legal responsibility of $1,833 representing money we’ve acquired however haven’t delivered the service. When combining skilled companies and subscription companies into one POB, it’s probably that income acknowledged will likely be slower underneath ASC 606.
Case examine 4—Setup (or upfront) charges
What’s the accounting proper now? Let’s take the identical instance from Case 2, however as a substitute of an implementation service, the $2,000 billing is a setup charge. These could also be handled a couple of other ways in follow immediately, however it’s widespread for setup charges to be acknowledged ratably over the lifetime of a buyer. Say that buyer’s life is 4 years. After one month, we’ll report $1,042 of income ($12,000 / 12 months for the subscription, and $2,000 / 48 months = $42 for the setup charge). Since we billed $three,000 for the subscription and the upfront charge, we may have recorded $1,958 of deferred income for the money we’ve acquired however haven’t but earned.
What’s altering underneath ASC 606? The important thing change underneath ASC 606 is that setup charges are not thought-about a down cost by the client for companies to be delivered over all the buyer life. As an alternative, upfront charges are thought-about half of the present contract and allotted to the POBs within the contract. In our case, the one POB is the subscription service. After one month, we’ll report $1,167 of income ($14,000 / 12 months), $three,000 of billings, and $1,833 of contract legal responsibility.
In abstract, setup charges will likely be acknowledged proportionate to the income acknowledged underneath the contract reasonably than over the client life. This can usually pace up income recognition for SaaS firms.
Whereas the modifications for SaaS firms could appear simple, there are lots of nuances to think about that will affect the timing and quantities of income recognition. Along with the examples above, different vital points it is best to think about embody:
ASC 606 is breaking new floor in some ways. These case research can assist make clear among the necessary issues distinctive to SaaS firms and lift your proficiency each in understanding and in what inside questions have to be requested.
Jacob Sperry is a Director in Connor Group’s Technical Accounting and IPO Follow. Jagan Reddy is SVP of RevPro at Zuora.