Many companies can face challenges related to revenue recognition. However, some industries and business models may be more prone to revenue recognition challenges than others due to the complexity of their revenue streams. Here are some examples of companies that may face revenue recognition challenges:

Software Companies: Software companies often have complex revenue recognition scenarios, such as multi-element arrangements, where revenue is recognised over a period of time, which can be difficult to track manually.

Subscription-Based Businesses: Subscription-based businesses, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) companies or streaming services, typically recognise revenue over a period of time, which can be challenging to track and account for, especially when there are changes in subscription terms.

Healthcare Companies: Healthcare companies may face revenue recognition challenges due to complex billing practices, insurance contracts, and the need to account for uncollectible revenue.

Real Estate Companies: Real estate companies may face revenue recognition challenges due to the timing and terms of sales contracts, which can vary significantly depending on the type of property and the location.

Construction Companies: Construction companies may face revenue recognition challenges due to the long-term nature of their contracts and the need to track costs and billings over time.

Why revenue recognition is a complex topic?

Revenue recognition is a complex topic because it involves determining when and how a company should recognise revenue on its financial statements. The timing and method of revenue recognition can have a significant impact on a company's financial statements, and there are various accounting standards and guidelines that must be followed. Here are some factors that contribute to the complexity of revenue recognition:

Multiple Revenue Recognition Scenarios: Revenue recognition can vary depending on the type of goods or services sold, the terms of the sale, and the timing of payment. For example, revenue recognition for a subscription-based service is different from that of a one-time sale of a product.

Accounting Standards and Regulations: Various accounting standards and regulations govern revenue recognition, such as IFRS 15, and GAAP, which can be complex and require significant interpretation and judgement.

Contractual Terms: Revenue recognition can be influenced by contractual terms, such as variable consideration, which can make it difficult to determine the amount of revenue to recognise.

Interdisciplinary Nature: Revenue recognition involves input from various disciplines, including accounting, finance, and legal, which can create challenges in ensuring consistency and accuracy across departments.

Impact on Financial Statements: Revenue recognition impacts a company's financial statements, including its income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement, which can have significant implications for investors, creditors, and other stakeholders.

Importance of IFRS15 accounting standards

IFRS 15 provides a five-step model for recognising revenue from contracts with customers. The model involves identifying the contract, identifying performance obligations, determining the transaction price, allocating the transaction price to the performance obligations, and recognising revenue when the performance obligation is satisfied. IFRS 15 requires companies to identify distinct performance obligations in a contract, which can include goods or services that are distinct or that are part of a series of distinct goods or services. IFRS 15 requires companies to recognise revenue when the performance obligation is satisfied, which can occur at a point in time or over a period of time. The standard provides guidance on how to determine when the transfer of control occurs and when revenue should be recognised.

Advanced revenue recognition from an IFRS 15 perspective requires careful consideration and judgement, with a focus on identifying distinct performance obligations, estimating variable consideration, and determining the timing of revenue recognition. Companies need to have appropriate tools and processes in place to effectively manage their revenue recognition in compliance with IFRS 15 and provide the required disclosures.

What are the main struggles when it comes to revenue recognition?

Manual revenue recognition processes are time-consuming and prone to errors, which can result in revenue leakage and compliance issues. Without automated revenue recognition tools, companies may struggle to comply with complex accounting standards resulting in the risk of penalties and reputational damage. Manual processes can result in inaccurate revenue recognition, leading to financial statements that are not reflective of the company's actual financial position. Financial close process might be slow, resulting in delays in reporting financial results to stakeholders. Without proper tools, companies may struggle to gain real-time insights into their revenue streams, limiting their ability to make data-driven decisions.

What is the solution?

Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management is a comprehensive solution that helps companies automate and optimise their revenue recognition process. This solution is particularly beneficial for companies that deal with complex revenue recognition scenarios, such as software or subscription-based businesses. Here are some reasons why companies may need Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management solution:

Compliance with Accounting Standards: Companies need to comply with various accounting standards such as IFRS 15, local GAAP, which require them to follow specific revenue recognition rules. Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management ensures compliance with these standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance and the associated penalties and reputational damage.

Complex Revenue Recognition Scenarios: Companies that deal with complex revenue recognition scenarios such as multi-element arrangements, bundled products, and subscription-based services can benefit from Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management's automated processes, which can handle these scenarios with ease.

Improved Accuracy: Manual revenue recognition processes are prone to errors and can result in revenue leakage. Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management eliminates manual processes, reducing errors and increasing the accuracy of revenue recognition.

Faster Financial Close: By automating revenue recognition, Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management can speed up the financial close process, providing real-time insights into revenue, expenses, and profitability.

Better Decision Making: With accurate and timely revenue recognition data, companies can make better decisions around pricing, product offerings, and revenue forecasting, helping them to optimise their revenue streams.

How NetSuite is handling Advanced Revenue Management?

Revenue arrangements: Non-posting transactions that record the details of customer performance obligations for purposes of revenue allocation and recognition. Advanced Revenue Management automatically creates revenue arrangements from predefined revenue sources, such as approved sales transactions. The arrangements from multiple revenue sources can be consolidated.

Revenue elements: Records that correspond to individual lines in a source. Each revenue element represents a performance obligation. Revenue elements are attached as lines on a revenue arrangement.

Revenue recognition rules: Records that define patterns for revenue recognition. They include, for example, the recognition method, amount source, and start and end date sources.

Revenue recognition plans: Records that indicate the posting periods in which revenue should be recognised and the amount to be recognised in each period. Revenue plans are derived from revenue recognition rules. Each revenue element may have a forecast plan and one or more actual plans. The actual revenue plans control the posting of revenue. You must generate revenue recognition journal entries to post the revenue to the general ledger.

Fair value price list: A list of the records that define what a reasonable price is for a certain item. In revenue agreements, the fair value price is used to allocate revenue.

Any company that has complex revenue streams, long-term contracts, and recurring revenue models may face challenges related to revenue recognition. It is essential for these companies to have appropriate tools and processes in place to manage revenue recognition in a compliant and accurate manner. Netsuite Advanced Revenue Management provides companies with a comprehensive solution for revenue recognition, enabling them to comply with accounting standards, handle complex scenarios, improve accuracy, speed up financial close, and make better decisions.

AccoSuite has certified consultants to implement NetSuite Advanced Revenue Management. 

If you wish your company to be more competitive, have improved business processes, have an easy way to identify and meet your customer demands, reach out to AccoSuite consultants to support you during digitalisation journey!

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