IFRS 15 Pre-Contract Establishment Date activities – Important to know

Pre-Contract Establishment Date activities

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Partially Satisfied Performance Obligations Before the Identification of a Contract

Entities sometimes begin activities on a specific anticipated contract with their customer before (1) the parties have agreed to all of the contract terms or (2) the contract meets the criteria in step 1 (see Step 1 Identify the contract) of IFRS 15. The IASB staff refer to the date on which the contract meets the step 1 criteria as the “contract establishment date” (CED) and refer to activities performed before the CED as “pre-CED activities.”

TRG Update — Pre-CED Activities

The FASB and IASB staffs noted that stakeholders have identified two issues with respect to pre-CED activities:

  • How to recognize revenue from pre-CED activities.
  • How to account for certain fulfillment costs incurred before the CED.

The TRG discussed these issues in March 2015.

TRG members generally agreed with the staffs’ conclusion that once the criteria in step 1 have been met, entities should recognize revenue for pre-CED activities on a cumulative catch-up basis (i.e., record revenue as of the CED for all satisfied or partially satisfied performance obligations) rather than prospectively because cumulative catch-up is more consistent with the new revenue standard’s core principle.

The two Q&A below demonstrates the application of the TRG’s general agreement.

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Electricity revenue recognition example

Electricity revenue recognition example

Application of the five-step model

Facts: Bundle Seller Co (‘Seller’) and Bundle Buyer Co (‘Buyer’) executed an agreement for the purchase and sale of 1oMW of electricity per hour and the associated renewable energy credits (‘RECs’) (one REC for each MWh) at a fixed bundled price (‘the agreement’ or ‘the PPA’). The contract term begins on 1 January 20X1 and ends on 31 December 20X4, and the fixed bundled price during each of those respective years is $200, $205, $210 and $215.

The increase in the bundled price represents the increase in the forward price of electricity and RECs over the term of Electricity revenue recognition examplethe agreement as of the acquisition date. Control, including title to and risk of loss related to the electricity, will pass and transfer on delivery at a single point on the electricity grid. Control, including title to and risk of loss related to RECs, will pass and transfer when the associated electricity is delivered.

Seller and other market participants frequently execute contracts for the purchase and sale of electricity and RECs on a stand-alone basis.

Seller concluded that this arrangement does not contain a lease (that is, no property, plant or equipment is explicitly or implicitly identified). The electricity element of this arrangement qualifies for the ‘own use’ exception and thus is not accounted for as a derivative. The REC element has no net settlement characteristics. As such, each element of this agreement is within the scope of IFRS 15.

Electricity revenue recognition – IFRS 15 step-by-step

Step 1 – Identify the contract with a customer

This agreement, including each of its elements (that is, electricity and RECs), is within the scope of the standard, and collection of the contract consideration is considered probable.

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