Revenue Recognition Construction IAS 11

Revenue Recognition

A Summary of How Revenue is recognized within the Construction Industry under IAS 11

Title: Revenue Recognition: Construction contracts are designed to meet specifications for the negotiations on how assets are constructed or combined to meet their ultimate objectives (Buschhüter, Michael & Andreas 2011). Contract constructions may involve fixed prices where some are subjected to the cost escalation costs. On the hand, a cost plus contract involves reimbursements or allowable and percentages of costs or the fixed rates present. The changes were made to meet the standards of Financial Accounting (IFRS 15 2014). Revenue is considered to be income earned from everyday activities as it goes by different names such as royalties, dividends, interest, fee or sales.

Revenues that are to be recognized would be from the selling goods, providing services royalties and interest. However, in this case, revenue is to be recognized from the construction of contracts. Construction contracts may be either fixed or cost plus contracts or a combination of the two (IAS 11 2011).

In this regard, a contractor needs to identify and determine what contract to use to know when to recognize revenue and costs as well. When the outcome can be properly estimated, the contract revenues and costs would be recognized as revenues and expenses respectively at the end of the contract period. A loss is also recognized as an expense by the accounting standards.

In fixed price contracts, construction contracts are estimated reliably once total contract revenues are reliable. The revenues are considered as benefits since the effects will be felt positively by any business. Stages of contract completion, as well as, the contract costs have been reliable to meet the standards. All contract costs are to be measured reliably to account for the actual contract costs that would be incurred when compared.

Similarly, for cost plus contract to be enforceable, the economic benefits of the contract have to be passed to the entity. The costs have to be also clearly and easily identified for measurements to be done reliably (IFRS 15 2014). The recognized revenue at the end of a contract is considered to be the percentage of completion. This whereby the contract revenues are matched with the contract costs and then reported in the books of account.

Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition

Afterward, the contract revenues and costs are recognized as revenues costs in the profit and loss account. The expected excess of costs over revenues is treated as expenses. If the outcomes are not measured reliably, the revenues will not be recognized and perhaps not even recoverable in the business. An entity will then disclose the revenues recognized during the accounting period as techniques of arriving at the revenues will be recognized as well.

A Description of the Process of Developing New Standards IFRS 15

The International Financial Reporting Standard had to be formed by the Internal Accounting Standards Board; IASB to provide rules and procedures on how to account for revenues that are from customers. There were significant differences between IASB and the IFRS when it came to the definitions of revenue.

Even though they were almost similar, the different understanding of revenue resulted in different ways of treating revenue in financial accounting. The IASB thought they had not given enough revenue standards, policies and procedures on how revenue was treated (IAS 18 1993).

The IASB began working on the issues to try and formulate ways it could solve the issue from 2002.Their first review paper was released in 2008 as they further discussed it and gathered information from relevant sources. Afterward, a release on the exposure draft was done proposing the new accounting standards in 2010 and 2011. After a long process of deliberations and reviews that took several years, the IASB issued the final standard on 28th May 2014.

Changes made about the IAS 18 included recognizing and measuring financial tools revised in 2003 and the 2004 revision of insurance contracts. In 2007, the presentation of financial statements was reviewed through amendments in the different terms used. Their first issued review in 2008, involved investment costs in jointly controlled entities and subsidiaries as well as improvements on the IFRS. The same year also saw IFRIC agreements on issues relating to the constructions of the real estate.

The IFRIC 15 also dealt with issues of the non-monetary contributions by investors in entities that are jointly controlled as they evaluated all legalities in leasing or substance transactions. Barter trade and service concession agreements were also made as they issued customer loyalty programs in 2007 (IAS 18 1993). The IFRS 15 model follows procedures that begin with the; identification of the contracts as well as all individual parties involved.

Transaction prices are also determined as the prices are allocated to the different obligations in accounting. Revenues are finally recognized as the performance obligations are fulfilled. The amount of revenue to recognize and when acquiring costs are capitalized as assets are under the guidelines of the IFRS 15. Any of the expenses not capitalized as assets are considered to be expenses incurred. After all proper recognitions are reporting is done, financials are to be properly disclosed by the company.

Why the Process of Developing New Standards has proven to be difficult and Time-consuming

The new revenue recognition standards had left out key areas that bring in revenue and had not been recognized. New standards on how to recognize revenue had to be set for businesses to follow by the relevant bodies. The objective of the new set of rules and procedures is to explain how the different revenues would be treated.

Revenue recognition is recognized when it estimated to bring economic benefits that are measurable to the business in the future. Therefore, practical guidance is given on how the criteria will be met. The International Accounting Standards Board adopted previously issued the construction contracts and the new standards of recognizing revenue.

IAS 18 was put in place to replace the former methods of recognizing revenue while the IAS 11 replaced some accounting rules on the construction of contacts (Buschhüter, Michael & Andreas 2011). This is to help in knowing how to treat costs and revenues that are associated with the nature of activities undertaken.

Also, due to the then existing rules, changing to new standards had to take long processes of deliberations that were time-consuming. Steps had to be followed as described above as company’s found it hard to easily and quickly adapt to the new set of rules. The new set rules had to be then applied first to see if they would meet the specifications with no interference of other accounts that would result in imbalances in the financial statement and misappropriation and misallocation of resources.

Changing one side would have to result in changing of the other side to cancel out the effects. For instance, in ledger accounts, a debit entry has to be followed a credit entry and vice versa is also true.

What people do not know is that different firms have different accounting rules they follow. A majority however, follow the international standards while others follow the U.S. GAAP principles (Kieso, Jerry & Terry 2010). Unlike the U.S. GAAP, the International Financial Reporting Standards does not always give extensive regulation prompting the need of having some exercises in judgments in some instances. The U.S. GAAP accounting is based on standards while the IFRS focuses more on principles.

The accounting differences have made the financial comparison between different organizations difficult. For instance, actuarial gains and losses are treated differently. They are treated as off-balance sheet items by the IFRS standards unlike under the U.S GAAP. The off-balances in the balance sheets would cause volatilities and fluctuations. Therefore, the IASB is trying as much as it can to harmonize the differences in the standards. This would also take time as the harmonization would require changes in almost every aspect of accounting (IASB 2006). Adaptation by firms would take time as well making it a difficult and a long, tedious process.

A Summary of how the New Standard IFRS 15 would Deal with a Construction Contract where Construction Happened Over One Accounting Period

The important principle of IFRS is that a company would have to recognize revenue for it to be related to the transfer of the commodities and services that were promised and what the company is expected to get. Services rendered depend on the agreement of the specific time it should cover. The period might exceed one accounting period as would be expected.

An accounting period is often considered to take one year. This, therefore, means that more than one accounting period takes more than one year. The work done at construction contracts usually take more than one accounting period. Therefore, rules have to be set that best suit the situation. One of the methods is to recognized revenues or profit at the end of the contract. This would be through following the IAS 18 – Revenue (IAS 18 1993).

Recognizing profit at the end of the period does not show that profit was accrued. Under the IAS 11 all revenues and costs will be matched to the accounting period and documented at the end of each financial period (IAS 11 2011). Recognition of profit at the end of the contract would see the company reporting spikes or rises in profits that may not often be matched with the accruals. This is because the revenues would have accumulated to amounts exceeding what would have been recognized in one accounting period (Ursachi, Antonela, & Geanina 2014).

In this regard, revenues and costs are only recognized once estimations of the outcome are reliable. As stated earlier, properly estimated outcomes from contracts should be reliable for use and interpretation. An expected contract loss should be recognized immediately. The completion stage would be calculated on the basis of sales, costs, and physical proportions.

Revenue recognition done at the end of the construction contracts is known as the percentage of completion method. The reported revenue and costs would later be credited to the proportion of work that was completed (IAS 11 2011). The contract revenue is recognized as revenues while the contract costs as expenses in the profit and loss accounts. Similar to when accounting was done in one accounting period, expected amount that exceeds when contract costs are more than contract revenues are treated as expenses.

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Reference List

Buschhüter, M & Andreas S 2011, ‘IAS 11–Revenue Recognition & Construction Contracts’, Kommentar Internationale Rechnungslegung IFRS. Gabler, 374-391.

International Accounting Standards Board Revenue Recognition: (IASB) 2006, ‘International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS’s): Including International Accounting Standards (IAS’s) and Interpretations’, International Accounting Standards Board.

International Accounting Standards Committee 2010, Revenue Recognition – ‘IAS 18’ Revenue, London: IASC 1993.

Kieso, E, Jerry W, & Terry W 2010, Intermediate accounting – Revenue Recognition: IFRS edition. Vol. 1. John Wiley & Sons.

Ursachi, Antonela, & Geanina M 2014, ‘IFRS 15–revenue from contracts with customers – Revenue Recognition,’ 2nd International Conference-2014.

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IFRS IASB Frameworks

Finance Assignment – Various normative theories, measurement issues under IFRS and Conceptual framework

This report basically provides an analysis of different financial accounting measurement techniques, their advantages and disadvantages and practical implications. Accounting measurement has become a controversial issue due to its assorted nature in financial reporting system. The conceptual framework developed by both systems is unable to provide accurate cost of assets and liabilities at the end of financial year. There is a misunderstanding behind the rationale that whether measurement is a set of calculation or numbers but it provides no as such vivid explanations and is totally cognitive based. A lot of research work and publications have been made about this topic but the matter is still under consideration. Financial reporting measurement is a debatable issue and still under consideration. Most of the literature has been published on the issue of historical cost and value accounting. It shows that it is never ending issue. Historical cost measurements narrates that total assets and total liabilities should be recorded and reported at the procured price while current cost accounting states that assets and liabilities should be recorded and reported at existing market value.

Role of IASB & FASB frameworks

International Accounting Standard Board Framework

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are based on the IASB framework developed for the sake of preparation and presentation of financial statement.

Financial Accounting Standard Board Framework

FASB is U.S primary body for the development of accounting standards. It issues new rules so called Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) based upon FASB which are basically derived from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

IASB and FASB frameworks present a facility of persistent and logical formulation of IFRSs and SFAS respectively. Both of these also aim to provide its users with a platform to resolve various complex accounting issues. Hence, framework has the benefit being the status of conceptual base for development of IFRSs.

The IASB issues IFRS to more than hundred countries which also include European Union but it excludes United States. There is a strong co-relation among both IASB and FASB standards. It is probable that U.S will also move to IFRS in 2016. Despite of all this, both IASB and FASB sat together to reach at a final conclusion about this matter but still there is a room for improvement. Mary E. Barth has concluded that Fair value measurement provides somewhat precise and specific value of both assets and liabilities. The core objective of this report is to determine why other frameworks lack behind. (Mary E. Barth, 2013, pp 2-3)

Comparison of various cost approaches

There are many cost measurement techniques which are used to record assets and liabilities in financial statements; some of these are as follows:

Unmodified historical cost

This type of cost includes those amounts which were paid at the time of procurement of assets no matter whatsoever the life of asset is. It is totally inadequate way of recording measurement.

Modified historical cost

This cost is modified due to various factors like impairments, amortization due to depreciation or appreciation of asset with the passage of time. It seems to be relatively more valid type of measurements.

Fair value measurement

It is a net price which can be received while selling an asset or paying any liability in a logical transaction among market participants at the measurement time frame.

These are frequently used in financial reporting and possess different characteristics. Only one of these techniques is used to record assets and liabilities in common practice so as to draw conclusion based upon performance. Financial statements are comprised of total assets (both current and fixed), total liabilities (both current and long term) and owner’s equity. The framework indicates that equity is the difference between the assets and liabilities after proper measurements. (Mary E. Barth, 2013)

Critical Analysis

The aggregation is a qualitative attribute which slightly affects the quantity. Hence, a minor change in assets and liabilities generally affects net income and expense. However, the Framework does not elucidate the factors behind balancing effects on Statement of Financial Position (SOFP) and Comprehensive Income.

Fair value provide more effective results as compared to un modified and modified costs in case of single assets and liabilities as it contains both qualitative and take into account assets and liabilities. Whereas unmodified cost is totally irrelevant and invalid. Modified cost if not supported with accounting standards cannot be explained in a scenario. Fair value determination is only more reliable and accurate if it is acquired faithfully with an ethical mentality. Still there is an ambiguity whether modified historical cost is more appropriate than fair value determination. Hence we may conclude that fair value and unmodified costs are set according to a specific economic objective while modified is an accounting calculative work.

Despite of all these measurement techniques, only one selected technique should be used for estimation so as to achieve significant accounting results. Anyhow, other technique can be used where direct measurement is impossible for estimation. This approach will be helpful to maintain consistency, comparability and significant aggregation of accounting data. . (Mary E. Barth, 2013, pp 19-20)

IASB recommended approach

IASB also endeavours to find a single measurement technique in its own projects. IASB also favours fair value measurement that it provides more effective results, though it sometimes fails to assess the cost of any asset. Practically, all the framework of accounting regulations except IFRS is not using single approach of measurement. For instance, measurement of cost to predict operating cash flows will provide major share of turnover in going concern business approach, while fair value would be more appropriate, relevant and reliable for the valuation of marketable securities and investments. However if you use different approaches in each financial year, the descriptive authority of such aggregation would be more poor and risky.

Preliminary and Subsequent measurements

However, measurement approaches can be distinguished according to preliminary and subsequently with respect to nature of the measurement subject matter. For example, in case of going concern business, long term assets meets the pre-requisites while current liquid assets (inventories) and marketable securities are measured differently. However, it all depends upon standard setters that which measurement technique should be selected.

All the regulations of Accounting including IASB, FASB, UK Accounting Standards Board and Australian Standard Boards possess a common thing that financial statements are primarily developed to help its stake holders (external and internal users) so that they may analyze the organization. Investors can depict growth rate, market value and share value (Jiri Strouhal, 2014).

IFRS IASB Frameworks
IFRS IASB Frameworks

Effects of choosing wrong measurement approach

Determining right choice of measurement is very important for organizations. There are five different approaches like as fair value treatment of costs, historical cost accounting, modified historical cost accounting, current purchasing power accounting, current cost accounting and continuously contemporary accounting. All these techniques have various pros and cons. But fair value treatment of costs is mostly used and reliable approach to recognize costs. Accountant should be prudent while choosing cost approach.

Wrong choice of cost approach may adversely affects the financial statements, shareholders image towards firm’s assets and liabilities. Historical cost accounting deals with recording assets on purchased price which is wrong measurement. If any asset is to be sold, then we need to consider again choose either fair value approach or modified historical cost accounting as a measurement rather than historical cost accounting value. This type of costing is only helpful for long term basis if re-procurement of machine or asset is to be needed.

Current purchasing power accounting measurement shows the impact of inflation on the net value of money. To achieve CPP, firstly historical costs are changed into current prices with the help of consumer price index (CPI). But Price indexes quality includes simply averages and perhaps not matches with expenses incurred by even a single shareholder. It sometimes becomes ridiculous that if re-stated asset values considered everything while the changed amount is neither paid nor is asset value increased. Current cost accounting despite of its importance is not reliable for long term basis. Then we move to historical cost accounting for decision making.

International Accounting Standards

Some of the most important International Accounting Standards have been explained below to elucidate the effect of measurement and reporting accounting on current assets and liabilities.

Fair value measurement (IFRS-13)

Fair value measurements are mostly used and reporting standard. IASB, FASB, AASB lays stress to use this standard but each one provide their own standard guidelines for the determination of fair value. IFRS-13 also tells how preliminary fair value is to be measured and how successive fair value is found.

Fair value: It is an amount which can be gained when an asset is sold or a liability is transferred among market participants in normal transactions at measurement date. Market participant are usually those buyers which have economic and ethical rationale.

Fair values should be gained from principal market as it is pure competitive market and possess large volume of desired nature. If it is unavailable, then accountant should concern from advantageous market. Final fair value must contain location of asset and its condition


  • Transaction cost should be ignored
  • Transportation cost should be incorporated
  • In case of most advantageous market, both transaction and transportation costs should be incorporated

Inventories (IAS-2)

This standard has been developed to assist and provide a valuable accounting treatment for physical inventory which is a current asset. This treats cost of the inventory like an asset which can be easily carry forward unless it is sold. The standard also aimed to provide assistance to recognize and determine the costs along with net realizable value.


This standard is valid for all inventories excluding:

  1. It is not valid for construction contracts specially treatment of work in progress
  2. Financial instruments including marketable securities
  3. Natural assets or biological assets

Measurement of inventories

Inventories must be recorded at the lesser cost and net realizable value (NRV).

Cost of Inventory

Inventory cost includes cost of purchase, conversion cost (Labour and Production overhead) and the cost freight charges incurred to bring an asset from vendor place to factory.

Cost of purchase

This cost is comprised of purchase price, transportation charges, import duties, taxation other costs incurred to attain asset and trade discount and other discounts are deducted from original cost of purchase.

Cost formulas

Inventory once purchased can be calculated by using first in first method (FIFO) and weighted average cost method while last in first out (LIFO) is not allowed.

Cost of the inventory can be calculated through FIFO and Weighted Average Cost Method. However, LIFO method is not permitted.

Record of reversing (Expense)

Reversal of note down of equivalent inventory might be prepared up to the cost.

Events after reporting period (IAS-10)

IAS-10 tells the treatment for those events which occurs after the financial period. So, adjustments are to be made in financial statements. Management will provide final approval of accounts on 31st Mar, 2014 while final accounts will be forwarded to annual general meeting (AGM) to get approval for shareholders on 30th Apr, 2014. After this, reports will be authorized for issuance.

IAS-10 is appropriate for those events which are took place after the balance sheet date but to the date of authorization by the management i.e. 31st Dec, 2012 to 31st Mar, 2013. Event can be adjusting or non-adjusting.

Adjusting Events

Those events which present supplementary proof of their existence at the financial statement i.e. balance sheet are called adjusting events. Adjusting events are needed to be documented in the financial statements.


  • Errors and inaccuracies in financial statements if discovered after reporting period, their adjustments will be covered in adjusting events.
  • If a court case was settled validating the compulsions at the end of financial period.
  • If an asset was purchased earlier but cost of purchase confirmed after reporting period. 

Non Adjusting Events

Those events which doesn’t support supplementary proof of their existence at the financial statement i.e. balance sheet are called non-adjusting events. Non adjusting events are needed to be disclosed in the notes of financial statements.


  • Declaration of dividends is a non-adjusting event as these are recorded once these are proposed after reporting date.
  • Anomalous loss, natural disasters, amalgamation, renovation and acquisitions do not provide supplementary events so these are adjusting events.

Historical Cost Accounting

Historical cost is a sum of price which is paid by firm to acquire an asset for use. It includes all costs incurred to bring the asset for smooth operation. It is an ancient accounting standard which was developed with a rationale that prices are smooth and normal changes occur with a passage of time. Such conservative style of accounting doesn’t make and stipulation for change in purchasing power. There is less manipulation of mangers as it is only recorded at acquisition price every year. Accountants have to meet the expected return of its shareholders and investor despite of the net wealth of the firm. This shows that primarily focus is upon income statement which will be a vivid glance whether firm is working efficiently or not. (Jiri Strouhal, 2014).


  • Historical cost has a substantive effect on appraisal evaluation and assortment of decision rules.
  • If management has to determine which decision would be more useful, it may get help from past performance.
  • Historical cost is directly associated with past decision. Past data is helpful to forecast for better decision making. There prime object is to determine what profit did they earn in past not what they can increase.


Historical cost is inappropriate for decision making as it doesn’t follow stewardship function. Investors have more concern with up and down in their investments return rather stable return.

Modified historical cost

This historical cost is modified by inculcating various factors like impairments, amortization due to depreciation or appreciation of asset with the passage of time. It seems to be relatively more valid type of measurement. Modified cost basically provide better picture of firms assets and liabilities. In Australia, modified historical cost system is used instead of historical cost accounting. It states that assets should be recorded in balance sheet after fair value determination.

Current purchasing power accounting

It is an accounting measurement which shows the impact of inflation on the net vale of money. To achieve CPP, firstly historical costs are changed into current prices with the help of consumer price index (CPI).

This theory is basically derived from macroeconomic “inflation” perspective that persistent rise in general price level of commodities also called inflation adversely affects currency value. If pound value is decreased then it becomes difficult to compare financial statements by using this approach.


  • CPP recognized the worth of money which should be generated and maintained in business to sustain overall shareholder’s purchasing power.
  • It is comparatively easy, cheaper and improves overall shareholders worth by eliminating inflationary elements which arise from change in currency from monetary profit.


  • Price indexes quality includes simply averages and perhaps not matches with expenses incurred by even a single shareholder.
  • It sometimes becomes ridiculous that if re-stated asset values considered everything while the changed amount is never paid nor is asset value increased.

Current Cost Accounting

Assets are usually values at specific amount of cash or its equivalents if same asset is to be acquired for use in firm. Similarly, liabilities are also settled with the discounted amount of cash or its equivalents needed to reconcile the obligation presently.


Current cost accounting use present clearer picture of an asset as compared with historical cost accounting which is helpful for decision making. Due to high degree of precariousness in business environment, financial statements should also demonstrate reality instead of past transactions. A study on New Zeland company directors by Duncan & Moorers (1988) signified that current cost accounting presents more valid and reliable information than historical cost accounting.


Peasnell et. al. (1987) stated that cost accounting information is used by investors in short term assortment decision making. It also doesn’t work as a driving force for long term returns. Shareholders are more concerned with historical cost accounting to get information about investment returns.

Continuously contemporary accounting

This famous accounting theory commonly known as CocoA was given by an Australian Raymond Chambers. The purchasing primacy of money is highly volatile or current and is subject to change with the passage of time. This model basically tells that the current worth of the business is equal to the total cash equivalents of its assets. It just like current cost accounting system measure both assets and liabilities at the existing cash price.


The model is designed in this way that accountants can easily deploy it in developing balance sheets and financial statements. The true picture of assets and liabilities in cash price provide an assistance to firm in rapidly changing environment. CoCoA balance sheets only estimates what will be received if its assets are sold to meet short term liquidity challenge.


CoCoA system requires from the management to shift from cost based system to way out price which is highly opposed by top management in many firms. The CoCoA balance sheets are mostly failing in calculating internal worth of the assets as they only focus on market prices.

Finance Accounting Dissertation Topics
Finance Accounting Dissertation Topics

Case Study (valuation of roads and highways)

Renewal accounting method basically determines the impairment of highway infrastructure and roads. Highway infrastructure is considered a single asset and many performance indicators are applied to evaluate impairment on asset. Asset valuation involves measures to calculate firm’s assets and their current value in monetary terms. Current monetary value is also evaluated by depreciated replacement cost method for highway infrastructure assets specially.

DRC = Gross Replacement Cost – Accumulated Consumption

Impairment should be calculated by a consistent approach. Once an approach is set, valuation should be prescribed. Finite life assets and components by using conventional method is valid valuation impairment approach for highway infrastructure and roads.

All the assets and components can be categorized into two types:

  • Conditions based maintenance

This identifies physical condition and performance data is also used for estimation of consumption of the asset whereas maintenance cost is also paid to make it look new.

  • Time based maintenance

This approach identifies the asset consumption by its age and condition

Modified historical cost would be more applicable for smooth reporting and recording of costs in this case. As roads and highways are long term projects and their value also changes with the passage of time.


  1. Mary E. Barth (2013). Measurement in Financial Reporting: The Need for Concepts. Forthcoming, Accounting Horizons 2014, 40(1) 2-20
  2. Jiri Strouhal (2014) Historical Costs or Fair Value in Accounting: Impact on Selected Financial Ratios, Journal of Economics, Business and Management 2015, 3(5)1-5
  3. IASCF Staff (2005). Measurement Bases for Financial Accounting-Measurement on Initial Recognition 70(1) 101-180
  4. International Accounting Standards Board, 2011, International Financial Reporting Standard 2 IASB, London.
  5. International Accounting Standards Board, 2011, International Financial Reporting Standard 13 Fair value measurement. IASB, London.
  6. International Accounting Standards Board, 2011, International Financial Reporting Standard 10 Events after reporting period. IASB, London.
  7. Current-purchasing-power (CPP)
  8. Continuously contemporary accounting (CCA), retrieved Dec, 2014
  9. Guidance Document for Highway Infrastructure Asset Valuation taken

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