The Significance and Application of the Revenue Recognition Principle

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Part 1 The Revenue Recognition Principle: Its Significance and Application According to Kimmel, Kieso and Waygandt (2011), "the revenue recognition principle requires that companies recognize revenue in the accounting period in which it is earned." Basically, this means that revenues should be recognized (or in other words recorded) on completion of the process of revenue generation i.e. once revenue has been earned. This is as per the accrual basis of accounting. Essentially, revenue recognition derives its significance from its utilization when it comes to the determination of the specific accounting period in which earnings should be recorded. Ignoring the revenue recognition principle could end up distorting an entity's balance sheet/statement of financial position. It is important to note that without adherence to this principle, it could be possible for entities experiencing a decline in sales to hide such an occurrence by modifying some items. In such a case, a refundable cash inflow i.e. a deposit used as security for the possible completion of an agreed upon task at a specified future time could be recognized as revenue. Under this principle, such an inflow should ideally be recognized as a liability and later as revenue only after the said task has been completed. A Distinction between Period Expense and Product Expense Generally, product expenses include all those costs associated with the acquisition, manufacture or production of a product. Drury (2007)

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