18 Feb I Need to Recognize the Revenue Now!The H. K. Clar
I Need to Recognize the Revenue Now!The H. K. Clark Health Club sells lifetime memberships for $5,000 each. These memberships entitle a person to unlimited access to the club’s weight room, exercise equipment, swimming pool, and sauna. Once a lifetime membership fee is paid, it is not refundable for any reason. According to the provisions of SAB 101, revenue from the sale of a lifetime membership must be deferred and recognized over the average expected time that a member will continue to use the club facilities. However, if the terms of the membership agreement are interpreted very favorably, a substantial portion of the $5,000 initial fee might be able to be recognized as revenue immediately. Kristen Qi and her partners own the health club. To overcome a cash shortage, they intend to seek a new loan from their bank. Kristen and her partners are meeting with their accountant to provide information for preparation of financial statements. What incentives would Kristen and her partners have for recognizing the entire amount of the lifetime membership fee as revenue at the time it is collected? Since the entire amount will ultimately be recognized anyway, what difference does the timing make? Do Kristen and her partners have any economic incentive to go ahead and defer the membership revenue in accordance with SAB 101?