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Final Update to ASC 718

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April 07, 2016 | Barbara Baksa

Final Update to ASC 718

As noted last week, the FASB has issued the final Accounting Standards Update to ASC 718. Here are a few more tidbits about it.

The ASU Has a Name

Handily, the ASU now has a name that we can use to refer to it:  ASU 2016-09. Now I can stop calling it "the ASU to ASC 718," which was awkward—too many acronyms.

Transition Wrinkle

One surprise to me is how the transition works if the ASU is adopted in an interim period other than the company's first fiscal quarter.  When the ASU is adopted in Q2, Q3, or Q4, the update requires that any adjustments required for the transition be calculated as of the beginning of the fiscal year. Consequently, where companies adopt the ASU in these periods, they will end up having to recalculate the earlier periods in their fiscal year (and restate these periods wherever they appear in their financial statements), even if the transition method is prospective or modified retrospective, which normally would not require recalculation or restatement of prior periods.

For example, if a company adopts the ASU in its second fiscal quarter, the company will have to go back recalculate APIC and tax expense as required under tax accounting approach specified in the ASU for its first fiscal quarter.  Likewise, if the company decides to account for forfeitures as they occur, the company will have to recalculate expense for the first fiscal quarter under the new approach and record a cumulative adjustment to retained earnings as of the beginning of the year, not the beginning of Q2.

While I can understand the rationale for this requirement, it is different than how I expected the transition to work for interim period adoptions.

No Other Surprises

The ASU 2016-09 seems to be an accurate reflection of the decisions made at the FASB's meeting last November and documented ad nauseam here in this blog. I still haven't read every last word of the amended language in the ASC 718, but I don't think there are any other significant surprises.

For more information on ASU 2016-09, be sure to tune in to the NASPP May webcast, "ASC 718 in Motion: The FASB's Amendments."

- Barbara

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