FASB proposes improvements to not-for-profit grant and contribution accounting

Written on Aug 10, 2017

FASB has issued a proposed Accounting Standard Update (ASU) intended to clarify and improve the scope and the accounting guidance for contributions received and made, primarily by not-for-profits. Stakeholders are asked to review and provide comment on the proposed ASU by Nov. 1, 2017.

The proposed ASU helps organizations decide if transactions should be accounted for as a contribution or an exchange. Organizations would accomplish this by using clarifying guidance to evaluate whether a resource provider is receiving value in return for the resources transferred.

The proposed ASU also helps organizations evaluate such arrangements by using an improved framework to determine whether a contribution is conditional or unconditional, and better distinguish a donor-imposed condition from a donor-imposed restriction.

Accounting for contributions is an issue primarily for not-for-profit organizations because contributions are a significant source of revenue.

Amendments in the proposed ASU would apply to all organizations that receive or make contributions of cash and other assets, including business enterprises.

The proposed amendments would not apply to transfers of assets from the government to businesses. The guidance would apply to both a recipient of contributions received and a resource provider of contributions made.

The proposed standard follows the same effective dates as the Revenue Recognition standard:

  • A public company or a not-for-profit organization that has issued, or is a conduit bond obligor for, securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an exchange or an over-the-counter market would apply the new standard to annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2017, including interim periods within that annual period.
  • Other organizations would apply the standard to annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2018, and interim periods within annual periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2019.

Early adoption of the amendments in this proposed ASU would be permitted irrespective of the early adoption of the amendments in the Revenue Recognition standard.

More details can be found within the proposed ASU and FASB in Focus, which are available at www.fasb.org. FASB also will host a webcast in the coming months on the proposed ASU.

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