The Percentage Of Completion Method & Formula Explained

While using this method, you need to post entries for the transactions allocated to the current period. If 20% of the work is completed in the current accounting period, the business recognizes only 20% of the profit in the current year.

What does ASC 326 Replace?

ASC 326 replaces the incurred loss methodology with a framework that requires recognition of financial assets as the amount expected to be collected through the measurement of expected credit losses.

Once upon a time, contractors essentially chose between a contract-complete method or a percentage-of-completion method for recording revenue. More recently, the new ASC 606 revenue recognition standards have ushered many changes and raised as many questions. There are two main conditions for the use of the percentage of completion method. First, collections by the company must be reasonably assured; second, the company must be able to reasonably estimate costs and the rate of project completion. The percentage of completion method reports revenues and expenses in terms of the work completed to date. Additionally, in order for your revenue estimates with PoC to be accurate, you must be reasonably assured that you will collect on your receivables according to the timeline laid out in the contract.

It provides a rational way of knowing how much to bill a client in each period. In the case of a long-term contract, the percentage of completion method is the standard construction accounting method.

The Basics Of The Poc Method

Contractors need to consider finer points of guidance as well, just as with previous GAAP guidance and IRS reporting requirements. Construction businesses should work closely with their construction-specific CPA for guidance on their particular situation and contracts. The new revenue guidance under ASC 606 introduces “transfer of control” to determine when to recognize revenue for completed work. Transfer of control essentially occurs when the work becomes the customer’s to own and have use of. Depending on the contract, it can happen either at a single point in time or over time.

They increase or decrease the amount of revenue recognized on the income statement and create an asset or a liability on the balance sheet. Generally accepted accounting principles require that revenue be recognized in the period it was earned. This means for most long-term projects, the percentage of completion method should be used. While using the input method of measurement, the IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers provides detailed guidance on the treatment of ‘uninstalled materials’ as it affects the revenue recognized. This is because the cost related to uninstalled materials does not represent the contractor’s progress in satisfying a performance obligation.

Percentage Of Completion Method

The IRS allows contractors to deduct expenses as incurred, which might be in a different period than the one calculated via the GAAP methods. Therefore, the GAAP and IRS project profits might differ in a contract period, although they should coincide by the end of the project. Percentage of completion method is commonly measured through the cost-to-cost method which compares costs incurred to total estimated costs. To estimate the percentage of completion, you divide the total expenditure incurred from inception to date with the total estimated costs of the contract. The costs incurred in reaching each stage of completion are matched to the revenue. This allows profits and losses to be attributed to the proportion of work completed. The percentage of completion method is usually used by construction companies for multi-period contracts.

The practice of retainage, aka retention, has a tremendous impact on the construction industry. Information provided on this web site “Site” by Thompson Greenspon is intended for reference only. The information contained herein is designed solely to provide guidance to the user, and is not intended to be a substitute for the user seeking personalized professional advice based on specific factual situations.


Are recognized each period based on the percentage of work completed or costs incurred. This is the proportion of effort expended to date in comparison to the total effort expected to be expended for the contract. For example, the percentage of completion might be based on direct labor hours, or machine hours, or material quantities. Accounting method refers to the rules a company follows in reporting revenues and expenses in accrual accounting and cash accounting. The completed contract method enables a company to postpone recognizing revenue and expenses until a contract is completed. Percentage of completion method is vulnerable to abuse by unethical companies. Those who wish to engage in creative accountingcan easily move around income and expenses from one period to another period, understating or overstating amounts.

Cash Collected is the amount of money StrongBridges Ltd. received for the construction of the bridge. Billings are the amount of money StrongBridges Ltd. billed for the construction of the bridge.

Common Construction Project Delivery Methods: A Breakdown

Once the contractor has determined the percentage of completion for a project, the percent is multiplied by the total expected revenue. The answer is the amount of income that can be recognized on the project to date. This income is recognized on the income statement through the work in progress report.

percentage of completion method

Losses are recognized in the year when they are discovered, the same way as for the completed contract method. The balance sheet presentation is the same as in the completed contract method. Making sure contract amounts and estimates are accurate on the work in progress report ensures income is reported correctly and avoids penalties for overbillings. If work has been added to a project and not been entered into the accounting software, the project may appear to be overbilled based on the percentage of costs. These adjustments ensure that the income shown on the income statement is reflective of the percentage of completion method. Waiting until the end of a project makes the accounting easier but means that a contractor’s income will seem unsteady and irregular, since projects end at different times.

Who Uses The Percentage Of Completion?

One survey of construction companies found that a whopping 28% of them cited cash flow as their biggest concern, which ranked it higher than finding new customers. As you continue to grow your business, maintaining good cash flow management becomes even more critical. As a business, spreading your tax liabilities across multiple years ensures the project does not go belly-up before completion. By reporting expenses annually, you lower your taxable income and write off qualifying expenses. Estimating cost and revenue per project focused on a specific period and extent of completion allows an accountant to immediately recognize the construction project’s value and income to date.

percentage of completion method

Compared to the completed contract method, the Percentage of Completion Method is significantly more complicated. But it can provide more current insight into financial performance on long-term contracts, if your estimates are reliable. We can help determine the appropriate method for reporting revenue and expenses, based on the nature of your operations and your company’s size, so contact us today. In contrast to the completed-contract method, percentage of completion allows contractors to recognize revenue as they earn it over time. As a project progresses toward completion, the contractor can bill for the work they’ve performed.

Accrual Accounting Vs Cash Basis Accounting: What’s The Difference?

This accounting principle requires that a certain degree of caution should be exercised while recording revenue in the books of accounts. Many times, a long-term contract can be split into multiple smaller units that are delivered to the customer, and the price, delivery schedule, units, etc. of each separate unit are mentioned in the contract itself. Underbilling occurs when a contractor does not bill for all the labor and materials delivered in a billing cycle.

The percentage of completion method falls in-line with IFRS 15, which indicates that revenue from performance obligations recognized over a period of time should be based on the percentage of completion. The method recognizes revenues and expenses in proportion to the completeness of the contracted project. To calculate the percentage of completion for a project, there are three indicators contractors can use. The most common is costs incurred to date, but they can also use units completed or labor hours.

Once you’ve determined that PoC is a good fit for your organization, then you need to have a plan for implementation. Make sure your methods of calculating revenue and expenses are standardized across all projects.

If, at the beginning of the contract, the contractor can’t estimate the required subcontractor hours, another measure should be used. The IRS defines small contracts as those that will be completed within two years. It defines small contractors as those with gross receipts not over $25 million in the previous three years. The completion of work is measured by the percentage of efforts expended till date as compared to estimated total effort expected to be expended for each contract. The percentage of completion is based on labor hours, machine hours or material. While many aspects of a percentage-of-completion method remain the same under ASC 606, the new guidance does need to be studied seriously. Some of the larger conceptual changes regarding performance obligations impact how it will be used.

  • Construction businesses should work closely with their construction-specific CPA for guidance on their particular situation and contracts.
  • As mentioned, in order for the method to be successful, the company must be able to estimate revenues, costs, and the total length of time of the project.
  • In this way, recognizing revenue “over time” under ASC 606 is very similar to using the percentage-of-completion method.
  • Percentage of completion method is commonly measured through the cost-to-cost method which compares costs incurred to total estimated costs.
  • It has also been used by defense contractors and software developers whose projects represent a multi-year commitment of resources.
  • In this case, the quantity of material consumed will be taken as the basis.

When most of your projects last at least a few months, it’s the most accurate way to recognize revenue. For example, a project that has estimated costs of $100,000 has incurred $50,000 in costs so far. Dividing the costs ($50,000) into total estimated costs ($100,000), gives a percentage of completion of 50%.

Here, the biggest challenge is to calculate the percentage of work completed. With a proper dispute resolution clause in place, contractors, subs, and suppliers can avoid taking their disputes into litigation. The steps required in a project’s journey to completion are importation to how successful the project will be. But when change orders are included and estimates change as the project goes along, the calculations can become fairly complicated. Free Financial Modeling Guide A Complete Guide to Financial Modeling This resource is designed to be the best free guide to financial modeling!

On completion, adjusting journal entries are made to adjust the differences. Subtract total estimated contract costs from total estimated contract revenues to arrive at the total estimated gross margin. Another essential element is the contractor’s ability to make dependable estimates regarding the contract’s costs and progress. To measure progress towards completion – in other words, the completion factor – under the PCM, the contract can rely on the costs encountered, the efforts expended or the units delivered. Under IFRS 15, while using the output method the costs incurred in relation to satisfied or partially satisfied performance obligations must be written off to the income statement as they are incurred. To that end, if a contractor uses an input method (including cost-to-cost), they would need to exclude inefficient inputs when measuring progress This includes defective materials or wasted labor. They also need to adjust for “uninstalled materials,” which have a special definition under the guidance.

Construction-in-progress are generally not classified as inventory as it would not be in-line with IAS2.9 . The work in progress report provides a summary of the information used in the percentage of completion calculation.