The Influence of IFRS 15 on Recognition of Revenue for the Telecommunication Industry

Thomas Hansen Madsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the effect of the new standard for revenue recognition, which is “IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers”. The main quest in this thesis is:” What changes does IFRS 15 cause compared to the current recognition standards in relation to recognition and measuring revenue, and how will this affect the companies in the telecommunication industry?” The telecommunication industry in Denmark is presented and analyzed in section 2 in the thesis, and the analysis shows, that the companies operating in the Danish telecommunication industry, with the biggest market shares, measured relative to the subscriptions in the industry, are TDC, Telenor and Telia. The characteristics for the companies in the telecommunication industry are, that the companies often have many contracts with the customers and a lot these are contracts with multiple elements. Additionally, the customers often choose to modify their contracts, and customers changing telecommunication providers often occurs in the industry. The current revenue recognition standards, IAS 18 and IAS 11, are presented and examined in section 3, and revenue recognition after the new revenue standard IFRS 15, is presented and examined in section 4. The current and the new revenue recognition standards are compared in section 5, and the differences and similarities are analyzed in relation to revenue recognition. One of the areas in which IFRS 15 will recognize revenue differently, is when companies allocate the transaction price to the different performance obligations in a contract with multiple performance obligations. Other areas in which IFRS 15 will recognize revenue differently, is when recognizing a contract modification, identifying separate performance obligations, determining the transaction price when the transaction price is variable, recognition for satisfying performance obligations and recognizing revenue over time. The effects of implementing IFRS 15 are analyzed in section 6, in relation to the telecommunication industry by using practical examples. The analysis shows, that allocating the transaction prices to the performance obligations, can be affected significantly after recognizing revenue with the IFRS 15 standard, in contracts with multiple elements. The new standard will allocate and accrue more revenue to the beginning of a contract, compared to the same contract recognized after the current revenue recognition standards. The thesis concludes that IFRS 15 will have more guidance for revenue recognition, than the current revenue standards, which probably will cause the revenue recognition to be more consistent between companies. The practical examples shows, that allocating transaction prices to performance obligations, recognizing contract modifications and recognizing acquisition costs from indirect sales channels, will be significantly affected by IFRS 15. In general, the thesis concludes that IFRS 15 will cause a significant effect on revenue recognition, for companies in the Danish telecommunication industry, and these effects can lead to significant changes in the companies’ financial statements.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages95