The Advantages of the Completed Contract Method Chron com

completed-contract method

Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. DisclaimerAll content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. The construction industry has recently started its climb back to pre-pandemic numbers as the world begins to return to normal. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdown of the past few years, the construction industry was finally looking up as starts increased and… Underbilling occurs when a contractor does not bill for all the labor and materials delivered in a billing cycle.

completed-contract method

If a business is working with a small budget and doesn’t want taxes to interfere with its operating costs, the completed contract method provides an attractive solution. A preferred accounting method for residential projects and other short-term contracts is that the completed contract method features simplicity due to the shifting of liability. The completed contract method has certain advantages for some contractors. If a project won’t be completed until the following year, the company won’t have to pay tax on that revenue this year. The percentage of completion method reports revenues and expenses in terms of the work completed to date. This method can only be used if payment is assured and estimating completion is relatively straightforward. The percentage of completion method has been misused by some companies to boost short-term results.

Percentage of Completion vs Completed Contract Method

In US GAAP, during the construction process, the company does not recognize revenues or expenses. In addition to the journal entries to record costs, billings and collection, in the last year of the contract, a journal entry is recorded to recognize the gross profit. A construction company is entering into a contract with a private client, Stevens Housing.

completed-contract method

The completed contract accounting method is frequently used in the construction industry or other sectors that involve project-based contracts. The completed contract method is a rule for recording both income and expenses from a project only once the entire project is complete. This contrasts with the percentage-of-completion method , which recognizes a portion of revenue as the contractor completes the contract. In the first year, the company reported revenues and expenses as much as construction costs incurred, which amounted to Rp220. In the second year, the company reports the remaining revenue of Rp180, and the expense of Rp80, generating a profit of Rp100. However, unlike the Percentage-of-Completion Method, no entry is made at the end of year 1 to reflect the gross revenues, expenses, and gross profit earned and incurred during the current year. Any excess in total amount of Progress Billings over Construction in Process would be reflected on the company’s balance sheet as a liability.

Guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Construction

The completed-contract method is an accounting concept that enables a business or a taxpayer to delay income reporting until the contract is complete. Even if the contractor receives payment during project implementation, he or she can still delay the reporting of such revenue. The reason is that the recognition of such revenue happens only after the completion of the project. Another term for the completed contract method is the contract completion method.

Does IFRS allow completed contract method?

IFRS bans the completed contract method. It allows the percentage of completion method under certain conditions. Otherwise, you only recognize revenue on any recoverable costs you incur. IFRS also allows contracts to be combined or segmented but applies different criteria than does GAAP for this purpose.

The percentage of completion accounting method helps to protect companies from fluctuations in their revenue stream by recording revenue at regular intervals. Businesses have multiple options when recognizing revenue in preparing their financial statements. Some companies prefer the cash method of accounting for revenue and expenses. The cash method recognizes revenue when cash is received from clients, and expenses are completed-contract method recorded when they’re paid. Although the cash method might be straightforward, it can delay recording revenue and expenses until the money is earned or paid out. You have a construction contract worth $4 million to be completed over 3 years. Your actual costs for the 1st year turned out to be $300,000, which is less than 10% of the total estimated costs, so you did not report income or deduct expenses for that 1st year.


Contractors and manufacturers use this method of accounting to show revenues, expenses and gross profits after the completion of a contract. Even if a payment is received during the contract, it is not recorded as revenue on financial statements until after the completion of the project. This is a very conservative method of accounting, typically used for long-term projects. The primary advantage of this method is that the contractor defers payment of taxes until after completion of the project.

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Small contractor means contracts gets completed within 2 years & his gross annual receipts are less than or equal to $ 25 million in all of the three previous years relevant to the current year. So, the laws of the country may require the contractor to follow the percentage completion method subject to few exceptions. As the name suggests, the “completed” contract method refers to 100% completion & not stage-wise. Tax BenefitTax benefits refer to the credit that a business receives on its tax liability for complying with a norm proposed by the government. The advantage is either credited back to the company after paying its regular taxation amount or deducted when paying the tax liability in the first place. Simply put, it is the difference in taxes that arises when taxes due in one of the accounting period are either not paid or overpaid. XYZ Construction Company is provided with the contract to build a warehouse for the Strong Product Ltd. company on an urgent basis as the company doesn’t have a warehouse to keep the products.

Balance sheet presentation

Contractors should think carefully about their long term business goals and tax liabilities before choosing. Here are two of the biggest factors construction businesses might want to consider when assessing the completed contract method of accounting. The day of completion for a contract job oftentimes requires extension for a variety of reasons. The completed contract method allows you to delay reporting income and expenses until the job finishes. This accounting method delays the reporting of income and expenses, and can result in tax benefits, depending on the length of the contract.

  • The completion factor must be certified by an engineer or an architect, or supported by appropriate documentation.
  • The percentage-of-completion method of accounting recognizes profit on jobs as costs are incurred.
  • Completed contract method is an approach used for construction contract accounting in which the revenue is recognized only when the contract is 100% complete.
  • The principal advantage is that the revenue reported is based on the actual results and not based on the estimates.
  • However, some small businesses use the cash method, which is also called cash-basis accounting.
  • To clear the full contract amount from Progress Billings, they’ll perform a debit, then credit revenue.

Whistle-at-You believes that they will be able to complete the project in 8 months. WAY uses the completed contract method of revenue recognition when it is dealing with projects that will only lasts under a year.

The contractor observes some inherent problems or deadlocks in the contract & he is uncertain about the exact period of completion of a contract. Cost IncurredIncurred Cost refers to an expense that a Company needs to pay in exchange for the usage of a service, product, or asset. This might include direct, indirect, production, operating, & distribution charges incurred for business operations. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

The completed contract method is an accounting technique used to report revenue from long-term contracts. Under this method, contractors recognize revenue once all deliverables specified in the contract have been completed and delivered to the customer. Home construction contracts have obvious tax advantages, in that the recognition of income can be deferred for years, especially for large projects involving the construction of many housing units. The IRS sees many abuses in this area, where either construction contracts are improperly classified as home construction contracts or the date of completion is extended by contrivance.

The Advantages of the Completed Contract Method

Using the completed contract method, the taxpayer does not recognize revenue until the contract is completed and accepted by the customer. Except for home construction contracts, CCM can only be used by small contractors for contracts with an estimated life that does not exceed 2 years. There should be no terms in the contract with the only purpose of deferring tax. Completed contract method allows taxpayers to defer the taxes in the year in which the contract is completed. However, the expenses directly related to the jobs are also deferred until the end when the contract is completed.

The best accounting procedure is the one that suits both the purposes of reporting and tax while offering an accurate picture of your business’s financial health. The deferral of taxes is one of the main advantages of using the completed contract method of revenue recognition. Requirements for contractors using the completed contract method include an estimated project completion date of fewer than two years. The contractor should also not have gross receipts that exceed $25 million for the preceding three years.