4 Key Executive ASC 606 Lessons Microsoft Is Teaching Us

Microsoft OnPrem Annuity Revenue
Drawing of Revenue Curve
Revenue (from Pixabay)

Note: To read Part 1 of Amalgam’s coverage of Microsoft’s ASC 606 adoption, please check how Microsoft Early Adopts New ASC 606 Revenue Recognition Standard.

Recommended Audience: CFO, Chief Revenue Officers, CIOs, COOs, IT Finance, Sales Operations seeking to understand how ASC 606 revenue recognition changes will affect their responsibilities.

On August 3rd, 2017, Microsoft held an investor metrics conference call led by:

  • Chris Suh – GM, Investor Relations
  • Frank Brod, Chief Accounting Officer
  • John Seethoff, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

This call was focused on its implementation of new accounting standards, including ASC 606 for revenue recognition and ASC 842 for lease accounting.

There have been multiple acquisitions and announcements in the revenue recognition space as IT vendors ensure that they can support the ASC 606 standard including:

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Microsoft “Early Adopts” New ASC 606 Revenue Recognition Standard

The ASC 606 Apocalypse is at hand!
Apocalypse by Michael Lehenbauer on Flickr

Note: This topic is of key importance for CFOs using or considering a subscription-based business model and for CIOs tasked with aligning technology to revenue recognition. Part 2 of this topic is 4 Key Executive ASC 606 Lessons Microsoft is Teaching Us.

On July 20, 2017, Microsoft announced a very successful Q4 FY17 where they announced both successful GAAP and non-GAAP results.

· Revenue was $23.3 billion GAAP, and $24.7 billion non-GAAP
· Operating income was $5.3 billion GAAP, and $7.0 billion non-GAAP
· Net income was $6.5 billion GAAP, and $7.7 billion non-GAAP
· Diluted earnings per share was $0.83 GAAP, and $0.98 non-GAAP

But the part that got my attention was a relatively minor 2 paragraph note near the bottom of the earnings announcement on ASC 606 revenue recognition:

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Amalgam Insights’ primer on value-based pricing

money-graph
money-graph

Price is the ultimate test of value. Amalgam cannot emphasis this enough. No matter how valuable you think your product or service is, the ultimate business test of that value is whether someone is willing to buy it at the listed price.

One of my favorite topics in enterprise software is pricing. Despite the work done in value-based pricing over the past 50 years, the vast majority of pricing exercises still start with either a very basic cost-plus or percentage-based ROI model. This assumption has a key issue: it assumes that your product is a commodity. To explain why and to explain how to take a more value-based approach, consider what a price is.

There are many ways to break down price and many roles that price plays from a marketing and sales perspective. But as a starting point, the model AI uses to translate value into price comes from 3 basic components: Reference Price, Differentiated Value, and Price Positioning

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