If I sell non-refundable coupons in 2008 for products that will be available in 2009, can I count the revenue in 2008?
These coupons will be available to customers currently being served by us under exclusive long term contracts (average term - 7 years) for bulk chemicals. These customers can not purchase these products during the contract term from any other supplier. The purpose of the coupons is to encourage greater usage of our products when the use of the commodity during the customer's manufacturing process is partly discretionary.
How you account for revenue depends on whether you have set up your company on a cash basis or an accrual basis. Where you'll run into some issues is the fact that you're receiving the cash in one year, but not providing the products in the same year.
That could throw off your books, if you don't handle this correctly.
Have a good long talk with your accountant about how to carry this out properly.
Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.