After the presentation of your report on the examination of the financial statements to the board of directors of Piper Publishing Company, one of the new directors expresses surprise that the income statement assumes that an equal proportion of the revenue is recognized with the publication of every issue of the company’s magazine. She feels that the “crucial event” in the process of earning revenue in the magazine business is the cash sale of the subscription. She says that she does not understand why most of the revenue cannot be “recognized” in the period of the cash sale.
Discuss the propriety of timing the recognition of revenue in Piper Publishing Company’s accounts with:
(a) The cash sale of the magazine subscription.
(b) The publication of the magazine every month.
(c) Over time, as the magazines are published and delivered to customers.