Heavenly Tours (HT) was the brainchild of four college friends: Bart, Ava, Carla and Dave. They wanted to create a one-stop, high-touch, discounted tour experience for visitors to two local theme parks. Park Survival provides various simulated survival experiences. Park Adrenaline provides numerous adventures guaranteed to provide visitors with adrenaline rushes. Bart is responsible for managing the relationship with both parks and obtaining discounted admissions for HT’s customers. Ava is responsible for the tour guides, who help customize the experience for visitors. Carla is responsible for working with high-end restaurants in the area surrounding the parks to obtain discounts on food and beverages. Dave is responsible for merchandise, which can be sold to HT’s customers.
Historically, HT has reported all cash collected as revenue. A private investor is requesting financial information prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles before investing in HT. The investor has indicated a particular interest in HT’s total revenues. The four friends are meeting with their local accountant to discuss next steps. The accountant informs them they will need to analyze each revenue stream to determine whether HT is acting as a principal or an agent. The accountant states this determination is necessary for proper accounting treatment because when a principal satisfies a performance obligation, the gross amount of consideration is recorded as revenue; however, when an agent satisfies a performance obligation, only the amount of the fee or commission earned is recorded as revenue.
The accountant asked Bart to explain the relationship with both parks. Bart explained that he had been able to obtain a 15% discount from Park Survival. HT customers can access Park Survival’s website and use a discount password provided by HT. Under this agreement, HT’s customers are charged 90% of the full entrance price on their credit card when their order is accepted on Park Survival’s website. Once the order is processed on Park Survival’s website, the customer is given a pass that can be used for entrance to Park Survival and 5% is remitted to HT.
The negotiations with Park Adrenaline had been more difficult because it was a newer park and in need of cash. Accordingly, HT purchased 100 passes for 90% of the face value. These passes are good for one year from the date of purchase. Any passes that are not used during the year would simply expire. HT has obtained the right to each pass purchased to provide the pass holder with access to the park. HT is free to sell these passes to its customers at any price, as long it doesn’t exceed the face value of the pass. The customer pays an agreed-upon amount when an order is accepted on HT’s website. Park Adrenaline retained the full responsibility for fulfilling its obligation to customers who entered the park with a pass purchased from HT.