When does SurveyMonkey recognize revenue from its Platinum annual subscription plans?

Picture of subscription offerings

Source: SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is an online survey company that allows its subscribers to customize and administer surveys.  It recently made the news for raising another $250 million in equity funding (“SurveyMonkey is worth $2 billion after new $250 million fundraising round, Fortune, December 15, 2014.)  (Note: SurveyMonkey is privately held.  The founder says the company will not go public because the related costs of being a publicly-held organization are too high.)

SurveyMonkey’s basic services are free and include the ability to customize a survey containing a maximum 10 questions for up to 100 responses.

Premium plans are also available through SurveyMonkey.  Features of the Platinum SurveyMonkey plan include unlimited questions, unlimited number of responses, custom logos, and phone support.  The Platinum plan costs $65 per month and is billed annually on the starting date of the plan for a total cost of $780.

Questions

  1. Assume that Black Squirrel Design, Inc., signs up for the Platinum plan at SurveyMonkey on December 1, 2015. The customer pays the entire $780 on March 1. How will SurveyMonkey record this customer’s payment?  What asset and/or liability accounts are affected?
  2. Continue the same example from Item #1. If SurveyMonkey has a December 31 year end, how much revenue related to the Platinum plan purchased by Black Squirrel Design will SurveyMonkey recognize at December 31, 2015? How much revenue from the Black Squirrel Design purchase will be recognized during 2016?

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Prentice-Hall.

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