The New Revenue Recognition rules – What is the Impact for Franchisors

Typical separate performance obligations for a franchisor include site selection, training and equipment necessary to operate the franchise The remaining portion of the franchise fee must be deferred and amortized over the life of the franchise agreement .For nonpublic companies(most franchisers) this new rule is effective with the year ending December 31,2019.

The New Revenue Recognition rules-What is the Impact for Franchisors

By Barry Knepper – The Franchise CPA

The Financial Standard Board(“FASB”), the rules setting body for the accounting industry, has issued a new comprehensive revenue recognition model for all contracts. Franchise agreements are directly impacted by this new rule.

New Rule
This new rule requires that each contract be analyzed to identity the separate performance obligations that the franchiser has assumed as part of the franchise agreement and then allocate a portion of the franchise fee to each obligation .Typical separate performance obligations for a franchisor include site selection, training and equipment necessary to operate the franchise The remaining portion of the franchise fee must be deferred and amortized over the life of the franchise agreement .For nonpublic companies(most franchisers) this new rule is effective with the year ending December 31,2019.

Why this change matters to you:
It requires restatement of prior years financial statements issued or a cumulative catchup including analysis of every franchise agreement in place as of December 31,2019
Your financial statement will likely show greater liabilities and less equity-particularly in smaller companies -thus weakening your financial position.
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There is an increased likelihood of state-imposed restrictions on use of franchise fees
There is the potential to scare off prospects based upon the weakening of franchisor’s financial position due to deferral of recognition of franchise fees.
Taxes are due on fees received but not recognized in financial statements

It is important that you begin the analysis process now so that it does not hold up the completion of your audit. We are available to help you implement this new rule.
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ABOUT THE FRANCHISE CPA

The Franchise CPA’s CEO, Barry Knepper, CPA, has had a 40-year career as a senior financial executive including the international public accounting firm, Ernst and Young. While serving as CFO of a $100 million company he managed its initial public offering (“IPO”) and raised a total of more than $100 million of equity and debt financing for expansion. Barry is a member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the audit committee of Coffee Holding Company, a publicly traded integrated wholesale coffee roaster and distributor.

At The Franchise CPA we are dedicated to the accounting needs of franchisers of any size and industry, providing financial statement audits, royalty audits and part time CFO services.

Our success and client satisfaction is due to the specialized service we provide to clients. Our fee structure is lower than others because we keep overhead to a minimum and focus on franchising.

We have a unique combination of real-world franchise experience. Our team has served as the full time CFO of multi concept franchisee and as a part time CFO for diverse concepts. We have performed financial statement and royalty audits for more than 80 franchisers. Having experience as a franchisee as well, we understand the sensitive nature of the franchisor/franchisee relationship and work hard to preserve that relationship.

Through our part-time CFO services we meet the needs of franchisers that do not need or cannot afford a full-time controller or CFO. As your part time CFO, we will assist you in improving your financial performance, maximizing cash flow and building long-term value.

Franchise Marketing – Do’s & Don’ts

FRANCHISE MARKETING – DO’S & DON’TS…Today’s featured post is courtesy of Harold Kestenbaum. Harold is one of the Top Franchise Attorneys in the country. He works exclusively with franchisors and has been involved in some of the most important franchises ever launched such as Sbarro, Ranch *1 and Five Guys. In this “double article” Harold shares his insights on franchise marketing and recruiting new franchisees.

The Dos and Don’ts of Franchise Marketing Materials
By Harold Kestenbaum

As an entrepreneur, it can often be worth your while to consider franchising your business. When you have a great product or service, franchising is an excellent way to create a new revenue stream, while increasing brand awareness. As with any new venture, the key to successfully franchising your business is laying the groundwork for a thriving enterprise. This begins with your franchise marketing materials.

Your franchise marketing materials are the key to attracting like-minded individuals to work with your business and grow your brand. It is important to remember though, that you must be careful with what you do and don’t say in these documents, as you want to remain legally compliant and truthful in your endeavor.

DO explain your brand, mission, and infrastructure. In your franchise marketing materials, it is vital to explain who you are as a company, how you operate, and why someone should want to work with you.

DON’T promise your franchisees any specific profits or financial gain. Since every market is different, it is important to refrain from making promises about a franchisee’s total profit or financial gain from buying into your business.

DO set the right restrictions. Your marketing materials should establish policies you have on hiring, training, proprietary processes, etc. but it should also allow the franchisees some freedom to make the business their own.

DON’T neglect to screen franchisees. Just as you would interview potential new hires for your location, you will want to screen franchisees once they have inquired about this opportunity. You want to build a network of people dedicated to your brand and mission.
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Franchise Marketing Materials 101: Establishing Your Recruitment Website
By Harold Kestenbaum

When you have made the decision to franchise your business, you will want to put a lot of time and money into your franchise marketing materials, especially at first. In order to grow your brand and find potential franchisees, these marketing materials must be appealing, straightforward, but also compliant with the law. As you begin working on your marketing materials and franchise recruitment website, it is important to work with a seasoned franchise attorney and remember these key tips.

Register your franchise: Before advertising your franchise to a particular state, it is important to know that many states require a franchise to be registered prior to the sale of any franchise location, but also any offer of franchise. This means you must take care of all necessary registration before launching your website in a given state or sending out marketing materials.

Understand the laws of advertising: Not only do you have to account for the franchise laws that apply to your business, but you also have to consider the other laws which affect advertising. These can include intellectual property laws, unfair competition laws, and deceptive trade practice laws. Your franchise attorney can review all marketing materials to ensure that you are not infringing on any other company’s rights and that you are in full legal compliance.

Provide clear, accurate information: To successfully gain leads from your website and marketing materials, it is critical for franchisors to provide clear, accurate information which provides potential buyers with enough evidence to make a purchase decision. This information should outline the requirements for buying into the franchise, as well as the type of support franchisees will receive once they are a part of the program. You will want to avoid words and phrases such as success and profit, so as not to mislead buyers about their expectations of buying into your franchise. You want to give franchisees truthful information, without making any specific claims about financial earnings, especially since every market is different.

Stay consistent: In all your marketing materials, you want to stay consistent in the way you represent your brand. You will want to avoid making promises that you cannot fulfill once a buyer signs a contract and purchases a franchise under your name. By staying consistent in all your content, you can avoid potential legal roadblocks down the road.
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About the Author
HAROLD L. KESTENBAUM is a franchise attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. From May 1982 until September 1986, Harold served as franchise and general counsel to Sbarro, Inc., the national franchisor of more than 1,000 family-style Italian restaurants and, was a director from March 1985 to December 2006. From September 1983 to October 1989, he served as president and chairman of the board of FranchiseIt Corporation, the first publicly traded company specializing in providing business franchise marketing and consulting services and equity financing to emerging franchise companies, which he co-founded. Harold has authored the first book dedicated to the entrepreneur who wants to franchise his/her business, called So You Want To Franchise Your Business. It is a step-by-step guide to what a businessperson needs to know and do to properly roll out a franchise program. Harold’s book is available at major book stores and on Amazon.com or you can click here for more info on his book So You Want to Franchise Your Business.