Sales Commission Accounting: Guide to ASC 606

Let’s review the basics of sales commissions to help you get started in your selection. A sales commission is the amount of compensation paid to a person based on the amount of sales generated. This is typically a percentage of sales, which is paid on top of a base salary.

  • Some materials used in making a product have a minimal cost, such as screws, nails, and glue, or do not become part of the final product, such as lubricants for machines and tape used when painting.
  • As you can see, there are a few different expense categories that sales commissions can come under.
  • Organizations need to implement robust processes, systems, and controls to effectively manage these challenges and ensure accurate financial reporting.
  • These companies can use the following journal entries to record the transaction.
  • Instead, they must classify it as other income in the income statement.

Sales commissions are a key component of a company’s selling expense, and so are normally considered part of operating activities. Usually, they are listed within the selling, general, and administrative expenses section of the income statement. Some fixed expenses like advertising and promotional expense are assumed or incurred at the decisions of the management of the company.

How do commission expenses get classified?

In this structure, reps are rewarded with higher commission rates as they hit specific deal thresholds or revenue benchmarks. This structure is also known as multiple rate, accelerators, escalators, or multipliers. Check out our guide for examples of how to configure this structure.

In some businesses where sales commissions are a significant cost, they may be broken out as a separate line item in the income statement to provide more detail. This can give readers of the financial statements a better understanding of the company’s cost structure and how much it spends to drive sales. Under the accrual basis of accounting, the commissions do not have to be received in order to be reported as revenues. Under the accrual basis of accounting, sales commissions should be recorded as soon as they have been earned by the salesperson, irrespective of when the commission is actually paid. Conversely, under the cash basis of accounting, sales commissions are only recorded when the related cash has been paid to the salesperson.

However, the primary source of income for those brokers will be the commissions they earn. For example, companies may pay their sales force 10% of sale proceeds for each product they help sell. In this case, the sales commission is shown as a separate line item under Operating Expenses because it is a significant cost for TechSolutions Inc. This provides more transparency about the company’s costs and how much it spends to generate its sales. In the first quarter of 2023, the sales team sells $500,000 worth of software services.

ASC 606 and Deferred Sales Commissions: What You Need to Know

If it’s not part of the core operations, then it’s recorded as other income. Sales commissions are a great tool because they serve to align the incentives of both the company and the employee. Both the salesperson and the business benefit from generating revenue. With sales commissions, salespeople can gain more control over how much they earn and their efforts are tied to compensation. Running commissions manually can be very error-prone and time-consuming.

The sales commission for this period would be $50,000 (10% of $500,000). A selling expense account shown on the income statement in order how to prepare an income statement to match this expense to the related sales. A variable cost is a corporate expense that changes in proportion to production output.

If your company is earning commission, then it’s considered revenue (we’ll touch on this in more detail in the next section). It is also acceptable to classify it as part of the expenses of the sales department. By following the steps outlined in this guide, businesses can navigate the complexities of commission expense accounting with confidence, ultimately contributing to their long-term success. Commission expense accounting is a critical aspect of financial management, directly impacting a company’s profitability and financial reporting. A commission is an amount paid to a broker for facilitating a sale or transaction.

All About SaaS Sales Commission Accounting under ASC 606

It may also include brokerage fees paid to advisors or managers in other circumstances. For example, these may involve portfolio managers or investment advisors. Let’s say we have a company named “TechSolutions Inc.”, which sells software services. They have a team of salespeople who earn a 10% commission on every sale they make.

This step involves determining the type of commission, such as straight commission, base salary plus commission, or tiered commission. Then you can identify the commission rate and the sales volume that triggers a commission. Try the most collaborative solution to manage, track and payout variable compensation. If an employee is receiving a commission, then the company withholds income taxes on the amount of the commission paid to the employee. If the person receiving the commission is not an employee, then that person considers the commission to be revenue, and may pay taxes if there is a resulting profit. Kennect helps you break the silos of your comp system by seamlessly integrating across CRM, ERP and HRIS.

How to Handle Sales Commissions in Financial Statements

Another important thing to note is that sales commissions should never be recorded as the cost of a product. Lastly, as part of the ASC 606 accounting regulations, you need to correlate each commission to a customer and may need to be able to amortise the expense. Create a journal entry to document the sales commissions expense and the liability for the commissions that have not yet been paid. As you can see, expenses to the sales team include compensation and commissions.

• You can’t track commission data in real-time as it’s not integrated with your CRM or invoicing software. Remember that specific practices can vary based on the nature of your business, industry, and local regulations. Sean Butner has been writing news articles, blog entries and feature pieces since 2005. His articles have appeared on the cover of “The Richland Sandstorm” and “The Palimpsest Files.” He is completing graduate coursework in accounting through Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Why Data-driven Sales Leadership Matters

Direct labor costs are those expenses that are directly related to product production. Direct costs include the wages of employees who directly make the product. Indirect labor costs are those expenses related to supporting product production. Indirect costs would include the wages of office workers, security personnel, or employees who maintain factory equipment.


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