This excerpt taken from the WYN 8-K filed Jul 19, 2006.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
In presenting our financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, we are required to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported therein. Several of the estimates and assumptions we are required to make relate to matters that are inherently uncertain as they pertain to future events. However, events that are outside of our control cannot be predicted and, as such, they cannot be contemplated in evaluating such estimates and assumptions. If there is a significant unfavorable change to current conditions, it could result in a material adverse impact to our combined results of operations, financial position and liquidity. We believe that the estimates and assumptions we used when preparing our financial statements were the most appropriate at that time. Presented below are those accounting policies that we believe require subjective and complex judgments that could potentially affect reported results. However, the majority of our businesses operate in environments where we are paid a fee for a service performed, and therefore the results of the majority of our recurring operations are recorded in our financial statements using accounting policies that are not particularly subjective, nor complex.
Vacation Ownership Revenue Recognition. Our sales of VOIs are either cash sales or seller-financed sales. In order for us to recognize revenues of VOI sales under the full accrual method of accounting described in SFAS No. 66, Accounting of Sales of Real Estate for fully constructed inventory, a binding sales contract must have been executed, the statutory rescission period must have expired (after which time the purchasers are not entitled to a refund except for non-delivery by us), receivables must have been deemed collectible and the remainder of our obligations must have been substantially completed. In addition, before we recognize any revenues on VOI sales, the purchaser of the VOI must have met the initial investment criteria and, as applicable, the continuing investment criteria, by executing a legally binding financing contract. A purchaser has met the initial investment criteria when a minimum down payment of 10% is received by us. In those cases where financing is provided to the purchaser by us, the purchaser is obligated to remit monthly payments under financing contracts that represent the purchasers continuing investment. The contractual terms of seller-provided financing arrangements require that the contractual level of annual principal payments be sufficient to amortize the loan over a customary period for the VOI being financed, which is generally seven to ten years, and payments under the financing contracts begin within 45 days of the sale and receipt of the minimum down payment of 10%. We use a methodology to estimate the collectibility of the vacation ownership contract receivables, which includes consideration of such factors as economic conditions, defaults, past due aging and historical write-offs of contracts. We record reserves against these revenues, based on expected default levels, as a provision for loan losses on the Combined Statements of Income (see Loan Loss Reserves discussed below).
If all of the criteria for a VOI sale to qualify under the full accrual method of accounting have been met, as discussed above, except that construction of the VOI purchased is not complete, we recognize revenues using the percentage-of-completion method of accounting provided that the preliminary construction phase is complete and that a minimum sales level has been met (to assure that the property will not revert to a rental property). The preliminary stage of development is deemed to be complete when the engineering and design work is complete, the construction contracts have been executed, the site has been cleared, prepared and excavated, and the building
foundation is complete. The completion percentage is determined by the proportion of real estate inventory costs and certain sales and marketing and interest costs incurred to total estimated costs. These estimated costs are based upon historical experience and the related contractual terms. The remaining revenue and related costs of sales, including commissions and direct expenses, are deferred and recognized as the remaining costs are incurred. Until a contract for sale qualifies for revenue recognition, all payments received are accounted for as restricted cash and deposits within other current assets and deferred income, respectively, on the Combined Balance Sheets. Commissions and other direct costs related to the sale are deferred until the sale is recorded. If a contract is cancelled before qualifying as a sale, non-recoverable expenses are charged to the current period as part of operating expenses on the Combined Statements of Income. Changes in costs could lead to adjustments to the percentage of completion status of a project, which may result in difference in the timing and amount of revenue recognized from the construction of vacation ownership properties. This policy changed upon our adoption of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, Accounting for Real Estate Time-Sharing Transactions, or SFAS No. 152, and AICPA Statement of Position 04-2, Accounting for Real Estate Time-sharing Transactions, or SOP 04-2, which is discussed in greater detail in Note 1 to the Interim Combined Condensed Financial Statements and Note 2 to the Annual Combined Financial Statements.
Loan Loss Reserves. In our vacation ownership segment, we provide for estimated vacation ownership contract receivable cancellations at the time the VOI sales are recorded with a charge to establish our provision for loan losses on the Combined Statements of Income. We consider factors such as economic conditions, defaults, past-due aging and historical write-offs of vacation ownership contract receivables to evaluate the adequacy of the allowance. Upon the adoption of SFAS No. 152 and SOP 04-2 on January 1, 2006, the charges to the reserve are classified as a reduction to revenue on a prospective basis.
Business Combinations. A component of our growth strategy has been to acquire and integrate businesses that complement our existing operations. We account for business combinations in accordance with SFAS No. 141, Business Combinations and related literature. Accordingly, we allocate the purchase price of acquired companies to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based upon their estimated fair values at the date of purchase. The difference between the purchase price and the fair value of the net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill.
In determining the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination, we use various recognized valuation methods including present value modeling and referenced market values (where available). Further, we make assumptions within certain valuation techniques including discount rates and timing of future cash flows. Valuations are performed by management or independent valuation specialists under managements supervision, where appropriate. We believe that the estimated fair values assigned to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed are based on reasonable assumptions that marketplace participants would use. However, such assumptions are inherently uncertain and actual results could differ from those estimates.
With regard to the goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets recorded in connection with business combinations, we annually or, more frequently if circumstances indicate impairment may have occurred, review their carrying values as required by SFAS No. 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets. In performing this review, we are required to make an assessment of fair value for our goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets. When determining fair value, we utilize various assumptions, including projections of future cash flows. A change in these underlying assumptions could cause a change in the results of the tests and, as such, could cause the fair value to be less than the respective carrying amount. In such event, we would then be required to record a charge, which would impact earnings.
The aggregate carrying values of our goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets were $2,647 and $585 million, respectively, as of March 31, 2006 and $2,645 million and $580 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2005. Our goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets are allocated among our three reporting segments. Accordingly, it is difficult to quantify the impact of an adverse change in financial results and related cash flows, as such change may be isolated to one of our reporting segments or spread across our entire organization. In either case, the magnitude of any impairment to goodwill or other indefinite-lived
intangible assets resulting from adverse changes cannot be estimated. However, our businesses are concentrated in one industry and, as a result, an adverse change to the hospitality industry will impact our combined results and may result in impairment of our goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets.
Income Taxes. We recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax bases of assets and liabilities. We regularly review our deferred tax assets to assess their potential realization and establish a valuation allowance for portions of such assets that we believe will not be ultimately realized. In performing this review, we make estimates and assumptions regarding projected future taxable income, the expected timing of the reversals of existing temporary differences and the implementation of tax planning strategies. A change in these assumptions could cause an increase or decrease to our valuation allowance resulting in an increase or decrease in our effective tax rate, which could materially impact our results of operations.