Amazon Gift Vouchers

Scott writes about how Amazon are being really nice by reminding him that he has an unused gift voucher.

In many ways this is indeed a nice touch, when most organisations probably would indeed just want to sit on the money as long as possible.

However, I have a theory that it’s not quite so straightforward. Technically any unused gift vouchers are classed as a liability on a company’s balance sheet. If they were solely booked as revenue then there could theoretically be a situation where a company has booked billions of dollars of revenue, look really healthy, and then, all of a sudden, people come along and demand the billion dollars worth of goods they’re owed. (Yes, it’s probably quite unlikely to happen like that, but these rules are made by accountants, and they’re even more pedantic than us computer programmers…)

Amazon are still in the stage where they’re trying to show that they have a real viable long term business. Their accounts come under intense scrutiny every quarter. Even if all the gift vouchers have contributed to the revenue line already, I suspect that Amazon don’t like having more in the creditors line than they can help.

Or maybe I’m just cynical, and they really are just doing a nice thing…

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