Bigger balance sheets – lease accounting changes finalized

Posted on Mar 1, 2016

By Matt Medlin, CPA, CFE, CFF

The FASB has issued its much anticipated new rules on accounting for leases.

This will cause virtually all leases and rental agreements lasting more than a year to be shown as liabilities on the balance sheet, with an offsetting asset representing the right to use the asset.

So every office lease, server lease, and other equipment financing agreement will need analysis.  The liability will be calculated based on the discounted lease payments over the lease term.

While the new rules don’t go into effect until 2019 for public companies or 2020 for private companies, they should be considered now when companies are negotiating lending agreements or other arrangements that will have covenants tied to debt to equity ratios.

Also remember:

  • the determination of the lease term requires analysis of options to renew
  • the determination of lease payments needs to consider tenant improvement allowances, rent escalation, rent holiday and purchase options

It is not an intuitive statement and this change will require every company with leases to give it some thought.  Kick it around with your CPA soon and work out a game plan.

FASB press release on new lease accounting

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This article or blog contains general information only and should not be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should engage a qualified professional advisor.

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