Few are prepared to comply with new lease accounting standards
NEW YORK, June 6, 2016 — Just 9.8 percent of more than 5,400 financial and accounting professionals say their companies are prepared to comply with the new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) lease accounting standards, according to a recent Deloitte poll. Moreover, only 15 percent of respondents expect compliance to be easy.
“Following the release of both new lease accounting standards, it’s clear that creating a centralized, electronic repository of all equipment and real estate leases held should be a priority for companies with leased assets,” said Sean Torr, director leading Deloitte Advisory’s efforts around the new lease standards, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Those organizations facing the fastest compliance timeline are publicly traded and operating on a calendar fiscal year. Many are spending the balance of 2016 consolidating lease data so that calculations can begin in early 2017 as ultimate compliance with these new rules in 2019 will require lookback reporting for 2017 and 2018.”
Respondents said the top challenges to lease accounting implementation are collecting necessary data on all organizational leases in a centralized, electronic repository (33.3 percent) and instituting processes to evaluate quarterly adjustments for the balance sheet, as well as profit and loss statements (20.5 percent).
“Having a lot of leases or just a few complex leases in your portfolio can create management challenges. Other difficulties can arise due to disparate tracking systems, expanding global footprints, and M&A activity,” said James Barker, national office senior consultation partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “If you think your organization may have a tougher time complying with the new lease accounting standards than most, get started developing your implementation roadmap now.”
Understandably, sectors with higher numbers of leases expected the highest level of difficulty implementing the lease accounting standards. Industries with more than half of respondents expressing concern included retail and distribution (61.2 percent), automotive (59.3 percent), telecom (56.9 percent), process and industrial products (54.4 percent), travel, hospitality and leisure (53.9 percent), consumer products (52.4 percent), health care providers (51.7 percent), and power and utilities (50.7 percent).
Torr continued, “While the new lease accounting standards may seem a niche accounting or finance concern, they are not. I’d encourage any leader of an organization with real estate or equipment leases to take the time now to learn about the potentially broad-reaching impacts of these new accounting requirements. Compliance will likely require input from multiple stakeholders from different parts of the organization. Having top leaders’ support could really make a difference in successful implementation.”
Early steps to evaluate the implications of the new lease accounting standards can include:
- Assess your organization’s current lease landscape, discerning lease volumes and types, availability of electronic lease data and data gaps within them, as well as any potential accounting, tax, and process-related challenges.
- Develop a cross-functional project management team to coordinate implementation activities with necessary resources to support it.
- Build a granular implementation plan to manage efforts that may span various business units, file types, IT systems, languages, and geographies.
- Plan to invest time in lease data abstraction, as culling contracts to get to details needed for lease accounting and disclosure will require a plan and resources of its own.
- Determine if your organization’s IT infrastructure can support compliance with the new standard(s) with which it must comply, including comprehension and management of new storage, calculation, and reporting requirements.
About the online poll
More than 5,400 professionals participated in a Deloitte Dbriefs webcast, “Bring it on—Discussing the FASB’s new leases standard,” on March 15, 2016. Poll respondents work in sectors including banking and securities (11.4 percent); retail and distribution (8.2 percent); technology (7.3 percent); process and industrial products (6.9 percent); travel, hospitality and leisure (6.4 percent); and real estate (5.7 percent). Respondents are equipment lessees (23.3 percent), equipment lessors (8.2 percent), real estate lessees (26.2 percent) and real estate lessors (8.1 percent). Respondents are holders of 1-500 leases (48.1 percent), 501-1,000 leases (10.2 percent), 1,001-5,000 leases (8.5 percent) and more than 5,000 leases (7.5 percent). Respondents primarily say their organizations need to comply with the FASB lease accounting standard (80.7 percent); some need to comply with the IASB lease accounting standard (22.1 percent) independent of or in coordination with the FASB standard.
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