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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.

About Deloitte Advisory
Deloitte Advisory helps organizations turn critical and complex business issues into opportunities for growth, resilience, and long-term advantage. Our market-leading teams help our clients manage strategic, financial, operational, technological and regulatory risk to maximize enterprise value, while our experience in mergers and acquisitions, fraud, litigation and reorganizations helps clients emerge stronger and more resilient.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” and “Deloitte Advisory” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, which provides audit and enterprise risk services; Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, which provides forensic, dispute, and other consulting services; and its affiliate, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, which provides a wide range of advisory and analytics services. Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP is not a certified public accounting firm. These entities are separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Media contacts:

Shelley Pfaendler
Public Relations
+1 212 492 4484

Daniel Mucisko
Public Relations
+1 732 609 6825

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