Both the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released their respective new leasing standards in the first quarter of 2016, but they are not the same.
The long awaited new lease standard has arrived! The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released its version of the new lease standard last week with implementation scheduled for early 2019. The US accounting standards board (FASB) is expected to release its version shortly with implementation to follow soon after IASB’s.
With the New Year it’s a good time to take stock of the corporate real estate domain and consider the challenges facing the managerial profession responsible for the corporation’s real estate assets and services in the year ahead. Here are five major challenges if dealt with effectively will determine in part the success of corporate real estate in 2016.
In a earlier white paper, The Lease Accounting Tsunami; Are You Prepared to Weather the Storm?, I wrote that users should evaluate the effects of the new FASB/IASB on a company’sdebt structure, debt to equity, and other factors that would be affected by the new standard, assuming lease liabilities would be considered as debt. In point of fact, the FASB explicitly decided that Type B lease liabilities should not be considered as “debt.” However, the IASB which treats all leases as Type A leases or capital leases, does consider these liabilities as “debt-like liabilities.” (Their exact words) As one of my accounting friends advised “The accounting for Type A leases requires IASB companies to record interest expense, and segregates payments on the lease liability into operations and financing outflows per the cashflow statement, which is consistent with debt.”
Thus, US companies will experience less impact from the new standard, particularly as it relates to debt covenants, debt to equity metrics, and capital structures. But US companies with significant international lease portfolios subject to the IASB standard, will see their debt levels increase.
In this morning’s New York Times, it was reported that Goldman Sachs recently consolidated from three floors to two in its major Manhattan office tower. The Times reports that “the changes in real estate have helped Goldman reduce its cost by 17 percent since 2010.” This is yet another example of the value in corporate real estate strategic planning and why I wanted to spend a bit more time on the subject.
There’s compelling logic to combine a lease audit service with a lease management system such as Visual Lease..