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Uniting Lease Accounting and Lease Administration

In the complex world of business, understanding the difference between lease accounting and lease administration is crucial. Although they might seem similar, they each have unique and important roles when it comes to managing lease portfolio compliance, maintenance, and optimization effectively. Having a better grasp of these processes and using them strategically can significantly enhance an organization’s operational efficiency and compliance posture.

The Essential Role of Lease Administration

Lease administration provides essential support to the Office of the CFO by carefully managing crucial lease data needed for ASC 842 and IFRS calculations. This involves ensuring accurate and timely communication of data with accounting teams, and managing:

  • Lease Amendments
  • Lease Changes
  • Lease Terminations
  • This smooth coordination helps generate vital schedules and reports necessary for adjusting and meeting financial statements requirements.

The Dynamic Nature of Leases

Contrary to the one-and-done perception often associated with lease recording, leases are inherently dynamic. A lease portfolio is subject to frequent changes, influenced by variable expenses, one-time charges, escalation amounts, and indexation. This flux underscores the necessity for a robust lease administration process, emphasizing the importance of well-documented procedures and playbooks, particularly in managing the complexities of international leases.

The Undervalued Effort of Lease Administration

Often underestimated, the effort and time required to build and maintain effective lease administration processes are significant, especially in the context of mergers or decentralized operations. Organizing a global lease portfolio demands a considerable investment of time and a detailed understanding of the nuances involved in lease management.

Strategic Planning and Lease Data

Lease data holds immense strategic value, informing forecasting, impact analysis, and space planning. In a post-COVID world, with the shift towards flexible and remote work arrangements, up-to-the-minute lease administration and data are pivotal in supporting organizational strategy and operational flexibility.

Critical Components of Daily Lease Administration

Lease administration encompasses managing portfolio changes, variable expenses, and risk mitigation. This includes new leases, amendments, renewals, terminations, and acquisitions. A key aspect is managing common area maintenance and operating expense reconciliations, a significant area for potential savings and error minimization.

Mitigating Risks through Process and Dual Controls

A solid foundation of processes and procedures is essential for mitigating ongoing risks such as missed or delayed payments, manual errors, and fraud. Implementing dual controls, such as verification calls for changes in vendor information, can significantly reduce the incidence of fraud and cybersecurity threats.

“Process, process, process. If you document your processes and follow through, you’ll mitigate most of your problems and be a proactive asset to your internal teams.” – Jamie Covert, President Scribcor Global Lease Administration

The discourse on lease administration circles back to a singular, powerful theme: process. Documenting and adhering to well-defined processes mitigates most problems and positions lease administration as a proactive collaborator across internal teams, including strategy, transactions, and accounting. Looking ahead, the evolving landscape of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) requirements and the critical role of space planning underscores the growing significance of lease administration in strategic decision-making and portfolio optimization.

In the realm of lease management, understanding and leveraging the distinct roles of lease accounting and administration can yield substantial benefits, from enhanced compliance and operational efficiency to strategic insights and optimization of lease portfolios. As the business world continues to evolve, the value of these functions will only increase, making their mastery essential for organizational success.

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