In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic included another ingredient of company disruption for businesses to regulate when the efficient dates to comply for FASB’s new lease accounting benchmarks were immediately approaching.

Next a pandemic-relevant hold off, the new normal normally takes result for entities within the “all other entities” group for fiscal a long time starting just after Dec. 15, 2021, and for interim intervals inside fiscal years beginning following Dec. 15, 2022. The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have influenced companies in methods we are however to completely comprehend, and the influence on lease accounting processes carries on to evolve in reaction to variations that have happened in the business setting.

For general public firms, FASB Accounting Criteria Codification (ASC) Subject 842, Leases, took effect for fiscal years and interim periods within those fiscal decades, starting right after Dec. 15, 2018. There is an exception for community not-for-financial gain entities, whose efficient date is for fiscal years starting right after Dec. 15, 2019, such as interim durations inside of individuals fiscal several years.

Meanwhile, GASB delayed by a person year the demanded implementation of GASB Statement No. 87, Leases, which is now relevant for fiscal many years commencing soon after June 15, 2021.

Pandemic outcomes

COVID-19 arrived in early 2020 and unfold swiftly and now has prolonged around the world with the delta variant in 2021. By mid-March 2020, point out and area governments started issuing constraints shutting down a lot of organizations other than health treatment and providers of “vital expert services.” Over-all, organization action dropped substantially, ensuing in 1 of the largest yr-around-calendar year GDP decreases at any time recorded.

With the limits in position, a lot of firms essentially just shut down and have been unable to pay out the rent or their staff. Many landlords started offering rent deferrals and abatements whereby the lease stays in spot but payment of rent for a certain period is deferred or minimized right until an agreed-upon time when the organization constraints would be lifted. FASB’s staff issued Q&A guidance last 12 months that is meant to assist with the accounting for this kind of rent deferral preparations and other pandemic-connected lease concessions.

Several public corporations that experienced earlier executed the new lease accounting common took the option to assess whether the potential ancillary benefits are being understood. These benefits normally include electronic migration of accounting data and processes and going towards a paperless accounting setting, centralization of lease management things to do, greater administrative administration around leasing actions such as renewals/extensions and returns at lease expiration, and the opportunity to blend and negotiate more substantial transactions at a lot more beautiful pricing.

An location of continuing concentrate for general public corporations is to ensure that the lease accounting software program remedies are fully built-in with their ERP accounting techniques and with automatic uploading of accounting entries. About half of Topic 842 adopter organizations experienced not completely built-in their lease accounting processes with existing ERP systems previously this yr, in accordance to a survey published by LeaseAccelerator and EY in March.

Implementation classes

As personal and government organizations operate towards adopting the relevant new lease accounting typical, there are some crucial implementation lessons learned from public companies, which includes:

  • Implementation of the common is extra complex than it 1st appears. Leases and lease contracts generally are scattered in a variety of spots across a corporation, and it can be an arduous activity to track down all the leases for storage in a central repository. Extracting all the ideal figures from lease contracts also can be difficult, primarily when the contracts are not standardized. The implementation staff will need to have to complete a completeness evaluation to make certain all leases have been recognized.
  • Ideal accounting coverage decisions can be important in cutting down complexity. For case in point, applying a portfolio technique to leases that are similar, specifically minimal-greenback, large-volume agreements, can result in appreciable time price savings. Practical expedients also exist that allow lessors in specified scenarios to not individual nonlease parts from the related lease element (lessees also have this selection) allow an business to implement the changeover provisions of the new normal at its adoption day as an alternative of the previously comparative interval introduced in its fiscal statements and permit lessors to account for and report product sales taxes and particular lessor costs in a method much more intently aligned with FASB’s new income recognition typical.
  • Stakeholders outside the finance employees will be essential to give supporting data for the reason that lease contracts are often held in various pieces of the firm. Operations and legal workers in specific are key allies in this system.
  • Obtaining all embedded leases can be an space for issue. For instance, some services contracts contain correct-of-use provisions that may possibly in good shape FASB’s definition of a lease, and these will have to be accounted for beneath the board’s lease accounting regulations.
  • Getting a complete set of paperwork for each and every lease can be a challenge. It is really achievable that all the info required for accounting under the typical could not be in the lease agreement.
  • Spreadsheets by itself will not get the job done for several companies. In these conditions, a lease accounting computer software solution will be required. Fortunately, several alternatives are offered following general public companies’ adoption of the common, but it will take time to opt for the ideal just one and accomplish the installation.
  • Determining the incremental borrowing rate can be extra challenging than anticipated, as it typically involves obtaining from financial establishments credit score profile-certain indicative secured borrowing price information throughout a variety of maturity dates and examining the appropriateness for lease accounting lower price charge uses.
  • Continuing compliance immediately after implementation is a challenge. Entitywide procedures and controls need to have to be set into spot so that new lease contracts that are signed by the company are additional to the centralized lease repository. Employees also need to be educated on how to recognize new embedded leases that could be hidden in other varieties of contracts.

In continuing to tackle lease accounting problems implementation for nonpublic entities, FASB not too long ago proposed assistance that would allow the election to use the risk-cost-free amount as the discount fee to be produced by asset class, and if the risk-free of charge rate is elected, the charge implicit in the lease would be permitted to be utilized rather if known. The proposed Accounting Criteria Update is titled Leases (Subject 842): Price cut Rate for Lessees That Are Not Community Organization Entities. The board has collected feedback on this proposal, and a last typical is expected soon after redeliberations.

Adopting the new regular can be a baffling and daunting task for lots of corporations, so getting ready for this process normally takes time and typically a considerable total of work.

Occasionally there is no substitute for encounter. In gathering the data, evaluating the lease portfolio, producing the accounting plan elections, and producing and executing the implementation prepare, many organizations have retained the providers of these who have finished it just before. The providers can be in the kind of a job leader, or they can be in the form of a coach or mentor. Organizations must evaluate no matter if it could possibly be useful to obtain these solutions. In any function, the organization’s auditor ought to be held knowledgeable as to implementation plans and progress to far better system for the timing of the current-yr lease accounting audit treatments.

Although the response to the pandemic limits has resulted in considerable improvements in how business enterprise functions are now managed, some of people adjustments may perhaps completely have an affect on lease accounting. This contains what activities have been, and will continue to be, handled remotely and affect leased room requirements likely forward.

With the classes discovered in response to the altered business surroundings, as nonpublic and governmental company businesses deal with lease accounting normal implementation, they will with any luck , make on the lessons discovered by other people.

Joel C. Colbourn, CPA, MBA, is lease accounting director Stephen G. Austin, CPA, MBA, is organization handling husband or wife and Jim LoPresti, MBA, is organization growth executive of Swenson Advisors LLP in San Diego. To comment on this report or to propose an idea for one more report, speak to Ken Tysiac, the JofA‘s editorial director, at [email protected].