Lease accounting has indeed undergone significant changes with the implementation of ASC 842 Lease Accounting Standard, and it is essential for accountants, business owners, and professionals involved in financial reporting to understand and adapt to these changes.
The ASC 842 standard was introduced to improve financial transparency and ensure that leases are appropriately reflected on the balance sheet. Under ASC 842, most leases are now required to be recognized as assets and liabilities on the balance sheet, whereas they were previously treated as off-balance sheet operating leases under ASC 840. This change aims to provide a clearer picture of a company’s financial obligations and commitments.
In our white paper, we mention that the ASC 842 transition requires new strategies for compliance and we outline some key considerations and steps involved in effectively managing this transition:
1. Awareness and Education: Start by familiarizing yourself with the new standard and its requirements. Understand the key changes and impacts on lease accounting.
2. Lease Identification: Review all lease agreements within your organization to identify leases that fall within the scope of ASC 842. Determine whether a lease is an operating lease or a finance lease based on specific criteria outlined in the standard.
3. Data Collection and Analysis: Gather all relevant lease data, including lease terms, payments, and options. Evaluate the impact of these leases on the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
4. Systems and Processes: Assess your existing lease accounting systems and processes to ensure they can capture the necessary information and produce accurate financial reports under ASC 842. Consider whether you need to upgrade or implement new software solutions to support the transition.
5. Lease Classification and Measurement: Classify leases as finance leases or operating leases based on the new criteria. Measure the lease assets and liabilities at the present value of lease payments, considering variables such as discount rates and lease term assumptions.
6. Transition Adjustments and Disclosures: Make the necessary adjustments to your financial statements to reflect the new lease accounting requirements. Ensure proper disclosure of lease-related information in the footnotes.
7. Internal Controls and Documentation: Establish robust internal controls to ensure ongoing compliance with ASC 842. Document lease accounting policies, procedures, and judgments made during the transition process.
8. Training and Communication: Educate relevant stakeholders within your organization about the changes in lease accounting and how they may impact various departments. Provide training to accountants, finance teams, and lease administrators to ensure consistent and accurate lease accounting practices.
9. Ongoing Compliance: Once the transition is complete, establish processes to monitor lease agreements, update lease information as needed, and assess any modifications or reassessments required under ASC 842.
Additionally, the ASC 842 changes present opportunities for CPA firms and advisory firms to deepen client relationships. By staying updated on the new lease accounting requirements and offering advisory services, firms can provide valuable guidance to clients navigating the transition. This may include assisting with lease portfolio assessments, lease accounting software implementation, process improvements, and ongoing lease accounting support.
You can take a video tour of iLeasePro or schedule some time on our online demo calendar to see how iLeasePro can help you and your firm with the overall lease management of your lease portfolio. For more information on increasing productivity and efficiency of your lease portfolio, check out our blog and our extensive lease accounting and lease management knowledge base