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3 steps to take to be compliant with the new lease accounting standards in time

In January 2016, the FASB and IASB issued new lease accounting standards, respectively ASC 842 and IFRS 16. Because of these new standards, almost all lease contracts have to be included on the balance sheet by the start of January 2019. In this blog, I share three steps to take to ensure your organization will be compliant in time.

Step 1: prepare an overview of the current situation

Even though 2019 is now not far away, it is unlikely that your organisation’s preparations are at an advanced stage. However, it is important to start now, as the work that has to be done is quite time consuming. First of all, you will need to prepare a sound overview of your current lease contracts and data. How many lease contracts do you have? Where are they located? Are they correct? Are relevant changes up-to-date? Are all financial attributes correct? Time will also be needed to clean the data and to validate the calculations in the contracts. As these will have a major impact on your future balance sheet and the Profit & Loss account (P&L), it is very important to start your lease contract investigation right away.

Airlines, for example, will have to include all their lease contracts of airplanes on the balance sheet. You can imagine that this will have a huge impact. They need to know precisely what the impact will be, so that they can inform stakeholders and investors. Naturally, it will be important to explain the impact correctly and well, to avoid unnerving or worrying them.

This sounds quite simple, but many organisations might not even know how many lease contracts they possess. This does not only apply to relatively small organisations; even multinationals sometimes face difficulties seeing an overview of all relevant contract data.

Step 2: determine which tool to use

The second step is to answer the following questions: How does your organization handle their data? And how do you get the data in your general ledger system?

It is necessary to review the system landscape to determine what can support the new requirements. If there is no suitable system already available, there needs to be a selection process established to find a suitable software solution for lease accounting in order to be compliant with the new regulations.

Step 3: adapt your processes

The third step is to make a change in processes. Due to the new standards, companies need to adapt their processes to stay compliant. It is recommended to ask assistance of a consultancy firm or an audit company to ensure the processes will be compliant and get support in the impact evaluation.

It is very important to know what impact the contracts will have on the balance sheet and the P&L. It is recommended to use software that offers reporting that can be done in two ways. One way of reporting that is compliant with the current standards during the transition period, and one way of reporting which supports reporting from 2019 and retroactively over the period 2016 - 2019. Your organization needs to know the exact differences in order to make adaptions to their lease contracts and their relevant processes.

2019 is approaching fast!

All these steps are time consuming, and organizations will want to have enough time for impact assessment and definition of new practices in portfolio planning, lease administration, and transaction management.

The devil is in the detail. What if your organization is not ready and compliant by the start of 2019? Naturally, you might be fined for it, but think bigger. In the end, you do not want your organization to be the one that is not compliant in time, do you?

Would you like to know how Planon can help make your real estate and asset lease accounting compliant? Then please download our solution brochure.

About the author

David Martin |

David used to work for Planon as Business Development Director for IFRS.

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