The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued its long-awaited lease accounting standard today, one of the major convergence projects on which it has collaborated for a decade with the International Accounting Standards Board.

Under the new guidance, a lessee will be required to recognize assets and liabilities for leases with lease terms of more than 12 months. Consistent with current U.S. GAAP, the recognition, measurement, and presentation of expenses and cash flows arising from a lease by a lessee primarily will depend on its classification as a finance or operating lease. However, unlike current GAAP—which requires only capital leases to be recognized on the balance sheet— the new ASU will require both types of leases to be recognized on the balance sheet.

The ASU also will require disclosures to help investors and other financial statement users better understand the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. These disclosures include qualitative and quantitative requirements, providing additional information about the amounts recorded in the financial statements.

The accounting by organizations that own the assets leased by the lessee—also known as lessor accounting—will remain largely unchanged from current GAAP.
The accounting standards update on leases will take effect for public companies for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after Dec. 15, 2018. For all other organizations, the ASU on leases will take effect for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2019, and for interim periods within fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2020. Early application will be permitted for all organizations. Please contact your Maloney + Novotny advisor for more information or visit their website for up to date news.