With less than three months until new lease accounting rules take effect, new tools are emerging to help companies that are still working on implementation.
Software firm LeaseAccelerator has published a checklist of 90 items companies can use to make sure they haven’t missed any important aspects of adopting the new rules under Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842. Taking effect for calendar-year public companies on Jan. 1, 2019, ASC 842 will bring leased assets and related liabilities out of financial statement footnotes and onto the face of the balance sheet for the first time.
The checklist is meant to help companies think through adoption issues related to their accounting policies, elections they need to make under the standard, their transition strategies, and the readiness of various business processes and the organization as a whole. It also zeroes in on data and systems readiness, lease accounting application interfaces with other financial systems, contingency plans, accounting testing and validation, training, audit readiness, communications, presentation, and disclosures.
PwC has also updated its lease accounting guide to reflect amendments the Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued with respect to ASC 842, which affect how companies can adopt the standard and how to apply some of its technical requirements. The guide examines what kinds of arrangements are affected by the new guidance, how companies should classify and account for leases, when reassessment of classification is in order, and how leases should be presented in financial statements.
The PwC guide also explores unusual leasing transactions, including sale leaseback arrangements and leveraged leases, and it describes how to account for lease versus non-lease components. It also explains how to transition to the guidance and practical expedients approved by FASB.
With the lease accounting standard taking effect a year after companies completed adoption of the major revenue recognition accounting standard, experts have generally reported implementation activity is behind schedule compared with what might be regarded as an ideal time line. To some extent, companies have struggled with technology issues as well, accessing software solutions that could facilitate the new accounting in time to deploy them by the effective date.
A new report from Calcbench says the lease accounting standard will add $1 trillion in assets and liabilities to corporate balance sheets for 3,000 publicly held companies. A recently released Deloitte poll suggests companies expect to continue working on their lease accounting adoptions into early 2019.