NORWALK, CT—On Wednesday, the US Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board will have another go at putting to bed a converged standard for lease accounting. The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, follows a series of talks earlier this year that made some-but hardly enough-progress towards a resolution on this long-standing accountings project.
According to FASB’s announcement of the meeting’s agenda on its website, the Boards will discuss lease modifications and contract combinations, variable lease payments, in-substance fixed payments, and the discount rate.
Left unresolved from the last talks in the March is the overarching of question of whether there should be a single approach to recognize leases, or a duel-recognition approach, depending on the type of lease. With a dual approach, the leases would qualify as either Type A or Type B. The latter are most likely to be used by real estate companies, as it would allow for a straight-line expensing method with the asset returned to the owner at the end of the term.
Waiting for a standard is wearing on the industry’s nerves; a survey from Deloitte at the beginning of this year found that among real estate lessees, confidence in their IT and compliance preparations for the new standard has fallen, with only one percent “extremely” or “very” prepared to comply in 2013, down from nine percent in 2011.
The survey also found that executives across many industries, not just real estate, anticipate the new standard to have significant financial reporting effects, with 58% expecting a significant impact on their balance sheet and 53% on disclosures.
Nearly half of executives also cited an effect on financial ratios, with significant effects on debt to equity (71%) and return on assets (52%) cited by these respondents. The impact on lessees appears to be more severe than on lessors, with the former group far more likely to cite these impacts.