The Lease Accounting Reform Essay

This study assesses the current rental financing standard and justify whether it is necessary to reform the accounting intervention for rentals. It besides discusses the International Accounting Standard 17 ( IAS 17 ) and G4+1 proposal, their chief aims and deficits. Evidence indicates that the bing standard consists of several lacks ; these originate due to the inconsistent methods used. The G4+1 attack suggest solutions to these jobs. In malice of this, there are still some issues that need to be resolved in order to guarantee that companies will to the full follow with this new attack. The recommendations advise to follow the new attack in order to cut down the inadequacies with the current criterion.


Before IAS 17 there were two chief grounds to why renting accounting was attractive: the revenue enhancement advantage where lease givers were able to claim first twelvemonth allowance which reduces the company ‘s revenue enhancement measure. The 2nd advantage was renting is to enable companies to distribute payments over the leasing period.

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However, there was no uniformity in the intervention of the leasing dealing revelations in the turning rental industry and off balance sheet funding. So IAS 17 was introduced to forestall use of rental accounting and to show a true and just value. Yet important shortages in this criterion induced the G4+1 proposal.


The Current Standard: Iowa 17

IAS 17 defines a rental as “ an understanding whereby the lease giver conveys to the leaseholder in return for a payment or series of payments the right to utilize an plus for an in agreement period of clip. ” IAS 17 categorises leases into two types: Finance rentals and Operating rentals. It ensures that the companies right classified them.

Finance rentals allow lease givers to reassign all hazards and wagess of the plus to the leaseholder at the terminal of the leasing period. This means that the leaseholder should capitalize the rental by recognizing the plus and the future payment as a liability on the balance sheet. Capitalization prevents companies from utilizing off balance sheet funding. Whereas, runing rentals merely account for disbursals of the lease on the income statement, ( Goodacre, 2003 ) . This criterion allowed flexibleness, direction were capable of sorting the rental.

The Controversial Issues of IAS 17

Although IAS 17 was a executable solution to avoid malpractice of accounting interventions, there are dissensions about the “ substance over signifier ” attack in comparing to the traditional method, which takes stricter attack to legal ownership. It provided wide guidelines that can be applied in legion ways and revelations justify why the rentals have been classified in this manner. IAS 17 ( revised 1997 ) created a utile flow chart which allows easy categorizations of the rentals, which in making so created a “ comfort zone ” for houses, as liabilities of operating rentals are non recognised on the balance sheet and lowers the geartrain ratio. Operating rentals are highly attractive so directors try to avoid capitalization of finance rentals by reconstituting them as operating rentals. ( Lipe, 2001 )

McGregor, ( 1996 ) suggested there were three lacks with the current criterion. First, the absence material assets and liabilities originating from “ off-balance sheet ” runing rental contracts. Second, similar minutess were non treated the same because they are classified otherwise. Third, the “ all or nil ” attack to the capitalization of leased assets does non reflect the complex minutess.

The New Approach

G4+1 Approach

Accounting Standard Setters from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and International Accounting Standard Committee ( IASC, an extension of G4+1 group ) issued a particular study. Accounting for Lease: A New Approach. McGregor, 1996 stated that, “ all finance rentals and most, if non all, runing rentals measure up for acknowledgment as assets and liabilities. ” This paper implies that sorting the rentals as operating or finance is “ unsatisfactory ” . In add-on it suggests that there would be betterments in comparison of fiscal statements if all rentals were classified the same. The operating rentals should be treated as finance rentals and that all leased assets and liabilities should be treated the same manner to avoid use. Imhoff and Thomas ( 1988 ) propose that if there are loopholes present in accounting criterions, direction will work it. Firms would desire to cut down the length of the contract if it determines the significance of the liability, ( Goodacre, 2003 ) .

Leaseholders should recognize the just value of assets and liabilities contained in the rental contract so their balance sheets should reflect extra liabilities if the new attack is adopted. It besides suggests that balance sheet acknowledgment of operating rentals would supply utile for determination devising intents, ( Ryan et al, 2001 ) . A farther place paper issued in 1999 suggested that operating rentals should be included in the balance sheet. This would convey to the surface the assets and liabilities reported at a just value of rights and duties conveyed in the rental.

The Drawbacks of G4+1

Majority of preparers of histories disagree with the G4+1 attack as they are already familiar with IAS 17. Therefore, it will be hard to successfully present a new attack. They besides believe that it is unreasonable if they have to bear the costs and users obtain the benefits from the improved information. However, they seem to disregard the possible long term benefits ( Beattie et al, 2006 ) . Supplying a new criterion for the rental accounting intervention will take to unwanted economic effects. Goodacre, 2003 suggested that categorization of rentals affects lessee ‘s public presentation ratios, so companies may be loath to alter their operating leases all into finance rentals.

The Future

The Accounting Standard Board ( ASB ) realised that the chief rules of the G4+1 paper going common and is a turning practise for analysts recasting fiscal statements by capitalizing operating rentals. Hence, it seems reasonable to use a modified version of a finance renting theoretical account as one attack for all rentals.

There are many unfavorable judgments of G4+1, some fear that IASC ‘s “ being and laterality ” as a standard compositor could be endangered by G4. It is thought that reconstituting the proposal to run into G4+1 ‘s concerns will let G4+1 and the IASC to work together. However, if the attack was executed in its present signifier it may develop two viing “ internationally recognized criterions ” : the G4 and IASC, ( Street and Shaughnessy, 1998 )


To reason, IAS 17 was implemented to forestall use in renting intervention as leasing became a popular beginning of finance. Yet there were inadequacies with this criterion, such as companies categorizing rentals as operating rentals alternatively of finance rentals. There are besides debates about the “ substance over signifier ” attack. This criterion was unable to acquire rid of the off balance sheet financing nature of some the rentals. Therefore, G4+1 tried to implement a new attack. This attack was non to the full supported by many, particularly the preparers but on the whole, it will let preparers and users to justifiably study renting. This new attack will most probably be reflected in a revised or new accounting criterion in the hereafter.


Operating rentals and finance rentals should be treated the same ; both should be recognised as assets and liabilities in the balance sheet.

It is of import to take into consideration what the preparers and users think of the reform and whether it is good.

G4+1 could ab initio function as a benchmark to companies

Footnote disclosures on capitalization of rentals should be included on fiscal studies

Adopting a new attack will ab initio make a daze, nevertheless preparers and users of histories will finally profit from the improved information.


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