HIGHER EDUCATION

FASB Lease Standard 

Steven J. Cohen Principal, CPA, CGFM 

2 August 2022 

Overview

Beginning for financial statements with year ends after December 15, 2021, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) will require not-for profit entities to implement the new lease standard (known as Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, Leases). This translates to the year ending June 30, 2023 for June year ends and December 31, 2022 for calendar year ends.

fasb lead standard

Previous to the implementation of the new lease standard, capital leases are capitalized on the balance sheet, while operation leases are not capitalized on the balance sheet, but rather disclosed in the notes to the financial statements. Many users of financial statements believed that not having operating leases capitalized on the balance sheet makes financial statements analysis to be difficult.

In response to the concerns of those users of the financial statements, the new lease standard was established. The purpose of new lease standard is to increase transparency and comparability of financial information by recognizing virtually all leases on the balance sheet.

Definition of Lease

Under the new lease standard, the definition of a lease is “a contract, or part of a contract, that conveys the right to control the use of identified property, plant, or equipment (an identified asset) for a period of time in exchange for consideration.”

FASB defines control of a leased asset when both of the following occurs:

The right to obtain substantially all of the economic benefit from use of the identified asset

The right to direct the use of the identified asset

An entity shall apply lease accounting for arrangements that meets the above definition unless it meets one the following exceptions.

Leases of intangible assets, minerals, oil, natural gas, biological assets, timber, inventory and assets under construction.

Short-term leases – a lease term of 12 months or less and does not include an option to purchase the underlying asset that the lessee is reasonably certain to exercise.

A reasonable capitalization threshold – similar to fixed assets, management can determine that recognizing the lease would not be material to the entity’s financial statements.

Why it is important?

    • Recognizing the new lease standard properly will be important to earn a clean audit opinion under generally accepted accounting principles.
    • The change to lease accounting can affect key financial ratios, such as the current ratio and debt service coverage ratio, that could be tied to loan covenants.
    • The new lease standard will have an effect on the financial responsibility supplemental information required by the Department of Education.

Financing vs. Operating Leases

The new lease standard creates two different types of leases: financing leases and operating leases.

Finance leases – to be considered a finance lease, at least one criterion must be met at the lease commencement date:

    • The leased asset is transferred to the lessee on or before the end of the lease term
    • The lessee has an option to purchase the leased asset, and it is reasonably certain that the option will be exercised
    • The lease term is for the major part of the remaining economic life of the underlying asset
    • The present value of the sum of the lease payments and any residual value guaranteed by the lessee equals or exceeds substantially all of the fair value of the leased asset
    • The leased asset is of such specialized nature that there is no alternative use to the lessor after the lease is completed

Operating leases – an operating lease is any lease that is not a finance lease.

Lessee Accounting

Lessees will recognize a right of use (ROU) asset and a corresponding lease liability. The liability will initially be measured at the present value of the remaining lease payments (including the exercise price of an option to purchase the leased asset if it reasonably certain for this event to occur) using a proper discount rate. The discount rate should be the rate implicit in the lease arrangement. If the discount rate is not known, the Company can use their incremental borrowing rate or the risk-free rate.

The initial ROU asset is the lease liability, lease payments made to the lessor before the lease’s commencement date, direct costs that the lessee incurred, and lease incentives made by the lessor.

Lessor Accounting

The initial accounting for lessors is more complicated.
If the lease is operating, the entity will continue to recognize the leased asset. Lease income will generally be recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

If the lease is financing, the lessor will de-recognize the leased asset and recognize the net investment in the lease. The corresponding credit will be recognizing a portion to interest income and an implied selling profit that will either be recognized immediately or over the lease depending on several factors.

Recommendations

  • Assign a team leader to be responsible for implementation
    • The leader should define the issues related to implementation, resources needed to complete the lease review, and timeline for completion
  • Determine capitalization thresholds
    • Consideration of quantitative and non-quantitative factors
    • Should be evaluated on the gross lease asset and liability, rather than the net of those two figures
  • Identification of possible leases
    • Discussion with personnel from other departments
    • Review of frequent disbursements to the same vendor as this may indicate a lease
  • Document your lease conclusions for each arrangement
    • Why the arrangement is or is not a lease
    • Key variables in the lease determination such as lease term, payments, discount rate, incentives, renewals and option to purchase the asset
  • Discussion with your financial institutions since lease implementation could have an impact on debt covenants
  • Calculation of needed information
    • Purchase of lease software
    • Excel spreadsheet

This discussion is a summary of a very difficult standard to implement. Please contact your O’Connor & Drew representative or me with additional guidance.

 

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