Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Companies: New Lease Rules Mean Labor Pains -

Found an interesting article on on the pushback from over 150 companies on indications on the direction for new lease accounting, and I encourage you to read it.

I agree with a lot of the criticisms of SFAS 13, Accounting for Leases. The brightline tests for whether a lease is operating or capital has always been susceptible to abuse.

On the other hand, I have difficulty accepting the financial calamity some predict from turning what are now off balance sheet operating leases onto the balance sheet as an asset with a corresponding liability. True, ratios will be hurt and could impact existing lending agreements. But all of this information has been (or should be) disclosed in the notes to the financial statements and should be comprehended by the readers and lenders.

This was reminding of an earlier post on mark to market accounting that wondered if that standard caused the financial market meltdown. My opinion and that of an accounting professor from Wayne State University in Detroit was no. Since publishing that post, I asked the same question to another Wayne State accounting professor who completely disagreed with me and his colleague. I am reminded of that comment about putting pig on a lipstick. That was what we were doing before the mark to market rules, and it is pretty much what we are doing with the current lease accounting rules.


mdjonesb said...

Great Blog entry Joel! Links to good resources and provides much insight. I am forwarding this one to my network!

Naperville Tax Preparation said...

I'm just going to pass on this information to the needy.