FREE SUBSCRIPTION Includes: The Advisor Daily eBlast + Exclusive Content + Professional Network Membership: JOIN NOW LOGIN
Skip Navigation LinksHome / News / Read News


Grant Thornton LLP: Two Lease Accounting Models Needed

March 09, 2012, 06:30 AM
Filed Under: Regulatory News

In a new paper on lease accounting, “Are All Leases Created Equal?”, Grant Thornton LLP discusses the FASB’s and IASB’s current thinking on lease accounting. The Boards have tentatively decided on a single model for lessors (the receivable and residual model). Grant Thornton makes a case for the use of two models based on whether the lessor is managing financial assets or operating assets, and what types of risks are inherent in the lessor’s business model.

“We agree that the model needs updating; however, we respectfully disagree with the Boards’ proposal to replace the current GAAP model with a single model for lessors and with somewhat arbitrary exceptions for investment property and leases of one year or less,” said Mark Scoles, partner in charge of Grant Thornton’s Accounting Principles Consultation Group.

Grant Thornton suggests that the proposed exceptions to the model for investment property and short-term leases are indicators that there is a difference between the economic substance of certain leases that is not related to the term of the lease, the nature of the property, or whether the lessor accounts for the property at amortized cost or at fair value. The firm notes that the exceptions may be reflecting different lessor business models.

“As tempting as it is to search for a single model that will prevent structuring, we do not believe that a single model can provide relevant information that faithfully presents the underlying economics of all leasing transactions in the financial statements,” said John Hepp, a partner in the firm’s Accounting Principles Consultation Group.

Grant Thornton suggests that the Boards focus future research on the business model of the lessor to determine the risks retained by the lessor and whether the lessor has retained substantive control over the underlying asset or has transferred that control to the lessee with the right of use.

“We believe that significant differences in the business models may warrant different measurement attributes, revenue recognition and, especially, disclosures,” concluded Scoles.

To download a copy of Are All Leases Created Equal?, visit Grant Thornton’s Lease Accounting Resource Center at 

Comments From Our Members

You must be an Equipment Finance Advisor member to post comments. Login or Join Now.