Regnskabsmæssig behandling af leasing efter ny IFRS: En teoretisk gennemgang og analyse af den nye (draft) IFRS for leasing

Morten Bengaard Poulsen & Karsten Jeppesen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis focuses on the new (draft) IFRS for lease accounting and exclusively on issues re-lated to the accounting treatment of lessees. The thesis is also delimited to analyze the prob-lems from an IFRS point of view. In recent years, leasing has become more and more popular either for financing assets or creat-ing a flexible asset composition. In an increasingly globalized world, it is essential, that the an-nual reports reflect leasing activities in a way that is comparable; both between enterprises and across borders and continents. IASB and FASB have initiated a long-term convergence project in order to homogenize ac-counting standards, where a wide range of the joint projects currently are being discussed. The purpose is to eliminate differences between IFRS and US GAAP and to provide better informa-tion for financial statements readers. Part of the convergence project was the development of a new accounting standard for leasing as IAS 17 has been criticized for not recognizing opera-tional lease arrangements on the balance sheet, which is not in accordance with the framework of financial reporting. An Exposure Draft of the new leasing standard was issued in August 2010 and was open for public comments in a period of four months. The main purpose in developing a new accounting standard for leases was to come up with an accounting model which addresses the criticism of IAS 17. The Exposure Draft introduced the right-of-use-model which prescribes that all con-tracts that meet the definition of a lease are in scope of the IFRS, and should be accounted for in the balance sheet. This addresses the criticism of leases not being recognized in the balance sheet and eliminates the need to distinguish between operational and finance leases. Further-more, it provides useful information to financial statement readers. However, the right-of-use-model causes new issues which have significant impact of the accounting treatment. As the Exposure Draft results in all leases being recognized in the balance sheet, the bright line be-tween lease contracts and executive contracts (service contracts) has become a key issue. The distinguishing between these two different types of contracts shall be assessed based on wheth-er the definition of a lease is met. It is therefore crucial that the definition is suitable and clearly described. The definition has been discussed thoroughly and, although the enterprises and or-ganizations which have commented the Exposure Draft generally support the right-of-use-model, their main concern about the new IFRS is related to this topic. The Exposure Draft initially introduced a wide range of changes to the initial recognition and measurement of the right-of-use-asset and the liability to make lease payments compared to the accounting treatment in IAS 17. In order to provide relevant information to the financial state-ment readers, the obligation to make lease payments contained many factors which were based on subjective assessments. However, these factors are very difficult to determine and measure, and despite it would provide relevant information to financial statement readers, the measure-ment would, in some instances, be based on unreliable information. This caused comprehen-sive criticism from enterprises and organizations which commented on the Exposure Draft. On the boards' subsequent meetings decisions have been made resulting in many of the initially proposed changes being reversed. The main change compared to IAS 17 is the introduction of the right-of-use-model, which results in recognition of all lease arrangements. As a consequence of the above, the definition and its influence on the assessment of whether an agreement is a service or a lease contract will be the main issue in the new (draft) IFRS. Overall it is our opinion, that the new IFRS regarding leasing will solve many of the issues which have been linked with the current IAS 17. It will provide better information for financial statement users and better basis of comparing financial information between entities and across borders and continents. A successful implementation however, will depend on the boards' ability to provide sufficient and specific guidance on distinguishing service from leasing. Otherwise the new IFRS will be subject of new criticism as the former bright line between operational and finance leases will be replaced with a new and more material bright line.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages164