IFRS 16 - Leases: Effect Analysis of the Changes in IFRS 16 for Lessee Accounting

Maryum Rathore

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Leasing is an important financial solution used by many corporations because it enables companiesto obtain access to assets without having to incur large initial cash outflows and reduce thecompany’s exposure to the risks related to owning the asset. The increased use of leasing meansthat it is important that users of the financial statements have a complete and understandable pictureof a company’s lease arrangements. The existing accounting model for leases IAS 17 “Leases” hasbeen criticized for failing to meet the needs of users of the financial statements, mainly because itoperates with two different accounting model for financial leases and operating leases, which meansnot all material lease arrangements are recognized in the balance sheet. The distinction between thetwo accounting models has been criticized for its complexity, structuring possibilities and the riskof inconsistent classification, which reduce the comparability for users of the financial statements.Furthermore, some users of the financial statements have argued that the accounting model forleases is conceptually flawed because an operating lease contract meets the definitions of assets,liabilities and the recognition criteria in the conceptual framework, but is not recognized in thebalance sheet.The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has issued IFRS 16 “Leases” (IFRS 16),which provides new guidance for the accounting of lease arrangements. The purpose of this thesis isto analyze the financial effects caused by the implementation of IFRS 16 in the financial statementsof the lessee. Through a comparative analysis, the thesis examines the differences between financialreporting according to IAS 17 and IFRS 16 in the lessee accounting model and assesses whetherIFRS 16 addresses the criticisms of IAS 17.This analysis shows that the most significant effect of IFRS 16 will be an increase in lease assetsand financial liabilities, which will result in a change to key financial metrics. IFRS 16 is asignificant improvement of IAS 17 because IFRS 16 introduces a single lessee accounting modelthat eliminates the distinction between finance and operating leases. This means that the majority oflease arrangements will be recognized in the balance sheet, which will increase the comparabilitybetween companies. However, IFRS 16 contains exemptions for short-term leases and leases of lowvalue and distinctions in accounting areas that need professional judgments and can lead tostructuring opportunities, complexity and a risk of inconsistent classification, which may reducecomparability to a limited extend.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages90