FASB and IASB diverging perspectives on the new lessee accounting: Implications for international managerial decision-making

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the expected effect of diverging accounting requirements and practices on firms in two industries – construction and retailing – which typically undertake different types of leases, namely, equipment and real estate, respectively. The paper also discusses how the new standards will provide expanded disclosures to aid this financial statement analysis. Design/methodology/approach – The research demonstrates how to estimate information comparable to that produced under IFRS from US GAAP financial statements and estimates the significance of the impact on key financial statement ratios. Findings – Key profitability ratios – return on assets and return on equity – generally improve over the time period 2007-2013 while interest coverage drastically deteriorates particularly for retailing firms. This finding contrasts with what some view as the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s reason for its choice of income statement presentation – to avoid the front-end loading of costs that ensues from accounting for leases as one would any other long-lived asset acquired through long-term financing. Practical implications – Current IFRS and US GAAP requirements do not provide sufficient information to estimate lease accounting changes for those firms which have no long-term debt other than long-term leases. Therefore, the estimates presented in this analysis are limited below what will be possible to do under new accounting requirements. Originality/value – The research covers a current topic of new divergence between US GAAP and IFRS requirements for leases. In addition, improvements over analysis techniques currently required that will be possible with new financial statement disclosures also are discussed.

Publication Title

International Journal of Managerial Finance