Lease Accounting Checklist Essentials for Accuracy & Compliance

Lease accounting checklist

Lease Accounting checklist Overview

In the ever-evolving landscape of lease accounting standards, staying compliant and accurate is a challenge for professionals in the accounting industry. This article will guide you through creating a comprehensive lease accounting checklist using Manifestly Checklists to ensure adherence to standards and enhance business efficiency.

Understanding Lease Accounting Standards

Overview of ASC 842 and IFRS 16

The landscape of lease accounting has undergone significant changes with the introduction of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) ASC 842 in the United States and the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) IFRS 16 globally. Both standards were designed to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet.

The shift from ASC 840 to ASC 842: Key changes and implications of the new standard, ASC 842, include the recognition of most leases on the balance sheet, which means that both assets and liabilities arising from leases must now be reported. This change eliminates the off-balance-sheet accounting that was prevalent under ASC 840 for operating leases. Another significant change is the enhanced disclosure requirements, which require organizations to provide additional information about their leasing activities. This shift has a profound impact on financial statements and requires meticulous review and adjustment of lease accounting practices. For an in-depth exploration of these changes, the FASB offers a resource page on lease accounting.

Comparing IFRS 16 and ASC 842: Understanding the international perspective is crucial for global entities. Both ASC 842 and IFRS 16 bring leases onto the balance sheet, but there are nuanced differences. For example, while ASC 842 retains a dual classification model for finance and operating leases, IFRS 16 eliminates the operating lease classification and treats all leases as finance leases. Additionally, there are differences in the definition of a lease, lease term, and how variable lease payments are treated. These variations can affect entities that report under both GAAP and IFRS. The IFRS Foundation provides resources to help understand and implement IFRS 16.

Compliance Requirements

With the introduction of ASC 842 and IFRS 16, compliance with lease accounting standards has become more complex and demanding. Entities must ensure that they meet all the requirements to maintain accuracy and uphold financial integrity.

Critical compliance aspects under the new lease accounting standards: This includes the proper recognition of lease assets and liabilities, application of the appropriate discount rate, and adherence to the new disclosure requirements. Companies must also have systems and controls in place to manage and track the leases over their term, which can be particularly challenging for organizations with a large portfolio of leases. To maintain compliance, it is essential to regularly review and update lease accounting processes and systems, a task that can be facilitated by utilizing comprehensive checklists, such as those offered by Manifestly Checklists.

The importance of accurate lease classification and measurement: Correctly classifying and measuring leases is fundamental to achieving compliance with the new standards. Under ASC 842, leases are classified as either operating or finance, with each classification affecting the pattern of expense recognition. IFRS 16, however, does not differentiate between the two, leading to a single lease accounting model. The measurement of lease liabilities and right-of-use assets involves determining the lease term, assessing lease payments, and calculating the present value. Accuracy in these areas is pivotal to ensure the lease liabilities and assets are correctly recorded on the balance sheet. To avoid misclassification and measurement errors, detailed guidance and examples can be found through professional accounting organizations and accounting firms.

Building Your Lease Accounting Checklist

Lease Identification and Classification

Accurate lease accounting starts with the proper identification and classification of leases. This process is foundational for compliance with standards like ASC 842 and IFRS 16. A checklist for lease identification and classification should include the following steps:

  • Review all contracts thoroughly to determine whether they contain lease components. Look for agreements that grant control over the use of an identified asset for a period in exchange for consideration.
  • Separate lease components from non-lease components. Lease components may include the right to use an underlying asset, while non-lease components could be services such as maintenance or support.
  • Once identified, classify each lease as either an operating lease or a finance lease. The classification influences how leases are reported in financial statements.
  • For operating leases, renters make a straight-line expense lease payment, while the lessor continues to recognize the leased asset in their balance sheet.
  • Finance leases (also known as capital leases), on the other hand, are treated as though the lessee has purchased the asset, meaning the lessee recognizes both an asset and a liability on their balance sheet.
  • Use the criteria set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) for lease classification. Criteria include whether the lease transfers ownership, the lease term, the present value of lease payments, and more.

For a more detailed explanation of the classification criteria, refer to the FASB's guidelines on lease accounting and the IFRS 16 standard.

Lease Measurement and Recognition

The next stage in your lease accounting checklist involves the measurement and recognition of leases. This process is crucial for reporting the financial impacts accurately. The checklist for lease measurement and recognition should cover:

  • Calculating the lease liability, which is the present value of future lease payments, using the appropriate discount rate.
  • Determining the right-of-use (ROU) asset, which typically starts as the initial amount of the lease liability, adjusted for any lease payments made at or before the commencement date, plus any initial direct costs incurred by the lessee.
  • For subsequent measurement, ensure that the lease liability is reduced for lease payments made and increased to reflect interest on the liability.
  • The ROU asset should be depreciated over the lease term unless the lessee is reasonably certain to obtain ownership by the end of the lease term.
  • Address lease modification and reassessment procedures. A lease modification may require a remeasurement of the lease liability and an adjustment to the ROU asset.
  • Ensure that any lease modifications are accounted for in accordance with ASC 842 or IFRS 16, depending on the reporting standards applicable to your organization.
  • Document and review the process for reassessment of the lease term and the discount rate at each reporting period, as changes in these assumptions can significantly impact the measurement of leases.

For a comprehensive approach to lease measurement and recognition, tools such as lease accounting software can be beneficial. These tools often include features like automated calculations and reporting capabilities to ensure accuracy and compliance. Additionally, resources like the AICPA's Lease Accounting Toolkit can provide valuable guidance on the nuances of lease accounting.

Implementing a structured checklist for lease accounting helps businesses maintain accuracy and adhere to compliance requirements. By following each step meticulously and utilizing available resources, organizations can ensure their financial statements accurately reflect their lease obligations.

Implementing Your Checklist with Manifestly

Setting Up Your Lease Accounting Workflow

Integrating a lease accounting checklist into your financial operations is pivotal to ensure accuracy and compliance, especially in light of standards like ASC 842 and IFRS 16. Manifestly Checklists offers a robust platform where you can create and customize your lease accounting checklist tailored to your organization's needs. Here's how to get started:

Begin by accessing Manifestly and create a new workflow. Use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to add steps that correspond to key lease accounting tasks – from initial lease identification and classification to ongoing measurement and reassessment. You can easily input detailed instructions for each task, embed links to relevant resources, and attach templates or documents that may be required for the task completion.

Next, streamline your lease management by assigning tasks to appropriate team members within Manifestly. By designating individuals or groups responsible for specific tasks, you maintain clear accountability. Set up reminders for critical lease events, such as renewal options, to ensure that no important deadlines are missed. This level of organization not only promotes diligence but also helps to maintain compliance with relevant lease accounting standards.

Manifestly's flexibility allows you to tailor your checklist further by setting conditional tasks that only appear if certain criteria are met, ensuring your workflow remains relevant to the specific lease scenario. With the ability to customize your lease accounting checklist, you create a dynamic tool that evolves with your business needs and accounting standards.

Tracking and Reporting

With your workflow in place, tracking compliance becomes a more manageable task. Manifestly's tracking features provide real-time oversight of your lease accounting processes. You can monitor which tasks have been completed, which are in progress, and which are overdue. This instant visibility helps to identify any bottlenecks or issues quickly, allowing for prompt resolution and ensuring continuous compliance.

Over time, the data accumulated through the tracking of your lease accounting tasks becomes a valuable asset. Manifestly enables you to generate reports that can be used for internal reviews or external audit purposes. These reports can showcase your adherence to lease accounting standards, and demonstrate the effectiveness of your internal controls. They can also help in preparing the necessary disclosures and notes for financial statements, which are critical under the new lease accounting rules.

The reports generated from Manifestly can be customized to focus on the information that matters most to your auditors and stakeholders. Whether it's a comprehensive overview of all leases or an in-depth analysis of specific lease agreements, Manifestly provides the tools to extract and organize this information effectively.

Implementing your lease accounting checklist with Manifestly not only aids in maintaining compliance but also enhances the efficiency and transparency of your lease accounting processes. With all the necessary tasks, reminders, and reporting capabilities in one place, your team can focus on strategic analysis and decision-making, rather than getting bogged down by administrative tasks.

To explore the full potential of Manifestly for your lease accounting needs and to start creating your own workflows, visit Manifestly Checklists and take the first step towards streamlined lease accounting management.

Best Practices for Maintaining Lease Accounting Accuracy

Ensuring accuracy in lease accounting is critical for compliance with financial reporting standards such as IFRS 16 and ASC 842. It requires meticulous attention to detail and a proactive approach to lease management. Here, we outline some of the best practices to help maintain lease accounting accuracy.

Regular Updates and Reviews

Lease accounting is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. It demands ongoing vigilance to remain accurate and compliant. One of the most effective ways to maintain accuracy is through regular updates and reviews of your lease data and related accounting practices.

Scheduling periodic checklist reviews to capture regulatory changes: It is essential to stay abreast of the latest developments in lease accounting standards and regulations. Schedule periodic reviews of your lease accounting checklist to ensure that it reflects any changes in the regulatory landscape. This practice will help you remain compliant and mitigate the risk of financial discrepancies. Consider using a platform like Manifestly Checklists to automate reminders for these reviews, ensuring they are never overlooked.

Maintaining a single source of truth for lease data: To minimize errors, it's crucial to have a centralized repository for all lease-related information. This 'single source of truth' should be easily accessible and updated in real-time to reflect any changes to lease terms, payments, or conditions. By doing so, you ensure that all stakeholders are working with the most current and accurate data, which is vital for both internal decision-making and external reporting.

Training and Knowledge Sharing

Another pillar of maintaining lease accounting accuracy is ensuring that your team is well-informed and trained on the latest standards and best practices. Knowledge is power, and in the realm of lease accounting, it is also the foundation of accuracy.

Educating your team on lease accounting standards using Manifestly resources: Continuous training and education are key to keeping your team up-to-date on lease accounting standards. Utilize resources provided by Manifestly to create comprehensive training programs. These resources can help your team understand the intricacies of lease accounting, including the recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure requirements. Regular training sessions will ensure that your team is proficient in applying these standards consistently and effectively.

Encouraging cross-departmental collaboration for a holistic approach to lease management: Lease accounting accuracy benefits from a collaborative approach that involves various departments such as finance, legal, and real estate. Encourage your teams to work together to share insights and information that can impact lease accounting. This cross-departmental collaboration ensures that all aspects of leasing — from contract negotiation to asset management — are aligned with accounting requirements and that data is complete and accurate. By fostering a collaborative environment, you can create a more robust and integrated lease accounting process that stands up to scrutiny and complies with all relevant standards.

In summary, maintaining lease accounting accuracy requires a combination of diligent reviews, data centralization, continuous training, and cross-functional collaboration. By implementing these best practices, you can ensure that your lease accounting processes are not only accurate but also efficient and fully compliant with current standards. Remember, the key to success in lease accounting lies in the details and the proactive management of those details through reliable systems and knowledgeable teams.


In the realm of financial management and accounting, precision and adherence to regulations are not merely goals—they are imperatives. The intricate web of lease agreements that businesses must navigate is a testament to the complexity of modern commerce. A lease accounting checklist, as we've discussed, stands as a vital tool in the quest for compliance and accuracy. Its role cannot be overstated; it ensures that every detail is accounted for, every deadline is met, and no regulatory stone is left unturned.

The implementation of a thorough lease accounting checklist is not just about avoiding the pitfalls of non-compliance and the financial repercussions that follow. It's about instilling confidence in stakeholders, from investors to auditors, that the financial statements are a true and fair reflection of the company's leasing obligations. In an era where transparency is paramount, such confidence is invaluable.

As we cap off our exploration into the essentials of lease accounting checklists, it's clear that these tools are more than just lists—they are the scaffolding upon which robust accounting practices are built. By leveraging the capabilities of Manifestly Checklists, organizations can elevate their accounting practices to new heights. Manifestly Checklists offers a dynamic platform that streamlines the creation, distribution, and tracking of lease accounting procedures. It's a solution that not only supports accuracy but also fosters efficiency and collaboration among team members.

The digital age has ushered in a new level of complexity in how we manage financial transactions, yet it has also provided us with innovative tools to navigate this complexity. Manifestly Checklists is one such innovation—a beacon in the maze of lease accounting standards, illuminating the path to compliance and precision. By embracing this tool, firms can ensure that they remain on the cutting edge of financial management, ready to meet the challenges of today's fast-paced business environment.

In conclusion, the meticulous implementation of a lease accounting checklist is not just about compliance—it's about establishing a foundation of trust in your financial processes. It's about the peace of mind that comes from knowing your accounting team has a reliable roadmap to follow. And with Manifestly Checklists at your side, this journey toward impeccable lease accounting is not just possible—it's a pathway marked with clarity and ease.

We encourage you to visit Manifestly Checklists and explore how our platform can transform your lease accounting practices. Begin your journey towards seamless lease accounting management today, and let us help you adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and compliance.

Free Lease Accounting checklist Template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Key changes from ASC 840 to ASC 842 include the recognition of most leases on the balance sheet, enhanced disclosure requirements, and the elimination of off-balance-sheet accounting for operating leases. This has a profound impact on financial statements and necessitates a meticulous review and adjustment of lease accounting practices.
While both IFRS 16 and ASC 842 bring leases onto the balance sheet, there are differences such as the dual classification model retained in ASC 842 for finance and operating leases and the single lease accounting model in IFRS 16. Other differences include the definitions of a lease, lease term, and the treatment of variable lease payments.
Essential compliance aspects include proper recognition of lease assets and liabilities, application of the appropriate discount rate, and adherence to new disclosure requirements. Companies must also have systems and controls to manage and track leases over their term.
Accurate lease classification and measurement are fundamental to achieving compliance with new standards. They affect the pattern of expense recognition and ensure that lease liabilities and assets are correctly recorded on the balance sheet.
Manifestly Checklists provides a platform to create and customize comprehensive lease accounting checklists, set reminders for critical lease events, and assign tasks. It aids in tracking compliance and generating reports for internal and external audit purposes.
A lease accounting checklist should include steps for reviewing contracts to identify lease components, separating lease from non-lease components, and classifying each lease as either an operating lease or a finance lease based on criteria from FASB and IASB.
Lease measurement and recognition involve calculating the lease liability and right-of-use (ROU) asset, addressing lease modification and reassessment procedures, and ensuring correct subsequent measurement and depreciation of the ROU asset.
Manifestly's tracking features enable real-time oversight of lease accounting processes and the ability to monitor task completion. It also allows for the generation of customizable reports that showcase adherence to lease accounting standards.
Best practices include scheduling periodic checklist reviews to capture regulatory changes, maintaining a single source of truth for lease data, educating your team on lease accounting standards, and encouraging cross-departmental collaboration.
A lease accounting checklist is important for businesses to ensure compliance with financial reporting standards, instill confidence in stakeholders, and provide a structured approach to managing the complex requirements of lease accounting.

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