Companies See Significant Balance Sheet Impacts After Lease Accounting Transition – New LeaseQuery Report

by | Feb 18, 2020

As lease liabilities continue to skyrocket, companies would be wise to start developing a plan for compliance immediately

ATLANTA – February 18, 2020 – Implementation of the new lease accounting standard has led to average balance sheet lease liability increases of 1,475%, according to new research from lease accounting technology provider, LeaseQuery.

In an analysis of more than 400 balance sheets pre- and post-transition to ASC 842, LeaseQuery’s new Lease Liabilities Index report indicates that companies that have not yet transitioned to the new standards need to prepare for an overhaul of their financial snapshot.


Spotlighting the lease accounting transition impact across six critical industries, the research also found that:

  • The rule change arrives at the same time as many industries are contending with other significant headwinds. For the retail industry, in particular, bankruptcies and changing consumer preferences are further challenging the margins. With a 1,012% increase in average lease liability, retailers need to spend 2020 optimizing their leasing and location strategy while also paying attention to growing digital demands.
  • Organizations should look at lease accounting not as another compliance burden, but as an opportunity for further efficiency and streamlined processes. As technology changes the type of equipment used in key processes, industries like manufacturing and energy are finding themselves in the midst of transformation. For manufacturers, thorough insight into their lease liability increase (495%) can prompt businesses to ensure contracts are optimized and leases are managed effectively. As businesses in the energy industry alter their long-term strategy for a greener world, lease arrangements are likely to be in focus.
  • Lease accounting is making a huge impact on how leasing decisions appear on the balance sheet. Lease accounting has fundamentally changed the financial snapshot of financial institutions that are now recognizing operating leases as both a liability and a corresponding asset. Banks are averaging a significant increase in lease liability (6,070%).
  • With numerous leases moving to the balance sheet, lease versus buy decisions will weigh heavily. For the restaurant industry, the addition of equipment and other leases to the balance sheet has already increased its average lease liability by 1,743%. Determining whether to lease or buy equipment moving forward will be a critical topic of discussion among key stakeholders.

“The FASB’s issuance of ASC 842, the new lease accounting standards, was initially put in place to increase transparency for all lease transactions throughout the business,” said Jennifer Booth, VP of Accounting at LeaseQuery. “With operating leases now requiring recognition of asset and corresponding lease liability, the level of balance sheet change ahead should be a wake-up call for businesses to expedite the journey towards transition and begin immediately.”

For more information, read the full report: Lease Liabilities Index: An Analysis of More Than 400 Companies’ Balance Sheets Pre- and Post-Transition.

About the Report

LeaseQuery’s Lease Liabilities Index Report is a regular analysis of more than 400 public, private and nonprofit organizations’ financials across six critical industries – retail, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and restaurants – as they implement new lease accounting standards. The index is designed as a benchmarking resource to help companies assess and communicate changes to their stakeholders.

About LeaseQuery

LeaseQuery helps more than 10,000 accountants and other finance professionals eliminate lease accounting errors through its CPA-approved lease accounting software. It is the first lease accounting software built by accountants for accountants. By providing specialized consulting services in addition to its software solution, LeaseQuery facilitates compliance with the most comprehensive regulatory reform in 40 years for companies across all sectors.

Additional Resources

Lease Accounting Guide