Friday, October 22, 2010

FASB Leasing Proposal - Y2K or Meh?

As we reported in August, FASB released an Exposure Draft of a Proposed Accounting Standards Update with proposed amendments to FASB Codification Topic 840: Leases. The IASB concurrently issued its own proposal.

How Will Proposal Impact You?
What will the impact of the leasing proposal be? One real estate executive (quoted below) has said it could be the 'Y2K for the real estate industry,' while blogger Adrienne Gonzalez, author of the Jr. Deputy Accountant Blog, appears to catalogue the accounting proposal as a 'meh' type event in the overall scheme of things, comparing it to 'shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.'

Here's the quote from an Oct. 21 article in the Philadelphia Business Journal, FASB Change Would Put Leases On Firms' Balance Sheets:

“There’s a bit of denial out there,” said Lou Battagliese Jr., a principle with Jackson Cross Real Estate Partners, who advises corporate clients in their real estate needs. “The experts believe it’s just a question of when, not if. The joke is this is Y2K for the real estate industry.”
...
After taking an inventory, Battagliese advises corporate tenants to take a stab at determining the financial impact of accounting leases on a balance sheet, particularly since there is likely to be a “significant first-year impact.”

How Can You Impact The Proposal?
To estimate the impact of the proposal on your business (or potentially on your supply chain partners or your customers), here's where you can get some important information:
1. read the proposal; do your analysis, or initial analysis
2. listen to FASB's webcast on the proposal, Oct. 28 from 11am - 12 noon Eastern time.
3. attend educational events such as FEI's Current Financial Reporting Issues (CFRI) Conf. Nov. 15-16 in NYC, which includes high level FASB/IASB updates, an SEC Update, various general sessions, and concurrent sessions on specialized topics, including a concurrent session (among various concurrent sessions you can choose from) on the leasing proposal. The concurrent Leasing session at CFRI will be moderated by Gregg Nelson of IBM, and includes panelists John Bober of General Electric Co., Ross Prindle of Duff & Phelps, and Danielle Zeyher, Project Manager, FASB.
4. do your analysis/continue your analysis
5. talk to others in your industry and field (FEI CFRI and other FEI networking opportunities including local chapters, national committees, and other events provide such an opportunity; as previously reported, FEI has a new Associate Membership category)
6. consider the impact of FASB's proposal, including costs & benefits, practical & theoretical (conceptual) issues
7. file a comment letter on the proposal; view other comment letters filed.

The comment deadline on the leasing proposal is Dec. 15, 2010.

UPDATE: Lorraine Malonza, Senior Manager, Accounting Policy and Financial Research, FEI, reminds me that FASB is also holding joint roundtables with the IASB in January, 2011 on the Leasing proposal, to gather additional input. As noted in FASB's press release on the leasing roundtables, a request to be considered as a participant in the roundtables must be filed with FASB by Nov. 1, and a preliminary comment letter must be filed by roundtable participants by Dec. 1, with their final comment letter due by the Dec. 15 deadline.

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