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A qualitative study of the latest developments in IASB’s Leasing Project (Civil Project)

Today problems exist with how the leases are recognized in public companies that uses the IFRS. The liability to make lease payments is not recognized as a liability in the balance sheet even though it should according to the current lease accounting standard.

There are two different classifications of leases, financial and operational, where the latter means that the liability to make lease payment does not end up in the balance sheet. Today many lease contracts are tailored to be classified as operational to avoid the liability on the balance sheet.

The problem described above has for long been known and the international accounting organisations, IASB and FASB, have been working on a solution to the problem for many years. The project’s completion in form of a new standard has been postponed several times and it is currently scheduled for the earliest to entry into service during 2013.

This study aims at investigating the IASB’s and FASB’s joint project to solve the lease accounting problem and its effects on the Swedish commercial real estate market.

The approach adopted in this thesis is to examine the available literature about the problem and the project and to conduct interviews with expert in the field and possible future stakeholder that will be affected.

The conclusions of the study are that the effects due to the project will mainly be for the lessee and then indirectly for the lessor. The lessees will try to find solutions like shorter leases to avoid the biggest effects of the new standard but to what extent they will avoid these remains uncertain. The lessor will most likely see a higher demand for shorter leases that will increase the risk in the lessors business. This will probably cause higher rental prices for listed companies.
Source: KTH
Author: Rosén, Johan

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