To ensure your lease accounting remains compliant you will not only need to track new leases, but also changes to existing leases throughout their contract terms. Real estate leases might have variable rents that change periodically. Floor space might expanded or contracted. Space could be subleased to other tenants. Leased equipment assets might be moved between locations, upgraded with additional components, or even lost, damaged, or stolen. What processes will you establish for tracking lease changes.
Your leasing portfolio is constantly changing. Each year your business units will sign hundreds, if not thousands, of leases for buildings, computers, forklifts, rail cars, shipping containers, office furniture, photocopiers and other types of assets. What process will you use for tracking new leases to ensure that your accounting is kept current with the most accurate, complete and up-to-date information about leases?
As you are evaluating, selecting, and implementing lease accounting software, you will need to consider how the new application will interact with the other financial and operational systems in your IT ecosystem. Some interactions are obvious while others are not. Perhaps the most important system to consider is the general ledger. You will want the debits and credits created from your leasing subledger to be uploaded into your GL on a monthly basis.
Most large companies have a portfolio of hundreds, if not thousands, of existing leases that will need to be transitioned to the new standard. The requirements for transitioning this existing portfolio of leases will vary based upon the start and end dates relative to the date of initial application and the effective dates for ASC 842. With respect to those two dates, there are six variations of leases that may occur, each of which will have slightly different requirements.
Many companies will want to synchronize their accounts payable (AP) applications and their lease accounting system. To perform accurate accounting for your leasing portfolio, you will need to capture precise details of periodic rent payments as well as other fees incurred at the start and end of the lease.