Who owns your equipment leasing program? Treasury? Finance? Accounting? Procurement? In other words, whose job is it to measure the economic performance of the leasing program? Whose job is on the line if the portfolio does not achieve the desired financial returns? After speaking with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies over the past 10 years, we have found most companies do not have a clear organizational owner.
Accounting is involved to validate and approve invoices. Accounting also prepares the footnote disclosures required for quarterly and annual reports. However, accounting generally lacks visibility into the location, day-to-day use of the equipment (moves, adds, changes), and end-of-term disposition.
Procurement is involved to select the make and model of equipment to be used for cash purchases. Procurement is also involved in negotiating the lease terms and generating the necessary purchase orders. However, procurement often loses visibility into the equipment once the PO is approved.
Treasury is involved to support leasing along with other debt, equity, and funding strategies for the business. Treasury typically helps with individual deals, comparing lease versus buy options using appropriate discount rates and relative cost of capital. In some cases, treasury vets the counter-parties given their capital markets relationship. However, most treasury organizations have neither the staff or mandate to manage the day-to-day operational aspects of equipment leasing.
Equipment owners (aka the budget holders) are responsible for the day-to-day use of the assets, including a variety of players from fleet managers and logistics professionals to office managers and IT organizations. These owners are not candidates to own the leasing program because each of these groups are only responsible for the equipment in their budget. It doesn’t make sense for a warehouse manager to track the leased servers in a data center.
At most companies, the owner for the equipment leasing program is unclear. In our experience, the lack of clarity typically means that no one really owns the program. It is orphaned.