Accounting for a capital lease

Jan 26, 2021

how to record a lease in accounting

To save you time searching, we have compiled a list of resources below to assist you in your research and quest to master lease accounting. ASC 842 provides guidance on when a contract should be reassessed and when changes require a remeasurement of the lease liability and the ROU asset during the term of the lease. Determining whether a contract is a lease or contains a lease must be done at inception of the contract based on this definition.

What is the journal entry for a lease?

Journal entries are documents that record the transactions between the lessees and lessors. Generally, both parties should record journal entries. The contents of a journal entry will vary depending on if the entry is completed by the lessor or the lessee and depending on if it a capital or operating lease.

Lessee entries for capital leases should include:

The total amount of the lease payable, taking into account debit and lease payable account credit.

Transfer of depreciation to depreciation accumulated account

Payment of lease obligation and interest.

Lessee entries for operating leases should include:

Rent of lease account debit

Cash account credit

In contrast to ASC 840, under ASC 842, the existence of a purchase option does not automatically classify a lease arrangement as a finance lease. Instead, the criteria is focused on the lessee’s determination of its likelihood to exercise a purchase option within the agreement. This is inclusive of all purchase options, not just those considered a bargain. As a refresher, an operating lease functions much like a rental agreement; the lessee pays to use the asset but doesn’t enjoy any of the economic benefits nor incur any of the risks of ownership. One silver lining of implementing the new standards is departments in your organization will begin working together more seamlessly to manage and account for leases. Transitioning to the new standards provides an opportunity to integrate processes and tools so all stakeholders have the same understanding of lease agreements and how the contracts affect the business.

How Lease Accounting Affects Valuation, Equity Value, and Enterprise Value

The total cost of leasing the office space is $144,000 ($36,000 4 years). Despite there being a ‘rent-free’ period the total cost of the lease should be matched to the period in which it relates. The same goes for choosing to use lease management software that was not originally architected for accounting compliance. Many lease management companies have added accounting modules to their software. However, lease accounting those programs often include shortcomings, as the product teams usually lack the expert guidance of lease accountants. Security contracts – these types of services may also contain access to scanners or equipment, which could qualify as a lease under the standard’s definition. Here are two articles providing a walkthrough of accounting under GASB 87, including full examples and journal entries.

how to record a lease in accounting

Although some of the accounting changes may seem intuitive, the necessary data and systems changes are significant and, without preparation, may be overwhelming. The COVID-19 pandemic ignited a shift in how entities in almost every industry sector are doing business. Many entities are reevaluating where their employees conduct their required business activities and to what extent they will rely on the use of brick-and-mortar real estate assets on a go-forward basis. Specifically, many entities have already initiated a real estate rationalization program to reevaluate their organization-wide real estate footprint. The goal of initiating such programs may be for entities to rightsize their real estate portfolios to manage costs while adequately supporting their evolving business needs. Lease accounting is like a tale of two cities, with Companies that have adopted ASC 842 in one and those that have not yet adopted the standard in the other.

What Is Lease Accounting? Expert Guide & Examples

The discussion includes illustrative examples and demonstrations.Watch now. Under U.S. GAAP accounting rules, a capital lease is an agreement where the lessee possesses certain ownership characteristics, resulting in its financial statements treating the fixed asset (PP&E) as if the lessee was the actual owner. Instead of recognition on the balance sheet, a lessee may elect to recognize lease payments on a straight-line basis over the lease term. Determining what is included in the lease payments is essential to determine lease classification, as well as the measurement of lease assets and liabilities.

how to record a lease in accounting

A Co entered into an agreement to lease office space on 1 April 2009 for a fixed period of five years. As an incentive to encourage the office space to be occupied, a first year rent-free period was included in the agreement after which A Co is required to pay an annual rental of $36,000. A finance lease is a lease that transfers substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of an asset to the lessee. When applying this concept, it is often deemed necessary to account for the substance of a transaction – ie its commercial reality, rather than its strict legal form. In other words, the legal basis of a transaction can be used to hide the true nature of a transaction. It is argued that by applying substance, the financial statements become more reliable and ensure that the lease is faithfully represented.


South Africa


Bored of the same old island vacations or big city lives? Need a little excitement to get you going? you’ve come to the perfect place. 

We would love to take you on the ultimate adventure through many of Africa’s incredible locations, including Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa. You get to experience the real Africa through our adventure safaris, which are also some of the best for families.

Book your package any time of the year, enjoying incredible game weather all 12 months. We have a range of travel packages that you can choose from, allowing you to pick and choose the activities you wish to do.

Trust one of the top-rated African safaris to make all your dreams for your trip come true. We’ll make sure everything runs as perfectly as possible, so your experience is a dream come true!



Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp