Just over a month after the IASB published IFRS 16 – Leases, the FASB has published its own, broadly equivalent, standard. There is still one major difference between the two frameworks, namely the timing of recognition of the total lease expense (the FASB has opted for straight-line recognition for operating leases). However, the rules are the same as regards the principle of recognition in the balance sheet, the definition of a lease, determining the lease term, and the accounting treatment of variable lease payments.
Neither the IASB nor the FASB is planning any post-publication support activities like those carried out by the Transition Resource Group following the publication of IFRS 15. However, the IASB has created a dedicated email address that stakeholders can use to submit questions relating to practical difficulties with the implementation of IFRS 16.
It is not entirely clear how the IASB will respond to these questions, or what due process will be followed. However, it is worth keeping a close eye on discussions on both sides of the Atlantic, as they may address key accounting principles relating to the implementation of IFRS 16.
Beyond the GAAP - February 2016 issue