FASB Topic 842: Presentation and Disclosure

by: Smith and Howard

June 13, 2019

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In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB” or “the Board”) issued its highly-anticipated leasing standard in ASU 2016-02 (“ASC 842” or “the new standard”) for both lessees and lessors. Under its core principle, a lessee will recognize right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and related lease liabilities on the balance sheet for all arrangements with terms longer than 12 months. The pattern of expense recognition in the income statement will depend on a lease’s classification.

During deliberations for the standard, many users indicated that the existing disclosure requirements did not provide sufficient information to understand an entity’s leasing activities. As a result, the new standard also introduces an overall disclosure objective together with significantly enhanced presentation and disclosure requirements for leases.

Disclosure Objective

FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 842-20-50-1 and 842-30-50-1 provide that “the objective of the disclosure requirements is to enable users of financial statements to assess the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases.” The standard further indicates that “a lessee [lessor] shall consider the level of detail necessary to satisfy the disclosure objective and how much emphasis to place on each of the various requirements. A lessee [lessor] shall aggregate or disaggregate disclosures so that useful information is not obscured by either the inclusion of a large amount of insignificant detail or by aggregating items that have different characteristics.”[1]

With that objective in mind, significant judgment will be required to determine the level of disclosures necessary for an entity. However, as a guiding principle, the basis for conclusions indicates “if leasing is a significant part of an entity’s business activities, the disclosures would be more comprehensive than for an entity whose leasing activities are less significant….”[2] For example, although the new standard does not provide specific quantitative or qualitative disaggregation requirements such as those required under ASC 606, for entities for which leasing is a significant portion of their business, such disaggregation might be appropriate.

Entities must make appropriate disclosures for each annual reporting period for which a statement of comprehensive income (statement of activities) is presented and in each year-end statement of financial position. Entities are not required to repeat disclosures if the information is already presented in the financial statements as required by other accounting standards.

Although the majority of the disclosures required by ASC 842 only affect an entity’s annual financial statements, the new standard requires that lessors provide a table disclosing lease income for each interim and annual reporting period[3]. Additionally, in the year of adoption, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires public companies to include all required annual disclosures in any interim financial statements that are prepared until the next annual financial statements are filed – even if the disclosure requirements are only applicable for annual periods.


A lessee is required to present ROU assets resulting from finance leases separately from ROU assets resulting from operating leases and separately from other assets, either on the face of the balance sheet or in the footnotes. Similarly, lease liabilities for finance leases are required to be presented separately from lease liabilities from operating leases and from other liabilities. In addition, ROU assets are presented as noncurrent in the lessee’s balance sheet, consistent with how other amortizing assets such as PP&E are presented. However, the related lease liabilities are subject to current and long-term presentation requirements in a classified balance sheet, consistent with the way other financial liabilities are presented.

If the lessee chooses to report ROU assets and liabilities within other line items on the balance sheet rather than in separate captions, the lessee is prohibited from reporting finance lease ROU assets or finance lease liabilities in the same caption as operating lease ROU assets and operating lease liabilities. Additionally, disclosure of which line items in the statement of financial position include the ROU assets and lease liabilities would be required.

For finance leases, a lessee should present the interest expense on the lease liability and amortization of the ROU asset in a manner consistent with how the lessee reports other interest expense and depreciation or amortization expense in the income statement. For operating leases, the lessee must present both components together as lease expense within income from continuing operations, consistent with the presentation of other operating expenses. Lease expense should be classified within cost of sales; selling, general, and administrative expense; or another expense line item depending on the nature of the lease.

The new standard does not provide specific guidance on the presentation of variable lease payments (for either finance or operating leases). Paragraph BC271 in the basis of conclusions for ASU 2016-02 indicates that amount recognized in the income statement should be presented within income from continuing operations. We believe that presentation as either lease expense or interest expense may be appropriate, depending on the nature of the lease. In making this determination, lessees should assess whether the payments are more akin to lease payments or interest.

The cash flow classification of payments related to finance leases should be consistent with the classification of payments associated with other financial liabilities. Payments of principal should be presented as financing activities, while payments of interest would typically result in operating cash flow presentation. Payments related to operating leases, leases to which the lessee has applied the practical expedient for short term leases, and any variable lease payments for either operating or finance leases should all be classified as operating cash outflows (unless the payment represents a cost of bringing another asset to the condition and location necessary for its intended use, in which case it should be classified within investing activities). Additionally, the establishment of ROU assets and lease liabilities at inception of a lease (or that change as a result of lease modifications or reassessment events) should be disclosed as noncash investing and financing activities.

A lessor is required to present lease assets (i.e., net investment in leases) resulting from sales-type and direct financing leases separately from other assets in the balance sheet. Lease assets are financial assets that are subject to current and long-term presentation requirements in a classified balance sheet.

For operating leases, the assets underlying the leases and related depreciation are presented in accordance with other accounting guidance (e.g., ASC 360). Assets subject to lease under operating leases should be presented separately from owned assets that are held and used by the lessor as they are subject to different risks. Any rent receivable, deferred rent revenue (i.e., that results from requirement to recognize rents on a straight-line basis), or prepaid initial direct costs would be subject to current and long-term presentation requirements.

Income arising from leases should be presented separately in the income statement or in the footnotes. If presented in the footnotes, a lessor must also disclose which line items include lease income. Revenue and cost of goods sold related to profit or loss on leases recognized at the commencement date should be presented on a gross basis if the lessor uses leases as an alternative means of realizing value from goods that it would otherwise sell. If the lessor uses leasing as a means of providing finance, profit or loss should be presented on a net basis (i.e., as a single line item).

The new standard does not provide specific guidance on the presentation of variable lease payments received for direct financing or sales type leases. We believe that presentation as either lease income or interest income may be appropriate, depending on the nature of the lease. In making this determination, Lessors should assess whether the payments are more akin to lease payments or interest.

Lessors must classify all cash receipts from leases as operating activities in the statement of cash flows.


As noted previously, the objective of the disclosure requirements in the new leasing standard is to enable users of financial statements to assess the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. To help entities achieve this objective, the leasing standard prescribes quantitative and qualitative disclosures that are required for all entities.[4]

The following table summarizes the disclosure requirements of the leasing standard:

[table id=24 /]

Sale and Leaseback

If a seller-lessee enters into a sale and leaseback transaction, it must provide the disclosures required for lessees. Similarly, a buyer-lessor must provide the disclosures for lessors. Additionally, a seller-lessee must disclose the main terms and conditions of the sale and leaseback transaction and must disclose any gains or losses arising from the transaction separately from gains or losses on disposal of other assets.

Leveraged Leases

Although ASC 842 removed leveraged lease accounting, leases that met the definition of a leveraged lease under ASC 840 that commenced before the effective date of ASC 842 are grandfathered in. As such, entities that continue to have leveraged leases must continue to provide disclosures as required by ASC 842-50, which carries forward existing guidance from ASC 840.

Other Disclosure Considerations

The leasing standard requires an entity to provide the general disclosures required by ASC 250 Accounting Changes and Error Corrections. Entities are also required to provide an explanation to users of financial statements about which practical expedients were used in transition.

SAB 74 Disclosures
In periods prior to adoption of the leasing standard, entities are required to make disclosures under the SEC’s Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 74 (codified in SAB Topic 11.M), Disclosure Of The Impact That Recently Issued Accounting Standards Will Have On The Financial Statements Of The Registrant When Adopted In A Future Period (“SAB 74”). SAB 74 requires that when a recently issued accounting standard has not yet been adopted, a registrant disclose the potential effects of the future adoption in its interim and annual SEC filings. SAB 74 disclosures should be both qualitative and quantitative. According to Center for Audit Quality Alert 2017-03, SAB Topic 11.M – A Focus on Disclosures for New Accounting Standards, the SEC staff expects that SAB 74 disclosures will become more robust and quantitative as the new accounting standard’s effective date approaches. As such, the following types of SAB 74 disclosures are expected in a registrant’s financial statements in the periods before new accounting standards are effective:

  • A comparison of accounting policies. Registrants should compare their current accounting policies to the expected accounting policies under the new accounting standard(s).
  • Status of implementation. The status of the process should be disclosed, including significant implementation matters not yet addressed or if the process is lagging.
  • Consideration of the effect of new footnote disclosure requirements in addition to the effect on the balance sheet and income statement. A new accounting standard may not be expected to materially affect the primary financial statements; however, it may require new significant disclosures that require significant judgments.
  • Disclosure of the quantitative impact of the new accounting standard if it can be reasonably estimated.
  • Disclosure that the expected financial statement impact of the new accounting standard cannot be reasonably estimated.
  • Qualitative disclosures. When the expected financial statement impact is not yet known by a registrant, a qualitative description of the effect of the new accounting standard on the registrant’s accounting policies should be disclosed.

Selected Financial Data – 5 Year Table

Some SEC registrants have questioned whether they must recast all periods reflected in the 5 year Summary of Selected Financial Data in accordance with the new leasing standard? In short, the answer is “no”. Registrants are only required to adjust the periods in the financial data table that correspond to the periods adjusted in the registrant’s financial statements. For example, an entity that elects to adopt the new standard as of the effective date (i.e., without restating prior comparative periods), the four prior years in the selected financial data table would not be adjusted. Companies will be required to provide the disclosures required by Instruction 2 to S-K Item 301 regarding comparability of the data presented.

Appendix A – Disclosure Example – LESSEE

For purposes of this example, we have assumed that Susie’s Stitch-n-Sew (“Susie’s”) is a national retailer of fabrics and other craft materials which primarily leases its retail locations. We have not presented a statement of financial position, but have assumed that Susie’s has presented the following captions:

    • Operating lease ROU assets
    • Fixed assets, net
    • Current portion of operating lease liabilities
    • Long-term operating lease liabilities
    • Current portion of long-term debt
    • Long-term debt

We have also not presented a statement of comprehensive income, but have assumed that Susie’s has presented Cost of sales, SG&A expense, Depreciation and amortization expense, and Interest expense.
This example assumes that the guidance in ASC 842 has been in effect for all periods presented, and that all amounts are in millions.

Note X. Leases
Susie’s has historically entered into a number of lease arrangements under which we are the lessee. Specifically, of our 250 retail locations, 240 are subject to operating leases and 5 are subject to finance leases. In addition, we lease our corporate headquarters facility, as well as various warehouses and regional offices. We are also a party to an additional 12 leases in which we previously operated a retail location, but which are now subleased to third parties. In addition, we have elected the short-term lease practical expedient related to leases of various equipment used in our retail locations.

As of December 31, 20X9, we have entered into eight leases for additional retail locations and one lease for an additional warehouse which have not yet commenced. Although certain of the retail locations are currently under construction, we do not control the building during construction, and are thus not deemed to be the owner during construction.

All of our retail leases include multiple optional renewal periods. Upon opening a new retail location, we typically installs brand-specific leasehold improvements with a useful life of eight years. To the extent that the initial lease term of the related lease is less than the useful life of the leasehold improvements, we conclude that it is reasonably certain that a renewal option will be exercised, and thus that renewal period is included in the lease term, and the related payments are reflected in the ROU asset and lease liability. Generally, we do not consider any additional renewal periods to be reasonably certain of being exercised, as comparable locations could generally be identified within the same trade areas for comparable lease rates.

All of our leases include fixed rental payments, but many of our leases also include variable rental payments. Specifically, a number of our leases in certain markets require rent payments that are calculated as a percentage of sales in that location. In addition, we also commonly enter into leases under which the lease payments increase at pre-determined dates based on the change in the consumer price index. While the majority of our leases are gross leases, we also have a number of leases in which we make separate payments to the lessor based on the lessor’s property and casualty insurance costs and the property taxes assessed on the property, as well as a portion of the common area maintenance associated with the property. We have elected the practical expedient not to separate lease and nonlease components for all of our building leases.

During 20X9, 20×8 and 20×7, we recognized rent expense associated with our leases as follows:

[table id=20 /]

Amounts recognized as right-of-use assets related to finance leases are included in Fixed assets, net in the accompanying statement of financial position, while related lease liabilities are included in Current portion of long-term debt and Long-term debt.  As of December 31, 20×9 and 20×8, right-of-use assets and lease liabilities related to finance leases were as follows:

[table id=21 /]

During the years ended December 31, 20×9, 20×8 and 20×7, we had the following cash and non-cash activities associated with our leases:

[table id=22 /]

The future payments due under operating and finance leases as of December 31, 20×9 is as follows:

[table id=23 /]

As of December 31, 20×9 and 20×8, the weighted-average remaining lease term for all operating leases is 3.4 years and 3.5 years, respectively, while the weighted-average remaining lease term for all finance leases is 4.9 years and 5.6 years, respectively.

Because we generally do not have access to the rate implicit in the lease, we utilize our incremental borrowing rate as the discount rate.  The weighted average discount rate associated with operating leases as of December 31, 20×9 and 20×8 is 4.2% and 4.0%, respectively, while the weighted-average discount rate associated with finance leases is 3.9% and 3.8%, respectively.

For questions regarding FASB Topic 842 please contact Sean Spitzer or another member of Smith & Howard’s Assurance Services Group by completing the contact form below at calling 404-874-6244.

Copyright © 2019 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. 
[1] ASC 842-20-50-2 and ASC 842-30-50-2
[2] ASU 2016-02 Background Information and Basis for Conclusions, paragraph BC 276
[3] ASC 842-30-50-5
[4] Unlike other recent standards, ASC 842 does not distinguish between public entities and all other entities.  The disclosure principal and related requirements apply to all entities.
[5] This summary of required disclosures may be useful in understanding the general disclosure requirements; however it should not be used in place of the leases standard.
[6] In December 2018, the FASB issued an exposure draft entitled Leases (842): Codification Improvements for Lessors.  If finalized, the exposure draft would allow lessors within the scope of ASC 942, Financial Services – Depository and Lending, to continue to report principal payments received under leases as investing activities.
[7] The disclosures regarding lease income as discussed in ASC 842-30-50-5 are required for each annual and interim (e.g., quarterly) reporting period.

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