New leases standard – Introducing IFRS 16

New leases standard – Introducing IFRS 16

Insight and analysis on the impact of IFRS 16 Leases.

KPMG's Global IFRS Institute | New leases standard IFRS 16 | Transparent chess piece on a board

For the first time, analysts will be able to see a company’s own assessment of its lease liabilities.

The new leases standard – IFRS 16 – will require companies to bring most leases on-balance sheet from 2019.

Under the new standard, companies will recognise new assets and liabilities, bringing added transparency to the balance sheet. At present, many analysts adjust financial statements to reflect lease transactions that companies hold off-balance sheet. 

For the first time, analysts will be able to see a company’s own assessment of its lease liabilities, calculated using a prescribed methodology that all companies reporting under IFRS will be required to follow.

“ All companies that lease major assets will see an increase in reported assets and liabilities. This will affect a wide variety of sectors, from airlines that lease aircraft to retailers that lease stores. The larger the lease portfolio, the greater the impact on key reporting metrics. ”

Kimber Bascom,

KPMG’s global IFRS leasing standards leader

What’s new in IFRS 16?

At the simplest level, the accounting treatment of leases by lessees will change fundamentally. IFRS 16 eliminates the current dual accounting model for lessees, which distinguishes between on-balance sheet finance leases and off-balance sheet operating leases. Instead, there is a single, on-balance sheet accounting model that is similar to current finance lease accounting.

Lessor accounting remains similar to current practice – i.e. lessors continue to classify leases as finance and operating leases.  

The impacts

For lessees, the lease becomes an on-balance sheet liability that attracts interest, together with a new asset on the other side of the balance sheet. In other words, lessees will appear to become more asset-rich but also more heavily indebted.

The impacts are not limited to the balance sheet. There are also changes in accounting over the life of the lease. In particular, companies will now recognise a front-loaded pattern of expense for most leases, even when they pay constant annual rentals.

All companies will need to assess the extent of the standard’s impacts so that they can address the wider business implications – and can expect analysts to take a close interest. Areas of focus may include:

  • the effect of the standard on financial results;
  • the costs of implementation; and
  • any proposed changes to business practices.

Effective date and next steps

The new standard takes effect in January 2019. Before then, companies will need to analyse their leases, and make new estimates and calculations that will need to be updated periodically. If you haven’t done so already, you need to start looking at your contracts now.  


“For some companies, a key challenge will be gathering the required data. For others, more judgemental issues will dominate – for example, identifying which transactions contain leases.”

Brian O’Donovan,

KPMG’s global IFRS leasing standards deputy leader

Find out more about IFRS 16

View the presentation: download a PDF version (PDF 191 KB).

This web article is also available in print-friendly format.(PDF 105 KB)

Our First Impressions: IFRS 16 Leases (PDF 679 KB) can help you assess the potential impact of the new standard on your business. It explains the key requirements, highlights areas that may result in a change in practice, and features KPMG insights.

Our Transition options (PDF 603 KB) provides an overview of the transition options and expedients and how they would affect your financial statements. It also includes a comprehensive worked example modelling how the various options would affect a fictional company.

We also have in-depth guides on the following topics: lease definition, discount rates, lease payments, lease modifications, and real estate tenants' leases.

Together, they will form our new handbook on accounting for leases under IFRS.

And our industry-specific publications look at what the new standard could mean for the consumer markets and retail, telco and oil and gas sectors.

You may also find our Guide to annual financial statements – IFRS 16 supplement helpful.

For KPMG’s most recent publications on the new standard, visit our IFRS – Leases hot topics page.

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