Real Estate Lease and Contracts

Does your organization lease more than just space?

If your organization owns and/or leases space in commercial buildings then it has contractual obligations that need to be managed closely and of course, accurately. Until the advance of specialized software applications to track lease accounting, this requirement was often managed with spreadsheets and paper documents. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) and other real estate solutions can deliver huge value for those managing large, complex property portfolios. Implementing these systems has resulted in swift efficiencies for real estate management. IWMS manages data on leases such as the lease term, costs, service charges and key date reminders for renewals and the exercise of options.

Finance directors and heads of operations can use these features to understand how to derive value from their real estate technology investments. If departments are billed internally for their spatial usage, greater accountability is achieved and it can encourage efficiency with their use of space, to reduce their overall occupancy. By integrating Computer Aided Design (CAD) floor plans into the IWMS, very accurate leased and occupied areas can be determined, for perhaps negotiating with landlords and planning for less space.

Lease administration solution capabilities help track and manage all the information of owned and leased premises. These solutions help track processes that would help reduce data redundancy and avoid the unnecessary penalties related to lease. These solutions also assist facility managers in efficiently processing lease-related issues, such as lease contractual terms, related financials, and the termination/extension of lease period.

  • The real estate management solution manages space requirements and the cost associated with space requirements.
  • It compares the benefits of leased and owned properties based on their cost performance.
  • The solution enables facility managers to reduce property-related costs; track and monitor historical data for properties; and integrate property-related information, such as available spaces, occupied spaces, and other information in terms of matrices.

Accounting Standards Built In

IWMS and specialist lease software solutions have updated their lease management modules in recent years to provide functionality that supports firms in creating new capitalization schedules – a key output for balance sheets under the guidelines introduced in 2016 and became mandatory reporting in 2019 for Public buildings and in 2020 for all other companies.

The Accounting standards issued by the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), state that organizations bring all leases onto the balance sheet by capitalizing leased assets. This compulsory requirement, creates significant administration challenges for finance and real estate teams at large multi-site firms that can hold hundreds of property leases and thousands of equipment leases, including vehicles.

For example, under IFRS, all leases longer than 12 months will be capitalized, and there is a low-value asset exemption of $5,000. According to Verdantix Research, the IASB analyzed a sample of 30,000 public companies and found 14,000 of them had off balance sheet leases in their 2014 accounts, with future payments on those leases totaling $2.9 trillion. The manner in which operating leases are capitalized will make the accounting, compliance and record-keeping much more complex. US GAAP retains a difference between operating and finance leases, so leaseholders will need to make that determination.

Multinational Considerations

Firms with leased property or equipment distributed across the US and internationally will need software to respond to both the FASB and IASB guidelines. One difference is that leases might be classified differently under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) than under US GAAP. Businesses may also use such analysis to inform future decisions about whether to lease property and equipment and how to structure the next generation of leases.



Scope broadly applies to assets (with certain exceptions).
Scope broadly applies to assets (with certain exceptions).
Lease classification
The classification of leases (e.g. operating or capital) depends on whether the lease meets certain criteria.
The classification of a lease depends on the substance of the transaction. Specific indicators and examples are provided.
Leases of land and buildings
Land and building elements are generally accounted for as a single unit unless land represents more than 25% of the total fair value of the leased property.
Land and building elements are assessed separately for classification as a finance or operating lease.
Leveraged leases
Special accounting is permitted for leveraged leases if specific criteria are met.
Under IFRS, no special accounting is provided for leveraged leases. All leases are accounted for as either operating leases or finance leases.
Recognition of a gain or loss on a sale-and-leaseback transaction
If the seller cedes more than a minor part of the use of the asset, part or all of a gain may be recognized, depending on the amount relinquished. If the seller does not cede more than a minor part of the right to use the asset, a gain or loss is generally deferred and amortized over the lease term for an operating lease and over the useful life for a capital lease.
If the leaseback is a finance lease, the gain or loss is recognized over the lease term. If the leaseback is an operating lease, the recognition of a gain or loss differs depending on whether the transaction is established at, below, or above fair value.
Sale-and-leaseback transactions involving real estate
There are specific requirements for sale-and-leaseback transactions involving real estate.
The accounting for sale-and-leaseback transactions involving real estate is no different from that for sale-and-leaseback transactions involving non real estate assets.
Source: Deloitte

TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager

IBM TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager (REM) lease accounting is enhanced to comply with the standards announced by FASB in February 2016 and IASB in January 2016. The REM uses the finalized standard to automate the classification of asset and real estate leases as Finance (known as Type A leases) and Operating (Type B), then to manage the amortization and payment schedules for each type. TRIRIGA REM can retroactively calculate the schedules for the 2-year look-back period as defined by the standard, if required. For multinational organizations, it provides both Finance and Operating schedules to comply with corporate accounting requirements and local lease reporting requirements. The TRIRIGA Real Estate Manager provides automated workflows for the full lifecycle of adoption of the standard – from early adoption through lease amendments, reassessments and modifications.