Type of Submission

Refereed Article


The days where companies can use off-balance sheet leases are coming to an end. The new lease accounting standards, ASU 842 and IFRS 16, released in early 2016, will be effective, respectively, on December 15, 2018, and January 1, 2019. Under the new standards, virtually all leases will be recognized on a lessee’s balance sheet. Hence, financial statements and ratios of companies that heavily use off-balance sheet leases will be considerably impacted. Our analysis of the off-balance sheet leases by the hospitality industry indicates that hospitality companies do extensively use these operating leases, which amounted to 51% of their assets in 2015. The expected widespread unfavorable impact on a lessee’s debt ratios and interest coverages could also affect a hospitality company’s borrowing rates and debt covenants. Given that the implementation is most likely time consuming, not just costly, the earlier the hospitality companies are prepared for the new standards the better.