New Lease Accounting Standards Will Impact Independence Decisions

January 13, 2016 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Long-awaited lease accounting standards from the FASB and IASB will impact independence decisions.  For example, the AICPA’s Code currently permits most operating leases – they just need to be made at arm’s length and kept current.  Under the new accounting standards, leases held by firms and covered members, e.g. persons on the attest team, many nonaudit services providers, and those managing the firm’s assurance practice (among others), will be subject to additional restrictions potentially when these leases are brought onto the company’s balance sheet.  (See the attached article about the organizations’ development of the standards.) That said, the AICPA has a project on its 3-year agenda to revise the independence standard on leases in light of these developments.