The New Lease Accounting Standards (Topic 842): An Empirical Analysis of Its Impacts on Key Financial Performance Metrics
Graduate School of Business
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Topic 842, lease accounting standards, financial ratios, constructive capitalization
Accounting | Business
Gibson, Yan Shi, "The New Lease Accounting Standards (Topic 842): An Empirical Analysis of Its Impacts on Key Financial Performance Metrics" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3143.
The accounting treatment for operating leases has attracted attention from both business and academic communities. The progression of the operating lease from short-term low-risk rental activity to an extensive financing vehicle to hide liabilities posed a challenge to the accounting profession. The new lease accounting standards were launched with a background full of controversies. This study provided evidential support for the material changes in reported financial data after implementing the new lease accounting standards. The hypotheses testings utilized the paired t-test and its non-parametric alternative, Wilcoxon, to investigate the significance of the year-over-year differences in financial performance metrics measuring firms’ asset efficiency, profitability, financial leverage, liquidity, and credit risk. The research results revealed significant changes in every category of financial performance. Firms with operating leases demonstrated more volatility in financial performance than firms not engaged in operating leases. Asset efficiency and profitability decreased while financial leverage increased. Other than expected higher assets and liabilities, most firms in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Industrial Sector ended up with higher equity and cash holding positions. The significance of the changes in financial ratio reflects the magnitude of the differences in reported financial data pre and post the implementation of the new lease accounting standards.