A Lease Accounting Manager Speaks From Experience

1 min read
November 11, 2016
CoStar Real Estate Manager Blog

A Lease Accounting Manager Speaks From Experience

Matt Waters, CPA, MBA, CGMA

Former Lease Accounting Manager with the Largest Home Improvement Retailer in the U.S.

I worked with a Fortune 50 retailer when the initial lease accounting regulation draft was released, and the entire accounting industry was buzzing. I received requests from the highest level of the organization to analyze our lease obligations and forecast their impact on the balance sheet. Soon afterward, I was asked to lead the company’s efforts to prepare for the new standards, because we understood that they presented a “not if, but when” situation.

As we considered our obligations, we recognized that consolidating all lease data into one department would help gain efficiency in the preparation of financial reports, 10K footnotes, budgets and forecasts.  Initially I was concerned that other departments, which had traditionally housed their own lease data, might resist the move to consolidate all of their lease information with accounting teams.  I was sensitive to protecting relationships across departments, and I made sure to communicate that I was not interested in restricting the ability to manage their leases.  After explaining how our efforts would bolster the visibility and control over lease data, there were no objections.  Everyone was happy to help.

As I went through the consolidation process involving multiple departments and thousands of leases, it quickly became necessary to evaluate software solutions. I wanted something scalable and intuitive.  Also, to support my relationships with other leaders across the company, I wanted a software solution that was not just created to be an accounting tool.  It had to be designed to support the business and provide robust accounting functionality.

While reviewing software solutions, I realized that I could add even more value to the organization. Organizing lease data in one system allowed the business to see patterns, eliminate waste and make more informed decisions. Ultimately, not only could I provide better data around leasing, but I could also add money back to the bottom line.