IFRS 16 – Den nya leasingstandarden - En studie av börsföretags incitament att manipulera redovisningen av leasingavtal
Sammanfattning: Background: With the new lease accounting standard, IFRS 16, new rules regarding leasing agreement became mandatory from January 1st, 2019. The rules imply that all leasing agreements ought to be activated in the balance sheet of the lessor. As a consequence, important financial ratios that are used by investors and creditors to make investment decisions and risk assessments are negatively affected. As a result, companies may have incentive to alter the accounting in order to reduce the negative effects on the financial ratios.Purpose: To analyze if incentives drives companies to alter the accounting in relation to the implementation of IFRS 16.Methodology: The essay has a quantitative approach and is based on data obtained from the database Capital IQ and selective reviews of annual reports. The sample consists of public European companies that follows IFRS and has reported operational lease costs 2018. By analyzing how different financial ratios have changed between the years 2018-2019 and comparing the change with debt-to-equity ratio through a regression model we find if there is a causality that indicates that change in financial ratios are driven by incentive-driven accounting or not. Furthermore, by conducting a t-test we could examine if lease-intensive companies used a higher discount rate than the less lease-intensive ones when calculating the present value of the leasing agreements.Results and conclusions: The results indicate that the level of lease intensity, rather than the debt-to-equity ratio, has created incentives for companies to manipulate the accounting of leasing agreements. Instead of entirely hiding leasing agreements from the balance sheet, a higher discount rate seems to be used to reduce the negative impact on key financial ratios.Suggestions for further research: Further research of the discount rate to see if the interest levels that companies used were correctly estimated.
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