Jennifer Booth, our VP of Accounting, has nearly 20 years of experience in her field. She spent the majority of her career at EY before joining the LeaseQuery team last December. She wanted to follow her father’s footsteps into business, and Jennifer was drawn to accounting early on.
“I took accounting in college. A lot of people thought it was hard but to me it was easy, because debits equal credits. At the time, it was very black and white [to me].”
As she graduated college and began her career in public accounting, she was exposed to the different facets of accounting and realized how complex a system it could be. “The guidance… when you’re actually applying real life scenarios, real life doesn’t fit into the prescriptive models all the time. Then you have to use your judgement, because in the end you have to get to a situation where debits equal credits.”
While at EY, Jennifer worked with various clients to discuss their lease accounting. Many of them found the process complicated, especially accounting for their leases under ASC 840 which was not always intuitive. She’s excited about ASC 842, the new lease accounting standard, which she feels is “less prescriptive”.
During her time at EY, Jennifer sat in on a demo of the LeaseQuery software. “The LeaseQuery product that I saw was much better than the other tools I had seen as I was helping my clients transition to the new lease accounting standard.” She liked the lease software and was impressed by how knowledgeable LeaseQuery’s CEO and Founder, George Azih, was about lease accounting. When George was asked questions about the design of the LeaseQuery tool, his answer “was always ‘we designed it this way because that’s how the guidance reads.’ That was another reason that drew me, because a lot of other experience I have had is ‘we’re doing it this way because that’s the easiest’ or ‘that’s an acceptable accommodation in the industry.’”
After joining LeaseQuery, Jennifer helped implement processes that emphasized training on the new lease accounting guidance and fostered collaboration between the Accounting team and the Product team. “I’m in charge of our Technical Accounting Managers so I get to train, or help train, those Technical Accounting Managers in terms of accounting guidance and application. And I also enjoy working [directly] with our Product team to develop innovation and support our customers.”
She said that collaborating with the different teams has been something unexpected but she enjoys being a part of “rolling out new innovation” for LeaseQuery clients. “For example, when reading the new GASB lease guidance – I’m reading to understand the guidance, to be compliant, and answer our customer questions, yes I’m still doing all that, but then I have to look at it with a different lens and say ‘how does a software developer who doesn’t necessarily understand accounting take this guidance and update our system to be the accounting easy button?’”
Jennifer is a subject matter expert when it comes to the accounting guidance, and that knowledge has helped her keep her team and LeaseQuery at large aware of the possible ripple effects of the new lease accounting standards.
“Historically, many companies wanted operating lease classification to avoid the leased asset being recognized on their books. However, with the new lease guidance, one of the big things we may see is more companies that want finance transactions because if an operating and financing transaction are both recognized on your books, companies that are incentivized on EBITDA may now prefer a finance transaction because of the interest component. Now companies may not be afraid to select economic factors within their agreements that result in finance lease classification.”
As someone who has enjoyed their chosen career, Jennifer encourages young adults thinking of entering the accounting field to do so confidently. Not only is there job security, she says, but the old ideal of accountants at their desks “head down with a pocket protector sitting in front of papers or a computer” is no longer the norm. It’s a lot more collaborative, both with clients and coworkers.
Her advice to those looking to join the LeaseQuery team? “I think it’s a great environment. Work hard here and show that you are knowledgeable and committed and you [will] have a lot of opportunities here.”