Lease Accounting Software
See why LeaseQuery is rated #1 by CPAs and is the preferred software for the new lease accounting standards
Identifying the best lease accounting software for your business: What you need to know
How to choose a lease accounting software vendor
Finding the right product for your organization is complex. You have to juggle your budget and stakeholders from other departments who may not understand your needs – and those are just your internal obstacles. The new lease accounting standards are complex and it’s crucial to make sure that the system you choose has the functionality necessary for your compliance.
Here are some important things that you should consider and what to watch out for when assessing your options:
Consider more than just cost
One of the common concerns accountants have is that their procurement teams and senior leaders pressure them to select the most inexpensive option. A solution may have high marks for affordability, but if it doesn’t have the functionality you need, it’s a waste of money and it puts your company’s compliance at risk.
Additionally, you may encounter some companies offering their software for free – at first. After six months to a year of free service, when you’ve gone through all the trouble of loading up your leases, they’ll notify you that they plan to start charging a hefty fee. At that point, you may be too invested to turn back.
Find software that was built specifically for lease accounting
With the new lease accounting standards coming into effect, companies have two primary needs related to their leases. They need a lease accounting solution that will ensure compliance with the new standards and they need a centralized repository where anyone in the company can access documents related to their leases.
There are many lease administration and lease management systems out there, but not many can accommodate these new accounting standards. When you’re comparing software, examine the solutions closely to identify which ones were made specifically for lease accounting and which were lease management solutions that were later given accounting modules. If the system wasn’t designed for accounting, the functionality may not be complex enough to keep you in compliance. This is especially true if you lease equipment. To learn more, read our blog, Equipment Lease Accounting Software: The Top 5 Questions to Ask Vendors.
What to look for in a solution:
Automation and functionalities to support your internal controls
Automation is essential in enterprise accounting software and this is equally true for lease accounting. The software you choose for your business should automate the complex lease calculations, improving accuracy and eliminating errors, as well as send automated alerts for all important dates. However, features that ensure your internal controls are effective are equally important. Let’s take a closer look at two key things you should look for regarding internal controls.
Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Publicly-held companies must comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act, a 2002 regulation that improves the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. Section 404 of the SOX Act requires management and the external auditor to report on the adequacy of a company’s internal control on financial reporting. Now that leases are going on your balance sheet, your lease accounting system should have functionality in place that supports your internal controls.
Potential software providers should be aware of Section 404 of the SOX Act and they should be prepared to show you how their built-in functionalities reinforce your internal controls.
Internal control functionalities that you should look for:
Data entry validation protocols that ensure if one person enters or modifies a lease, then someone else should approve those changes
Full audit trails noting who made changes, what they changed, and when – and it should provide this data at the lease level
Role-based access controls that ensure people have access to only the data that they need
One aspect of software selection that many companies may overlook is asking for the software provider’s SOC report. SOC, which stands for system and organization controls, addresses a software company’s ability to provide controls that are relevant to your internal controls over financial reporting.
In short, a SOC report ensures that the software is coded and functioning properly so that errors aren’t created in the system. The last thing you want is to be following proper protocols on your end, but the software provider does not have controls on their end that can be relied upon.
A SOC report is issued by a third party that must be a CPA. There are three different types of SOC reports, with each one focusing on different aspects of a company’s controls (e.g., financial and non-financial), as well as different levels of scrutiny from the third-party issuer. For lease accounting software, SOC Type 1 and SOC Type 2 reports are most relevant.
When assessing potential software providers, ask for a letter from the firm that performed the SOC report or the report itself. The SOC report should give you peace of mind that the software provider isn’t just claiming to support your internal controls, but that they’ve been independently verified to do so.
SOC and SOX can be easily confused since they both have to do with aspects of control. An easy way to remember the difference is that SOX Section 404-compliant functionalities help you prevent errors. SOC reports outline whether or not a software program is designed and operating effectively to prevent system errors. Both are critical aspects of choosing the right software.
Lease accounting software reviews
A company’s website can only tell you so much. Hearing from your peers can make a world of difference. If you place a lot of emphasis on reading reviews, you’re not alone. A recent survey showed that over two-thirds of B2B buyers say reviews are a “very important” consideration in the buying process.
However, before you dive into reviews, you should know that they’re not all equal in value. It’s good practice to include them in your decision-making process, but beware of inaccuracies. Some companies know how important they are and have found ways to game the system.
A real-world example of reviews
You’ll find that some programs have rave reviews from people who really aren’t in the weeds of day-to-day lease accounting. Look at how many of LeaseQuery’s reviews came from accountants as opposed to the reviews of our competitors:
While our competitors received some good reviews, most of them came from people who aren’t accountants. People in real estate, legal, and lease administration don’t have the same needs as accountants and other financial professionals. So how much weight do their reviews carry?
You want to look for how many of the reviews were made by people who understand lease accounting, and how many reviews came from people who only need a lease management system. Otherwise, you risk the accounting functions not being up to par.
What to do when other stakeholders are swayed by the misleading reviews
Even when you understand the value of using a software that’s been reviewed by your peers, your internal stakeholders may not. To get non-accounting parties to understand the issue, they need to understand that accounting is the language of business.
When your company’s accounting is in order, facility managers, property administrators, and legal analysts have the luxury of not paying attention to financial statements and audits. But if your company has to restate its financials, their vendors and business partners may lose confidence in your company’s ability to pay for their services.
That’s why we say accounting is the language of business. Remind your internal stakeholders of how often they are asked for audited financials when entering new business relationships or renewing contracts. All companies want to know they’re partnering with other companies that are financially solvent. If your financial statements aren’t in order, those relationships may be scaled back or terminated altogether.
Augment reviews with feedback from your peers
Unfortunately, not everyone who uses software will write a review. Reach out to your peers to find out which solutions they’re using. A one-on-one conversation allows you to ask them questions that you may not see in a review.
It’s up to you to select a software solution that meets the requirements of auditors and regulators. With the lease accounting effective dates approaching, many companies are getting into the software business without taking the time to consider all the functionalities that you will need to comply. Having a keen eye for details will ensure that you make the right choice.
The other thing that you can do is ask to see the systems in action – LeaseQuery offers a free consultation with every demo.
Read the reviews on these comparison sites
Want to see for yourself? Take a look at the reviews of various solutions on these websites:
What is LeaseQuery? Cloud-based software for ASC 842, IFRS 16, and GASB 87
LeaseQuery is software for both the current and new lease accounting standards, addressing and improving lease accounting and management for organizations reporting under FASB ASC 842, ASC 840, IFRS 16, IAS 17, and GASB 87. The software provides everything you need for compliance, from reporting to journal entries.
Unlike other lease management solutions designed for real estate professionals, LeaseQuery is built by accountants and for accountants. Our software doesn’t just provide lease tracking and management – it’s built with the complexities of lease accounting in mind. We understand the importance of ensuring our clients’ compliance with the new standards, reducing accounting errors, and improving efficiency. To learn more, visit our Features page.