Leaseaccelerator: Pioneering The New Category Of Enterprise Lease Accounting

Leaseaccelerator: Pioneering The New Category Of Enterprise Lease Accounting

Michael Keeler, CEO, LeaseAcceleratorMichael Keeler, CEO A typical Fortune 500 company today leases 1,000 to 10,000 assets of various types that are often spread across multiple warehouses, operating centers, and manufacturing plants located globally. For a financial controller working from the corporate headquarters in the U.S. or a remote location half way across the globe, closing the books at the end of the month is a daunting process as it requires the up-to-date information of every leased asset, including real-estate, and the renewal policy of each of these assets. Adding to the challenges, the new lease accounting regulations, IFRS 16 and ASC 842, demand that companies change how they currently account for leasing. While operating leases were previously confined to the footnotes of financial reports, the new regulations make it compulsory for organizations to record operating leases on the balance sheet to improve financial transparency. Although the new leasing standards will come into effect in 2019, with leased assets scattered everywhere, organizations are left with very little time to analyze, validate, and accurately generate data and audit trails. While the scenario is growing complex, many organizations are still using traditional spreadsheets and homegrown systems to manage their lease portfolios, which result in billing errors and evergreen fees. What they require is a dynamic lease accounting application that can automate the business processes at the enterprise scale.

Enter LeaseAccelerator, a pure play lease accounting software provider that has it all covered. Having performed lease accounting and management for over a decade, LeaseAccelerator is the first of its kind cloud-based SaaS application that automates every step in the leasing lifecycle. It tracks all the assets under the new regulations and generates reliable leasing data, in no time, for financial disclosures. “We are on a mission to optimize lease accounting for enterprises. While other software vendors have recently jumped onto the bandwagon to offer lease accounting, our experience in R&D, customer support, and product strategy, developed over the years makes us the go-to solution provider,” notes Michael Keeler, CEO, LeaseAccelerator.

Pure Play Enterprise Lease Accounting

LeaseAccelerator’s proprietary Enterprise Lease Accounting application is built from the ground up to account for all categories of leases including real estate, fleet, IT, material handling and other equipment at the asset-level. With the application, organizations can automate the record-to-report cycle for the new ASC 842 and IFRS 16 standards including the initial lease classification, the monthly close process, and the invoice-to-pay cycle. “The new standards require businesses to generate journal entries at the asset level.

Our goal is not just to help companies comply with the new ASC 842 and IFRS 16 standards, but to launch a whole new category of software in enterprise lease accounting

To comply, you need to track not only leasing at the contract level, but at the asset level for each of the 100 laptops, 10 forklifts or 5 photocopiers that might be on a single schedule.,” says Keeler. The application's management feature also helps companies automate business processes such as sourcing equipment financing, tracking assets, and renewing leases at the end of the term. Keeping in mind that most global organizations have heterogeneous ERP environments, the application easily integrates and synchronizes journal entries with existing ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle. What is more, all debit and credit details are stored in a lease accounting sub-ledger within the application and can be easily uploaded to a general ledger. Also, with Enterprise Lease Accounting, while managers have a single system to track all of their leases across the enterprise, users can pull the lease records to view asset description, rent payment schedules, and geographic locations of the leased assets. “Our goal is not just to help companies comply with the new standards, but to launch a whole new category of software in enterprise lease accounting,” adds Keeler.

A highlight of LeaseAccelerator's proficiency can be witnessed from their engagement with Cummins, a Fortune 500 corporation that leases a wide range of materials from aircraft to networking gear. Relying heavily on manual processes, Cummins was struggling with a fragmented and outdated enterprise software environment that failed to offer a single view of their entire equipment leasing portfolio. “While the company had leases spread globally, they couldn’t measure the economic performance of their asset portfolio and suffered a substantial loss,” mentions Keeler. LeaseAccelerator was engaged to address the challenge and their Enterprise Lease accounting application went live in just a week, after which, Cummins achieved a complete, centralized leasing database operating at the global scale. Soon, the client began identifying opportunities for cost savings that helped them tackle evergreen leases comprehensively, allowing Cummins to meet their goals in just nine months. With LeaseAccelarator’s intuitive technology, Cummins executed around 9,000 lease contracts with an original equipment value approaching $800 million, all the while reducing the cost of equipment leases and improving their competitive edge.

Human-Centered Technology

To maintain the highest standards in enterprise leasing processes, LeaseAccelerator partners with the big four accounting firms and business process outsourcing (BPO) providers.

The company takes a consultative approach through which they conduct an assessment of the current state of a client's systems and data related to procurement, asset management, and financial reporting. “We thoroughly examine the current state of the leasing processes, from procure-to-pay, record-to-report, and acquire-to-dispose,” explains Keeler. LeaseAccelerator then evaluates the roles and responsibilities of various groups supporting the leasing business, including corporate treasury, real estate, and lease administration. Ultimately, in collaboration with the client, they identify their goals and growth opportunities and develop an optimal enterprise leasing program. The company also conducts a gap analysis and designs a roadmap with target dates mentioned upfront for completing the enterprise lease accounting transformation.

"Agility and responsiveness are at the heart of our culture"

Following a continuous cycle of client engagement, the development team at LeaseAccelerator holds offsite meetings every six weeks to update the product roadmap with new features and enhancements. “Our product management team understands real-world requirements and gathers input from customers, customer advisory boards, and big accounting firms on a regular basis to ensure that our software can fulfill relevant needs concerning innovation, pricing, and structure,” explains Keeler. As LeaseAccelerator manages all of the underlying data center infrastructure and upgrade cycles, accounting organizations need not ally with other vendors to secure resources.

Adept, Agile, and Ambitious

Customer success is the bedrock of LeaseAccelerator's approach and they adopt an agile development framework to bring new features to market quickly and stay up-to-date with changing needs. “Agility and responsiveness are at the heart of our culture. With new use cases emerging in lease accounting on a daily basis, success demands that we react quickly,” adds Keeler. One unique aspect of LeaseAccelerator is that their product team works in tandem with the customer experience team and as a result, product managers consider not only the features and functions of the software but also the entire customer experience from the initial sales and onboarding processes to billing and technical support. “Our product team comprises leasing experts that speak the language of finance and accounting,” says Keeler. Above all, the workforce at LeaseAccelerator includes finance experts such as CPAs, CMAs, and CGMAs who have been veteran lease accountants and financial controllers in Fortune 500 firms, bringing in-depth knowledge of accounting that augments the company's value proposition.

In the next 18 months, LeaseAccelerator plans to help companies meet the deadlines for IFRS 16 and ASC 842, and over time enable the clients to optimize their enterprise lease accounting posture. Besides compliance expertise, the company plans to increase visibility and productivity in all aspects of leasing at a reduced cost. Continuously forging stronger relations with clients and partners, LeaseAccelerator is most likely to double the size of their team in the next 12 months, and also chart their footprint in Europe. “We are poised to be the most important accounting system that any company would need in 2018,” ends Keeler.