Finance Lease Journal Entry | Example - Accountinguide (2023)


Finance lease is a type of long-term financing where the company enters the lease agreement to use the property or asset for a long period of time. In the journal entry of finance lease, the company needs to record the present value of total lease payments on the balance sheet.

Unlike an operating lease, a finance lease is more like a purchase on installment than a rental. Likewise, the company needs to initially record the fair value of lease payments as a lease asset on one side and a lease liability on the other side.

Subsequently, the journal entry will also involve the deprecation of the lease asset as well the interest expense on the lease liability. That is why the finance lease is considered much more complicated than the operating lease.

Finance lease journal entry

Initial recognition

The company can make the finance lease journal entry by debiting the lease asset account and crediting the lease liability account.

Lease asset000
Lease liability000

In this journal entry, the amount of lease asset or lease liability recorded is the fair value of total lease payments. In other words, it is the present value of whole lease payments in the lease contract.

Finance lease depreciation

The lease asset is presented on the balance sheet, which is similar to the fixed asset. Likewise, the lease asset will need to be depreciated over the useful life of the lease period. Hence, the company needs to record depreciation expense in each period with the straight-line depreciation method.

Lease depreciation expense000
Accumulated depreciation – lease000

Finance lease payment

The lease liability is presented on the balance sheet, which is similar to the loan. In this case, each payment that the company makes for the lease is similar to a mortgage payment which consists partly of interest expense and partly of repayment of debt. Likewise, the company can make the journal entry for the finance lease payment as below:

Lease liability000
Interest expense000


For example, the company ABC Ltd. enters a long-term lease agreement which is a finance lease for the use of equipment. The lease period is 5 years which is approximately the economic life of the leased equipment.

The lease calls for the annual payment of $10,000 each year for the 5 years period and the market interest rate is 8% per annum.

What is the journal entry of the finance lease for the different cases below?

  • Initial recognition
  • Finance lease deprecation
  • Finance lease payment in the first year


Initial recognition

The present value of the total lease payments can be calculated as in the table below:

YearLease paymentDiscount FactorPresent Value
Y1 10,0000.9259 9,259
Y2 10,0000.8573 8,573
Y3 10,0000.7938 7,938
Y4 10,0000.7350 7,350
Y5 10,0000.6806 6,806
Total 50,000 39,927

*Discount factor can be calculated with the formula of “1/(1+r)^n” where:

  • “r” represents the annual interest (e.g. 8%) and
  • “n” represents the number of years (e.g. 1 to 5 years).

In this case, ABC Ltd. can make the finance lease journal entry with the debit of lease asset and the credit of lease liability as below:

Lease asset39,927
Lease liability39,927

Finance lease deprecation

The finance lease deprecation in each year of the lease period can be calculated using the straight-line depreciation method with no salvage value as below:

Annual depreciation = 39,927 / 5 = 7,985

Hence, the company can make the journal entry for the finance lease depreciation at the end of each year as below:

Lease depreciation expense7,985
Accumulated depreciation – lease7,985

After this journal entry, the net book value of lease asset is $31,942 (39,927 – 7,985).

Finance lease payment

As the lease term is 5 years and the interest rate is 8% per annum, the schedule of lease payments can be presented as in the table below:

YearLease paymentsInterestLease liability reductionLease liability balance

So, the company ABC Ltd. can make the journal entry for the lease payment in the first year with the interest expense of $3,194 and the lease liability reduction of $6,806 as below:

Lease liability6,806
Interest expense3,194

After this journal entry, the balance of lease liability is $33,121 (39,927 – 6,806). Likewise, at the end of the lease period, both the net book value of the lease asset and the balance of lease liability will become zero.

It is useful to note that the portion of the lease liability that is expected to be paid in the next year should be presented as a current liability in the balance sheet while the remaining portion is represented as a non-current liability.


How do you account for a finance lease? ›

The accounting treatment of a finance lease in the lessees accounts is:
  1. Record as an asset in the balance sheet and as an obligation to pay future rentals.
  2. Rental payments should be apportioned between the finance charge and a reduction in the obligation.

How do you calculate the journal entries for a finance lease under ASC 842? ›

Steps to calculate ASC 842 journal entries
  1. Step 1 – Recognize lease liabilities and ROU assets.
  2. Step 2 – Recognize payments and amortization.
  3. Step 3 – Continue recording ASC 842 journal entries until the lease expires.
  4. Step 4 – Account for modifications.
Sep 28, 2022

What is the journal entry to recognize ongoing amortization expense for a finance lease? ›

The journal entry would be a debit to amortization expense for $12,000 and a credit to accumulated amortization for $12,000. At the end of the lease life, the ROU asset will be fully amortized.

What is lease accounting with example? ›

Leases are contracts in which the property/asset owner allows another party to use the property/asset in exchange for some consideration, usually money or other assets. The two most common types of leases in accounting are operating and finance (or capital) leases.

Should leases be capitalized or expensed? ›

For accounting purposes, short-term leases under 12 months in length are treated as expenses and longer-term leases are capitalized as assets. For tax purposes, operating lease payments can be written off as expenses during the term of the lease.

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