Acquiring assets for your business, from plant equipment to the latest computing technology provides Canadian business owners and financial managers with growth and profit potential. But how much time do you spend on assessing the right business leasing options when financing equipment.
Let’s examine the strengths, benefits, and yes, sometime drawbacks on your lease financing options.
We’re of course assuming that you conquered the lease vs. buy decision and focused on leasing business assets for the obvious reasons we’ve discussed in the past: monthly payment flexibility, accessing business credit outside your established bank and other facilities, and using tax and accounting scenarios to your business advantage.
So that puts you there, at the fork in the road so to speak. Namely which type of business financing equipment lease works best, for you. It’s actually not a large choice… it comes down to a capital lease or an operating lease. Understanding the make up of those two transactions makes you a winner when it comes to choosing which option works best for your firm.
Let’s examine Capital Lease structures… and benefits. Prior to choosing a capital lease option you have a general sense that you wish to own the asset at the end of the lease term. The capital lease, aka ‘ lease to own ‘effectively transfers ownership to you at the end of the lease term. Hopefully you have picked the right term on your lease, matching use of the asset to a proper amortization. In Canada that typically is 2-5 years, sometimes longer depending on the asset type.
From an accounting perspective, since you have elected the lease to own strategy via a capital lease you are no win a position to both depreciate the asset as well as record it as an asset on your balance sheet. The equipment financing industry in Canada considers full payment of the rentals, i.e. the monthly payment as the full recovery of their cost plus profit, i.e. the interest rate on your lease.
As an aside clients are always asking us about rates on business equipment leasing. Rates vary widely in Canada. How widely? Anywhere from 5 – 25% per annum and boy is that a range. Clients are astounded when we advise them they get to pick their own rate! How can that be possible? Simply because your over all credit quality and the dollar size and type of asset dictates lease pricing. You have got to simply demonstrate that credit quality or address any concerns of the lessor.
But wait… didn’t we say there were two options for financing equipment. The other option is the FMV option, known as the operating lease. Payments will always be lower than a capital lease option, simply for one reason. That’s because the operating lease scenario assumes the opposite of ownership, and that’s ‘ use ‘. You want to use an asset, not acquire the responsibility, and risk, of ownership. The good news is that if it turns out you wish to purchase the asset that a properly constructed FMV lease will allow you to still exercise that right, at a fair price.
Confused about the right business leasing options available in Canada? Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you in freeing up working capital and maximizing tax and accounting treatments for business asset finance in Canada.