Advantages of Leasing
- Businesses avoid large capital outlays when acquiring the use of an asset, thereby freeing up cash for more productive uses.
- In the case of the start ups, leasing also helps to ascertain a business’s asset requirements before purchase of assets is made. As an example, a business can rent a building space for a year to obtain a better understanding of the business’s building requirements before committing to purchasing a space.
- Leasing offers flexibility, especially with assets which tend to become obsolete very fast.
- Leasing does not result in restrictions on company’s financial operations due to loan covenants.
- If firm experiences liquidity problem, it can lease back an asset to the lessor that the firm already owns. Sale-leaseback arrangements consist of selling an asset to the lessor and leasing it back. Such action can the improve liquidity of the firm.
- If the firm will go bankrupt or if it is undertaking reorganization, the firm is better off if assets are leased because the lessor can claim a maximum of 3 years worth of lease payments. Lenders, on the other hand, can claim the entire outstanding debt.
- Leases usually do not require down payment. Therefore, lease provides 100% financing. In comparison, when an asset is purchased, lenders often usually require down payment of 10% or at least 5% of the asset.
- Under operational lease some financial ratios look better because the asset is not capitalized, which refers to asset not being recorded in the balance sheet as an asset and corresponding liability.
- Lease can be undertaken as a hedge against rapid obsolescence of equipment.
- Leasing allows the revenue generated by the asset to provide funds for the payment for the asset. This benefit is especially relevant for start ups which usually have very limited resources.
- Organizations can adjust the term of the lease for the duration of time when the leased asset is planned to be used and then update the asset when required.
- Leasing provides organizations with options. Under a lease agreement the organization may have options of returning the asset, renewing the lease or purchasing the asset.
- It is usually easier to obtain a lease that to obtain a loan to purchase the asset.
- Leases may offer tax advantages which depend on how the lease is structured.
Disadvantages of leasing
- Purchase is likely to be preferred to lease if the asset is planned to be used for a long duration of time without renewal of asset.
- If the business no longer requires an asset or if the asset becomes obsolete before the end of the lease term, it may be expensive and very difficult to terminate the lease before the end of the contract. If asset is owned, it may be easier to make appropriate arrangements to sell or rent out the unnecessary or obsolete asset.
- Although the initial large cash outlay is avoided, over the long-term the lease may account for a larger capital outlay than if firm purchased an asset instead.
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