The management of Worldwide Shipping Corporation Ltd (hereafter “Worldwide Shipping”) is confronted with a dilemma when a new international accounting standard on leases is introduced which contains a transitional provision allowing firms to defer implementation for a period of four years. Students are required to put themselves in the position of managers who have to weigh the adverse impact of early adoption of the new accounting standard against a responsibility for fair financial reporting. Worldwide Shipping is a multifaceted case that can be used as an accounting case study or a financial analysis study. The objectives of the case are threefold. First, it aims to provide students with a better understanding of the impact of off‐balance sheet transactions (in this case, sale‐leaseback contracts) on a firm's financial statements. Second, it requires students to examine implications of accounting choice on management compensation and debt‐contracting costs, as well as the perplexing problem of recognition in financial statements vs. footnote disclosures. By putting students in the position of managers, the case increases students' awareness of the possible economic consequences arising from accounting choice. Third, it provides students with a useful exercise in the mechanics of effecting a change in accounting method using the retroactive method.

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