ROU Assets: Deciphering the Difference

In the dynamic landscape of commercial real estate, accurate asset management is the cornerstone of success. Among the myriad of assets, ROU (Right of Use) assets play pivotal roles. However, distinguishing between “operating” and “finance” assets and effectively managing them can be complex.

Asset management is the strategic process of overseeing, optimizing, and maximizing the value of properties and other real estate assets. It involves a range of activities aimed at enhancing the financial, operational, and overall investment outcomes of real estate holdings.

Fortunately, Fischer Solutions offers an innovative automated software solution that simplifies and enhances the management of both asset types. In this article, we delve into the differences between operating ROU assets and finance ROU assets in CRE. We’ll explore how Fischer Solutions can revolutionize your asset management strategy.

ROU Asset Management: operating vs finance, deciphering the difference

Understanding ROU Assets

Operating ROU Assets

An operating asset represents a lessee’s right to use a leased property or asset for a specified period. ROU assets are an important concept to account for leases and maintain compliance with accounting standards.

Ultimately, the introduction of ROU assets and lease accounting standards, such as ASC 842 (in the United States) and IFRS 16 (internationally), aims to enhance transparency and provide a more accurate representation of a company’s lease-related financial obligations and commitments.

Leases are classified into two main categories:

  • finance leases – similar to traditional capital leases
  • operating leases – now referred to as “lease agreements” that give rise to ROU assets and corresponding lease liabilities

Key characteristics of operating ROU assets include:

  1. Lease Agreement:
    An ROU asset arises from a lease agreement between a lessor (owner of the asset) and a lessee (user of the asset). The lessee obtains the right to use the asset without transferring ownership.
  2. Right to Use:
    The lessee has the exclusive right to use the leased property or asset for a specified period, typically in exchange for periodic lease payments.
  3. Recognition:
    The lessee recognizes the ROU asset on its balance sheet as an asset, reflecting the value of the right to use the leased asset.
  4. Amortization:
    The ROU asset is amortized (or depreciated) over the term of the lease, which reflects the pattern of the lessee’s usage of the asset.
  5. Lease Liability:
    In conjunction with recognizing the ROU asset, the lessee also records a corresponding lease liability on the balance sheet, representing the obligation to make lease payments over the lease term.
  6. Financial Reporting:
    ROU assets and lease liabilities impact financial ratios, metrics, and disclosure requirements, affecting the overall financial presentation and analysis of a company’s financial statements.

Finance ROU Assets

Also known as fixed assets or long-term assets, finance ROU assets are owned by a business or individual. They are expected to be used over an extended period, often beyond a single accounting period. Finance ROU assets can encompass a wide range of items, from physical property to intellectual property.

Key characteristics of finance ROU assets include:

  1. Long-Term Use:
    Finance assets are acquired with the intention of using them in business operations over an extended period, usually beyond one year.
  2. Value:
    Finance assets generally have significant value and represent a substantial investment for the business. They contribute to the company’s overall net worth and its ability to generate revenue.
  3. Depreciation or Amortization:
    Over their useful lives, physical finance assets (such as buildings, machinery, and vehicles) are subject to depreciation, while intangible assets (such as patents or copyrights) are subject to amortization. These processes allocate the cost of the asset over its expected useful life.
  4. Balance Sheet:
    On the balance sheet, finance assets are recorded as assets. Their value is reported at historical cost (or fair market value if acquired through non-cash transactions) minus accumulated depreciation or amortization.
  5. Non-liquid:
    Finance assets, are not designed for sale in the regular course of business and not easily transformable into cash. However, they can potentially be sold, exchanged, or disposed of at a later point.

Examples of finance ROU assets include:

  1. Real Property: Land, buildings, warehouses, and other physical structures used for business operations.
  2. Equipment and Machinery: Manufacturing equipment, office furniture, vehicles, and other machinery used in production or service delivery.
  3. Intangible Assets: Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property that provide economic benefits over time.
  4. Investments: Long-term investments in stocks, bonds, or other securities that the company holds for capital appreciation or dividend income.
  5. Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, utility systems, and other infrastructure assets used for business purposes.
  6. Leasehold Improvements: Improvements made to leased properties to enhance their functionality or aesthetics.
  7. Software: Custom software or proprietary software developed for internal use or resale.

Proper accounting, maintenance, and strategic planning are key components of asset management to ensure that assets deliver the expected benefits and contribute positively to the organization’s value and growth.

Distinguishing Features

The key distinction between operating ROU assets and finance ROU assets lies in ownership.

 Ownership vs. ROUOriginAccounting Treatment
ROU Asset
Right to use without ownershipOriginate from lease agreementsRecognized on the balance sheet
ROU Asset
Signifies ownershipAcquired through direct purchaseRecorded based on the cost of acquisition

Streamlining Asset Management with Fischer Solutions

Fischer Solutions’ proprietary software, ManagePath, empowers you to efficiently manage both ROU assets. Our innovative solution offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to simplify intricate asset management processes:

  • Unified Dashboard: User-friendly interface provides a centralized view of all assets. Allow stakeholders to access up-to-date information about ROU assets effortlessly.
  • Automated Data Integration: Seamlessly integrate with accounting systems, reducing manual data entry and the risk of errors.
  • Lease Compliance: Align with accounting standards such as ASC 842 and IFRS 16, ensuring compliance in reporting and financial statements. This is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain transparent financial practices.
  • Depreciation Management: For finance assets, automate depreciation calculations, optimizing financial reporting accuracy.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Generate insightful reports on asset performance, occupancy rates, and financial metrics to make informed strategic decisions.
  • Alerts and Notifications: Receive timely alerts for lease renewals, maintenance schedules, and asset lifecycle events, preventing missed opportunities or costly oversights.
  • Accurate Tracking: ManagePath ensures precise tracking of ROU assets throughout their lifecycle. This includes lease commencement, expiration, renewal, and disposal for ROU assets, and acquisition, maintenance, depreciation, and disposal for capital assets.
  • Strategic Decision-making: Comprehensive insights into the performance and utilization of both types of assets. This assists with informed strategic decisions regarding lease negotiations, asset acquisitions, and resource allocation.
  • Efficiency and Time Savings: Reduce manual data entry and administrative tasks, enabling professionals to focus on value-added activities.


In the intricate realm of commercial real estate, adept management of ROU assets is paramount. Fischer Solutions emerges as a game-changer, offering an automated software solution that streamlines asset management, simplifies compliance, and enhances decision-making.

By leveraging ManagePath’s cutting-edge capabilities, cre professionals can transcend the complexities of asset management, focusing on growth, profitability, and operational excellence.

To explore the transformative potential of Fischer Solutions and revolutionize your asset management strategy, request a FREE DEMO today. Unlock the power of automation and elevate your commercial real estate endeavors to new heights.