Assets and liabilities resulting from all but the most short-term leases must be accounted for on company balance sheets, according to a revised U.S. and international accounting rule. The joint proposal is controversial, with investors seeking more transparency, while many companies prefer to keep the sums off their balance sheets. "There are going to be more dividing lines, which gives scope to play games," one auditor said. "There is an issue over whether a lease is a lease or not, and you could see lease periods being made artificially short."

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