It is apparent from the empirical studies in the UK and USA that incorrect approaches are frequently used to evaluate finance leases. Sykes (1975), Hull and Hubbard (1979) and Drury and Braund (1989) in the UK and Ferrara et. al., (1980) in the USA have expressed concern regarding the methods which companies use to evaluate finance leases. For example Sykes (1975) found that only 19% of UK companies used DCF methods to evaluate leases. Hull and Hubbard (1979) observed that many companies used the implied rate of interest quoted from the lessor's leasing tables and compared this with the borrowing rate. However, these tables did not include tax cash flows and were therefore only applicable to a permanent non‐taxpaying organisation. In the most recent study Drury and Braund (1989) found that 41% of the 300 firms responding to a questionnaire used the wrong discount rate to evaluate finance leases and a further 14% used non‐discounting methods. The objective of this article is to explain how the lease or purchase decision should be evaluated. It will be shown that leasing should be compared with borrowing and three different methods of correctly evaluating the lease or borrow decision will be presented and reconciled.
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