Proposed changes in the way companies account for leases would boost the debt on U.S. companies' balance sheets by 11%, which could increase the volatility of their earnings and make it harder for them to get financing, according to a study released today by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have proposed altering accounting rules to require companies to put most leases on their balance sheets. Currently companies report operating leases in the footnotes of their financial statements.

The study was conducted by IHS, which examined 1,800 companies' 2010 financial filings to determine the amount of leases, then scaled that information up.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.