In general, a lease, usually, but not always, with a fixed term, where the lessor assumes many of the risks of ownership, including depreciation, funding and defined levels of administration.
The term has different shades of meaning in different countries. For example, in the United States, it has a specific meaning in terms of business accounting practices and stands in contrast to the other form of lease categorized by the U. S. accounting profession as a capital lease.
Operating leases typically allow for off balance sheet treatment of the leased assets, something usually preferred by corporate financial management. The responsibility for the cost of vehicle maintenance under an operating lease may be the lessor's or the lessee's. In the former case, the lease is often known as a "Full Maintenance Operating Lease."