CFAs support annual testing for goodwill impairment

BVWireIssue #229-4
October 27, 2021

intangibles
goodwill, goodwill impairment, impairment testing

Global standard-setters, such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the U.S., are revisiting the issue of annual impairment testing versus amortization of goodwill. During a recent webinar, Sandra Peters, head of financial reporting at the CFA Institute, previewed a forthcoming survey of institute members that found broad support for regular testing of goodwill for impairment and skepticism about amortization. She agreed with the majority of the members: “Amortization over a straight-line period tells you nothing. Impairment … says that something you acquired didn’t turn out, and users of financial statements should ask more questions.”

Peters added that, in practice, many investors perform their own impairment analysis with much less information than the companies have, suggesting it is valuable to them and may not be as onerous and costly as proponents of amortization suggest. Finally, Peters noted that international standard-setters appear to be moving away from the idea of amortizing goodwill, so a U.S. move that embraces the approach would create headaches for users of financial statements.

The webinar, What’s New in Goodwill, featured a panel discussion with Peters along with VRC co-CEO PJ Patel and Calcbench CEO Pranav Ghai. You can access a replay if you click here.

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