Step Zero surprise in new Duff & Phelps study

BVWireIssue #135-1
December 4, 2013

When Step Zero was introduced in 2011, it was expected that many companies would adopt its simplified approach to testing for goodwill impairment. That hasn’t happened. Over 70% of companies are not using Step Zero, but are opting to use the traditional Step One. That’s according to the newly released 2013 Goodwill Impairment Study from Duff & Phelps and the Financial Executives Research Foundation.

Step Zero is a qualitative assessment to determine whether there is impairment to goodwill that gives companies the chance to sidestep the more onerous Step One and Step Two processes of traditional impairment testing.

“Counter to industry predictions, the majority of our clients continue to perform the quantitative test [Step One],” said Greg Franceschi, Duff & Phelps’ managing director, in a release.

Other key findings in the study:

  • U.S. companies recorded $51 billion of goodwill impairment in 2012, a 76% increase from the $29 billion reported in 2011 (highest impairment level since those reported as a result of the financial crisis in 2008);
  • Just three industries—information technology, industrials, and healthcare—booked two-thirds (67%) of the goodwill impairment recorded in 2012;
  • Goodwill impairments were heavily concentrated, with 47% attributable to the three largest impairment events reported in 2012; and
  • While overall deal volume declined in 2012, deal value increased 30%, leading to $211 billion in additional goodwill recorded on balance sheets.
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