Align internationally goodwill impairment standards

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” The IASB is currently considering improvements to the goodwill and impairment provision of IAS 36, Impairment of Assets.  In particular, the Board is considering two elements:

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Objective 1: Improving disclosures to help investors determine whether a company’s investment in acquiring a business was a good investment or not and whether the acquired business is performing as anticipated.

Objective 2: Simplifying the accounting for goodwill and improve the impairment requirement which companies argue is complex, time consuming and expensive.  

Candidly, the Board has not made any decisions on this project and set three research objectives to explore the disclosure requirements.  The Board will take up this issue again at the next meeting set for April 2019. 

In the U.S., the FASB has issued several updates regarding goodwill and impairment of intangible assets.  In June 2001, Statement No. 142 was issued to change the recognition of goodwill and other intangible assets.  In particular, goodwill would no longer be amortized and treated as a finite asset with a set useful life, instead it would be treated as an indefinite asset and tested annually for impairment.  At first glance this new statement sounds similar to IAS 36, however, in September 2011, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2011-08, Intangibles–Goodwill and Other (Topic 350).  Accordingly, the update reduces the complexity and costs of calculating impairment of goodwill and expands on the examples of event and circumstances that should be considered in the annual impairment test.  The FASB admits that this update increases the differences between U.S. and International standards, thus diminishing convergence of this topic.    

On a positive note, if the IASB improves objective 2 above, it has the opportunity to align internationally goodwill impairment standards with U.S. GAAP, advancing toward unity once again”


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