The Relevance and the Dynamics of Goodwill Values Under IAS/IFRS: Empirical Evidences from the 2005-2009 Consolidated Financial Statements of the Major Companies Listed in Italy
34 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 22, 2010
The research aims at observing the actual effects on companies’ consolidated financial statements of the accounting treatment for goodwill as provided for by IAS/IFRS accounting standards. For this purpose, it focuses on the relevance of goodwill values in companies’ accounts (which is mainly investigated through a set of three ratios, comparing goodwill values with the total shareholders’ equity, with the total assets book value and with market capitalisation) and on the dynamics of stated goodwill values through time (observing the changes of the relevance ratios and separately analysing the effects on goodwill values of: impairment losses, mergers & acquisitions, adjustments to provisional values, dismissals, exchange differences, and other or not specified determinants).
Empirical evidences from the 350 consolidated financial statements of the 70 largest Italian listed companies for the five years 2005-2009 showed that the IAS/IFRS accounting treatment for goodwill is determining an endemic process of progressive accumulation of goodwill values in companies’ consolidated financial statements, with the capitalisation of massive goodwill values when M&As are concluded, while impairment losses tend to be insignificant, even in the presence of adverse conditions of financial markets and real economy. Looking at its actual effects on companies’ accounts, the IAS/IFRS goodwill accounting treatment appears to be at least as equally unsatisfactory as the previous treatments it has replaced.
Keywords: goodwill, accounting, relevance, dynamics, mergers and acquisitions, impairment, IFRS 3, IAS 36
JEL Classification: M4, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation