The Goodwill Impairment Test under IFRS: Objective, Effectiveness and Alternative Approaches
Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Vol. 52, September 2023, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intaccaudtax.2023.100558
50 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2022 Last revised: 15 Jul 2023
Date Written: July 1, 2022
Stakeholders have questioned the effectiveness of the goodwill impairment-only approach, which was widely adopted in the early 2000s. Much empirical work has been conducted on the matter, but there is a need for more conceptual work. This paper applies goodwill-components theory to derive the theoretical objective of the goodwill impairment test and to define impairment effectiveness – a concept previously undefined but often referenced in the debate. Goodwill-components theory allows us to address the various components of goodwill instead of viewing accounting goodwill as homogeneous. Adopting this framework, we compare the current International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) model to two alternative impairment-only models, the pre-acquisition headroom (PH) model and the fair value (FV) model. We conclude that the PH model results in more effective impairment testing than the current IFRS model. Compared to the FV model, the PH model is more effective in the short run and less effective in the long run. Our analysis further identifies situations where the PH model is “over-effective”. The framework is also used to illustrate the effectiveness of the current IFRS model compared to a goodwill amortization model.
Keywords: Goodwill, Acquisition, Impairment, Impairment-test effectiveness, Pre-acquisition headroom, IFRS
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation