The goodwill impairment debate: evidence from New Zealand
MetadataShow full metadata
Business acquisition has become a common practice and purchased goodwill recognised through these business acquisitions makes up a significant part of the total assets acquired. Under current New Zealand Equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards (NZ IFRSs), goodwill acquired from a business combination (purchased goodwill) is recognised as an unidentifiable intangible asset and should be tested for impairment annually to determine whether or not it has been impaired. This study aims to explore the accounting practices relating to goodwill acquired from business acquisition as reported by 15 New Zealand companies and the impact of these practices on the reliability and relevance of goodwill accounting information. By a combination of data driven and prior research driven method, this study analyses a broad range of financial data on companies’ annual reports, and show five themes to present the reliability and relevance of goodwill accounting information on financial statements. The overall finding provides evidence that the reliability and relevance of goodwill impairment practices from sampled NZ companies under current NZIFRSs have been well preserved. One significant theme is that the sampled NZ companies have practiced timely write-offs of overpaid price for goodwill and an acceptable level of compliance with goodwill impairment testing requirements in the selection and disclosure of key estimates. The findings also suggest that at least some components of goodwill have shorter economic lives and by no means indefinite. Finally, this study indicates an ongoing need to monitor the high percentage goodwill in term of total assets, the possibility of opportunistically eliminating goodwill by managers, and more informative disclosure on financial statements.